What is ANC? And how do noise-canceling headphones work?

Image of ANC Headphones

Acoustic headphones that cancel out noise are popular among audiophiles. Active Noise Cancellation, or ANC technology, is utilized in the devices. This allows for a unique listening experience. We'll examine the various noise-canceling technologies and their implementations throughout this blog.

Active Noise Cancellation Explained

The Basics Of ANC

Active Noise Cancellation ANC is a complex technology embedded in headphones. Instead of passively blocking ambient noise as would be the case with traditional earphones, ANC actively blocks it. This technology uses microphones, speakers, and other components to generate an antinoise sound that eliminates the background sounds. ANC aims to reduce background noise and create a calmer listening environment. It allows audio to be played back without the use of louder volume levels, which may damage hearing over time.

Silence - The science of ANC

At its core, ANC uses a technology called "destructive interference," which is not destructive at all but rather harmonious. This is how it works. Microphones are embedded into headphones that constantly pick up noise from outside before it reaches your ears. After processing these sounds in-house, headphones produce an inverse audio signal that is identical to the external noise with one exception: It is phase-inverted. In phase cancellation, when this inverse noise intersects with that of the source noise, they cancel out each other.

The different types of headphones that block out noise

Image showing two different type of Headphones

Feedforward, ANC: external silence

In Feedforward ANC, microphones are mounted on the exterior of the headphones. These microphones detect ambient noises before they are picked up by the ear. The headphones produce an anti-noise noise that is designed to eliminate the detected sound. This ANC type works against a large spectrum of noises and can reduce sudden or irregular noises. Because of the external mic placement, it can often be less efficient in noisy and windy environments.

Internal Adjustments: Feedback

Feedback ANC includes microphones that have been placed in the ear cup closer to the listener. With this setup, headphones will respond to actual sound inside your ears. The system detects sound waves passing through the headphones and produces an exact, inverse wave in real-time. This method can be used to reduce low-frequency background sounds such as those produced by an aircraft or air conditioning unit. It is also a flexible way of canceling noise.

Hybrid ANC: Comprehensive Coverage

Hybrid ANC headsets combine both feedback and feedforward by placing mics on the inside or outside of the ear cup. This two-pronged approach allows a comprehensive analysis of noise in the environment and a better cancellation. In combining both the advantages of feedback and feedforward ANC, hybrid headphones can offer noise reduction across a large range of frequencies.

The Benefits Of ANC Headphones

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), headphones that reduce noise, aren't just for listening to music. There are many other benefits they can offer. In the following article, we will examine how these headphones boost productivity, enhance audio, and improve health.

An Enhanced Audience

Clarity and Consistency in Each Note

ANC (active noise cancellation) headphones are revolutionizing the way we interact with music. They allow the music, audiobooks, and podcasts to stand out by significantly reducing ambient noise. Lower ambient noise preserves detail at lower volumes, making for a richer listening experience. Clearer sound reproduction not only allows music to be enjoyed more but also makes spoken content easier to understand.

Immersion as Never Before

It is not just that background noise reduces, it increases immersion. It is possible to immerse the listener in the sound environment. You can make a dull commute more interesting or transform an otherwise noisy area into your concert.

Concentration and productivity increases

Useful Tools for Concentration

It can be difficult to concentrate in the busy, open offices of today. ANC headphones act as a personal shield against this background noise. They help you maintain your focus when traveling, in busy cafés, noisy offices, and other environments. To reduce interruptions and increase productivity, users must block out all distractions.

Versatility across Environments

Whether the task is to complete a study in a quiet library or a noisy cafe, ANC headphones will adapt and create a sound environment conducive to concentration. Their versatility is a useful tool for anyone looking to focus in noisy conditions.

Health Benefits

Protecting your Hearing

An ANC can prevent permanent hearing damage. The volume of traditional headphones is often increased to compensate for ambient noise. These higher levels can be stressful to the ears and may lead to hearing impairment over time. ANC allows for lower volumes by eliminating most of the competing sounds, thereby reducing hearing loss caused by noise. Those who regularly use headphones for extended periods will benefit from this.

Reducing Stress or Fatigue

Stress and fatigue can be increased by constant noise exposure. ANC headphone reduces the impact of noise on your body and mind by creating a quieter sound environment. When wearing ANC headphones in noisy situations, many users feel calmer and more relaxed. This is because the headphones shield you from the sometimes overwhelming audio stimuli.

ANC (active noise cancellation) headphones provide more than isolation. They improve listening quality, enhance productivity, and support healthier hearing. Investing money in a quality pair of ANC can be a wise investment. They are a must-have for anyone who wants to enjoy themselves, do their job, or improve their health.

Considerations in Choosing ANC headphone

Image from Bose website: A gentleman wearing Bose Headphones

To ensure you get the perfect Active Noise Cancellation headphones for your requirements, it is important to consider a few key aspects. These include price, battery life, and sound quality. Each of these aspects contributes towards the overall enjoyment and usability.

Battery Life

Power Your Peace

ANC headphones use a substantial amount of battery power to continue their noise-cancellation functionality. Battery life should be considered when buying headphones. The battery life of headphones is crucial for anyone who uses them for long periods or frequent travel. Consider headphones that have a longer battery life, with a quick charger, for when you are in a hurry.

Sound Quality

A balancing act between ANC and Audio performance

The ability of ANC headphones to cancel ambient noise is a great feature, but the quality of playback audio can be just as crucial. Opt out of headphones that compromise sound quality to achieve noise cancellation. To be considered high quality, headphones must deliver audio that is crisp and clean, well balanced in terms of the mid-range, bass, and treble. Read reviews, and if possible test out the headphones for yourself, to judge their noise-canceling effectiveness and audio performance.

Comfort and Fit

Long Listening Sessions

If you plan on wearing your headphones for a long time, then comfort will be a major factor. The features you should be looking for are soft ear cushioning, breathable materials, and an adjustable headband. The weight of headphones is another factor to consider, as heavy models may be uncomfortable. It is not just about comfort. The correct fit also increases the effectiveness of noise-cancelling headphones by providing a good seal.

The price of the product is as follows:

Finding the Right Price

ANC tech is typically expensive. However, there are several choices to meet different budgets. High-end versions usually come with superior sound quality and noise cancellation. In addition, they often include Bluetooth connectivity and other features. However, budget-friendly and mid-range products can also provide good noise cancellation. It's important to balance cost with your specific needs and preferences--sometimes, spending a bit more upfront can lead to greater satisfaction and product longevity.


ANC headphones will improve your overall auditory experience. By considering the battery life as well as sound quality and comfort you can find headphones that not only cancel out noise effectively but meet your own personal requirements and lifestyle. Whether your goal is to increase your focus on work or commute, or you simply want to escape from your daily routine, the right ANC headphones can enhance the auditory experience and improve your quality.