Headphones: If music be the food for love, play on
Post By Sakshi Wagh on 07-April-2015
Whether it is about commuting from home to office or spending some alone time, a good set of headphones has become a part of our lives, even better, noise-canceling headphones make our lives easier.
One man’s noise is another man’s music, but no matter what your taste is, ambient noise remains the enemy. The first component of noise-cancelling headphones formula for success is passive noise control, or the slightly more sophisticated technological equivalent of putting your hands over your ears to block out incoming noise. Certain headphones are shaped specifically for the purpose of physically preventing sound waves from reaching your ears. These are the types generally marketed as “noise-isolating”. Whether by creating a closer external seal around your ears and using sound-absorbing material like high-density foam, noise-isolating accessories can block up to 20 decibels of background sound.
When 20 decibels of quiet won’t quite cut it, noise-CANCELING headphones step in with Active Noise Control technology which was pioneered by Amar Bose, the founder of Bose Corporation.
On a 1978 flight to Europe, Bose put on a pair of airline-supplied headphones, only to find that the roar of the jet engines prevented him from enjoying the audio. He started making calculations right there on the plane to see if it was possible to use the headphones themselves as a noise-reducing agent, a musical oxymoron, I might add. And thus, he introduced the first noise-canceling headphones a decade later.
The technology uses destructive interference to cancel out ambient noise. The process involves placing a microphone as close as possible to where sound will be entering the ear, which will pick up on the frequencies of the incoming noise. The headphones will then generate a frequency exactly 180 degrees out of phase with the unwanted noise- an “anti noise” output that directly cancels out the input.
While ANC is most effective at lower frequencies, these headphones can now reduce overall noise by up to 80 decibels- just about the amount of irritating background racket produced by road traffic or commercial jet engines, so you can get at least some peace and quiet on your long-haul journey to wherever.