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Noise cancelling – you've probably heard this term everywhere lately! It seems like every headphone and headset manufacturer out there offers at least one pair that claims to be a noise-cancelling champion. But here's the thing: not all noise-cancelling tech is created equal. Some headphones and headsets cancel more noise than others, and the secret lies in whether they use active or passive noise cancelling technology.

In our increasingly remote and work-from-home world, we've realised just how distracting noise can be. Staying focused and productive can feel like a real challenge with all that background noise creeping in. That's where noise cancelling headsets come to the rescue! They've become wildly popular because they help us regain our focus and fight back against the noise invasion.

But hold on a second! Before you go rushing to buy a noise cancelling headset, it's crucial to understand what noise cancelling really is and how it works. Plus, you should know about the different types of noise cancelling technologies available to you. The one you choose will depend on your personal needs and the specific situations you'll be using it in. So, let's dive into the world of noise cancelling and find the perfect noise-busting companion for you!

What is Active Noise Cancellation?

Let's take a journey back in time to the origins of Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) technology, affectionately known as ANC. The genius behind this revolutionary idea was Dr. Lawrence Jerome Fogel, who dreamed it up in the 1950s to tackle the annoyingly loud noise in pilots' cockpits. You see, back then, the racket made it tough for pilots to communicate with each other, not to mention the risk of long-term hearing damage from prolonged exposure.

And here's where the magic began! The very first noise cancelling headset was born, exclusively designed for those brave pilots. But alas, it wasn't available to the public at that time. It took a few decades for the ANC goodness to reach our eager ears. Finally, in 1989, Bose Corporations changed the game by releasing the 'Series I Aviation Headset' - the world's first commercially available noise cancelling headset. From that moment on, people could experience the wonders of ANC technology for themselves, as Bose made these headsets available to the public until 1995. A true game-changer! ??

What’s the difference between headsets and headphones?

Ah, you've got a great question! So, what's the scoop on headsets and headphones?

Here's the lowdown: the main difference lies in the microphone. Headsets are like all-in-one wonders; they come with a built-in microphone, making them perfect for working from home, office tasks, and gaming. On the other hand, headphones keep it simple, sans the microphone, and are super popular for jamming to music, diving into audiobooks, or tuning into your favourite podcasts. But you can enjoy all these things with a headset too!

Now, let's talk about the magic of noise cancelling! Both headsets and headphones sport this awesome technology that blocks out pesky background noise. But here's a nifty thing - headsets often take it a step further and extend the noise cancelling to their microphones too. This means when you're in a call or hopping on a Microsoft Teams or Zoom meeting, the person on the other end won't hear any of that distracting background noise or chatter. How cool is that for crystal-clear communication?

So, whether you're rocking a headset for work or gaming, or chilling out with headphones for your entertainment fix, you're bound to experience a whole new level of audio bliss!

Image of Woman wearing noise cancelling headset

Ok, so how does Active Noise Cancellation work?

Basically, Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) headphones contain multiple tiny microphones that live on the outside of the headphones. These microphones actively listen to the background noise around you and plan how to cancel it. They’re sort of like little noise spies, except they’re not spying on your conversations, they’re only interested in the frequency content of the audio around you.

These microphones create an identical copy of this background audio and flip their phase by 180 degrees so the sound waves are now upside down. Then a tiny amplifier in the headset plays the upside down sound waves back to you, which so happens to be the heavenly sound of silence. The whole dance is so amazingly fast that your ears never even get the chance to hear the background noise!

This magical process is known to us audio geeks as phase cancellation, and it works by reversing the peaks and valleys of two otherwise identical audio waves. If you instead played two identical sound waves together without inverting their phase, the resulting sound would be LOUDER! (Woah, indoor voice please!) Twice as loud to be exact. And that’s the exact opposite of what we want. But if two sound waves with identical frequencies are played out of phase with each other, the sound is completely cancelled out. (Ah, that’s better.)

What is Passive Noise Cancellation?

Passive Noise Cancellation (PNC) is the classic, old-school approach to silencing unwanted noise! PNC doesn't need any fancy microphones or amplifiers; instead, it relies on closed-back ear cups or snug in-ear buds to physically block out external sounds. You might hear it being called passive noise isolation or passive noise reduction too.

Here's the scoop on how much noise they can hush – closed-back ear designs typically block around 8 to 12 dB, while in-ear designs can achieve 10 to 15 dB. And wait, it gets even better! For a custom-fit experience, you can have the buds of your in-ear headphones specially moulded to fit your inner ear canals, making them even more effective at blocking noise.

Now, here's the real charm of Passive Noise Cancelling headsets – they sport a clever acoustic design in the ear cups, ensuring a snug seal around your ears. This natural seal means they can block out more sound than regular headsets or headphones, giving you a serene audio haven.

