Noise cancelling headphones are often used to eliminate ambient noise while listening to any other audio. They are a safe and effective way to get high quality sound from headphones at adequate volume. They are most often used for travel but are quickly becoming more popular for any headphone use. In our world today, in almost every situation there are people with some kind of gadget in their ears. It is becoming the norm for people to stream audio while traveling, shopping, exercising, or working.
Noise cancelling headphones use a specific technology called active noise cancelling. It is designed to take in audio, pick out low frequency ambient noise and cancel it using a 180 degree phase inversion to reduce unwanted sound. On average, noise cancelling headphones attenuate about 20-40 dB of noise. This allows a cleaner, crisper sound from the headphones without the competing noise. Most people note huge improvement in overall sound quality when the added noise is cancelled out. This is also a helpful tool for hearing protection. Ambient noise can be loud especially in travel situations. Planes, subways, or buses can reach high volumes during a trip. Ambient noise in the cabin of an airplane can reach levels up to 105 dB during take off and landing (Moskvitch, 2014). When someone is streaming audio with traditional headphones, they tend to turn the volume up louder to hear over the noise causing increased sound stimulation which can be damaging to the ears. Too much volume whether it is ambient noise or competing stimulation can cause permanent damage or noise induced hearing loss. Noise cancelling headphones at a reasonable volume level can help prevent hearing loss.
There are different kinds of noise cancelling headphones on the market today with huge growth in companies jumping on this technology. Some are the over-the-ear style of headphones and some are the earbud style. Depending on the style and the technology, the amount of noise that is cancelled could change between different types of headphones. Not all noise cancelling headphones are considered hearing protection. Make sure to check the attenuation level before using noise cancelling headphones in loud places. Proper hearing protection may be needed if noise cancelling headphones do not provide enough protection. Whether you are trying to stream a meeting on an airplane or listen to music as you walk through the grocery store, noise cancelling headphones are a great option for a safe and enjoyable listening experience.