Do noise cancelling headphones protect hearing | noise-canceling headphones do defend your ears.
In our day-to-day life, we face different types of sounds. Some of them belong to the People chattering in your office; someone is watching TV next to your room. You might be working in a noisy place such as a factory.
You might overlook that, but such noises affect your hearing in the longer run.
Now the question comes what can you do to protect your ears?
Firstly I would recommend you to try to avoid such surrounding Noise, and another is the use of Passive or Active noise-canceling headphones.
I know the second option will answer the question for most people as the first condition is quite impossible for us.
Now the question comes- Do noise cancelling headphones protect hearing?
In this guide, I will talk about it in detail and tell you why you should use noise canceling headphones to protect your hearing.
Why is Hearing Protection Important for us?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study in 2011-2012. It was found that about 12.5% of children in the age group of 6 to 19 years and 17% of adults in the age group of 20 to 69 years suffered permanent damage due to Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL).
As per the reports from the National Institute of Deafness and other Communication Disorders, Loud sounds for a longer duration can damage sensitive structures in your inner ear, causing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and tinnitus (ringing, roaring, or buzzing in the ears).
Now we can understand why hearing protection is essential for us, but somehow we still do the same knowingly and sometimes even without knowing.
To protect your hearing, I highly recommend checking out the Passive and Active Noise-canceling headphones.
What are Noise Cancelling Headphones?
The headphones which cancel the ambient noises are Noise-canceling headphones. In other words, the headphones which cancel the Noise of our surroundings are noise-canceling.
They can be categorized into Passive and Active Noise Cancelling.
What is Passive Noise Cancelling headphones?
From the Name itself, you can understand that the headphones cancel the Noise passively, which means without using any power source or energy.
It depends on the Material used within the headphone and how much Noise-canceling you will get while listening to music.
The materials used, such as Headphone’s Ear cups padding or how they cover your ears, decide how much Noise-canceling you will have.
You can consider the Passive noise-canceling Headphones regular headphones, but they are not the true noise-canceling headphones.
What is Active Noise Cancelling Headphones?
Active noise-canceling headphones use a power source or technology to block the ambient noise. For example, the active noise-canceling headphones create sound waves 180 degrees out of phase with ambient Noise.
You might be thinking that what is the meaning of all that?
Let me explain. If you are in a noisy place, let’s assume that someone is watching Television in your living room and you are hearing music in your Bedroom.
You are getting some of the Noise from your Television in your Bedroom. Now the Active Noise-canceling headphones will create the sound waves inside your headphones just opposite the phase of the sound of your surroundings.
Sound travels in waves, and you hear sound when these waves come to your ears. But when you use active noise headphones, these create waves opposite to the ambient noise; as a result, you will hear the sound of your music instead of the surroundings.
The main advantage of the Active Noise-canceling headphones is you don’t require to listen to music at high volumes because of the ambient noise, unlike the Normal headphones.
Do noise cancelling headphones protect hearing?
After learning about the difference between Passive and Active noise-canceling headphones, the question is whether noise-canceling headphones protect hearing?
Let me divide this topic into two sections-
- do passive noise-canceling headphones protect hearing, and
- do active noise-canceling headphones protect hearing?
Passive Noise Cancelling headphones.
As I told you about passive noise-canceling headphones, they operate over the Material Used in headphones to cancel the Noise.
So in most situations, such headphone works effectively in terms of providing hearing protection.
For the exceptional cases, Let’s say you are a sportsperson who likes to do Gun shooting practices and want hearing protection from that high impulse sound, then Passive Noise-canceling headphones will work just as fine.
But the main disadvantage of the passive noise-canceling headphones is that they are heavy and not comfortable compared to the Active noise-canceling headphones.
The reason is quite simple, and These headphones work over the Material used in them, so to protect your hearing from such impulsive sound, you have to use Dense and Heavy Materials and Padding in your headphones.
Active Noise Cancelling Headphones.
To understand the answer to the question- do active noise-canceling headphones protect hearing?
