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Active vs Passive Noise Cancellation

Of the five senses we are born with, we may not be able to control and protect each one although we can certainly have a direct impact on our hearing ability from a young age. Since younger students are not as conscientious about how loud noise levels affect their hearing, parents and teachers need to help make them aware of the importance of hearing protection. For teachers who provide headphones and headsets for their students on a regular basis, understanding the difference between ambient noise reduction and active noise cancellation can have a heavy impact on the future of their hearing ability so that their educational success does not also fade away.

Active noise control, also known as sound field cancellation, reduces the sound of unwanted noises by electro-acoustical means. To accomplish this, internal circuitry within the headphone produces a sound that is an exact mirror-image of the disrupting sound. When the two sounds collide they effectively cancel each other out, and the net result is no sound at all.

The Active Noise Canceling Headphone by Califone offers superior ambient noise reduction.

Almost all interpretations of “passive” ambient noise reduction include insulating or dampening of one kind or another. This tends to work best for middle and high frequencies – those which the human ear is most sensitive to. The most common method of dampening is by using an earcup which rests either on the ear or around the ear. There are a variety different earcup sizes that offer protection against ambient noise. All Califone headphones and headsets use on-ear or over-ear styles of earcups, which offer significantly more protection against ambient noise than the smaller ear bud style which fits in the ear canal.

Active and passive noise reducing headphones are not necessarily exclusive of each other. Headphones that provide active noise reduction can also passively reduce ambient noise levels when the cancellation feature is not enabled.

Mike Gillinger, a director of IT for the Blue-Ribbon Award winning Sierra School in Chatsworth, CA shares: “We could get by with the off-the-shelf brands for computer labs, but when kids really need to focus, we use the Califone headphones. We’ve noticed that they provide a higher sound quality and block out ambient noise better.

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