Why does anyone need a noise-cancelling headset?

Boy. The brand new headphone is spectacular. I mean it’s just so stunning and so sophisticated. I pity people who grew up without the earphone.

We’ve all had one day where we’ve been jolted awake by the repetitive dirge of the jackhammer outside our house, you try to ignore it and go back to sleep, but, as Austin Powers might say “that train has sailed” .

Bleary eyed and still mostly asleep, you stumble towards the window, hoping to catch the source of this cacophony. Three blokes are standing in the midst of the street, two are idly chatting and one is pulling the roadway to pieces. There’s a barrier stopping anyone from going anywhere.


In between the jackhammer’s obtuse battlecry, you catch snippets of loud, full throated conversation, the manner of talking that only comes from years of talking over roadworks.

“So I said to him, ‘listen mate, if you believe for one second that I’m gonna-‘


“Nah, I haven’t seen that one yet, but the second was an enormous pile of—“


Deep down inside, you hope its the Ghostbuster re-enacting that fabulous scene from ‘Ghostbusters II, its OK to admit it, go on, all of us do it.

Once you head outside and learn that its the entire street that’s being CHUGGA’D’, that series 2 episode of ‘Black Books’ doesn’t seem as funny as it used to.

If that story doesn’t ring a bell (or at least inspire a sympathy headache) then I’ll be a little more precise. There are two distinct forms of noise reduction regarding headphones: the 1st, is known as passive noise cancellation (or reduction, that is certainly more apt), this is essentially a very low tech concept, as anything you stick in or over your ears (including your index fingers, bits of toffee popcorn or novelty hamburger-shaped earmuffs) could have a noise cancelling effect. Using this term, any headset is noise cancelling. The second type is much more high tech; active noise cancellation actually blocks out outside noise using a low field of white noise, which creates a ‘sound vacuum’ that blocks all sound (sadly including train announcements, enraged motorists and oncoming lorries).

So, to return to our previous scene, the workmen are planning on being here a while. If you ask them, they’ll say something like

“Yeah, busted gas main, you’re lucky we found it, actually because—“


And, if you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself making things up if anyone asks you why the road needs digging up. If that is the case, listed here are a couple of suggestions:

Why would a person need a noise cancelling receiver?

“They found Jimmy Hoffa down there”
“They found a sequel to the Bible here”
“They’re filming a new Ghostbusters movie”
“It’s a pain, but at least the dragon eggs are gone now”


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