How To Do Noise Canceling Headphones Work: Active and Passive

Headphones are a great way to listen to your favorite music, but listening in a crowded place can degrade your experience due to unwanted louder noise, and you can use the best noise canceling headphones to keep out the noise.

Have you ever think how do noise canceling headphone works and how they differents from normal headphones?

There is a story behind the invention of noise canceling headphones. In 1978 the founder of Bose Corporation, Mr. Amar Bose, traveled from the United States to Switzerland.

During the flight, a flight attendant offered him a headphone to listen to the music, but he could barely hear it and was unable to enjoy the music due to the constant noise of the engine.

He tried to overcome this noise with the help of napkins and began to calculate how it could be minimized. Then a new era of noise canceling technology began.

After traveling to Europe, he formed a noise reduction team to work on noise canceling technology and invented a new headset that was first used on December 14, 1986.

Noise canceling headphones can eliminate unwanted noise when listening to music. However, there are two types of headphones, eg. B. Active and passive noise canceling headphones.

This guide will tell you all about the types of noise canceling headphones and how they work.

Why we need noise canceling headphones?

In the old days when listening to music, the sound quality was a mixture of actual music and ambient noise, so you couldn't enjoy the music.

Because the sound waves generated by the headphones are mixed with sound waves from unwanted sources such as machinery noise like engine noise, crowd noise, traffic noise, etc.

Sound waves are in a wave pattern that requires the environment to move. It works in a way that originates from one source and shifts pressure from one place to another.

Once it reaches the ear, it hits the eardrum and this pressure is felt by the mind and as a result one can hear the sound or voice.

But what if the real sound waves were mixed with the unwanted annoying sound waves you would not hear the actual sound waves and this is known as noise.

To learning more about noise vs Echo, check out our in-depth guide.

Noise is a type of frequency that can come from various sources. So it is a mixture of more than one frequency which does not have its own pattern, is not easy to reproduce and is therefore called noise.

There are several ways to deal with noise, such as: B. brown noise, pink noise, and white noise. If you are not aware of it, then learn first types of noise.

Noise can disturb you while sleeping, but few people using earplugs which are not recommended for extended periods of time. Therefore, there are several alternatives to earplugs.

One alternative that you can use to overcome this noise is to use the noise canceling headphones.

Noise canceling headphones are categorized into two types, as described below.

Passive Noise Canceling headphones: with Detailed

Ideally, any headset is a passive noise canceling device. Such headphones are made of a high density sound insulating materials such as foam which blocks the entry of outside noise and covers the entire ear.

It is more like blocking outer noise by adding insulation around the ears, which prevents noise from entering. However, such headphones are heavier.

Passive headphones can reduce noise by up to 15 decibels to just 20 decibels. But what if the noise level is up to 75-80 decibels, which can occur in flight due to engine boost?

passive noise canceling headphones can't handle this. Therefore, new active noise canceling headphones solutions have been developed to solve this problem.

Well, a decibel is a unit of measure used to measure the intensity of each note, which is measured on the logarithmic dB scale.

Active Noise Canceling Headphones: with Detailed

Active Noise Canceling Headphones can do all the work that passive noise canceling headphones do, but they also help to overcome any additional noise through their own mechanism.

These headphones generate their own sound waves to mimic incoming sound waves and remove noise using their own waves with the concept of a destructive mechanism.

This means that all that's left is the original music and all the other sound waves have been erased. However, active noise canceling headphones require constant power.

If you're still confused don't worry, let me discuss how active noise canceling headphones work.

How do active noise canceling headphones work?

Active noise canceling headphones required continuous power to do their job. Whereas the passive can be made through its own DIY mechanism or through randomized testing.

Make sure you learne with the basic mechanism of how noise canceling headphone works, such as:


This microphone is mainly used for talking to other people as it is a type of microphone that allows sound waves to enter the headset and then pass them on to your cell phone or whatever source you are using.

Technically, it's a system that converts sound waves into electric waves that are sent to the other end.


The speaker is located near your ear, where the sound waves actually exit and enter your ear. These sound waves are mainly provided by the music circuit or system that you use when listening to music.

Technically, it's a system that converts electric waves back into sound waves emitted by cell phones or other sources.


