The Technology Behind Noise Cancelling Headphones in 2023

The Technology Behind Noise Cancelling Headphones in 2023

Written by Ramsay, In Headset, Published On
July 26, 2023

Noise-canceling headphones were initially designed for airplane travelers and pilots. Today, people use these headphones to cancel out the noise made by loud kids, industrial machines, or car engines.

Noise reduction work in two ways: active and passive noise cancellation. Depending on your current environment, you may need a very specific pair of headphones.

Continue reading to discover the technology behind noise cancellation. In turn, you’ll discover a few important factors to consider before you buy your next pair of headsets. Let’s get started.

Deep Dive Into the Technology of Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Audiotechnica Open Ear Headphones

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)

Active noise cancellation exploits the principles of physics to nullify opposing sound waves. You see, sound travels through waves. Noise-reduction headphones produce a sound that counters the noise created by devices like engines and home appliances.

Because of how active noise cancellation works, it has its strengths and weaknesses. It’s great for nullifying low sound frequencies. But it won’t cancel out the noise made by screaming kids or car horns.

Passive Noise Cancellation

Passive noise cancellation uses engineering to protect you from high-frequency sounds. These headphones have ear cups that create a seal around your eardrums. They insulate sound further using memory foam and other sealants.

Many of the best noise cancelling headphones use both active and passive noise reduction technologies to insulate you from different types of noise. However, these devices are not all created the same.

Some devices eliminate low-frequency sounds. Others are better designed to cancel out office noise. Against that backdrop, read reviews to find the right set of headsets for you.

Bluetooth Support

Wireless technology is all the rage. Unsurprisingly, most noise-reducing headsets rely on Bluetooth technology to transmit sound. The lack of cords means the devices are light and convenient.

They also look cool. And if you dislike corded devices because the wires tangle together, you don’t need to worry about this problem when you buy wireless headphones.

Although some people still prefer wired headphones, manufacturers are now fully invested in wireless technologies. In fact, they’re working on a type of Bluetooth technology that will allow you to share your playlist with the people around you.


A decade ago, retailers had to add a feature that specified whether headphones had a microphone. These days, the feature is so popular that sellers no longer include that label.

A microphone in noise-reducing headsets helps you take calls while you’re on the treadmill, running outdoors, or listening to music and don’t want to pick up your phone.

Microphones aside, many headphones in 2023 don’t come with a 3.5mm jack. Also, your smartphone probably lacks this feature. Everything related to sound is now done wirelessly. This is okay as long as the sound quality is top-notch.

Volume Adjustment Features

You probably already know this. Loud noise is dangerous for your health. As such, every good pair of headsets need a feature to help you adjust the volume. Some devices adjust audio automatically so that you can listen to music comfortably without harming your eardrums.

Another important feature of modern headphones is noise limiting for kids. Children have sensitive ears that can become damaged quickly if exposed to loud noise.

Noise limiting allows you to decide what’s loud enough for your kids. However, the devices also make recommendations. Usually, these earbuds will max out the volume at 85 decibels.

Additional Tech Features

The best noise-reduction headphones are designed for comfort and great looks. They also come with additional tech features that make their price tags worth it.

Think of earbuds with a voice assistant. You don’t have to shuffle your music playlist manually. You just ask your virtual assistant to do the job for you. When you need to call someone, Alexa is there to help you.

Another minor but significant feature is the ability to locate a misplaced earbud. This works through the “Find my earbuds” feature on Apple devices. Or, you can click a button on the earbud case and the earbuds will produce a noise.

If you regularly get into water with your earbuds on, you might want to pick devices with water resistance. Your buds might fall into the deep end of your swimming pool. And you still want them to work after you retrieve them.

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