Understanding Noise Cancelling Headphones

Author: Paige  

21 November 2023 

Understanding Noise Cancelling Headphones main image Understanding Noise Cancelling Headphones image

Noise-cancelling headphones are a remarkable fusion of technology and design that have revolutionised how we listen to audio. Whether you're a frequent flyer trying to drown out the drone of an airplane, an office worker seeking refuge from the chatter of coworkers, or simply a music enthusiast craving a pure listening experience, these headphones are a game-changer.

Introduction to Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Noise-cancelling headphones use advanced technology to reduce unwanted ambient sounds. This is achieved through two types of noise cancellation: active and passive.

Passive Noise Cancellation

This method physically blocks sound from reaching your ears. This is typically achieved through design elements like over-ear cups with insulating padding that naturally dampens external noise.

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)

The technological phenomenon lies here. ANC headphones use microphones to detect external noise and produce a counteracting sound wave that cancels the noise. This technology is particularly effective against consistent, low-frequency sounds like the hum of an airplane or the rumble of a train.

The Science Behind Active Noise Cancellation

To understand how ANC works, one must delve into the basics of sound waves. Sound travels in waves, and when these waves collide, they can either amplify the sound (constructive interference) or cancel it out (destructive interference). ANC headphones create a phase-inverted sound wave relative to the unwanted noise. When these two waves meet, they cancel each other out, reducing noise.

The Evolution and Advancements in Noise-Cancelling Headphones

The concept of noise cancellation isn't new. It dates back to the early 20th century, but it wasn't until the 1980s that the first commercially available ANC headphones were introduced. Originally designed for pilots to reduce cockpit noise, this technology quickly found its way into consumer products.

Over the years, there have been significant advancements:

  • Better Noise Cancellation: Modern ANC headphones can cancel out a wider range of frequencies, including human speech and traffic noise.
  • Improved Sound Quality: Initially, ANC affected sound quality negatively. However, recent models offer high-fidelity sound along with effective noise cancellation.
  • Wireless Technology: The integration of Bluetooth technology has led to the rise of wireless ANC headphones, offering greater convenience and mobility.
  • Smart Features: Many modern ANC headphones have additional features like voice assistants, touch controls, and customisable sound profiles.

How to Choose the Right Noise-Cancelling Headphones

When selecting ANC headphones, consider the following factors:

  • Type of Noise Cancellation: Decide between active and passive noise cancellation based on your needs.
  • Sound Quality: Look for headphones that balance sound quality and effective noise cancellation.
  • Comfort and Fit: These headphones are often used for extended periods, so comfort is paramount. Look for padded ear cups and an adjustable headband.
  • Battery Life: For wireless models, battery life is crucial. Check how long the headphones can operate on a single charge, especially with ANC activated.
  • Additional Features: Consider extra features like voice assistant compatibility, built-in call microphones, and foldable portability designs.

The Impact of Noise-Cancelling Headphones on Health and Wellbeing

Noise-cancelling headphones can have a positive impact on health and wellbeing. By reducing ambient noise, they can:

  • Lower Stress Levels: Constant noise exposure can increase stress. ANC headphones can provide a more tranquil environment, aiding in relaxation and stress reduction.
  • Improve Focus and Productivity: In noisy environments, these headphones can help maintain focus, which is beneficial for work or study.
  • Enhance Sleep Quality: Using ANC headphones can help create a quieter sleeping environment, especially for people living in noisy neighbourhoods.

Top Brands and Models in the Market

Several brands have made significant strides in noise-cancelling headphones, offering top-notch quality and innovation. Here are some of the leading choices that align with Telrex's offerings:

Poly Headphones

Poly, formerly Plantronics, is renowned for its focus on workplace communication technologies. Their noise-cancelling headphones are especially favoured in business environments for their robust build, exceptional sound clarity, and effective noise-cancellation features. They are an excellent choice for professionals who need to concentrate in noisy offices or while working remotely.

Jabra Headphones

Jabra is another key player in audio and communication devices. Their noise-cancelling headphones are celebrated for their ergonomic design, long battery life, and superior sound quality. They offer a range of headphones that cater to both professional and personal use, making them a versatile choice for various consumer needs.

Yealink Headsets

Best known for their telecommunication devices, Yealink has also ventured into the audio market with impressive results. Their noise-cancelling headphones are gaining popularity for their seamless integration with communication systems, making them ideal for office settings and remote work where clear, uninterrupted communication is vital.

EPOS Headphones

EPOS, derived from the Demant Group and known for its focus on sound and hearing, delivers headphones that excel in audio fidelity. They have also recently acquired Sennheiser: A brand known for high-fidelity audio, Sennheiser combines superior sound with effective noise cancellation. Their noise-cancelling models combine sophisticated design with high-quality sound, ensuring an immersive listening experience. These headphones are perfect for users who prioritise audio quality alongside effective noise cancellation.

Each of these brands offers unique features and strengths, catering to different user needs and preferences. Whether for professional communication, travel, or simply enjoying music, these brands provide options that deliver excellent noise cancellation and audio quality. As with any technology purchase, it's important to consider individual requirements like battery life, comfort, and additional features when choosing the right pair of noise-cancelling headphones.

For more detailed information about each brand and their specific models, visiting their official websites can be highly informative. Additionally, tech forums and review sites often provide user experiences and comparisons, which can be invaluable in making an informed decision.


The Future of Noise-Cancelling Technology

The future of noise-cancelling technology is promising, with potential advancements including:

  • AI-Enhanced ANC: Future headphones might use AI to tune noise cancellation based on the environment adaptively.
  • Health Monitoring Features: Integrating health monitoring sensors to track metrics like heart rate or steps taken.
  • Environmentally Adaptive Sound Control: Advanced headphones might automatically adjust the level of noise cancellation and sound settings based on the user's surroundings.


Noise-cancelling headphones are more than just a way to listen to music. They're a tool for better focus, relaxation, and enjoyment in our increasingly noisy world. As technology evolves, we can expect even more innovative features and improvements in noise-cancelling headphones.

For a deeper dive into specific models, features, and user reviews, checking out expert reviews and tech websites can provide valuable insights. Websites like CNET, TechRadar, and Wired often offer comprehensive reviews and comparisons of the latest models. Additionally, visiting brand websites directly can provide detailed product specifications and information.

Whether you're looking to improve your daily commute, enhance your work productivity, or enjoy your music without distractions, noise-cancelling headphones offer a versatile solution. With a range of options available in the market, a pair fits every need and preference.

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