Do we have to understand how the Active noise-canceling headphones work?
Active noise-canceling headphones require some ‘settling time’ before becoming effective. As I told you about the active noise-canceling headphones in the previous section, they create the sound 180 degrees out of the phase compared to the ambient Noise.
To do that, they require some time to measure the waves of the Noise of your surroundings, and then they create the sound waves inside your headphones.
Active noise-canceling headphones protect hearing better than Passive noise-canceling headphones in constant or uniform outside noise cases.
For example, if you hear constant noise from your Television, the active noise-canceling headphones will protect your hearing more efficiently.
In terms of comfort, active noise-canceling headphones are even better and light-weighted than a passive ones.
Which Ones Are Best For You?
It depends on your requirements and where/ what is the purpose of using headphones.
For example, if you want headphones for the gun shooting range or where you are used to the high pitched sound, then Passive headphones work better.
On the other hand, you are on a bus or a train or want something to use in your office while working, and then you can use active noise-canceling headphones with a low volume and comfortably use them for hours.
Active Noise-canceling headphones are adequate for the uniform low and mid-range sound, while the Passive ones are good for the high impulsive sound to protect your hearing.
Ear Muffs vs. Passive Noise Cancelling Headphones.
Do you know the difference between earmuffs and passive noise-canceling headphones?
There is not a big difference between them. Both the earmuffs and passive noise-canceling headphones work on the same principle.
Both of them use Heavy materials to block the outside noise.
But there might be a massive difference in the pricing of these two- Ear muffs and Passive noise-canceling headphones.
If you want to purchase a budget-friendly headphone, I recommend the earmuffs, while in other cases, you can check the Passive noise-canceling headphones.
Also, check out our guide on- Most expensive gaming headset.
Does Active Noise Cancelling Headphones degrade Sound Quality?
It is half true that active noise-canceling headphones degrade sound quality if you ask me.
Let me explain. Active noise-canceling headphones create the sound waves inside the headphones with high accuracy with the use of Battery power.
They are optimized to use less power so that you can use them for a longer duration. This might be one of the reasons for sound quality degradation.
On the other hand, the active noise canceling headphone converts the ambient Noise into the digitized form, which the headphone can understand to create the opposite sound waves.
Then after that, they are reconverted to analog for the listener. In short in-between such conversion of sound waves, some quality sound gets degraded.
Now let me explain to you the other half of the big picture. I have seen that when you choose an excellent headphone from a well-reputed brand such as Sony or Microsoft, then this is not the case.
You will get the best quality ever with the best active noise cancellation. So if you want to purchase dynamic noise cancellation headphones, check out the good brands.
Are noise cancelling headphones safe ?
Yes, Noise-canceling headphones are safe and secure to use. But it is advised that you should avoid too much use of it.
They don’t emit any heat or low-level radiation, which you have to worry. Another thing which I mention is that you must avoid high levels of volume for the long hours.
This might even harm your hearing in the longer run.
Some people have this common question nowadays- can noise cancelling headphones cause tinnitus?
The answer is simple: if you use them too much for listening to music, especially at the loud sound, you might feel conditions like ringing or buzzing in your ears.
Verdict: Do noise cancelling headphones protect hearing.
At last, I would say the same as noted in the introduction part, try to avoid such places. But if it is not possible for you, then use noise-canceling headphones.
But make sure you don’t use them too much and avoid them over the loud volume settings for a longer duration.
It might cause headaches, feel pressure on your head, and even feel conditions such as tinnitus.
I prefer Active noise-canceling headphones to use them comfortably for a longer duration at low volume settings.
Check out some of our blog posts on noise-canceling headphones- Bose 700 vs. Sony 1000xm3 Noise Cancelling Headphones.
I hope you got all of the answers regarding the question- Do noise cancelling headphones protect hearing?
If you have any doubts or suggestions, know me in the comments. Also, share this in-depth guide on Do noise cancelling headphones protect hearing with your friends who might be facing a similar issue.