Anyone who has been in or around an aircraft during its operation can appreciate how loud these machines are. Although the thickness of the fuselage does a reasonable job of canceling noise for passengers, pilots must be able to communicate with a level of precision that is not compatible with the native cockpit noise level. As a result, most airlines mandate the use of headsets for pilots to effectively hear and transmit verbal messages. The market for aviation headsets is broad and diverse, with significant variability in quality and price between models. In this blog, we will discuss everything you need to know about noise-reducing headphones for aviation.
Noise-canceling aviation headsets may be broadly categorized as active noise reduction (ANR), passive noise reduction (PNR), or dynamic noise reduction (DNR). While all three technologies aim to reduce the ambient noise reaching the pilots, they differ in their strategies and capacity. When choosing a particular headset, it is necessary to consider the budget, level of noise cancellation required, and the quality of voice transmittance needed. In order to get a better understanding of each technology's capabilities, we will now expand upon the three.
Passive noise reduction involves the physical blocking of soundwaves using a barrier. This method of noise reduction has been around since early headphone designs, with most producers implementing earmuffs with thick material to help facilitate physical noise blocking. This method is best used to block mid to high-frequencies noises, and when fitted optimally, most will dampen the volume of the ambient noise by 15-30dB. Although passive noise reduction technology is less effective than other methods, headphones implementing this technology are generally much lighter in weight. They are also endowed with the benefit of not requiring a power source in the form of batteries or an external module.
Active noise reduction makes use of wave physics to block out ambient noise digitally. Sound travels as a sine wave, which has a particular amplitude. The amplitude helps quantify the maximum height of the wave in either direction, which means a wave set at 0 with an amplitude of 1 will result in values that fluctuate between 1 and -1. To cancel out volume so effectively, active noise-reducing headsets create another sound wave with the same amplitude as the target sound but with a shifted phase. When precisely produced, the two waves will effectively cancel each other out and reduce the volume by a significant amount. While headsets implementing active noise reduction technology are incredibly effective, it is necessary to keep in mind their relative price, weight, and need for a power source.
Dynamic noise reduction is an advanced form of active noise reduction which actively scans waves for repetitive signals and removes them. These headsets can reduce noise over a wide variety of frequencies, from the very lowest up to 3,5000Hz. With the quickest and most accurate noise-canceling ability, dynamic noise-reducing headsets are equipped to handle the most intensive operations. However, this technology runs thousands of dollars more expensive than other options on average, historically limiting their use to extreme applications such as military fighters.
Whatever noise reduction technology you decide to implement, Stacked Aerospace is ready to serve as your strategic sourcing partner, offering rapid lead times, cost savings, and one of the most diverse inventories in the industry. Owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we give customers direct access to an inventory of over 2 billion ready-to-purchase aerospace items. Additionally, as an AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B accredited enterprise, we implement several quality assurance measures to ensure our customers receive the best components possible. We invite you to browse our numerous part catalogs today, or use our comprehensive search engine to find the exact item you are looking for. Once you have found a component that fits your requirements, you may begin the purchasing process at any time using our Instant RFQ service.
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