1. ANC – How active noise cancelling earbuds work
2. Trouble concentrating?
3. Active noise cancelling earbuds the golden mean
4. Trouble sleeping?
5. Q3 – The smallest of them all
The demand for noise reduction and noise cancelling has grown steadily in developed countries over the last few years. In part this has to do with the increase in the ever more excessive noise pollution. On the other hand for example active noise cancelling earbuds are a relatively new invention. By restoring our ears and peace of mind to a more natural state they offer a remedy to a growing problem. Is it any wonder these solutions find happy owners?
In this article we’ll showcase active noise cancelling earbuds and cover the different aspects of what you might want to take into account before purchasing just any noise reduction or noise cancelling solution.
ANC – How active noise cancelling earbuds work
First of all, in-ear active noise cancelling solutions are in themselves earbuds. This way their noise-reducing effect begins as soon as they are in place blocking the ear canals. This, however, is just the tip of the solution. ANC earbuds combine the passive noise abatement with high-tech active noise cancelling. This means they are not only enabling quietude but effectively creating it.
Active noise-cancelling earbuds use tiny microphones in the earpieces that sample the sound headed towards your ears and equally tiny speakers to create a phase-shifted sound to oppose it. As the earpiece drivers immediately play the opposite phase of the original sound, the opposing forces effectively reduce the air-molecule movement, and you get a reduction in the sound you perceive. This is a simplified description but it’s the basic mechanism all ANC solutions go by.
It is also good to notice that active noise cancelling technology differs from noise-masking devices in that no additional sounds are present.
If the office air con unit has popped a bearing or your co-worker has a habit of constantly clicking his or her pen, it’s easy to name the reasons why you’re not at your sharpest. If there is seemingly nothing wrong with your surroundings but you still can’t focus, it’s possible you’re simply too stressed-out or tired, the latter of which we’ll cover further on.
However, this begs the question, what is behind your stress and could it be something even you yourself don’t recognize? Studies have shown that constant background noise is one of the most significant factors in stressing us out in the first place. Read into the subject more thoroughly here.
Before tossing the air con out the window or snapping your work mate’s pen in two, you might want to consider calling maintenance and asking nicely. If that doesn’t help, there are other remedies. No matter if your concentration is bugged by apparent noise disturbances or you’re exposed to more subtle yet constant background noise, the question is whether a noise management solution is for you and if so, what kind?
Active noise cancelling earbuds the golden mean
Some people try to resolve the problem of a noisy environment by engulfing their ears with other sounds through headphones. One can argue which one is the most effective way to take your mind off of what you should be doing, your favourite music or the kind you’re not too keen on, not to mention talkshow broadcasts or podcasts. 1925 inventor Hugo Gernsback too it even further with the Isolator.
If the main goal is to be able to concentrate better, we’d suggest starting with reducing the amount of noise altogether. Even though there might be moments when you dream of being able to completely mute your surroundings, there is a throwback with this as well. Have you ever tried floating in a sensory deprivation chamber? We haven’t either but based on what we’ve heard, completely muting everything doesn’t exactly help you to get your mind off of things, more like makes it wander like a drunk parrot.
To be serious for a moment, the point is that completely muting your hearing can in fact be quite unnerving and result in getting back to square one, lack of concentration. In extreme cases the results can be even harmful. There is also the practical side to being able to pick out at least the essential sound information from your surroundings. Especially if the surroundings themselves demand alertness, as is the case in traffic.
Based on all this and especially when you know that a more peaceful and natural soundscape is what you need to be able to concentrate properly, active noise cancelling offers a sound (tee hee hee) solution. While it doesn’t mute the whole soundscape of your surroundings, it eliminates the low-frequency background noise pollution that easily makes you irritable and unable to concentrate.
Sleeping in noisy surroundings both hinders the ability to fall asleep and lowers the quality of sleep. This is obviously a somewhat given situation. Studies have shown, though, that even the kind of hum that emanates from traffic, building infrastructure or somewhere else might be enough to cause adverse effects on your health. More on the subject in this previous article of ours. If packing your things and carting them out to the countryside doesn’t really suit your career goals, there are luckily aids to calm your sleep.
For many people, the first thought is to pick up a pair of earplugs on the next visit to the drugstore. However, it is important to point out that earplugs can pose more problems and actual dangers than benefits. Besides the dangers, it’s a fact that passive cancellation is often limited to cancelling frequencies greater than 1kHz. Active noise cancellation eliminates the noise before it reaches your ear. If you’re interested about ANC in general, check out what’s been studied recently.
So, even though earplugs mute some external noises, they are not the best fit to block out the ones that disturb sleep, such as snoring. Besides that, they can cause a similar unnerving and unnatural feel as mentioned before. Another thing worth mentioning (and most of us know it by our own experience) is the possible irritation they cause in the ear canals, which might make it difficult to keep them in for a regular nightly use.
Similar to the struggle with concentration, using music through headphones or listening podcast while trying to sleep is a slippery slope. For some music might have a calming effect and provide them the soundtrack in their quest of pursuing some shuteye. Even then there is the problem of turning to your side and rolling your headgear on your face. Alternatively, you are faced with the crucial moment when you either succeed in maintaining the blissful sleepiness while putting the headphones aside, or realize how you actually feel a bit hungry. With in-ear ANC tech you’ll not only roll over and fall asleep but also stay in a peaceful and relaxing sleep.
Q3 – The smallest of them all
The QuietOn Active Noise Cancelling earbuds are specifically designed to fit the ear perfectly. The latest model of QuietOn’s ANC products is the QuietOn 3 which is especially pleasant and unobtrusive even in continuous daily use. You can also read what Forbes wrote about us.
The shell of the QuietOn 3 earbud typically fits inside the concha, between the crus of helix and the antitragus. Another great feature in how the design of QuietOn 3 earbuds makes them so pleasant to wear is how they reach the ear canal without stretching the tragus. The width of the ear canal of course varies from person to person. For this reason, QuietOn 3 comes with four different sizes of memory foam tips to ensure that the device fits best into different sized ear canals.
In addition to their pleasant design, QuietOn 3 earbuds are in fact the smallest active noise cancelling earbuds on the market. Their compact and cordless nature makes them not only extremely practical but also inconspicuous, yet elegant.
Active noise cancelling earbuds are a pleasant remedy for surroundings in which you can’t help the causes of excessive low-frequency noise pollution such as the hum of an airplane cabin or the murmur of an open-plan office. On the other hand, they don’t mute out the whole soundscape leaving you clueless of the things that actually demand your attention such as alarms or other people addressing you.
The smart modeling design combined with the small size also enables one of the best singular qualities of the QuietOn 3: they enable the users to sleep on their side without experiencing pressure.