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Noise Cancellation headsets

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softwareNerd
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I remember reading years ago that since sound was a wave, if one could generate a wave that was the "opposite" of a particular sound, one would cancel it out and hear nothing. When I first read about it, it was presented as a theoretical idea that would be very difficult to put into practice. A few years ago, I started noticing in-flight magazine advertisments for Bose noise-cancelling headphones. I'm fascinated by the idea that one does not have to completely block out sound using a "passive" physical barrier.

The next step would be to make the "active noise cancellation" approach more selective. For instance, I have heard that some luxury car manufacturers (like Lexus) do not seal their cars as much as they could, because that would mean cutting out the sound of ambulances etc. I suppose they could use "active noise cancellation" to cancel out the remaining external noises, except those that sound like emergency vehicles.

Headphones with this approach are now available from multiple manufacturers. Problem is, they're still extremely expensive.

Philosophical quandry, now updated: if a tree falls in a forest, but you're wearing noise-cancelling headphones...

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Philosophical quandry, now updated: if a tree falls in a forest, but you're wearing noise-cancelling headphones...

I know the sound of one hand clapping. :)

These devices are great. I always assumed they were possible, but I didn't know that they exist already.

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Philosophical quandry, now updated: if a tree falls in a forest, but you're wearing noise-cancelling headphones...
...then you better have someone not wearing headphones who will jump around and get your attention, 'cuz otherwise the tree is gonna whack you, ruining your expensive headphones and probably also your head.
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  • 1 month later...

I have a pair of Ultrasone PL2500 headphones that are open but they have another model that is closed. The PL750. I tried them and it pretty much cuts out everything outside of the phones. I think its all done physically though. The reason why I got the open headphones is so I can hear if my baby has woken up and started crying.

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I've worn the Bose headphones on an airplane flight before, and it was a significant improvement. They cancel steady noises like the engine hum quite well, but I could still hear people talking to me and so forth.

Last time, though, I just used earplugs because I wanted to sleep. Those things itch!

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