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What is Noise Cancellation in Earphones? Let's Check

09 May 2023

If you have ever shopped for earphones, you must know what noise cancellation in-earphones are. Many people are not aware of this feature and do not even consider it as a factor before selecting a pair of earphones. The noise cancellation feature allows the person wearing the earphones to focus on the sound and talking.

Most people tend to wear these earphones when travelling through flight, ignoring the screaming of the babies and other noises of the surroundings. There are two types of noise cancellation in earphones, active and passive. However, it might not be very clear for most people. So, we are here to discuss it and point out the basic differences between them.



The active noise cancellation feature uses more advanced technology for actively ignoring the surrounding noises. Its basic work is to detect and analyze the pattern of the sound of incoming noise and generate a mirror signal to cancel it out. It also helps in providing a drastic reduction level of noise. The active noise cancellation works the best for all the low frequency sounds like the sounds of the ceiling fans, noises coming out from the engines or the humming of the person sitting right beside you.

The best example of active noise cancellation is the bulky earmuffs worn by the construction workers

The feature of active noise cancellation in earphones is found in stereo speakers, which block both the ears and truly help ignore the surrounding sounds. Nearly 70% of the ambient noises are blocked through active noise cancellation. Moreover, they are ideal when travelling by airplane or train, in open environments or at any location with a high background noise level. They do not emit low radiation and do not pose any potential threats to the human brain. They are also the best to avoid background noise.



Sound is a pressure wave containing alternating compression and rate fractions. Active noise cancellation emits a sound wave that is of the same aptitude. It is an inverted phase related to the original sound, and the waves combined to develop a new wave. The procedure is known as interference. They effectively cancel out each other, which is commonly known as destructive interference and are best as noise cancellation in earphones.

Inactive noise cancellation, and noise control can be achieved using an analogue circuit or digital signal processing. Adaptive algorithms are also exclusively designed for analyzing the waveform of the background. A sound wave is created in proportion to that, which further creates destructive interference. In this way, the background noises are reduced, and the wearer can focus on the sound transmitted through the earphones.



Passive noise cancellation in earphones refers to the physical features of the earphone, like their design and the raw material used. It is a fancy term used to describe the effect that a person gets just by wearing the headset. Passive noise cancellation is best for refraining from irregular or high-frequency sounds. So, they are exclusively designed for ignoring the background noise completely.

Passive noise cancellation can be used for both over-ear headphones and in-ear earphones. The earbuds themselves shall keep the surrounding noises out, and they block the sound wave through the materials they are made of. Eventually, it helps in focusing just on the music or the video. Passive noise cancellation is safe to use and does not damage or harm in any way. Moreover, they are beneficial as they block the noise from the ambience, which eventually reduces the need for increasing the volume.



You must be wondering which noise cancellation is better. When talking about noise cancellation earphones, sound quality is a prime concern. Earbuds with passive noise cancellation have better sound quality than active noise cancellation. Since passive noise cancellations are custom-moulded, they fit into unique ears.

On the other hand, active noise cancellation puts pressure on certain ears and shall fatigue the ears too. They both reduce the background noise, but both have their strengths and weaknesses depending on their block frequencies. Passive noise cancellation earbuds also use bluetooth to operate and consume less power than active ones.


Both passive and active noise cancellations allow you to listen to music at lower volumes. But it is seen that passive noise cancellation is better for overall hearing. Active and passive noise cancellation becomes very important when talking about noise cancellation in earphones. Mostly passive noise cancellation is used for better sound quality, comfortability, power-consuming ability and affordability. They are even better when you are not listening to music.



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