If you enjoy listening to headphones or earbuds to block out other sounds around you, then you could be harming your hearing. When you are in the midst of a loud commute on an airplane or public transportation, or in a busy public setting like a café trying to focus on work it is a relief to be able to block out the world around you so you can focus on you and catch up on your favorite music, a telephone call or podcast.
However increasing the volume on your headphones can damage your hearing permanently. Now, thanks to active noise canceling headphones you do not need to turn the volume up to unsafe levels in order to hear your personal listening devices over all the noise.
What is Active Noise Cancelling Technology?
Not all noise canceling technology is the same. Passive noise canceling technology works like earplugs or protective headphones, which block out some of the noise around you, lowering the decibel level, anywhere from 15 to 30 decibels. This can provide protection from potentially dangerous settings where your ears are at risk for damaging noise exposure.
Active noise cancelling technology is a much more thorough and safe process, especially if you want to listen to audio media through your headphones. Using digital technology, active noise canceling headphones will detect the ambient sounds around you, whether it is engine noise or commotion from a busy public setting.
Once the ambient noise is detected, active noise canceling technology will create a sound wave, which is the inverted sound wave of the ambient noise detected. The amazing ability of active noise canceling technology rests in that by sending out the inverted sound wave it is able to actively create a flat line, actively canceling out both sound waves. There is no need to blast your sound media in order to block out sounds around you. You can listen to sound media at a safe listening level.
How Does Active Noise Cancelling Work?
Active noise cancelling headphones or earbuds can decrease background noise by around 20 decibels. This allows you to hear the world around you without having to blast your podcast, TV audio or music. The sound will be lowered to a point of safety for your ears while still being able to be alert enough to be alerted if people are trying to address you or if there is an emergency warning sound.
When it is Best to Wear Noise Cancelling Headphones
While you don’t need to wear noise-canceling headphones when you are in a quiet setting like your home, they come in handy when you are in a public setting with a lot of commotion. Similarly if you work around loud engines and want to listen to headphones you can actively protect your hearing from damaging noise while still being able to hear sound information.
Another place where noise-canceling headphones can come in handy is when trying to speak over the phone. This allows you to avoid yelling to be heard over the phone as many people often do. Instead you can hear the person on the other end without the ambient noise of crowds and traffic interfering.
Protecting Your Hearing
Besides the convenience of active noise canceling technology it can protect your hearing. One of the most common ways that people damage their hearing is while listening to headphones. A safe listening level to protect your ears from sound exposure is below 85 decibels. The longer you are exposed to decibel levels and the higher the decibel level the more risk you are at of developing permanent hearing loss.
Earbuds and headphones can often reach unsafe decibel levels as high as 106 decibels. With the amount of audio information available thanks to streaming platforms we often expose our ears to unsafe listening levels for hours causing permanent damage. A rule of thumb for safe headphone listening is to keep the volume to 60% or lower and make sure to take listening breaks hourly. Now, thanks to active noise canceling technology you will not be tempted to turn up the volume to unsafe levels.