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Active Noise Cancellation or ANC is a feature that has gone from relative scarcity to almost a requirement for any wireless headphones or earbuds. ANC enables users to lower or even completely eliminate, environmental noise that disrupts concentration.

Online virtual meetings, and working from home have grown increasingly common in today’s world. As such, there’s a growing need for earbuds that allow users to selectively tune that world out.

active noise cancelling earbuds

What is ANC?

Active noise cancellation is a combination of hardware and firmware that can cancel out external noises when the user is listening through the earbuds. This technology is used to eliminate unwanted background noise.

Image by Marekich – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

An ANC system is based on small microphones that process the sound outside and inside of the earbud.

The microphones pick up speech for voice and video calls, much like standard earbuds. However, they also process background noises like passing cars or the clicking of a mouse.

By collecting these sounds, the active noise cancellation system records the sound waves. It then creates it own inverted sound wave, designed to reduce or cancel out surrounding noises.

The resulting sound wave is the same in amplitude but inverted to the original wave. A speaker inside of the bud allows the two waves to cancel each other out, producing a single, much flatter, quieter wave.

The inverted sound wave plays alongside the content you are listening too. Because the whole process completes extremely quickly, the original sound wave never reaches your ear.

Active Vs. Passive Noise Cancellation

Passive noise cancellation refers to headphones or earbuds that naturally block outside noise, relying purely on the hardware alone to do so. When the earbuds create a tight seal inside or around your ear, they prevent outside ambient noise from entering your ear canal. This enables lower volume listen because the environmental sounds don’t have to be overcome.

There isn’t a need for additional power to make the most of passive noise cancellation. All earbuds and headphones have a degree of noise cancellation, but in-ear earbuds are by far the best in creating this seal.

woman using drill press wearing noise cancelling earmuffs

Traditional earmuffs use passive noise cancellation by surrounding and covering the ear.

While the passive noise cancellation works by physically keeping noise from getting in, active noise cancellation electronically cancels out noise before it even gets close to your ears.

When it comes to which type of noise cancellation does a better job at reducing outside noise, both have their strengths and weaknesses. Earbuds with passive noise cancellation can dull mid to high frequency noises by around 15 to 30 decibels.

Meanwhile, active noise canceling earbuds work better at reducing lower frequencies. ANC can cancel ambient noise by an average of 30 decibels and lawnmowers, or traffic can be reduced by as much as 60 decibels.

When your not listening to music, ANC earbuds will still work to block out ambient noise. These buds can block out up to 60 decibels of low frequency sounds, such as subway trains or the roar of a jet engine.

What are the Benefits of ANC?

The primary benefit of active noise cancelation is a reduction in the environmental sounds that are in a modern society. This technology filters and blocks low frequency sound waves and you can then choose what you wish to hear. This means you can manage concerts or sporting events better from a noise pollution perspective.

The reason why most people listen to music at a high volume is because they are trying to drown out the external noise around them. If your music is extremely loud, the rest of the world goes away, which can damage your hearing over time. With ANC your able to hear fuller sounds at a healthier volume for your hearing.

If you are a frequent traveler, a pair of good quality active noise canceling earbuds will make your journey in a plane, train, or car for more enjoyable. They can also help to reduce fatigue, thanks to the lower auditory consumption.

Maintaining concentration levels when there is excessive noise in the background can be challenging for students or professionals. Trying to concentrate when there are loud sounds present can almost feel like an impossible task. ANC technologies will work to block out the loud external noises and help you to retain more information and process data more efficiently.

Best ANC Earbuds

IQbuds MAX are best in-class noise cancelling earbuds. The buds deliver unrivalled noise control using a combination of Passive Noise Control and Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technologies.

The Hybrid ANC uses the buds 6 microphones and features +/- 30db of noise attenuation for suppression of unwanted mid and bass sounds. Advanced filtering circuitry creates cancellation waves in the ear to reduce distracting sounds and in-ear occlusion.

Nuheara IQbuds2 MAX and TIME logo

The IQbuds MAX are also truly wireless, making them the best earbuds for working out. Sweatproof, splash-proof, and with the capacity to stream 5 hours of music, the IQbuds MAX have been designed for an active lifestyle. Regardless of whether you prefer the gym, running, cycling or classes, you can always stay connected and experience personalized hearing while you work out.

September 29th, 2021