There are only two types of noise-cancelling headphones: passive or active. Passive noise cancellation, more of a marketing term, means the natural shape of each earcup blocks out ambient noise. No tech, microphones, or anything that requires batteries.  Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling HeadphonesPassive noise-cancelling headphones are actually headphones, and may require a little extra design to help them fit snugly.


Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) headphones, on the other hand, are more sophisticated and effective at cancelling noise. ANC headphones have a built-in microphone that listens to ambient noises, then "actively" seeks out and destroys them by creating opposing sound waves that collide with unwanted noises, physically neutralizing them before they reach your ears.


However, more headphones are being advertised as "hybrid" noise-canceling headphones. Hybrid noise cancellation is a type of active noise cancellation: it relies on the microphone to find ambient noise and then cancel it out. However, with most active noise-cancelling headphone designs, the choice is usually to place the microphones alone on the outside of the earcups or alone on the inside of the earcups, while hybrid noise-canceling headphones are a mix of both.




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