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Noise Cancellation Technology

Ever Heard of Noise Cancellation Technology? Here's What it Means

Noise cancellation technology, by producing antinoise signals, counters external ambient sound, and gives the listener an impression of total silence. This article includes some basic information regarding this technology.
Techspirited Staff
Last Updated: Mar 7, 2018
One of the best advancements of recent times has undoubtedly been the rise to prominence of noise cancellation technology. It has primarily been used in earphones and headphones to give people a device that drowns out, or cancels, as much outside noise as possible. What this means is that when one has these headphones on, there is very little chance of hearing some interference from the outside.

The benefits of this cannot be stressed enough, as it gives the user a great listening experience. The fact that no external noise can be heard is a big boost for users, and this also helps makers of these headphones, advertise and market these products better. After all, everyone wants a pair of headphones that drown out as much external sound as possible.

On the other hand, there are certain disadvantages of this technology as well. People who use these headphones while driving or riding put themselves and other people on the road at risk. Moreover, they can damage one's ear channels if the volume is constantly turned up beyond a certain limit.

Working Principle

The technology works on a pretty complex principle, and it would be extremely hard to understand for someone with no technical knowledge about sound waves and the way they travel. But at a simpler level, this technology simply obstructs the sounds, right at the source, rather than prevent it from entering the ear channels. Sound travels through various mediums in the form of waves, and each of these waves has a certain shape. Now in noise cancellation headphones, there are certain microphones that determine the shape of these waves, the speed at which they are traveling, and the direction from which they are coming.

The microphones then connect with a digital signal processor that itself releases waves (known as antinoise signals), and these new waves counter the older ones, thus rendering them ineffective and useless. These two waves then cancel each other out, and the user is spared the sound that the original waves were bringing. You must remember that active noise cancellation is still in its nascent stages, and this technology still has a long way to go. Even though one can buy pretty effective headphones in the market today, they do not prevent all noises from coming through completely. Fortunately, this technology will only get better over time.

Other Facts

As mentioned, this technology is still developing. As such, there are bound to be certain limitations and factors that one needs to keep in mind. These headphones require a separate source of power, and this is derived either from a USB cable and charging port, or from a set of batteries. From time to time these batteries need to be replaced, or the charging port needs to be connected to a USB source. These headphones also produce their own noise sometimes, and this can annoy a user. These sounds come in the form of constant hissing. Moreover, the sounds that these headphones cancel are constant noises and hums, not sudden noises and not speech.

Right now, such devices are made so that an individual can wear it around his ears and drown out outside noise. With further advancements, the concept of antinoise will be ready to be applied to sources that produce noise. These will include big engines, lawnmowers, heavy machinery, and many other things. This will result in a drastic drop in noise levels all around the world, and this will reduce the harmful effects as well.

For now though, it is used by individuals to listen to music and to chat with people online. The scope of this technology is immense and there is a lot that can be achieved with it. It is only a matter of time before it starts surfacing in many others facets as well.
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