Are Noise Canceling Headphones Safe?

Noise-canceling headphones seem to be all the rage right now. Many people swear by them, some even say it’s the best invention since beer. So what exactly are noise-canceling headphones? And are they really as safe as some have claimed?

When you are riding in your car, you can reduce a lot of disturbance by turning on the noise-canceling feature of your favorite headphones. This doesn’t just make it easier to hear your music; it also reduces the distraction from sounds coming from outside, such as sirens, screeching tires, honking horns, and barking dogs. But is this technology safe? Do noise-canceling headphones truly reduce distractions?

Are Noise Canceling Headphones Safe?

Before I get into our noise canceling headphones, let’s take a second to talk about noise-canceling generally. I’ll bet that you’ve heard of noise-canceling before, probably in the context of travel or aircraft: airplanes employ it for private cabins and red-eye flights; train and bus companies use it for “quiet cars” and their most luxurious passenger models. But did you know that noise-canceling can also be found in your home, in the form of headphones?

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what exactly are noise-canceling headphones?

Noise-canceling headphones are designed to reduce ambient noise by actively creating an inverse sound wave.  A regular pair of headphones will still allow for some external noise to seep in. Noise-canceling headphones are ideal for couriers, delivery drivers, pedestrians, reporters and those who work in a busy office.

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Noise-canceling headphones are designed to reduce ambient noise, whether that’s airplane roar or the hullabaloo of your office cube farm. We think of them as a way to protect our ears while we travel and to focus while we work. That’s a good thing — recent research has shown that constant exposure to loud noise can lead to hearing loss. The bad news is that some studies have suggested that those same noise-canceling headphones could be harmful for children using them for long periods of time. Yet other research said kids listening to white noise at night could help them sleep better.

Whenever you listen to music through noisy conditions, it creates distractions and hindrances to your work. To reduce this issue, noise cancellation headphones can be used as they cancel out the outside noise by producing opposite sound waves that neutralize ambient sounds and provide relief from outside noise.

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Noise canceling headphones have been around for over 20 years now. During this time it has become one of the most sought after features in a headphone. However, noise canceling headphones are somewhat of an enigma to many people. There is some confusion as to what exactly they remove when compared to normal headphones, with many mistakenly believing that they’re high-end sound canceling headphones. This can lead to a lot of confusion due to many accidentally buying them or not knowing how they work.

If you haven’t ventured toward the dark side of the force and invested in a pair of noise-canceling headphones, I suggest you start with Sennheiser. The headphone brand, which has been around for more than 70 years, is at the top of its game when it comes to comfort, style, fit and sound quality. Though they encompass all those factors, they are still one of the safest and healthiest ways to journey through your daily log of auditory input.

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How noise-canceling headphones work

How do noise-canceling headphones work? To understand how noise-canceling headphones actually work, it helps to have a basic understanding of the physics behind the science. Unfortunately, the science is complicated and can get rather heavy. This article will keep the science simple and easy to understand; one of my goals with this article is to make it understandable by someone with a grade-school education in science. If you’re looking for more specifics, particularly pertaining to sound energy and decibel scales, here’s another great article about noise-canceling headphones.

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Noise-canceling headphones are a surprisingly recent innovation. The primary patent for the technology was filed in 1979 and not granted until 1989, but there is credit for the invention as far back as 1968. Noise-canceling headphones use microphones to detect background sound, then create an opposite sound that effectively cancels it out. There are two types: active noise-canceling and passive noise-canceling headphones. Noise-canceling headphones received a significant publicity boost when they were featured on a 2007 episode of the television crime drama “NCIS,” where the headphones — used during stakeouts — canceled out sounds such as street traffic or air conditioner or rain so that eavesdropping would be harder.

Noise-canceling headphones (or noise canceling earbuds) are a great way to add a level of focus in your environment. Whether you’re in an airplane, on the bus or train, there are plenty of noise sources that can distract you from doing work or enjoying time with those you care about. Now, it’s not like these headsets will cancel out all of the sounds around you, but it does reduce the noises quite well with most settings.

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Noise-canceling headphones are the most futuristic thing you can get at an airport. Everyone looks at them in awe, as if they’re from a foreign planet. Active noise-canceling headphones use complex tech to identify, negate and neutralize unwanted noise with inline microphones, electronics and speakers. They’re batteries-powered, but most of them nowadays also have regular 3.5mm audio jacks for passive use without energy (for battery-less noise-canceling). Active noise–canceling headphones work by adding troughs to crests and crests to troughs, using the inverse sound wave of the background noise. This creates an inverted sound wave that effectively cancels out the original inverse waves.

Passive noise-canceling headphones and earphones work by blocking out sound waves. Active noise-canceling headphones and earphones, on the other hand, produce sound waves that destructively interfere with ambient sound. The result is complete silence (in theory, at least).

