Do Noise Cancelling Headphones Hurt Your Ears?

There have been several concerns about Noise Cancelling Headphones and whether or not they are safe for our hearing. A major concern people are worried about are whether these headphones emit radiations that may otherwise increase the risk of a brain tumor. Other concerns are like irritation, pressure on your ears, headaches and gradual loss of hearing after long hours of use.

All these concerns are valid and it is important to know the truth. But before we get our doubts answered, it is important to understand how noise-canceling headphones work.

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How do Noise Cancelling Headphones Work?

Noise-canceling headphones reduce background sounds such as the roar of an airplane engine, the rumble of a train and highway noise. How they reduce these external noise depends on the type of noise-canceling technology adopted by the headphones. There different types of noise-canceling technology and each work differently to achieve a peaceful and quiet environment.

Passive Noise Cancelling.

It is the simplest method of noise canceling. This is any physical measures taken to clean up a sound signal and prevent noise. Headphones that are designed with passive noise cancellation in mind are made to completely cover your ear with extra padding that encloses your ear completely. Passive noise-canceling mainly deals with the design of the headphones.

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This efficiency of these headphones mainly depends on how strong the seal is between your ears and the device. They work by providing greater isolation from external sounds. They mostly rely on the materials that they are made up of like thick padding.

Active Noise Cancelling.

On the other hand, active noise canceling technology has been the newest type of technology being used in Bluetooth wireless headphones these days and seem to be working better than passive. Active noise cancellation (ANC) is the process of using a microphone to monitor environmental noise and creating anti-noise that’s then mixed in with audio playback to cancel noise entering the user’s ear.

These headphones come with a built-in microphone that picks up the audio that the user would hear and it is fed into the ANC circuitry. The ANC circuitry then identifies the frequencies of said noises and blasts your ears with an anti-noise wave that cancels out the unwanted external sounds. The result is the noise combined with the inverted noise cancel each other leaving just the intended audio.

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Are Noise Cancelling Headphones safe?

Even after a detailed look at how these headphones work, the underlying question still stands. Will noise-canceling headphones hurt my ears? On the contrary, noise-canceling headphones protect your ears. For instance, passive noise-canceling headphones are good for overall protection in different situations. Passive cancellation is often limited to canceling mid and high frequencies but doesn’t work so well with low frequency. Passive headphones are used by airline pilots and they tend to work well for them.

If you live in a noisy environment, then active noise-canceling headphones will work best. Constant to exposure to noise such as the rumbling of trains, airplanes or construction noises may cause a major risk to your hearing and health. This may otherwise lead to damaged hearing, interfere with your sleep, raise blood pressure and stress levels and cause headaches.

Noise-canceling headphones help prevent health problems noise exposure can present. By neutralizing surrounding noise, you can listen to music without turning up the volume so high that poses a risk to your hearing. Different types of headphones are designed with different kinds of noise they can avert. Choosing the right kind of headphones will be beneficial for you.

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However, for some active noise-canceling headphones, they produce a hissing sound when turned on. This hissing sound might be irritating to some people but don’t pose any potential threat that may arise from frequent use of these headphones. If this hissing sound persists, you should opt for alternative methods of noise cancellation.

Regardless of its benefits, it is advisable to keep the volumes at moderate levels. Higher volumes pose a potential danger for your hearing and health, so always keep it at moderate levels. Additionally, you should also rest your ears after about 2 to 3 hours of using these headphones. This is also important for more comfort and less irritation.

The Verdict.

Generally speaking, damage to your hearing from sound is a combined effect of the intensity level of the volume and the length of time of exposure. The bottom line is that noise-canceling headphones do not hurt your ears but prevent them from hurting when amid loud noises. They also do not emit any radiations so you don’t have to worry about any mental health problems when using the headphones.

Going for noise-canceling headphones is not a bad choice. Luckily, many quality noise-canceling headphones are affordable.