What's more, these PNC headsets have some extra perks in store for you! Since they don't rely on external mics or fancy digital signal processing (DSP), they tend to be more budget-friendly than ANC headsets. And guess what? You'll enjoy longer battery life with them too, plus they won't alter the sound response. Another bonus is their excellent sound isolation – your music stays your little secret, as the ear cups contain the sound better, so others won't hear it leaking from your headset.

Passive Noise Cancelling headsets can keep unwanted sounds at bay without breaking the bank. So, if you're looking for an affordable way to enjoy uninterrupted audio bliss, these headsets have got your back!

Image of Man in labcoat wearing active noise cancelling headset

Is Active Noise Cancelling or Passive Noise Cancelling better?

It's all about finding the perfect match for your noise-cancelling needs! Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) technology is fantastic if you crave the quietest headphone experience. These headsets can block up to 45dB of noise, but they excel at cancelling out steady sounds and lower frequencies, so on average, it's about 30dB of noise reduction. Some headsets even let you control the ANC level in real time, so you can customise your noise-cancelling experience on the fly.

The cool thing is, you can completely switch off the ANC when you want to hear someone without taking your headset off – super handy! On the other hand, Passive Noise Cancellation (PNC) works differently, relying solely on the ear cups or earbuds' acoustic design to block out noise. The beauty of PNC is that it doesn't need extra battery power, giving you longer battery life for your headset.

Now, here's where it gets exciting! You can have the best of both worlds by opting for an Active Noise Cancelling headset that also features Passive Noise Cancelling ear cups. This dynamic duo lets you choose between ANC and PNC modes. So, when you need maximum noise-cancelling power, turn on the ANC, and you'll experience an even greater level of tranquillity than a pure ANC or PNC headset. And when you prefer to save battery life, turn off ANC mode and the headset will now be passively cancelling noise, so you can still enjoy decent noise cancellation depending on your surroundings. How cool is that? With these options at your disposal, you're sure to find the perfect harmony of noise cancellation for any situation!

Image of woman wearing active noise cancelling headset concentrating

What are the advantages of noise cancelling headsets?

Remember that Simon and Garfunkel song The Sound of Silence? That may as well have been written about noise cancelling headsets, because that’s what you gain from wearing them. Blissful silence while you commute, while you work and while you relax at home listening to music. Noise Cancelling headsets are the perfect companion for days when you work from home as they let you get into the zone easier and focus on your work.

No matter what you're up to during the day, noise cancelling headsets provide you with the gift of silence. You'll stay focused, uninterrupted, and super productive. Say goodbye to the fatigue caused by processing endless background noise. With these headsets, your mind can clear up, leaving you feeling refreshed and ready to conquer the day!

So, next time you need some peace and quiet, reach for your noise cancelling headset and embrace the sound of silence!

What are the disadvantages of noise cancelling headsets?

Let's talk about the downsides of noise cancelling headsets, but fear not – there are solutions too! One of the drawbacks is that when you have noise cancelling on, you might lose some situational awareness. Sure, it's fantastic for when you want to zone in and shut out the world, but it's not ideal in situations where you need to be aware of your surroundings – like when taking a call while driving. You definitely want to hear other cars and traffic to stay safe on the road!

And hey, there's more! In a bustling open office, noise cancelling can work against you too. If you constantly need to communicate with your co-workers, those headsets might isolate you, and you'll end up taking them off all the time just to have a chat. After all, who wants to miss out on the latest office gossip and everyday banter?

But hold on tight – we've got some good news! Some ANC headsets come with a fantastic feature – real-time noise cancelling adjustment. You have the power to turn it off when you don't need it or during calls, and then switch it back on when you're ready to focus. That way, you get the best of both worlds and the flexibility to choose how you want to let sound in throughout your day.

So, don't fret about the disadvantages; there are clever solutions out there! With the right ANC headset, you can strike the perfect balance between focus and staying connected with the world around you. It's all about finding the perfect fit for your unique needs!

Image of man wearing noise cancelling headset while working on laptop

Are noise cancelling headsets good for studying?

Noise cancelling headsets are an excellent choice for studying as they can really help you be more productive and get into the zone. It’s all too easy to become distracted by studying and start to procrastinate, and the more distracted you become the longer you end up having to study! If you’d rather get your head down in the books and get a really productive study session in then a noise cancelling headset will really help you achieve that.

While an Active Noise Cancelling headset will block out the most noise, for studying a Passive Noise Cancelling headset will be enough if you plan to also listen to music at the same time. That’s because the passive noise reduction of the ear cups will block out most background noise and the music will block out the rest, so you won’t hear anything but the music.

As a bonus, listening to certain types of music, such as classical or jazz, has been proven to substantially boost your concentration and productivity, and studies have also demonstrated that it improves your memory too!

Do noise cancelling headsets sound better or worse than normal headsets?

When it comes to sound, personal preference plays a big role, and it's also influenced by the type of listening you're doing – be it audiobooks, podcasts, or music. Different types of headsets can enhance the audio experience in various ways. Passive Noise Cancelling headsets, for instance, often deliver richer bass thanks to their earcups' acoustic design, which creates a snug fit around your ears. This is a definite plus for enjoying various music genres, movies, TV shows, and gaming.

