Speaker Noise Cancelation (for you, the User)When it comes to the headset user being able to fully hear and focus on their conversations, noise canceling technology is invaluable. There are two types of noise cancelation: passive and active.
Passive noise cancelation is simply a product of the headset’s design. Virtually all headsets provide some form of passive noise canceling ability since they cover the ear canal to some degree. Real gains are made when the ear pads are made of dense, absorptive material and are large enough to cover the ears (supra-aural) or completely encase them (circumaural). This naturally helps to insulate the ears from outside sounds, especially higher frequency ones. Supra-aural designs are lighter weight and often used in call center environments, whereas circumaural headsets are generally used in very loud environments like aircraft runways or racetracks.
Active noise cancelation is different, and, especially when coupled with passive noise canceling designs, produce extraordinary noise canceling results. These headsets effectively erase lower frequency sound waves by creating their own sound waves that mimic the incoming waves exactly, except they’re a mirror image of the incoming waves. This phenomena is called destructive interference and quite literally cancels out the intrusive noises.
Microphone Noise Cancelation (for your Listener)Microphone noise cancelation is effective in helping your listener to hear you clearly and block out the background noise in your environment. This can be achieved in different ways, such as microphone shape and positioning. Some headsets are designed with dual microphones with a certain distance between them and with one closer to your mouth than the other. The first picks up your voice and the other the surrounding noise. Using digital algorithms, they effectively negate the background noise, meaning your voice gets priority and background noise gets the boot. Of course, this also benefits the user in the way of not having to constantly repeat what they say and not worrying about being misunderstood.