Overview of Why Noise Cancelling Earphones Are King

jibberingrecords noise cancelling earphones

The term “noise canceling” can be confusing at times. People often feel that a noise canceling headphone functions in the opposite way. A noise canceling headphone will not help the person using it hear the caller better. Instead, a noise canceling headphone reduces the ambiance that the caller may hear, making your voice as clear as possible to the caller.

What is Active Noise Cancelling?

When you are making a call in a loud environment, a noise canceling headphone will reduce the background noise that the person you’re calling will hear, but it would not change how well you listen to your caller.

To put this a different way, noise canceling affects the microphone quality and how the caller hears you. They do not affect the person using the headset, and that will not help you hear better in a loud environment. The sound that the person putting on the headset hears passes through the ear cushions or ear tips, depending on the design of the headset.

Usually Noise Cancelling tech is only found in big bulky “over ear” headphones that are huge and require the use of big clunky external battery packs as well. There are however a select few noise cancelling earbuds, that is headphones that are small and sit inside your ear, that also feature this tech. For a full overview of this second type of noise cancelling earphones check out this great post at Lightningcans.com on the topic.

Noise canceling will not have any effect on the sound that comes with the headset but affects the microphone on the headset that is used to pick up the sound to the caller. This ambiance is muted with the noise canceling technology.

How Noise Cancelling Technology Works In Ear buds

Noise canceling headphones have three components which include: a digital signal processor (DSP), a battery unit, and a tiny microphone. The microphone listens to background sounds. The sound waves are analyzed by the DSP, which further generates opposite sound waves.

The primary microphone is around your mouth, and the secondary microphones pick up any background sound (also called the ambient sound). Before the headphone transmits the sound to your caller, its electronic circuitry can distinguish your voice from the ambiance, making your voice the dominant sound and reducing background sounds.

The speakers in these headphones play these opposite sound waves, which usually clash against the ambient noises and negate them. The battery powers the whole process. It takes place so quickly that you cannot just tell when it happened. However, it doesn’t happen so fast that it can handle every sound it encounters.

That is why noise cancellation is more effective for consistent noise (people talking at a consistent pace or such as the hum in a plane). Sudden an unexpected sound, like the loud bang of a door that was just slammed, could be heard.


Noise canceling is more advantageous to some users than others. Of course every technology has its advantages and its disadvantages. However, it is best to analyze your environment and its ambiance. If you are in a private workplace, a headphone that makes use of a voice tube will give you the clearest and crisp audio quality. In this case, selecting a noise canceling headphone will not be very productive and will soften your voice. T

his is because there is no background noise. If you work in an open place, a noise canceling headphone will be vital for optimal sound quality. This targets your voice and reduces background noise to a greater extent.

Active noise cancellation is particularly effective at obstructing constant low-frequency sound like that of an airplane.

Nevertheless, the shorter wavelength of high frequency or fast changing sound is hard for the processor to fit and invert accurately.

Consequently, the user must depend on the physical structure of the headphones instead of its internal circuitry to cancel out this type of noise.