What is ANC in Headphones?

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) feature in most wireless headphones is as common as work from home nowadays.

This feature offers a microphone in headphones to block environmental noise and let you concentrate on your conversation overcall.

You can see more and more Headphones coming with noise-cancelling technology and still many people are wondering about the features and their actual meaning.

In this guide, we are going to explain everything you need to know about the ANC feature in headphones.

So, as we have already discussed that the headphones with ANC technology block the noise around you, however, not entirely but enough to make the surroundings quiet for you to speak without any interruptions and make sure that your voice is audible and clear to the person on the other side of the phone. 

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) uses a noise-cancelling system that reduces unpleasant background noise. And almost every kind of wireless earbuds and headphones are embedded with Noise Cancellation technology that detects external noise and cancel it before reaching out to your ears. 

Bose is the first company that introduces noise-cancelling headphones for pilots in cockpit to help them communicate easily by reducing background noise.

Types of ANC

Now, that you have an idea about what ANC is, you must have a look at its type for better understanding as knowing more about the technology will help you make the appropriate decision.

Basic types of Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) are

  • Feedforward ANC:- It is the most simplest form of ANC in which the microphone is placed outside the headphone due to which it is able to block the noise by creating anti-noise waves. It uses ANC processing hardware to point out the noise signal and pick up the noise before your ears and adjust it by cancelling out the unwanted noise. It also enables you to hear your own noise while talking. However, this is not as accurate as placing the mic inside the ear. 
  • Feedback ANC:- It is the opposite of feedforward ANC which means in this the microphone is placed inside the headphone or earbud. The best thing about feedback ANC is that it reflects the noise you hear accurately regardless of the position and fitting. Moreover, feedback ANC is more effective at low frequencies which have longer wavelengths. It will also take less processing time as it works for the audio that is already quite close to your ears.
  • Hybrid ANC:- It is the combination of both feedforward ANC and feedback ANC which is why it offers the best noise cancellation of both worlds and cover all the bases. It offers the best noise frequency coverage with low chances of issues. The only drawback of hybrid ANC technology is that these headphones are quite expensive than feedforward and feedback ANC as there are two microphones of high quality needed to avoid extra noise.

How does Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) work?

What is ANC in Headphones

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) uses microphones with different technology to block the ambient noise.

Microphone help them to hear the inside and outside noise of your headphone and capture the outside noise and create the opposite sound waves which then filter the unwanted sounds and leave with just the clear audio that comes out of the headphones. However, using this technology can be quite difficult as different sound waves have different frequencies.

Most of the advanced headphones use numbers of microphones to pick up external noise and thrumming to decide which noise needs to be cancelled.

The recently launched headphones boast this latest technology with great features which ensures that your ears are only full with the music that you want to hear and you can always turn off the ANC when you want to hear the world around you.

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology requires electric power to work due to which it drains your headphones or earbud’s battery very soon. But no headphones with ANC technology can cancel the noise entirely as they only work best when sound is constant and of low frequencies.

So, make sure that whenever you are traveling don’t forget to carry the charger for longer playback time. 

When the sound pressure of the sound wave is high, the cancelling wave might get lower. In short, ANC headphones reduce the noise of the world and let you hear yourself and music clearly.

Types of Noise Cancellation

The noise-cancelling technology is divided into three types, however, the work of all the noise-cancelling technology is same which is why people get confused with all three technologies but let us tell you that the way to cancel the noise and effectiveness is different of all the three noise cancellation technology.

So, the three types of Noise Cancellation are:-

  • Active Noise Cancellation (ANC):- As we’ve already discussed above about ANC feature in headphones, it captures the outside noise and its sound waves and cancel the ambient noise. The headphones with ANC technology features three ANC system i.e. feedforward ANC, feedback ANC and hybrid ANC. So, you can choose according to your preference and need. 
  • Passive Noise Cancellation:- This is the most effective and affordable noise cancellation. In this Headphones do not create any opposite sound waves, they just simply block noise physically with the help of cushioning of ear cups. Over-ear headphones are especially embedded with this type of noise cancellation technology to prevent external sound from entering the ears. Passive Noise Cancellation headphones are quite pocket friendly, however, the effectiveness of the headphones depends on the quality and design of the headphones and the material used for the ear cups.
  • Adaptive Noise Cancellation:- This is the most latest type of noise cancellation technology of you can say the updated version of Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology. The way to cancel noise is same as ANC, the outside noise is cancelled. The only difference is that Adaptive Noise Cancellation comes with an advanced algorithms and more microphones to deliver more perfect anti phase sound. This is the most appropriate form of noise cancellation where the microphones automatically adjusts to your surroundings. Mics inserted inside the headphone keep the listening experience maintained. 

What type of noise cancellation should you choose?

This the most common question that most people deal with after knowing about all type of noise cancellation technology. Well, which type should you choose totally depends on your budget, needs and the surrounding you are in. 

All the types are ideal choice, however, Passive Noise Cancellation headphones are preferable when you are in a quiet place like in a room or at your office.

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) works best when you are traveling or at construction sites where there is so much noise. For frequent travellers and flyers, ANC headphones are best or you can go for Adaptive Noise Cancellation for more updated technology. Buying headphones with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology definitely worth your money as it is remarkably effective in eliminating the lower sound frequencies.

So, if you are on a good budget, you should definitely go for Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) headphones.

Do I really need noise-cancelling headphones?