It is the main power supply for wireless headphones because there is no power connection and, with a wired headphone power supply, the power comes from a music source such as a cell phone or other console.

circuit noise

However, active noise canceling headphones have an additional circuit in the cup. Its main task is to capture the incoming noise and create out-of-phase sound waves to compensate for it.

All of the above components are added to the noise canceling headphones and they all work in combination here.

Whenever you hear music and ambient sounds occur, these are sent via the microphone to the headphones.

When the electronic circuit picks up the incoming sound waves from the microphone other than the actual music and now the job is to generate another sound wave which is only close to the sound wave.

However, the resulting sound wave pattern is 180 degrees in opposite phase (out of phase) and sends this sound along with the actual sound wave.

Hence, in the ear lobe near the ear we have three waves.

Real music sound waves

Actual Noise sound waves

Noise circuit produces 180 degrees of opposing sound waves

This is a physics concept. If you overlap two wave patterns in 180 opposite phases, creating a destructive pattern, it means that one of them is canceled with the other. The following is the sound wave pattern.

From the image above, you can get a clear picture of what would happen if we managed to create a 180 degree opposite phase of each wave and mix it with the original wave.

The noise canceling scheme in these headphones eliminates unwanted external noise and increases the ability to suppress noise by up to 20 to 30 decibels compared to passive noise canceling headphone.

Well, this type of noise canceling headphone only works well when you're dealing with a constant kind of noise. However, let's say what happens when many people chat with each other.

In this case, it is difficult to antiphase at all the different frequencies and the possibility of complete noise cancellation can be reduced.

Hope you found out how such noise canceling headphones work.

My best choice for noise canceling headphones

Now, it's always better to listen to a song or some good quality music and once you feel the quality of the music you will hear it through the noise canceling headphones.

Your bet won't shift these back to your traditional headphones due to the noise canceling mechanism and lightweight headphones.

I used the best quality noise canceling headphone as stated below.

1.Sennheiser Headphones (Amazon)

2.Bosch Headphone (Amazon)

3.Sony Headphone (Amazon)

You can check Amazon prices by clicking the appropriate links for the best customer and seller ratings.

This is a tried and tested product that precisely distinguishes between actual sound and background noise and a precise suppression effect.

Active circuits degrade sound quality and increase high frequency which increase due to noise compensated noise, resulting in good sound quality.

Before you buying noise canceling headphones, read the following points.

Yes, noise canceling headphones cost a little more than passive ones, but quality always matters.

Requires uninterruptible power supply via USB cable or wireless battery charging.

The headphones may be a little heavier due to the additional battery pack and circuitry.

I think you understand what noise canceling ceiling are and how they work. If you're in a rush, be sure to check out Amazon's products.

Let's share your experiences with headsets so that our readers can buy the best product available.

You Also Like This:

how to soundproof your room from outside noise

Can you have soundproof foam with no walls

Which anti-vibration material is better 

Quiet fan technology

Top silent wireless mouse 

Related Keywords

noise cancelling headphones no music sound wave headphones how headphones work how do headphones work noise cancelling microphone array ambient noise visualization physics of headphones headphones with waves waves headphones anc headphones pressure wavzs headphones review active noise reduction compressor how do earphones work does noise cancelling affect sound quality noise cancelling headphones nausea how to make your headphones noise cancelling whata are concepts relatd to headphones work headphones how to get used to noise cancelling headphones how to use frequency to cancel out noise how to make noise cancelling headphones noise cancelling sound waves how to noise cancel headphones work noise cancelling work headphones at what frequency does noise cancel out how do noise cancelling headsets work soundproof headphones for work how does noise cancelling work how does noise cancelation work how do noise cancelling headphones work how do active noise cancelling headphones work noise cancelling headphones used noise cancelling headphones for work is noise cancell better for sound noise cancelling headphones uses does noise blocker actually work how noise cancelling headphones work how does active noise canceling work how do noise canceling headphones work noise cancelling headphones aew what do noise cancelling headphones do noise cancelling technology noise cancelling headphones how do they work how does active noise cancelling work how to cancel sound noise cancelling headphones do they work noise cancelling headphones how they work how noise cancellation works what do you use noise cancelling headphones for what makes headphones noise cancelling