Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Sony Digital Noise Canceling Headphones

Sony  MDR-NC500D Digital Noise Cancelling HeadphonesThe Sony MDR-NC500D Digital Noise Canceling Headphones use digital signal processing chips to identify the type of noise and then attempt to cancel it out. Reviews are mixed, with Dan Warne saying "The difference was remarkable" (Review: Sony MDR-NC500D, SMH, January 5, 2009) while The Travel Insider said they're not appreciably better than the less expensive Bose Quiet Comfort 2 headphones (Sony MDR-NC500D Digital Noise Canceling Headphones part 1, 26 Dec 2008).

One place where advanced noise reduction is needed is the Emirates A380 crew rest quarters. The engines on the new aircraft are so quiet that the crew have difficulty getting to sleep. Previously the sound of the engines would mask cabin noises, but the Airbus has such quiet engines the crew can hear the passengers outside. Regular electronic headphones would only cancel out the regular drone of the engines making the problem worse.

See also other Noise Cancelling Headphones available from
It should be noted that these headphones are not safety devices and are not designed to protect from dangerous noise levels. There is a separate category of product for that: Electronic Hearing Protection.


Roia said...

Thank you so much for noting that there is a difference between "noise canceling headphones" and "electronic hearing protection". One of the gentlemen I work with has autism, and he is extremely sensitive to sound. Essentially he is bombarded by sound (literally) almost all the time. I've been doing some research, so I can buy him some sort of ear protection. I didn't realize there was a difference. Very much appreciated!

Tom Worthington said...

Blogger Roia said January 27, 2009 2:17 PM:

"... autism ... extremely sensitive to sound. ..."

White noise generators are somethimes used for people with Tinnitus. An electronically generated hiss is used to mask unpleasant sounds. I don't know if this has been used with autism. sell some white noise generators. More specialised portable devices are probably available from medical supply companies.