Another advantage of noise cancelling headsets is that they always come in stereo, providing a more immersive listening experience. With audio delivered to both ears, you can enjoy music just as it was intended to be heard.

As for Active Noise Cancelling headsets, their performance can vary depending on the music genre. The good news is that you have the flexibility to turn off the ANC feature when listening to music, so you can prioritize the audio quality that suits your preferences.

In the end, it's all about finding the perfect headset that aligns with your unique taste and listening habits. Whether you prefer that extra bass kick or a pristine stereo experience, there's a headset out there waiting to deliver the sound you love.

Image of smiling woman with noise cancelling headset

Is noise cancelling bad for your ears?

Rest assured, Noise Cancelling headsets are completely safe for daily use and pose no harm to your ears. In fact, the inception of Active Noise Cancelling technology was driven by the need to safeguard the hearing of aviation pilots from the loud and stressful sounds of plane engines. Their primary purpose is to protect your ears and prevent any hearing loss or damage.

With ANC at your side, low-frequency background noise like machinery hum or plane engine rumble is removed, creating a clearer listening experience. As a result, you won't feel the need to crank up the volume on your headset to hear calls or music, which is fantastic for your hearing. By avoiding exposure to louder sounds than necessary, you significantly reduce the risk of ear fatigue.

So, you can confidently embrace your Noise Cancelling headset as a true guardian for your ears. Its innovative technology was crafted with your hearing health in mind, providing you with a safer and more comfortable audio journey. Enjoy the peace of mind and superior sound quality, knowing that your ears are in good hands! What's more, most of the noise cancelling headsets we sell at Simply Headsets come with in-built hearing protection technology that automatically reduce sudden and loud noises that could damage your ears.

Who benefits from noise cancelling headsets?

Noise cancelling headsets are a true game-changer for everyone involved! As the wearer, you undoubtedly benefit by enjoying a peaceful environment free from distracting background noise. This proves to be especially valuable when working from home, where energetic kids might be running around, adding to the noise.

But here's the bonus – your loved ones benefit too! With your noise cancelling headset, you won't find yourself constantly asking them to keep the noise down. It's a win for harmony and uninterrupted focus.

Moreover, most noise cancelling headsets come equipped with a noise cancelling microphone. When you're on a call, this nifty feature ensures that your background noise doesn't disturb the conversation. It allows everyone to concentrate better on their tasks, fostering a more productive work environment.

So, you see, it's a win-win situation for everyone! Noise cancelling headsets bring peace and serenity to your world, while also creating a more harmonious space for those around you. It's a small change that leads to big benefits for all involved, making it an essential tool for a smoother, more focused workday. Embrace the magic of noise cancelling headsets and enjoy the tranquil productivity they bring!

Shop Our Range of Noise Cancelling Headsets!

Simply Headsets is your one-stop-shop for a vast and diverse selection of noise-cancelling headsets in Australia! We pride ourselves on offering an extensive range, ensuring you have plenty of options to choose from to suit your unique needs and preferences.

We know how crucial it is to find the perfect fit when it comes to your headset, which is why we go the extra mile to provide FREE lifetime support. Our commitment to you doesn't end with your purchase – our dedicated team of headset gurus will be by your side every step of the way, offering expert guidance and assistance.

Whether you're looking for a noise-cancelling headset for focused studying, productive work sessions, immersive gaming, or simply unwinding with your favourite music, we have the ideal solution for you. Our curated collection features top-quality brands and the latest innovations in noise-cancelling technology.

We believe in going above and beyond to ensure your satisfaction. Our friendly and knowledgeable headset gurus are just a call or click away. Reach out to us today, and let us help you discover the perfect noise-cancelling headset tailored to your needs.

Image of woman concentrating with active noise cancelling headset


How Much Are Noise Cancelling Headsets?

A good quality noise-cancelling headset will set you back between $200 and $650.

How do I Activate Noise Cancelling Headsets?

To turn the ANC on or off, press the ANC button on the earcup. With it on, you will experience a reduction in background noise, such as air conditioning and other ambient noise.

Do Active Noise Cancelling Headsets Really Work?

Yes, they will reduce the sounds of traffic noise or chatting in a busy call centre effortlessly, but they also do a fantastic job eliminating ambient noise such as wind, water, birds, etc.

Are Noise Cancelling Headsets Safe?

Yes. ANC technology was invented for the hearing protection of pilots against the loud sounds of the plane engine and was rigorously tested for any health risks.

What headset mic blocks out the most noise?

EPOS Sennheiser have a range of headsets with ULTRA noise cancelling mics, which block out the most background noise out of any microphone we’ve tested. We recommend the Impact MB Pro 2 for computers and mobile phones and the Impact DW Pro 1 for desk phones.

What are the best noise cancelling headsets?

Check out our in depth article on Noise Cancelling Headsets to discover 8 of the best noise cancelling headsets you can buy today.