In the headphone arena, the term "noise canceling" gets passed around a lot.
Most people, unless you're an audio expert, have a skewed understanding of what noise cancellation actually means.
There are two types of noise cancellation tactics - active and passive.
In this article, we're going to layout what passive-style noise cancellation is and what makes it different than active noise cancellation.
Let's get started!
What Is Passive and Active Noise Cancellation?
Passive-style noise cancellation is the process of headphones using their physical design to block out ambient noise. Most headphones either use a secure seal around the ears or use expanding foam or rubber that goes inside your ear and expands.
When you see headphones marketed as "noise canceling" odds are, they're passive noise-canceling headphones. There isn't any technology other than the physical design of the headphones that allows them to cancel out ambient noise passively.
Types Of Passively Noise Cancelling Headphones
The most effective type of passive noise-canceling headphones is circumaural headphones.
These types of headphones fit around the outside of your ear and create a seal around your entire ear that helps block out ambient noise. These types of headphones are relatively common, and a decent pair can be had for under $100 in most cases.
The most common type of passive noise-canceling headphones is in-ear style headphones. Since these types of headphones are smaller, they are generally more desirable for things like working out and traveling.
Be careful when shopping for this style of noise-canceling headphones. The term "noise canceling" is thrown around a lot, and there is a big difference in quality between different manufacturers.
To get a quality pair, you should expect to pay at least $50, give or take.
Are Passive Noise Cancelling Headphones Right For You?
If you're on a budget and have a need to block out the noises around you, passive noise-canceling headphones are a sure bet. With that being said, if you have the budget and the need for better sound isolation, a pair of active noise-canceling headphones should be on your radar.
You're likely going to pay a little bit more for them, but they offer a noticeable difference in sound isolation, especially when you're around consistent tones, like in an airplane near the engine, for example.
Do you think passive noise-canceling headphones are worth it? Let us know in the comment section below!