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What are Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones?

by John Mortensen October 07, 2018

What are Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones?

What are Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones?

What is the difference between Wireless Noise "Isolation" and Noise "Cancelling,"?

Hello everyone. We wanted to understand and explain what Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones are and what is the difference between Wireless Noise "Isolation" and Noise "Cancelling,"?


At as we research, try, then sell good affordable Noise Cancelling Wireless Bluetooth Headphones it is very important to understand the quality of the attributes associated with each product we do sell. We want everything to hold up and be an excellent addition to the tools we already utilize. It is also important to explain and show our customers the difference in the products and why we recommend them.

I have also come to the conclusion that not one pair of Wireless Headphones does everything because there are different circumstances and uses for a few of the sets of wireless headphones I use or am testing. If I am flying on airplane and trying to work or read it is very difficult for me when a baby is crying or screaming two rows back. I have tried many things over the years from different levels and quality of earplugs to Noise Isolation and Noise Cancelling earbuds and earphones. There are of course huge differences in the prices of these alternatives as well as many of you know.

Noise Isolation and Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones

Noise Isolation and Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones both reduce ambient noise but how and to what extent? There is also big difference between Noise Isolation and Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones and it can be confusing. Especially since many ear buds and earphones products say this in their advertising.

Unwanted noise from your surrounding environment can be often times be reduced by eliminating sound from your body’s hearing mechanism by passive noise isolation, or, often in combination with isolation, by active noise cancellation by using Noise Isolation and Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones.

Noise Isolation

Noise Isolation reduces the amount of extra sound that gets into your ears while wearing the headphones by using isolation and a physical constraint like an earbud or an over-ear earphone cup that completely cover your ears.

Many in-ear earbuds, earphones and over the ear headphones isolate you from ambient noise by the nature of their design by just being in or over your ear just like a set of earplugs or earmuffs. But many are designed to go beyond that and work like hearing protection earmuffs with better materials and a tighter design fit and snugness.

This can muffle the sound very well depending on the quality just like anything and passive noise isolation works on all ranges of noise. Typically Noise Isolation does not affect the earbud or earphone sound quality and these type of earphones are more effective at isolation of higher pitched noise and not as effective at low humming noise.

Noise Isolation Wireless Headphones are often times cheaper than noise-cancelling headphones and they also don’t need a power source for the noise isolation process to work.

Active Noise Cancellation

Active Noise Cancellation technology goes way back to the 1930s in Germany and German inventor Paul Lueg.  Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) or Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones work on low range ambient noise and requires technology (Programming algorithms like cVc and circuits) and use dedicated microphones to listen to the incoming sound. Active Noise Reduction works best with low humming noise such as airplane engines, traffic, and motorcycle or car engines. It works on some forms of talking like in crowded places with people talking in the back ground and midrange noise as well.

Wikipedia states: “Noise-cancelling headphones are headphones that reduce unwanted ambient sounds using active noise control. This is distinct from passive headphones which, if they reduce ambient sounds at all, use techniques such as soundproofing.”

Noise cancellation makes it possible to listen to audio content without raising the volume excessively. It can also help a passenger sleep in a noisy vehicle such as an airliner. In the aviation environment, noise-cancelling headphones increase the signal-to-noise ratio significantly more than passive noise attenuating headphones or no headphones, making hearing important information such as safety announcements easier. Noise-cancelling headphones can improve listening enough to completely offset the effect of a distracting concurrent activity.

In Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones use a microphone, amplifier, and speaker to pick up, amplify, and play ambient noise in phase-reversed form. A microphone receives the noise signal and creates an opposite noise and sends it to the headphones. This creates a 1 to 1 noise (1+-1) canceling affect and removes the ambient noise from your hearing.

Technically; “a noise-cancellation speaker emits a sound wave with the same amplitude but with inverted phase (also known as antiphase) to the original sound. The waves combine to form a new wave, in a process called interference, and effectively cancel each other out - an effect which is called phase cancellation.”

Of course you can have a high end pair of Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones that are rechargeable, light, and give you superb noise isolation in addition to active Noise Cancelling with high end materials, electronics and design. Many or most noise cancelling headphones can also be noise isolating but Noise Isolation Wireless Headphones cannot be Noise Cancelling.

With the advent of Wireless Bluetooth Technology that greatly changed the design and weight of Headphones thus making a very light headphone or earbud without the weight of normal batteries in the past as part of the structure. They now use a USB port charged lithium batteries with many up to 8 or 10 hours of change time in only a couple of hours.

I use Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones if I am exercising or walking in the Alaskan Woods where there are Bear and Moose and one of those will eat you I want my ears open to my surroundings for safety. Let alone if you are a person in a large metropolitan city and want to be aware of traffic or just don’t want to get robbed or mugged you may also want to hear your surroundings.

Noise-canceling microphone

Some good Bone Conduction Headphones have dual noise canceling microphones that exclude surrounding noise, effectively enhancing speech – this obscures the unwanted background noise from your surroundings as you make voice calls on your cell phone. If you plan to use your headphones for what I do then this is an outstanding safe choice for the application.

They use CVC which is microphone noise canceling. It reduces background noise when you're in a crowd and trying to talk with someone over the phone.

What is CVC?

There are different CVC technologies and companies such as CSR and Qualcomm. In 2008 CSR introduced its proprietary Clear Voice Capture (CVC) echo and noise cancellation technology with the addition of a dual microphone software feature.

Clear Voice Capture (CVC) technologies – CVC technology incorporates acoustic noise cancellation algorithms to provide the user with the best audio experience. Rather than simply suppressing noise like many competing technologies, CVC separates out voice signals of interest with proprietary signal extraction techniques and adapts to the manner of the speech it processes.

Qualcomm and it’s cVc™ Noise Cancellation Technology introduced it version 8 Technology into Ultra-Small Earbuds and Headphones in January 2017 which states on its website “cVc is a suite of algorithms that work on the transmission and receiving path of voice calls to deliver optimum voice quality.”

CVC users can expect to enjoy nearly a 30 decibel reduction in external noise when making a call. In addition, CVC employs a number of other features to create an outstanding listening and speaker experience: automatic gain adjustment; active equalization, or the change of frequency and decibels to cater to underused levels of human hearing; self-adjusting volume control based on registered external noise; wind noise cancellation; and, echo reduction.

As a sleeping aid

“Over the last few years, the use of noise-cancellation headphones as sleeping aids has increased.  Both active and passive noise-cancellation headphones and ear plugs help to achieve better noise isolation from ambient sounds, which is particularly helpful for people suffering from insomnia or other sleeping disorders, for whom sounds such as cars honking and snoring impact their ability to sleep. For that reason, noise-cancelling sleep headphones and ear plugs are designed to cater to this segment of patients.”

In-ear monitors

Finally, for you audiophiles and us geeks you have the high tech and high priced technology called and In-ear monitors or IEMs. In-ear monitors are devices used by audio engineers, musicians, and audiophiles to listen to music or to hear a personal mix of vocals and stage instrumentation for live concert or music performance or recording studio mixing. These devices are often custom fitted for each individual's specific ears to provide an extremely high level of noise reduction from ambient surroundings. They are also custom fitted to the person’s ears and head for better isolation and comfort.

In conclusion, I am very grateful that all in all we live in incredible times to be able to experience the amazing technologies that we are afforded to live more peaceful and wonderful lives in such a busy world.

*** offers a host of ANC headsets –for your music, audio books, gaming, and for your phone calls.


John Mortensen
John Mortensen


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