How does Active Noise-Canceling Headphones Work?

Whenever we are hearing music in our headphones, we may get some outside disturbances, the solution for this is using Active Noise-Canceling Headphones.


In this article, we are discussing the working of Active noise-canceling headphones.

Whether you’re on a plane, subway, or a crowded street, active noise-canceling headphones will drown out almost everything around you. 


Bringing peace and quiet to your ears. But how do they actually work? 


You’ve probably seen noise-canceling headphones become pretty widespread over the last decade or so. 

active noise-cancelling headphones

The History Behind Active Noise-Canceling Headphones:

But did you know the concept actually dates back to 1978? 


One day Dr. Amar Bose traveled from Zurich to Boston in a Flight.


While the plane is running, he is listening to the music from a headset on the flight, but the noise from the plane dominates the music and he becomes very frustrated.


Now, Bose’s name might sound familiar. He is the founder of Bose audio, which has become synonymous with noise-canceling headphones. 


However, it would take several years and millions of dollars in research for that to happen. Which all began on this flight. 


When he designed his first concept for noise-cancellation technology. Bose’s solution was simple. He would design headphones that listen. 


But it was easier said than done. By 1986, almost 10 years after his fateful flight, Bose had a working prototype, which soon became a product for airline pilots, the military, and eventually first- and business-class customers aboard American Airlines. 


Eventually, once costs came down, the headphones began to become available to the general public. 


And while you listen to things through the speakers, the headphones are listening as well to everything around you. 


Any sound traveling in the form of a wave is known as a sound wave. And each one is different. 


The sound waves of saying “hello” And “goodbye” are different. 


Now, if you played both sounds at the same time, you’d get a phenomenon called constructive interference. 

active noise-canceling

Sound from Constructive interference amplifies make the overall combination louder. It’s the same phenomenon you get in a crowded restaurant. 


But what if instead of becoming a louder sound, it became quieter? In fact, it became so quiet, it was almost silent? That’s called destructive interference. 


That’s exactly what noise-canceling headphones are doing. Now go back to those sound waves.


See, sound waves, like light waves, have peaks and valleys. Noise-canceling headphones have their own built-in microphone. 


And when the headphones microphone detects a sound wave, the headphones create a new waveform that’s the total opposite. 


So for every valley, there is a peak, and for every peak, there is a valley also. What results is the canceling part of noise-canceling? 


The 2 waves cancel out each other, and a flat line occurs. Blissful silence. Now, if you’ve used noise-canceling headphones before, you’ve probably noticed they don’t cancel out every single noise. 


Some other noises leak through sometimes, like people talking loudly or cars honking. 


That’s because the technology works best in environments with consistent noise. This is why the headphones are ideal in places like airplane cabins or train cars. 


In some other cases, matching the sound wave with too much variation is not easy. It’s kind of like whack-a-mole. 


We can eliminate so many sounds at once. And some headphones will be better than others. 


While a $50 pair may not eliminate noises the way a $300 set does, it may be good enough for your needs. 


Even if they don’t achieve perfect silence every time, there’s no doubt noise-cancellation technology has been a useful way to help people get through their days or commutes. 


It looks like the $50million Bose spent back then turned out to be great in the long run. 

For Best Active Noise-canceling Headphones Check out here

Hey if you want to give any suggestions to the Tech Geek, then comment down below.

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