What is noise cancellation?

Noise cancellation is the ability of certain headphones to cancel out background noise so that you can hear the song or the guy you’re talking with much better.

Since sound is actually a sound wave with peaks and troughs the physics of waves is simple: if a wave encounters another wave with the same wavelength,the distance between two peaks, and same amplitude, height of the peak, but out of phase so that a peak in the first wave matches a trough in the second wave, then the waves cancel each other.

And there you have it: the headsets monitor the background sound and then create waves which interfere with that sound and cancel it. Brilliant!

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