There is one interesting thing about our hearing which we often neglect. It’s that when hearing damage occurs it can’t be fixed anymore. We usually take it for granted and never really take care about it. However, the thing we can do when hearing damage happens, is to protect the remaining hearing. So, if you are exposed to loud sounds on a daily basis, now it’s the time to learn more about hearing protection and take some action.
When we talk about hearing protection, the first thing that comes to our mind are nose cancelling headphones. The question we are going to try to answer in this article is – can they really protect our hearing? To be honest, we would say that the answer is positive, but not always and not in every situation. Let’s take a closer look at this issue.
Because of the rapid development of technology, the world is becoming louder day by day. We are exposed to loud sounds all the time. Most often it’s the traffic noise coming from the street, airplane engines, construction sites, concerts and the list goes on. Being exposed to these loud sounds for a longer period of time will inevitably lead to hearing damage and even hearing loss.
Is there anything we can do about it? This is where we have to mention the noise cancelling headphones and other hearing protection devices.
Hearing protection and its importance
According to a study conducted nearly 10 years ago by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a noise induced hearing loss was discovered in around 13% of children (6-19 years old) and 17% of adults (20-69 years old). Under noise induced hearing loss, we mean hearing loss which is a result of daily high pitch sound exposure.
People working in construction sites, airplanes, factories, railway stations and similar, are more exposed to loud sounds than other professions. This can lead to hearing damage because they are exposed to those sounds every single day. This is why they need to use noise cancelling hearing protection devices.
What do we know about Noise Cancelling Headphones?
The first thing to know is that these headphones are divided into two types: passive and active.
Passive Noise Cancelling Headphones
This type of headphones doesn’t use any power source to block the outer sounds from coming to the ears. They use no other noise reduction techniques besides the materials used to build them.
Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
Unlike passive noise cancelling headphones, the active ones create sound waves which are 1800 out of phase with the surrounding sounds. The best thing about active noise cancelling is that when the surrounding is too loud you can listen to your music at low volumes. This wouldn’t be possible with the passive noise cancelling headphones.
Hearing Protection in Noise Cancelling Headphones
The situation in which you use the noise cancelling headphones greatly affects their hearing protection capabilities.
Generally, passive noise cancelling headphones will do their job in most situations, while in some specific occasions they won’t be so effective. The same applies for active noise canceling headphones as well.
Maybe the best way to understand passive noise cancellation would be to think about it like soundproofing. We are practically using some materials to block the sound. Because of that, these headphones aren’t too comfortable and can be a bit heavy. However, they will protect your hearing from very loud impulsive noises like gunshots, jackhammers and similar.
On the other hand, active noise cancelling headphones need some time before they start doing their ob. This is because their technology has to measure the external sound waves and then create sounds which are 180 degrees out of phase.
So, if you are exposed to a continua loud noise active noise cancelling headphones are the ones to choose. On the other hand, if you are exposed to impulsive sounds it would be the best to choose passive cancelling headphones.
How to choose the best ones to protect your hearing?
Choosing the best noise cancelling headphones would depend on several things – your personal preferences and the sounds you are exposed to.
It also depends on the situation. As we have mentioned before active and passive noise cancelling headphones have specific situations where they provide maximum protection, and also there are situations where they are useless.
One more thing, listening to loud music is one of the reasons for hearing damage or hearing loss. if you need to use the headphones primarily for listening to music at low or normal volumes then active cancelling are the best choice. They are ideal for daily commuting in the public transport. If you want to use them at loud working places, shooting ranges, construction sites, passive headphones are a better option.