Why Noise Cancelling Headphones Don’t Block Voices & What You Can Do About It?

When we are in an environment that is full of noise, and our work requires concentration, we tend to get irritated. Or, while we are traveling, we often prefer a quiet and peaceful journey. In the situation that you are looking to zone out external environment noises, noise-canceling headphones are the key. 

If you are looking to block out loud unwanted noise, then you should check out the 12 Best Noise Cancelling Headphones.

the 12 Best Noise Cancelling Headphones

Noise cancellation headphones and their relation to the Environment

The question here arises, are these headphones capable of blocking out voices? The answer to this is No! Noise-canceling headphones can certainly help remove low-pitched noise from your surroundings, such as murmuring or machine noise that makes your environment noisy. However, human voices and conversations between people tend to be higher-pitched random noises that you can still hear despite using your new piece of noise-canceling headphones.

Noise headphones and human speech cancellation

The majority of consumers purchase these headphones with the misconception that they will cut off the voices from the environment, but in reality, this doesn’t happen. This leaves you asking, Why Noise Cancelling Headphones Don’t Block Voices? The ongoing technology working for noise cancelation performs best under the frequency of 500 Hz. The noises from the external environment, like any machine regulating and other sources, stand below the frequency of 500 Hz, so they automatically vanish through Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). Whereas if we talk about the human voice or speech cancelation, the frequency stands above 500 Hz, and the current technology stands below this benchmark. 

Whether people purchase the costliest out of all and the most reliable, even after that also, they will not be able to reduce human speech or voice. The question here arises: why would people intend to purchase even then? But unfortunately, at this point, no technology exists to vanish this sound completely. It is most effective when the external noises fall below the frequency of 500 Hz. 

The closeness of the person depends too upon its functioning of it. If people are chatting nearby you, you may hear murmuring sounds, but if they are far away, their voices will be neglected because, automatically, the frequency will be reduced. 

Read on to learn more about noise-canceling headphones and find out how they work.

headphones and human speech cancellation

The working mechanism of Noise cancellation headphones

When people are using ordinary headphones, they might be relaxing with their favorite show or music and enjoying, which is not impossible if the background sounds create distortions in between. Users will still experience disturbance in their hearing experience if they are in a crowdy place or in an environment where there is mechanical activity. 

The reason people tend to use noise cancelation headphones is because of their ability to block the ambient sounds from the environment and allow the person to be in their comfort zone. 

The noise cancellation headphone comes with a dual feature termed- Active or Passive. Normally headphones offer a single or both features for noise cancellation. The noise cancellation headphone is a bit heavier to carry and handle because they comprise multiple layers of material like a high-density foam to absorb unwanted sound. The material allows for loud noises to be left outside due to the tight seal that headphones create. This new technology of ANC also works as a noise-isolating headphone. They can reduce the noise by up to 20 decibels for more enjoyment and relaxation. 
You can also read Do Noise Cancelling Headphones work without music?

Initiative towards the voice cancellation; what can we do?

For people who do not prefer the plugins, the noise cancellation headphone is the best for them. As Active Noise Cancelation (ANC) is lined up with noise-isolating technology, voices can be reduced to some extent. The defensive active noise cancellation headphones feature passive sound isolation, which adds an extra layer to it as a precaution and will reduce the speech sound to a greater extent which will create a major difference.  

Users will have low-frequency sounds drowning out their noise-canceling headphones. This will stop you from listening to gossip on the bus, clicking of heels at work, or snapping of fingers when you are trying hard to meet a deadline. 

What helps with this is white noise, especially in the form of water sources. Using noise masking drowns out any uncertain noises by drowning them out with a constant noise that’s nicer than the kind of noises that irritate them. Just think of a rushing white-water river or Niagara Falls continuously playing at the back of your head. The rhythm is enough to help you concentrate and drown out the sound from your surroundings.

Playing your music at full volume would only serve to damage your eardrums. Instead, you can effectively mask speech without boosting the volume too much with a white noise machine. An example of a white noise machine is the one from Adaptive Sound Technologies, which gives you a variety of settings to combat any noise. This way, you can hear speech and can effectively block frequency bands even at 4000Hz.
To understand more about technologies used in headphones, you should be using CVC noise canceling.

Should you opt for or find an Alternate to Noise Cancellation Headphones?

Most users are facing a dilemma of whether to buy ANC headphones or choose an alternative to them, but this depends upon various things and factors related to the consumer. What you should initially consider is your budget. This is followed by the consumer’s comfort level because these headphones are equally comfortable to use.


For voices, you need to think about the model’s noise-isolating abilities on top of active noise cancellation. While traveling by any means (air, land, rail, water), noise cancellation headphones are a must because they will zone out unwanted noise for you. You will have a peaceful and enjoyable journey without any hassle and ambient noises of traffic and environment. Overall, even without the ability to completely cancel voices, owning a pair of noise-canceling headphones is highly recommended.  

With this article, you will know exactly why Noise Cancelling Headphones Don’t Block Voices and the best use of the headphones.

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Paul Goral

I am the founder of North Creek Music and I have a master’s degree in Engineering Acoustics. Sound is my passion. I wanted to start this blog and share my passion with others.

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