Understanding ANC Headphones: A Comprehensive Guide

Last Updated: Feb 25, 2024 by

Noise-cancelling headphones have become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more people looking for ways to block out unwanted noise and distractions. But what exactly are ANC headphones, and how do they work? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about ANC headphones, from what they are to the best options on the market.

What Are ANC Headphones?

ANC stands for “active noise cancellation,” and ANC headphones are designed to reduce unwanted external noise by using advanced technology. Unlike regular headphones, which simply block out noise by physically covering your ears, ANC headphones use microphones and electronic circuitry to actively cancel out external noise.

How Do ANC Headphones Work?

ANC headphones work by using tiny microphones to pick up external noise and then creating an inverse sound wave to cancel out that noise. This is known as “destructive interference,” where two sound waves cancel each other out. The result is a quieter listening experience, as the external noise is effectively neutralized.

ANC headphones also have a built-in battery and electronic circuitry that powers the noise-cancelling technology. This means that ANC headphones require charging, unlike regular headphones.

Why Choose ANC Headphones?

ANC headphones offer several benefits over regular headphones, making them a popular choice for many people.

Block Out Unwanted Noise

The primary reason people choose ANC headphones is to block out unwanted noise. Whether you’re on a noisy plane, working in a busy office, or trying to relax in a loud environment, ANC headphones can help you focus on what you want to hear and block out the rest.

Protect Your Hearing

Regular headphones can only block out noise by increasing the volume of the music or audio you’re listening to. This can be damaging to your hearing, especially if you’re in a loud environment for an extended period. ANC headphones, on the other hand, actively cancel out external noise, allowing you to listen at a lower volume and protect your hearing.

Improve Audio Quality

By blocking out external noise, ANC headphones can also improve the overall audio quality of your listening experience. With less background noise, you can hear your music or audio more clearly and with better detail.

Types of ANC Headphones

There are two main types of ANC headphones: over-ear and in-ear.

Over-Ear ANC Headphones

Over-ear ANC headphones are the more traditional type of ANC headphones, with large ear cups that cover your entire ear. These headphones are bulkier and less portable than in-ear options, but they often offer better noise-cancelling capabilities and audio quality.

In-Ear ANC Headphones

In-ear ANC headphones, also known as earbuds, are smaller and more portable than over-ear options. They fit directly into your ear canal and often come with different sizes of ear tips to ensure a comfortable and secure fit. While they may not offer the same level of noise-cancellation as over-ear headphones, they are more discreet and convenient for on-the-go use.

Best ANC Headphones on the Market

There are many ANC headphones on the market, but some stand out for their superior noise-cancelling capabilities, audio quality, and overall performance. Here are some of the best ANC headphones available:

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II is a top-of-the-line over-ear ANC headphone with excellent noise-cancelling capabilities and audio quality. It also has a comfortable and lightweight design, making it perfect for long listening sessions.

Sony WH-1000XM4

The Sony WH-1000XM4 is another top contender in the over-ear ANC headphone market. It offers impressive noise-cancellation and audio quality, as well as a long battery life and touch controls for easy use.

Apple AirPods Pro

For those looking for in-ear ANC headphones, the Apple AirPods Pro is a popular choice. These earbuds offer excellent noise-cancellation and audio quality, as well as a comfortable and customizable fit.

Jabra Elite 85t

The Jabra Elite 85t is another top pick for in-ear ANC headphones. It offers customizable noise-cancellation and a comfortable fit, as well as impressive audio quality and a long battery life.

How to Choose the Right ANC Headphones for You

When choosing ANC headphones, there are a few key factors to consider:


ANC headphones can range from affordable to high-end, so it’s important to determine your budget before making a purchase. Keep in mind that higher-priced headphones often offer better noise-cancellation and audio quality.

Type of Headphones

As mentioned, there are two main types of ANC headphones: over-ear and in-ear. Consider which type would be more suitable for your needs and preferences.

Noise-Cancellation Capabilities

Different ANC headphones offer varying levels of noise-cancellation. If you need headphones for particularly noisy environments, look for options with advanced noise-cancellation technology.

Audio Quality

While ANC headphones are primarily used for noise-cancellation, audio quality is still an important factor to consider. Look for headphones with good reviews and a reputation for excellent audio quality.


ANC headphones are a game-changer for those looking to block out unwanted noise and distractions. With advanced technology and a range of options on the market, there’s an ANC headphone for every budget and preference. Consider your needs and do some research to find the perfect ANC headphones for you.

Gulrukh Ch

About the Author: Gulrukh Ch

Gulrukh Chaudhary, an accomplished digital marketer and technology writer with a passion for exploring the frontiers of innovation. Armed with a Master's degree in Information Technology, Gulrukh seamlessly blends her technical prowess with her creative flair, resulting in captivating insights into the world of emerging technologies. Discover more about her on her LinkedIn profile.