When we wear headphones that block out most external noise, how can we still determine which direction external sounds come from?

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So I’m wearing really great, over the ear noise canceling headphones. The world around me is barely audible. My music is loud enough. How can I still know that sounds are coming from behind me, to the left or right, etc? I thought the actual sound waves would be all kinds of messed up having to get through the headphones and bounce around the space between them and my ears.

In: Biology

2 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments


Anonymous 0 Comments

Your headphones are not noise cancelling because they are air tight, but because it is blasting an inverted sound wave of the ambient noise around you in real time which cancels out the ambient noise. It’s not perfect and sometimes certain frequency noises can get through and since your headphones are far from air tight we can tell the direction of the noise based on how it hits our ear within the phones.