The Benefits of Noise Cancelling Headphones

7 mins read
Headphones - many of us don't leave the house without them. Allowing us to indulge in our favourite music and podcasts while going about our business, whether on the train, in the gym, or even at work, they’re an incredible piece of audio technology - and noise cancelling headphones are perhaps even more impressive.

Filtering out the background noise that threatens to sully your listening experience, these clever headphones are a must-have for many audiophiles. 

In this blog, we’ll cover the benefits and frequently asked questions surrounding noise cancelling headphones to help you discover whether or not they’re the option for you.

How Do Noise Cancelling Earphones Work?

An average room can be full of noises: A ticking clock, the rush of cars outside, and the muttering of others around you. Sometimes, you want to just focus on your chosen track, audiobook or podcast - and that’s where noise cancelling earphones and headphones come in. 

Noise cancelling earphones and headphones cancel out ambient sound by listening to the noise around you and creating opposing sound waves. This works best with consistent noise in lower and midrange frequencies. Higher noises and random or sudden sounds, such as alarms or someone speaking to you, will often still be heard.  
Plus, with our Smart Active Noise Cancellation technology, this is taken to the next level. This innovation provides a major improvement over standard one-size-fits-all versions and adjusts the noise cancellation to be much more effective as external sound is monitored and multiple filters target certain frequencies depending on your surroundings.

Experience the difference that Noise Cancelling Headphones can make  and switch between ‘Ambient’ and ‘ANC’ modes with our interactive sound demonstration.

What are the benefits of noise cancelling headphones?

Noise cancelling headphones and earphones are certainly impressive in how they cancel out sound, but what exactly are the benefits of tuning out background noise?

Female wearing a KEF silver Mu7 headphones

Superior Listening Quality

Irritating background noise can completely dampen a listening experience, distracting you from the melodies of your favourite song or making it difficult to hear every nuance of each instrument altogether. For an audiophile, there’s nothing worse than wanting to sink into a beloved symphony only to have it marred by nearby murmuring or the whirring of an air conditioner.

This can lead to you turning up the volume of your music to potentially damaging levels to hear it over the background noise, which can have a long term negative impact on your eardrums. 

With noise cancelling headphones, there’s no need for volume overload, as the din that interrupts your listening is dealt with.

Superior Call Quality

Phone calls are another day-to-day activity made difficult by background noise. Picture a phone call with a loved one whose voice you haven’t heard in a while or an important video call with a coworker or business client. Then imagine train carriage chatter or music playing nearby, diverting your attention and leaving you struggling to catch important pieces of information.

Noise cancelling earphones counter this peripheral sound racket, allowing you to focus only on the voice of the other person, meaning no more awkward requests to repeat what’s been said. 

However, it is important to remember that, traditionally, this noise cancellation doesn’t transfer to the other person on the call, so they may still hear the background noise around you.  However, the Clear Voice Capture (cVc) technology applied to the Mu7 ANC Headphones helps to create a better environment for hands-free conversations by isolating your voice and reducing other sounds around you.

Improved Concentration

When working on an important project, nothing shakes your focus like grating ambient sound, with many scientists agreeing that noise negatively impacts cognitive function. Whether you’re finishing a report surrounded by keyboard clacking or completing a stunning painting while construction work takes place outside, dedicating yourself to your task can feel nearly impossible.

With noise cancelling headphones, however, distractions are muted so that you can devote your full attention to the work at hand. 

Individual picking up a Mu7 silver grey from it's case

A Good Night’s Sleep

One in five people in the UK have less than adequate sleep, and noise disturbance is a common culprit. Whether you live by a busy road or want to tune out a snoring partner,  noise cancelling earphones could be the key to the unbroken slumber you crave.

If you plan to use your noise-cancelling earphones for sleep, keep comfortable by using in-ear earphones like our Mu3 earphones as opposed to over-ear headphones.

Ear Protection

Exposure to loud noise, especially if this exposure is constant, can cause long-term impact on the ears, such as by harming the auditory nerve or damaging the hairs in the cochlear. Noise cancelling headphones can help to protect your ears from these negative effects by countering the sound and allowing you to listen at a lower volume. 

Stress Reduction

Grating noise can often cause us to become annoyed and irritable, with studies showing that living in a noisy environment can increase the production of stress hormones.

If constant construction work has you tense or the roar of traffic sets your teeth on edge, noise cancelling headphones could bring the tranquillity you desperately need. 

Are There Drawbacks to Noise Cancelling Headphones?

As well as covering the phenomenal benefits of noise cancelling headphones, we also wanted to address some common misgivings.

A man outside in the city wearing a silver KEF Mu3 earphones

Do Noise Cancelling Headphones Make You Less Aware of Your Surroundings?

The very thing that makes noise cancelling headphones so amazing is their ability to tune out your surroundings. However, there may be situations when you need to stay alert and be aware of your surroundings, such as when walking near roads.

To combat this issue, KEF has given the Mu3 noise cancelling earphones an “Ambient Mode” which allows you to hear ambient noise when needed. Simply switch to this mode when necessary and change back to the noise cancelling mode when it is safe to do so. 

Do Noise Cancelling Headphones Damage Your Hearing?

Whilst this is a frequent question, noise cancelling headphones are more beneficial to your hearing than damaging. Not only do they protect your ears in loud environments, but, as mentioned above, you don’t need to turn up your volume as much with noise cancelling headphones due to the lack of external noise interference.  

KEF’s Noise Cancelling Headphones

At KEF, we offer two excellent types of noise cancelling headphones. Simply pick the right one for you. 

Mu3 Noise Cancelling Earphones

The Mu3 is our in-ear option. Sleek, discreet and wireless for your convenience, these earphones offer nine hours of listening bliss at full charge. Charging is lightning fast, too, with an hour’s listening in just five minutes.
They are IPX5 splash-proof for further convenience, enabling you to embrace stunning sound in all weather. Plus, Bluetooth 5.0 allows for connectivity to both iOS and Android devices. 

Close up image of pair of KEF Mu3 earphones charcoal grey

Mu7 Noise Cancelling Headphones

If you prefer over-ear headphones, select the Mu7. With high-resolution sound at 24 bit/48khz via Qualcomm® aptX™ HD codec, your listening experience will be exquisite.  With the addition of our Smart Active Noise Cancellation technology, the Mu7 recognises your noise environment and adapts to give you the best result each time.

Plus, thanks to the impressive charging capabilities of these headphones, you’ll get up to eight hours of listening from just fifteen minutes of charging and up to forty hours of use at full charge. You’ll also enjoy phenomenal call quality with Clear Voice Capture. 

See our blog to discover why these are the perfect headphones for your holiday.

Explore KEF’s exemplary noise cancelling headphones today to say goodbye to those pesky distractions and enjoy incredible sound wherever you are. 

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