Is the noise cancellation function bad for the brain?

【Is it true that “noise canceling features are bad for the brain?”】


Some people sometimes get a headache, feel sick, or have earache when wearing earphones or headphones with active noise cancellation (ANC).

This may be because the brain becomes accustomed to the special sensory state of having ANC turned on, which weakens the brain’s ability to hear sound in normal, everyday situations.

This type of hearing problem is like a change in the brain’s encryption rules. Even if you change back the way you listen, the brain condition will not return to the way it was before. Irreversible phenomenon

・The way ANC works is that the earphones/headphones emit sound waves that are completely opposite to the ambient sound (noise), and the ambient sound and the sound waves emitted by the earphones cancel each other out to create an artificial silence. If you feel uncomfortable when using ANC, it is possible that the technology that creates artificial silence is interfering with your brain’s ability to recognize your surroundings, causing discomfort.

・Ideally, you should only use noise-canceling headphones when you need them. It may be dangerous to always seek maximum silence with the help of technology.


The above is a quote from the article






Noise and everything extreme is not good.


Many people use earphones or headphones with noise cancellation.

This is the first time I have learned that some people experience discomfort due to noise cancellation.

Are those who use them okay?


Reading the above article reminded me of a TV program that used to feature tinnitus.


Many of you know that as we get older, we lose our ability to hear high pitched sounds (high frequencies) such as mosquito sounds.


When this happens, the brain increases the level of its high sound collection function in order to try to hear the high sounds that have become difficult to hear. You may imagine that the brain turns up the volume knob for high frequencies only.


The mechanism is that the brain’s high-pitched volume is then turned up, resulting in a constant “keening” mosquito-like tinnitus in the brain.


In other words,

Does this mean that the same thing is happening with earphones and headphones with noise cancellation functions?


Since the noise that should normally be audible is not audible, the brain tries very hard to set the volume to collect the noise, and as a result, the brain’s settings in everyday life become distorted and malfunctioned.


This is one cause of noise cancellation malfunction.

And another cause.

As noted above, noise cancellation cancels out noise by hitting the noise with similar sounds that cancel each other out. It would be easier to understand if you imagine speakers with the same sound facing each other.


Another possible cause of noise cancellation malfunction is that the brain may be reacting to the noise to offset or cancel it out.


I see.


Noise cancellation is very convenient, but it may be better to use it in moderation.


And I thought.


Technology has allowed us to swing to extremes.

This, of course, has both positive and negative aspects.

Conversely, it could be said that in the past, when things were less developed, we could not swing to extremes.

That, too, has its good and bad sides.


In the old days when you could not swing to the extreme, it was relatively easy to maintain balance, and you might have lost your balance less often,

Now that we live in an age where we can swing to extremes, we may have to maintain our own balance.


The story of the malfunction caused by noise cancellation made me think about such things in an exaggerated way.


See you then


Some studies have shown that white or pink noise has a restful, concentrative, and relaxing effect. After all, extremes are not good for anything.





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