Understanding Active Noise-Cancellation (ANC): Benefits, Technology and More

Understanding Active Noise-Cancellation (ANC)

Have you ever been in a situation where you struggled to hear a song or video due to external noise interruptions? Or you can’t seem to focus on your work due to external noise? Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology may be the answer to your problems. Understanding ANC and how it works is of great importance, particularly for people who have encountered this problem. This article explores the basics of ANC, the technology behind ANC headphones and various benefits of using ANC devices.

Understanding ANC: The Basics of Active Noise Cancellation Technology

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology is a feature that blocks external sounds before entering the ear. It uses advanced signal processing algorithms to cancel out incoming sounds. This technology works by generating a sound wave identical to the frequency of incoming sound, but with inverted peaks and troughs. The two sound waves superimpose each other, effectively neutralizing the incoming sound.

There are different types of ANC used in headphones. One such method is the feedforward ANC. This technology makes use of an external microphone to listen to the background noise and sends this information to the ANC circuit. The circuit creates a sound wave with an inverted phase to cancel the incoming sound. Another method is the feedback ANC. It uses internal microphones situated near the ears to listen to the sound waves entering the ear. The ANC electronics then generate sounds of inverted phases to cancel out the incoming sound.

ANC headphones have a unique design that cancels out external noise. The headphones contain small microphones that detect external noise, active noise cancelling electronics that generate the anti-sound, and a speaker that amplifies the processed audio. ANC headphones are equipped with batteries, which provide the power required for the ANC circuit to function.

Transforming the Listening Experience: How ANC Headphones Work

ANC headphones differ from regular headphones in that they feature a built-in ANC technology capable of blocking out external noise. The technology used in ANC headphones works by analyzing incoming sound waves and creating an equal but opposite sound wave, which cancels out the external sounds effectively. The headphones are designed to block out high and low-frequency noise, including conversations, cars engine sounds, and aircraft noise.

A few examples of popular ANC headphones currently available in the market include Bose QuietComfort 35 II, Sony WH-1000XM4, Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless, and Microsoft Surface Headphones 2. These headphones have advanced features, such as wireless connectivity, long battery life, and flexible customization options.

The Benefits of ANC: Why You Should Invest in Active Noise Cancelling Devices

The potential benefits of ANC headphones are numerous, which explains their rising popularity. The list below outlines some of the benefits of ANC technology:

Reduction in Stress and Fatigue

A study conducted by The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America indicated that steady or very low-frequency sounds could increase stress and fatigue levels in individuals (1). ANC headphones block out such sounds, eliminating the stress and fatigue that comes with them.

Better Audio Clarity

ANC headphones make it easier to focus on the music or dialogue of a video. It eliminates the need to crank up the volume to hear better, which could be damaging to the ears.

Ability to Listen to Audio Content at Lower Volumes

ANC headphones’ ability to cancel out external sounds allows for the audio to be heard at lower volume levels while still providing optimum audio clarity. This feature is especially beneficial for individuals who spend extended periods of time with headphones, reducing the likelihood of hearing loss.

Improved Sleep Quality

ANC technology can be used to mask external noise that affects sleep quality. As a result, individuals who have trouble sleeping due to external noise can try using ANC headphones to eliminate the noise and improve the quality of their sleep.

Overview of the Potential Health Benefits

Studies have shown that noise can affect physical and mental well-being. Exposure to noise pollution can lead to various health issues, including high blood pressure, heart attacks, and anxiety. ANC headphones, however, provide an effective solution to combat the effects of noise pollution, thus providing potential health benefits by reducing stress and fatigue, among other things.

ANC vs. Passive Noise Cancellation: What’s The Difference and Which is Better?

Passive noise cancellation involves the headphones’ physical design, positioning the material plushly against the ear and effectively blocking out external sounds. ANC, on the other hand, is an active process that utilizes ANC circuitry to listen, analyze, and cancel external sounds.

Passive noise cancellation is most effective against low-frequency noise, while ANC technology works well against a wide range of frequencies. ANC is most effective in settings like busy streets, airplanes, and other sources of constant sound that passive noise cancellation cannot cancel out. However, ANC headphones use battery power to function, and this could be a possible disadvantage over passive headphones that do not require any additional power source.

ANC and Productivity: How Active Noise Cancellation Can Improve Your Focus

Noise has a detrimental impact on productivity and focus, according to several studies. One study found that noise pollution could reduce cognitive performance, while another study found that it could decrease task persistence and motivation. ANC headphones are an effective solution to these problems, as they block out external noise and improve focus and concentration. Professionals in noisy settings, such as writers and office workers, can benefit from ANC headphones.

ANC and Travel: Why Active Noise Cancelling Headphones Are a Must-Have for Frequent Flyers

The noise level in planes can reach up to 85 decibels and could potentially cause hearing damage. Wearing ANC headphones on a flight can offer many benefits. It protects the ears from airplane noise, provides a peaceful travel experience, and allows for better audio quality during in-flight entertainment. When choosing ANC headphones for travel, the battery life, noise-cancellation level, and comfort are essential factors to consider. It is also important to note that ANC headphones should not be used during take-off or landing, as it is essential to hear critical safety announcements.


Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology has become increasingly popular, and for a good reason. They provide numerous benefits, including reducing stress, improving audio clarity, and improving sleep quality, among others. The choice between ANC and passive noise cancellation depends on individual preferences, needs, and situations. ANC headphones can improve concentration, productivity, and provide an optimal listening experience. It is evident that ANC technology is a worthwhile investment for anyone experiencing environmental noise problems.

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