There is no question that the world is a noisy place. From working in an open office environment to traveling by airplane, people are increasingly looking for effective ways to block out the noise. However, it’s important to understand the types of noise in the environment before selecting the most appropriate noise-cancelling earbuds in 2020.
The Four Primary Types of Noise
Each type of noise requires a unique type of technology to cancel it out and allow users to feel more relaxed in their environment. These types of noise include:
- Low frequency: This term describes the ongoing noise most people must cope with in their daily lives. The sound of traffic listed above is one example as is crowd noise in stores, at work, and other places people must be physically present on a regular basis.
- Continuous: Typical examples of continuous noise include a heating system that never completely shuts itself off or a refrigerator with a non-stop hum.
- Impulsive: These noises are loud and unexpected. It could be a booming noise from fireworks lit off by the neighbor or a car with a muffler problem.
- Intermittent: This type of noise comes and goes. Equipment that turns itself on and off regularly, such as an automated pet food dispenser, is just one example.
How Do Noise-Cancelling Headphones Work?
With so much noise all around, many people are turning to noise-cancelling headphones to make life a bit calmer. These devices work by automatically analyzing the amount of ambient noise in the background and using electronic processing to generate a contrasting sound for the listener. While this can provide an enormous improvement, people who purchase noise-cancelling headphones should realize that they don’t block noise entirely and they can’t create a perfectly silent environment. Unfortunately, they are not effective at blocking high-frequency sounds at all.
Noise-Cancelling Earbuds Are the Wave of the Future
Earbuds that cancel out noise are surpassing headphones that claim to do the same in popularity. The products on the market today each offer a slightly different experience depending on what the user would like to block out the most.
Those who fly frequently, for example, should appreciate earbuds with active noise cancelling (ANC) technology. ANC effectively generates a reverse frequency of surrounding noise to effectively cancel it out in the user’s ear.
Passive noise cancellation simply relies on physical barriers between the ear canal and the source of the noise to reduce sound exposure. Examples of passive noise cancellation include er plugs or in-ear earbuds.
Hybrid noise-cancelling earbuds have microphones built into external and internal portions of the unit. While this is an improvement over ANC technology, sometimes the noise cancellation is less than efficient.
Speech-in-noise control (SINC) is a third type of noise-cancelling technology found in earbuds. Introduced by Nuheara, SINC is used to process complex sound signals by using high-fidelity microphones. This allows the user to enhance certain speech frequencies and block ambient noise at the same time.
Directional noise control is yet another type of noise cancellation currently available. This technology uses audio beamforming to enhance speech and sound directly in front of the listener while suppressing ambient noise and conversations from the sides and behind them.