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The mechanics behind noise-canceling headphones are tricky, some might even say magical. There are lots of moving parts inside an airplane’s engine, and the roar that comes out of one is very loud. Yet somehow when you walk to the front of an airplane, away from the jet engine, the hum drops in volume significantly. How can sound create a vacuum? It’s hard to comprehend — but simple to explain. Noise-cancelling headphones use the same principle as noise-canceling ear muffs (or disposable foam plugs), but on a much smaller scale. On airplanes and other noisy places, this technology is great for reducing engine noise on your flight. Planes are big and move very fast, so they make tons of noise. Noise cancellation works by detecting the patterns of sound around you, and then producing the opposite waves to cancel them out.

When you turn them on, they measure the sound in your environment. They do this by measuring as many sound frequencies as they can. A good pair of active noise-canceling headphones will have microphones both inside the earcups and on the outsides of the earcups. The sensors pick up outside sounds and compare what’s going on with two microphones, one inside and one outside each earcup. Then, using a microchip, the sound waves are processed to create an opposite sound wave that is 180 degrees out from the original waveform.

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Is Noise Cancelling Sae to use?

Noise cancelling headphones are safe and have no long-term effects on your health, according to a recent study. There has been much debate in the past regarding the safety of these headsets. So much so, it prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to conduct an investigation into their potential health risks. After reviewing numerous scientific studies, their expert advisors announced that noise cancelling earphones are perfectly safe to use and do not cause any harm to the user.

Noise can often be overlooked as something that isn’t a significant problem. In most situations, it isn’t a big deal. However, architects, construction workers and flight attendants are among some of the many professionals who are exposed to loud noises on a frequent basis. The result of this is hearing loss, which is irreversible. Additionally, you may suffer from tinnitus (constant ringing) or hyperacusis (extreme sensitivity to sounds). Both can be disruptive and severely impair your ability to focus on your work or life in general. Noise-cancelling headphones (or active noise cancelling headphones as they are sometimes referred to) are lightweight, portable headphones that can reduce external noise and provide a more comfortable listening experience. They have been used in many industries including healthcare, aviation, military and more.

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Who needs noise-canceling headphones?

Noise-canceling headphones are not for everyone. They are expensive and can sometimes block out the sound of your own music. But they exist to make a simple truth less brutal: No matter how comfortable a pair of ear buds, or how amazing the binaural beats, you’re never going to experience the true isolation of absolute silence. So if you love your music but hate the noise around you, these are the headphones for you.

So why do I care whether or not you buy a nice pair of Noise Canceling-headphones? I’ll tell you why. I for one am sick and tired of hearing about people who have no clue about traveling, airports and stuff like that. Good noise canceling headphones help to reduce the auditory onslaught in the plane, train or automobile journey.

As an avid traveler and traveling hypochondriac, with a healthy fear of nausea-inducing turbulence, I was always the first to board a plane, the last to step off and the quickest trimmer of my hand baggage. Until recently I had many long flights ahead of me, so I decided it was high time to invest in some decent noise-canceling headphones . The $280 I spent at Singapore Changi Airport may have been one of the best investments ever.

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With lots of flight delays and long layovers, I travel a lot. And it sucks when you’re on your way home to see your family, only to be stuck in a tiny seat on an airplane, with the same incredibly annoying audio playing over and over again. It’s beyond obnoxious: it’s actually harmful. Research has found that noise pollution can cause hearing damage even at moderate sound levels, some as low as 75 decibels. Listening to headphones or earphones at 90 db can result in 4 hours before auditory fatigue occurs, 8 hours for 100db (the volume of a garbage disposal unit), and 15 hours for 120db (the volume produced by a chainsaw).

If you are a regular traveler, you probably already know that airplane noise can cause a lot of frustration and make it hard to concentrate on work or even watch a movie. That’s where active noise-canceling headphones come in. They work by playing soft, but opposing, music that directly counteracts the noises around you, making them undetectable. And the people around you won’t even be able to hear your music over your headphones. Even if someone managed to walk up next to you and talk, the headphones would completely muffle the sound from outside. This is important because any noise-canceling device that only reduces but does not eliminate noises is less effective and less comfortable for long periods of time than other options, such as noise-isolating earbuds or high-end regular headphones. 

Noise-canceling headphones can be a fantastic product, particularly for frequent travelers. They can allow you to focus on your work, or just relax and really enjoy your music knowing that you’re not having to deal with outside noise. That said, there are plenty of other uses for such a product as well, especially if you travel regularly, giving these headphones a potentially much bigger customer base than they would have otherwise.

It’s one thing to listen to music on a plane. That still requires the scornful glares of your fellow passengers who, clearly, have higher standards for in-flight entertainment than you. But if you care at all about your fellow human beings, you also don’t want to be that person trying to take a nap on a plane, only to constantly get woken up by the roar of the engines. So statistically speaking, if you fly even once or twice per year, you have strong opinions about noise-canceling headphones. It’s an expense that many people are hesitant to make due to their price tag.

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