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Noise Cancelling headphones vs Ear Protection

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Old 07-24-2012, 10:53 AM   #1  
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Default Noise Cancelling headphones vs Ear Protection

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I've always used some basic Stanley earmuffs for ear protection when doing things like mowing my lawn on my ridiculously loud Cub Cadet ZTR's 22hp Kawi, or using my Harbor Freight tile saw (currently the loudest saw on Earth)

But last year, I acquired a pair of Bose QC15 noise cancelling headphones. One day when I was about to mow my lawn, I decided to use the QC15 noise cancelling headphones instead of the typical Stanley ear muffs. To my surprise, the noise level as it appeared to me was actually QUIETER using the Bose Noise cancelling headphones than it was using the Stanley ear muffs.

I know the purpose of ear muffs is to block sound waves from reaching your ears through the use of certain insulating materials.

I also know the purpose of noise cancelling headphones is to produce an opposite wave of common sounds to cancel out the sound waves

My question is, from a hearing protection standpoint, is the impact on the user's ear the same? Is a cancelled wave as good as a blocked wave, or does the cancelled wave still have the potential to cause hearing damage?

I am thinking that a cancelled wave is as good as a blocked wave, but my wave physics aren't all that sharp, so I'm not exactly sure what happens to a wave once its cancelled and/or how that impacts your ear. Then again, a 180db sound at 20,000hz will probably wreck your ears, but you won't hear a thing. So just because I can't hear it doesn't mean I'm confident that my ears are protected...

If anyone can answer this question with certainly I'd be impressed
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Old 07-24-2012, 01:10 PM   #2  
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John - this may answer your question

http://www.e-a-r.com/pdf/hearingcons/anr.pdf
also from this site it would appear noise cancellation is fine
http://www.noisebuster.net/

also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3A...ing_headphones

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The whole point of noise-cancelling headphones is that, at your eardrum, the noise + antinoise sums to as near zero as the technology will permit. This makes noise-cancelling headphones useful as hearing protection in loud environments (although they're probably not effective nor certified as protection against single, loud, percussive events such as gunfire).
that certainly makes sense as a single percussive event (gunshot) happens so quickly that the noise cancellation would be ineffective.

but really BOSE - shame on you !!

Last edited by jkkyler; 07-24-2012 at 01:15 PM..
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Old 07-24-2012, 02:53 PM   #3  
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Thanks, should have posted it in the gaming forum, since clearly that's where all the smart people reside.

I got a good answer on another forum: "you need to remember that sound is a compression wave in air or other media. That means the wave first compresses to an amount greater than normal air pressure. This is the positive part of the sine wave. Then the air expands to a pressure less than normal air pressure. This is the negative part of the sine wave—the part below the zero centerline. Adding the positive pressure and negative pressure will give you the normal air pressure."
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Old 07-24-2012, 04:15 PM   #4  
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Maybe you should ask that on the Samsung Galaxy forum LMAO!
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Old 07-24-2012, 10:46 PM   #5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elwaylite View Post
Maybe you should ask that on the Samsung Galaxy forum LMAO!
+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.
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Old 07-25-2012, 06:29 AM   #6  
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For the "smart" ones...They do make noise cancelling headphones for gun shots.
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