Does active noise canceling work to protect your hearing?

Active Noise Canceling Big Ear

The short answer is ABSOLUTELY NO. It takes a little bit to understand just what active noise canceling is and isn’t and what it can do and what its limitations are.

Let’s, first of all, understand that it would never be designed to use as a hearing protection device, but rather a background noise eliminator. The main glaring flaw is 2 fold and it is not a flaw really it is just what it is.

  1. Are you using a active noise canceling unit that is using a ear tip to be able to seal off the ear canal and be a better hearing protection device than a open speaker like the old earbuds where you can still hear all the outside noise and have to turn up the sound in the device to overcome the background noise.
  2. This is something that is very hard to find but is in the very small print. This is not meant to be a hearing protection device. The issue is it cant control any kind of sudden impulse sound or quickly changing loud bursts of sound. It is designed to listen and access the sounds coming in and creating an anti frequency to cancel this sound wave to give you the effect on reduced background noise. This takes time to do and if you try and use this active noise canceling device like a hearing protection device you will constantly get dosed and this will lead to Tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss.

Here is an excellent article in Wiki on how active noise canceling works.

There are a few different patents and devices out there that taught that it will eliminate all the sounds and most people automatically think that would then include hearing protection.

Many people who read or sell this unit take a pretty hard opinion about their new devices, but they are not doing more than 100 events per year talking belly to belly to customers that are all confused now when they come up to our booths. So many are asking us is this active noise canceling like it is somehow some kind of hearing protection device and it just simply is not.

So the positives

The jawbone device was one of the first to really get this technology out to the consumer and they are now out of business. They were too soon and too expensive and no one knew what it was. It was too heavy and did not fit very many ears without an adapter. Once you added a custom ear adapter it became an amazing unit.

The Bose headset was one of the first to get market penetration on the over the ears noise canceling and if you had noting it was better than that, but you sweat and it was not comfortable to wear. You still could hear all the sudden pulse and impact sounds are so it is not hearing protection.

We are a hearing protection company first so are jaded on products that claim and give the false sense to be some sort of reduction product but when you look at there disclaimers and indemnification clauses they try and not be liable for the miss information or confusion that they cause.

What the best noise canceling headphone with compression

The proper device to create:

It would be expensive and overkill, but the right product that will need to be created would be a sealed active noise canceling with compression. This would allow all the background noise to be recreated and compressed to be recreated so you could control and limit the impulse and random bursts of sound.

There is no reason to get into a debate with the active noise canceling device companies because they always say that it is not a hearing protection device, some where in small print, but like drug companies they only tout the benefits and let you believe that it would be hearing would be protected because we neutralize noise.

So at the end of the day if you are in an area that is over 95dB, wear some sort of hearing protection and don’t rely on an active noise canceling device to protect your hearing from noise-induced hearing loss.

How to find the right hearing protection.

 

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