Noise cancelling headphones can help you with many hazardous noise problems at workplace and in manufacturing industries.

These noise reduction headphones can reduce the background sounds for crystal clear communication and audio transmission. 

In aviation field, active noise cancelling headphones increase the noise signal and make things to be heard clearly.

They offer excellent protection against constant noise, so, the unwanted noise can be blocked.

Noise-cancelling headphones are also very useful especially for the people who travel often on bus and train where there is so much noise.

The headphones help you talk comfortably over the phone by minimising the unwanted noise of the world.

Hence, noise-cancelling headphones increase productivity in noisy environments and reduce ear fatigue during a long period of time on trains, bus and airplanes.

So, yes, we do need noise-cancelling headphones to overcome such types of situations. 

Active or Passive noise cancellation, which is better?

Passive Noise Cancelling headphones block the noise with the help of physical material that they are made of whereas the Active Noise Cancelling headphones detect the noise and cancel the ambient sound by using Feedback ANC, Feedforward ANC or Hybrid ANC. 

So, if we ask about which one is better, Active Noise Cancellation headphones are the answer. Because it is an advanced method to block out unwanted noise and is also more reliable and trustworthy as compared to Passive Noise Cancellation headphones.

However, Active Noise Cancellation headphones are quite expensive and drain more battery due to the high technology that is used for noise cancellation. 

Passive Noise Cancellation headphones are cheaper than ANC headphones but their noise-cancelling technology depends on the design and material used to build the headphone and they may also not filter the external sound entirely. 

Furthermore, the factors such as ear cups quality, number of mics used, placement of the microphones on the device and the type of material also determines the noise handling feature of a headphone. 

Is there any side effects of ANC headphones?

Do you know that ANC technology was especially invented for the protection of ears of pilot against the sound of plane engine.

So, in short the answer is Yes, the Active Noise Cancellation headphones are safe and beneficial for preventing hearing ability.

The other reason why ANC headphones are safe is that as we’ve already mentioned that Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) headphones work by reducing unwanted background noise which means the wearer can experience clear sound without having to raise the volume of the headphones.

Good pair of ANC headphones also help to reduce stress by letting you concentrate while talking on the phone as interrupted conversations can cause anxiety and frustration.

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) headphones are also recommend for the people who are suffering from tinnitus. 

Our recommendations for best ANC headphones

  1. Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Bluetooth headphone:- This headphone features additional microphone that isolate sounds while talking on the phone and offer incredible clarity with two microphones that are present on each ear cup. Let you enables Alexa, Google assistant, and Siri in just one touch. The sensors can even detect whether you are wearing the headphone or not to save the battery life. 
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Sony WH-1000XM4 Industry...
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  • Speak-to-chat: Headphones use an array of...

Last update on 2022-01-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Why you should buy these?

  • HD Noise Cancelling processor.
  • It can be paired with two devices at the same time.
  • Adjust the ambient sound.
  • Excellent battery life.
  • Extreme clarity with 5 built-in microphones.

  • JBL Tune 750BTNC ANC headphones:- The Active Noise Cancelling technology of these headphones ensure best listening experience even in the most noisy environments. They are also very light in weight and super compact so that you can carry them easily in your luggage. The ANC technology offers great time when talking over phone by reducing the low frequency sounds and also fit over your ears comfortably.
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JBL Tune 750BTNC, Over...
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Last update on 2022-01-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Why should you buy these?

  • Amazing Active Noise Cancelling technology.
  • Offers great fit and comfort.
  • Longer playback time.
  • Multiple connections.
  • Various colours are available.

  • Skull candy Hesh ANC wireless headphones:- Hesh Active Noise Cancelling headphones offer long lasting fun for upto 22 hours and are ideal for blocking out the noise of the world at a very reasonable price. It delivers the rich sound quality with 4 inbuilt mics and also provide 3 hours of additional entertainment on just 10 minutes charge. It also features built-in Tile finding technology that allows you to find your headphones by ringing them from the tile application. 
Sale
Skullcandy Hesh ANC...
  • TIME-PROVEN SOUND QUALITY. With powerful 40mm...
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Last update on 2022-01-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Why should you buy these?

  • Instant charge for additional listening.
  • Active Noise Cancellation for clear audio.
  • Tile finding technology.
  • Offer superior comfort.
  • Flat foldable.

  • Realme Pro Active Noise Cancellation wireless headphones:- Escape the noisy surrounding with Realme Wireless Headphones and enter the world with pure music. The headphones are made from premium quality material to offer comfort and you can enjoy three times higher transmission with SONY LDAC Hi-res Audio. 
realme Buds Wireless Pro...
  • Active Noise Cancellation up to 35db |...
  • 13.6mm Sound Driver with Sony LDAC Hi-res...
  • Battery Life: 17 hours with ANC OFF, 13 hours...

Last update on 2022-01-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Why should you buy these?

  • Water resistance.
  • Bluetooth 5.0 to ensure stable and fast connection.
  • SONY LDAC Hi-res Audio.
  • Upto 35db noise cancellation.
  • Affordable.

Hopefully, this in-depth guide has helped you in understanding everything about Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) in headphones. If you got any tips or suggestions regarding ANC, feel free to tell us on the comment section.

Nikita Verma

Hey, I am Nikita Verma an aviation student. I have been writing for years and I am here to provide my readers with astonishing news and facts about their favourite headphones.

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