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Do AirPods Block Out Background Noise? Explained

However, Airpods may not completely block out all types of external sounds, such as sudden, high-pitched noises. AirPods, particularly the AirPods Pro, offer effective noise cancellation, primarily for consistent, low-frequency background noises.

AirPods Block Out Background Noise

Since wireless earbuds are becoming more common, it’s not a surprise that a lot of people are interested in how well they block out noise.

The Apple AirPods were the first headphones to follow this trend, and they have a lot of useful features besides their sleek look and ease of use.

One of the best things about them is that they can block out unwanted noise. We’ll look at the noise-canceling technology behind AirPods in this blog post and see if they really do make listening to music quiet.

Understanding Noise-Canceling Technology

Before we talk about AirPods in particular, let’s talk about how noise-canceling headphones work.

Noise cancellation works by using built-in speakers to pick up sounds from outside the device and then making sound waves that are the exact opposite (anti-phase) of the noise. 

The background noise and these anti-noise waves cancel each other out, making it harder for the listener to hear things outside the room.

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Apple’s Implementation of Noise Cancellation

Apple released the AirPods Pro in 2019 and they have Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology built in. 

They are different from regular AirPods because they have this technology that is meant to make listening to music more engaging and noise-free.

An outward-facing microphone on AirPods Pro picks up sounds outside of your ears, and an inward-facing microphone listens to sounds inside your ears. 

The H1 chip then processes the data in real time, and the ears make anti-noise waves to block out sounds from outside.

Do airpods block out background noise?

Yes, AirPods, especially the AirPods Pro, are equipped with noise-canceling technology that can effectively reduce background noise.

With their Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology, AirPods, especially the AirPods Pro, have come a long way in making listening to music more engaging and free of background noise. 

Advanced gear and software are used together in this technology to block out background noise.

How Does Active Noise Canceling Work?

Active Noise Canceling (ANC) is a technology designed to reduce or eliminate unwanted background noise, allowing you to enjoy a quieter and more immersive audio experience, whether you’re listening to music, taking calls, or simply seeking some peace and quiet. 

Here’s how Active Noise Canceling works:

  1. Microphone Array: The AirPods Pro have a built-in microphone array with a microphone that faces outward and a microphone that faces inward. The microphone that faces outward picks up and records sounds outside of your ears, while the microphone that faces inward listens to the sound inside your ears. With this set up, your AirPods can constantly collect information about your surroundings and the sounds you hear.
  2. Real-time Processing: The audio data is sent to the H1 chip, which is an Apple-designed processor that runs the AirPods Pro. This information is processed in real time by the H1 chip, which figures out the exact frequencies and patterns of outside noise.
  3. Anti-Noise Generation: The H1 chip analyzes the outside noise and then makes anti-noise waves, which are sound waves that are the exact opposite (anti-phase) of the noise that is coming in. When these noise-cancelling waves mix with the background noise, they cause damage and cancel each other out. Because of this, the outside sounds are much harder to hear for the listener.
  4. Putting together Anti-Noise and Background Noise: Next, the anti-noise waves are played through the headphones or speakers along with the sound you want to hear. Anti-noise waves and background noise that is coming in cause interference that is bad. In this case, the highest points of one wave line up with the lowest points of the other wave, wiping each other out. As a result, the background noise is greatly lessened or completely eliminated, making the room quieter.
  5. Real-Time Adjustment: The system constantly adapts and updates the anti-noise waves based on changes in the outside world to keep the noise canceling working well. This makes sure that the technology works in different places and with different kinds of noise.

Active Noise Cancelling works best on low-frequency sounds that don’t change, like the hum of an airplane engine, the rumble of a train, or the drone of an air conditioner. But it might not work as well against sudden, high-pitched sounds or sounds that change quickly, like a loud talk or a car horn.

Noise Canceling For Music Vs For Phone Calls

Noise canceling technology is a valuable feature in headphones and earbuds, and it serves different purposes when it comes to music playback and phone calls. 

Here’s a comparison of noise canceling for these two scenarios:

Noise-Cancelling for Music:

The main goal of noise-cancelling headphones or earbuds for music is to give you a full, high-quality sound experience. 

You can focus on the details and nuances of your music because the noise-canceling technology finds and gets rid of outside background noise. 

It works especially well at getting rid of steady, low-frequency sounds like an airplane’s hum or a train’s rumble, which can get in the way of enjoying music. 

You can really enjoy your best songs, podcasts, or other audio content if you block out these distractions. It improves the hearing experience by making the soundstage clear and uninterrupted.

Getting rid of noise during phone calls:

Getting rid of noise during phone calls is different. It’s all about making your voice clearer and making sure you can hear the speaker clearly while reducing the effect of your surroundings. 

Placed in specific ways, noise-canceling mics pick up your voice and cut down on background noise while you’re on the phone. 

