What Does ANC Mean On Headphones?

What Does ANC Mean On Headphones?

ANC stands for "Active Noise Cancellation", and there's two typical forms of noise cancellation to be aware of.

Active noise cancellation

ANC headphones use technology to filter background noise and cancel out external noise. Typically headphone manufacturers will give you multiple levels of noise reduction you can adjust for you to control how much noise you want to let in. ANC technology provides many benefits, but some people experience a feeling of sickness or don't like the feeling of not being able to hear your surroundings.

There's a few reasons ANC headphones might make you feel sick:

  1. Pressure on your eardrum
  2. People more susceptible to motion sickness. ANC can produce a similar sensation without physically being in motion, and in return leads to nausea and dizziness.
  3. ANC headphones can disrupt the signal your inner ear sends to your brain, which cause the motion sickness feeling.

It's important to know, although some people experience these issues when wearing ANC headphones, it's the minority and not the majority.

Passive noise cancellation

Instead of using technology to reduce noise, passive noise cancellation headphones reduce background noise through the use of materials that help asborb or block noise. Passive noise cancellation is accomplished by how well the headphones or earbuds seal your ear from external noise. If you're someone whose worn ANC headphones and felt the sick feeling, passive noise cancellation options are a better way to go, and will still be a good solution to help reduce external noise.

ANC does not refer to your microphone

Oftentimes customers think ANC refers to noise cancellation in a microphone, and that's not the case. So, what happens is you order a pair of ANC headphones, get on a phone call or meeting and realize the noises around you are being blocked out, but callers on the other end are hearing everything you don't want them to hear. Which makes for a very distracting and unproductive conversation if you're in a loud office, coffee shop, or work at home.

If microphone noise cancellation is your main concern, listen to the difference in this video.

Our top ANC headphones pick for work- Orosound Tilde Pro

orosound tilde pro


  • Hybrid ANC allows you to fine tune the noise reduction to be most comfortable for you.
  • Interchangeable ear cushion speaker sizes gives you more customization and flexibility to adjust the headphones.
  • Detachable noise canceling microphone keeps your voice crisp with reduced noise callers would hear in loud environments. 
  • Sleek matte gun metal design with premium stitched fabric.
  • Includes a Bluetooth USB Dongle for easy connectivity with your computer.
  • 28 hours of battery and can be used as a wired headset with the included charge cord.
  • Adjustable sidetone that allows you to hear your own voice when on a call or meeting.


  • Can make some peoples ears hot over long periods of wear.
  • Not Bose or Sony music quality but plenty good for most with the lows being it's strong suit.


The Orosound Tilde Pro is in a bit of it's own class. The Tilde Pro is a hybrid pair of headphones made for work first but is also pleasant for personal use as well. Other headphones typically shine in their specific category of a work headset, music headphones or gaming headset. The microphone quality, adjustable ANC, included USB Dongle and interchangeable ear cushion speakers is what makes the Orosound Tilde Pro stand out in comparison to comparable models from Apple, Sony, Bose and others.

Examples of popular passive noise cancellation work headsets

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