Do AirPods Help with Background Noise?

When listening to music, a person pops in their headphones to get distracted from the noise around them, but sometimes, regular headphones just don’t work.

AirPods help with background noise, especially in busy places. AirPods have an Active Noise Cancellation system that will take out all of the background noise around a person. They also have a Transparency setting, which will only take out some of the background noise, but not all of it.

There is a little more to AirPods, including disadvantages with the loss of background noises to the person, and even during phone calls that will be addressed. Keep reading to learn more about AirPod’s noise cancellation.

How AirPods Block Out Noise

AirPods have an Active Noise Cancellation system in the headphones that does most of the blocking-out-noise part. This Noise Cancellation system has two microphones inside that listen to the external sounds around you and the internal sounds. In this system, there is also a chipset that upturns the soundwaves, also called Destructive Interference. (Source)

Destructive Interference deals with two soundwave frequencies. This is when the high point of one frequency is matched with the low point of another frequency, which neutralizes sound. This process uses a speaker on the inside of the headphones to do this. It’s almost exactly like algebra. You take a positive number and a negative number, and it adds up to zero. This is the same concept with the soundwaves when concerning Noise Cancellation. (Source)

The logistics of how to block out the noise around you is a different, but similar, topic.

  • Go to Settings on the iPhone
    • This could also work on an Apple watch
  • Click on Bluetooth
  • Find the associated Headphones name
    • Most likely it’s AirPods or AirPods Pro
  • Click on the desired background noise selection
Do AirPods Help with Background Noise?

There are three background noise selections:

  1. Noise Cancellation
  2. Transparency
  3. Off

The first one, Noise Cancellation, will take out all of the background noise around a person. The second, Transparency, will only take out some of the background noise, but not all of it. This will still allow a person to hear what is going on around them, and this might be a very good option for someone who still wants to remain alert to situations around them, but still enjoy their music, audiobooks, or phone calls.

One really good idea concerning the Transparency setting is to have this feature on most of the time, simply for the sake of safety. This could protect a person in drastic ways, such as someone attempting to kidnap or steal something a person owns. This could also help someone remain aware of their surroundings, like crossing a busy street or a friend calling out for you.

The third setting is Off, which does not inhibit noise at all. A person will hear all background noise. Be careful when using volume with any of these. Listening to anything too loudly can damage hearing, and a good rule of thumb is to not turn up the volume louder than a vacuum cleaner.

Background Noises and Phone Calls

AirPods, for the one person wearing them, is one hundred percent amazing and perfect when it comes to ignoring background noise. For the people calling or FaceTiming such a person, it is not as perfect.

AirPods in this situation are not great. The person wearing the headphones and answering the call from mom and dad will still be able to use Noise Cancellation, but the people on the other line will still hear background noises.

This can be frustrating for a few people, especially if the caller on the other side of the line is having trouble hearing. Both phone calls and FaceTime have this problem, and there is not a solution yet on how to fix this, or even an answer to why the caller on the other end of the line can hear background noise when the person wearing the AirPods cannot.

Maybe one day in the near future or even recent technology right now will have better ways of fixing this problem. As of right now, if you try to answer a phone call in a busy, loud area, you will be able to hear, but the person on the other end of the line might not.

Do AirPods Help with Background Noise?

Cons to Noise Cancellation

While noise cancellation can be a great feature, there are some drawbacks to using it. There are a few bad side-effects of having Noise Cancellation on all the time.

Here are a few examples:

  • Jaw pain
  • Headaches
  • Tinnitus
  • Dizziness
  • Ear Pressure
  • Disorientation
  • Nausea
    • not common, though

Having vibrations right by the ear from music or audiobooks, or a call, isn’t bad, but at the same time, it’s not good either. Especially when the AirPods are right there, right next to the ear, all the time. These side effects can easily come along if AirPods are not removed at least three times a day.

Ear pressure is probably a very common side-effects with all headphones. When AirPods are in, there is a difference in air density inside and outside of the ear. The outside of the ear may be lighter than the inside of your ear, even more so when the music is really loud.

This is a lot like an airplane when taking off and coming back down. The air changes, and it takes a few minutes to adjust. With AirPods, the person might have to adjust the volume, since that is where the pressure is coming from.

Tinnitus is ringing or buzzing in the ear, and it can be quite common with anybody when the sensitive ear structures are injured or harmed such as with loud sounds—loud music, for example—or whiplash and head injuries, among other causes. This ringing or buzzing is persistent, annoying, and seems to get worse with the absence of noise.

One suggestion would be to turn off Noise Cancellation during Study Hall, or other quiet places. The AirPods have no noise to use, and this may lead to the dizziness and disorientation part, and even nausea. If you aren’t trying to actively shut out background noise, then it is best to stay away from Noise Cancellation.

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