This is very helpful when you’re talking to someone in a noisy place, like a crowded street, public transportation, or an office. Other sounds can get in the way. 

Noise cancellation on phone calls improves call quality by blocking out unwanted noise and focusing on your voice. 

This way, you and the person on the other end of the line can talk without being interrupted.

Why Are AirPods So Sensitive To Background Noise?

Like many other true wireless earbuds, AirPods are not naturally sensitive to background noise. 

However, there are some things that can make them seem sensitive to background sounds.

One important thing is that AirPods have open ears. 

Unlike over-ear headphones that encase your ears, AirPods rest in your ear canal without a tight seal.

When you listen, this shape makes it more comfortable and airy, but it also lets some outside noise through. 

Because they don’t block out as much passive noise as closed-back headphones or in-ear speakers, AirPods may seem sensitive to outside noise because they are so close to the ears.

The fit of the earbuds is another thing to think about. How good the noise cancellation is depends on how well the earbuds fit in your ears. 

Because the ear tips on AirPods Pro can be changed, they fit snugly and block out sounds better. 

Normal AirPods, on the other hand, don’t have ear tips, so they might not block out as much external noise. 

Because they don’t make a physical barrier to stop sound from getting into your ear canal, they may seem more sensitive to outside noise.

Furthermore, even with active noise cancellation (ANC) technology, which is featured in AirPods Pro, there are limitations. 

ANC works most effectively against constant, low-frequency sounds like the hum of an airplane engine.

Why do AirPods pick up background noise?

AirPods, like many other earbuds and headphones, can pick up background noise due to their design and the nature of their microphones.

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Several factors contribute to this:

  • Open-Ear Design: The AirPods have an open-ear design, which means they fit in your ear canal without making a tight lock. This design makes it more comfortable and makes you more aware of your surroundings, but it also lets some outside sounds in. Because the AirPods are open, it may seem like they pick up more background noise than closed-back headphones or in-ear monitors, which block out sounds better.
  • Placement of the Microphone: The mics in AirPods are built in, and putting them in or near your ears can make them pick up sounds better. The microphones are meant to pick up your words clearly during calls and voice commands, but they can also pick up noise in the background.
  • A lack of active noise cancellation for mics: The AirPods Pro do offer active noise cancellation (ANC) for the sound you hear, but not for the microphones. Because of this, the mics don’t actively block out background noise. Instead, they use passive noise reduction and technology in the area to cut down on background noise.
  • Things in the environment: The way sensitive your AirPods are to background noise can also change based on where you are. Because the speakers pick up a lot of different sounds, it may seem like the AirPods are picking up more background noise in places with a lot of noise or noise that changes all the time.

Even with these problems, AirPods have made big improvements in how well they recognize voices and make calls. If you don’t like background noise, using only one earbud, making sure they fit right, and finding a quieter place can help you get the most out of your AirPods for calls and voice requests.

How To Reduce Background Noise On AirPods’ Microphone

People often worry about how to make the microphones on AirPods less sensitive to background noise, especially when using them for voice requests or calls in noisy places. There is no active noise canceling in the microphones built into AirPods, but there are a few things you can do to cut down on background noise and make sure your voice comes through clearly.

1. Look for a quiet place: 

Your setting has a lot to do with how well your AirPods block out background noise. Finding a quiet place to make calls or use speech commands is often best for getting the most out of your AirPods. 

This could mean moving to a room in your house or office that is quieter, or it could mean going outside to avoid places with a lot of people or loud noise. 

If you’re using your AirPods, it’s best to be in a quiet place so that they pick up less background noise during calls and voice interactions. This makes dialogue clearer and more focused.

2. Make Sure They Fit Right: 

To get rid of unwanted noise with your AirPods, they need to fit right. It’s possible for outside sounds to get through your AirPods if they don’t fit firmly in your ears. This can make it hard to hear calls or voice commands. 

This is where AirPods Pro really shine, since the ear tips can be changed to fit your needs. If you pick ear tips that are the right size, they will fit snugly and block out noise easily. 

Making sure that your AirPods are properly placed in your ears is very important. This not only makes them more comfortable, but it also makes them better at blocking out noise.

3. Use Only One Earbud: 

Using only one AirPod and leaving the other ear open is a good way to cut down on unwanted noise. 

This method is helpful in two ways. 

The first thing it does is help you stay situationally aware, which means you stay aware of your surroundings. This is especially helpful when you need to be, like when you’re walking or riding a bike.

On top of that, it lessens the noise-cancelling effect, which can sometimes pick up more background noise when both AirPods are on. You can listen to music and stay in touch with the world around you at the same time by using a single earbud.

4. Speak Clearly and Directly: 

If you want to reduce noise when using your AirPods for calls or voice commands, make sure you speak directly into the microphone and enunciate your words clearly. 

In this way, you improve the efficiency of voice recognition systems, which means your AirPods don’t have to pick up as much background noise. 

Speaking clearly not only makes sure that your voice commands are heard, but it also lets your AirPods focus on picking up your voice and blocking out other sounds. 

This makes dialogue more reliable and effective, especially when there is a lot of noise around.

5. Turn on “Press and Hold AirPods” for Siri or Voice Assistant: 

To turn on Siri or another voice assistant, go to the AirPods settings on the device you’re pairing them with and turn on “Press and Hold AirPods.” 

This function can be very helpful when there is a lot of noise around. If you use this way to take voice commands, you won’t have to shout to get the attention of your voice assistant. 

This makes the conversation less obvious and also lowers the chance that your AirPods will pick up extra background noise. 

It’s an easy way to handle voice orders and calls without adding to the background noise.

6. Think about using noise-cancelling apps:

If background noise is still a problem, you might want to look into third-party apps or tools on your paired device that can help with noise cancellation during calls. 

For example, some call recording apps have noise reduction tools that are meant to make calls clearer, even in places with a lot of background noise. 

Many of these apps use complex formulas to get rid of background noise that you don’t want to hear, so your voice is clear. 

While AirPods do some noise reduction on their own, these kinds of apps can add to what they do and make your calls even better in stressful situations.

7. Don’t leave your phone out here: 

Keeping a strong Bluetooth link between your AirPods and the device you paired them with, like your iPhone, is important for getting the best call quality and reducing background noise. 

If your link is strong, the audio signal will stay stable, which means your AirPods will be able to do their jobs of canceling out noise and recording your voice well. 

A bad Bluetooth connection, on the other hand, can cause dropouts and distortions, which can make background noise louder and lower the quality of the call altogether. 

This can happen, so it’s best to keep the device you’re pairing with your AirPods within an acceptable range. 

When you do this, the link stays strong, and your AirPods can focus on giving you a clear, uninterrupted audio experience.

8. Change the microphone settings. 

The control panel or audio settings on many devices let you change the microphone settings. 

You might be able to fine-tune the microphone’s sensitivity and noise reduction settings, but this depends on your device and its running system. 

You can change how well the speakers on your AirPods work to fit your needs and the place where you’re using them by looking into these settings. 

For example, you can change how sensitive the microphone is to make it pick up things around it more or less. 

You might also be able to fine-tune the noise reduction choices so that they work best with different levels of background noise. 

By changing these settings, you can find the best mix between blocking out background noise and getting a clear recording of your voice. 

This will make using your AirPods for communication more personalized and effective.

Final Thoughts!

The Active Noise Cancellation technology in the AirPods Pro is a big step forward in the world of smart earbuds. There is a noticeable difference in noise level, which makes them a great choice for tourists, commuters, or anyone who wants to get lost in their music. 

Even though they might not be able to completely block out all kinds of background noise, they do a great job and keep getting better with each new Apple product.

Finally, the noise cancellation in AirPods Pro might not work as well for everyone, based on their personal preferences, the listening environment, and the type of noise they are hearing. 

If you care about blocking out noise, the AirPods Pro or other high-quality noise-canceling earbuds might be a good buy to improve your hearing experience and find peace in a noisy world.

Yes, the Apple AirPods Pro are equipped with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology, which is designed to effectively block out background noise, allowing for clearer phone calls and audio communication. 

AirPods Pro’s ANC technology actively finds and cancels out unwanted background sounds like traffic, talks, and other noises when you use them for calls in noisy places. This makes it easier to focus and avoid distractions while speaking. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that while AirPods Pro are great at blocking out steady, low-frequency background noise, they might not be able to block out all sounds, especially sudden or high-pitched ones. Still, AirPods Pro make calls clearer by blocking out background noise, which is useful for everyday use and in many loud places.

Yes, you can listen to white noise on your AirPods Pro all night if you wish. AirPods Pro are designed for extended listening sessions, making them suitable for various purposes, including playing white noise to help you sleep. 

Not only do they fit well and comfortably, but their Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology can help make your bedroom quieter and more relaxing by blocking out ambient noise. Just make sure that the device that you’re connecting to your AirPods Pro is either fully charged or plugged in so that they can last all night. It’s also important to keep the noise at a safe and comfortable level to avoid any pain or damage to your hearing.

About Author

Muhaiminul is the insightful article’s author on and a fervent DIY living enthusiast. Muhaiminul has spent countless hours learning about and exploring the world of soundproofing techniques and products because he has a deep fascination with creating peaceful and noise-free spaces. Muhaiminul shares helpful advice, detailed how-to guides, and product reviews on out of a desire to help others cultivate peace in their lives.

Quiet Hall Author

Muhaiminul Anik