Create the Ultimate Noise Cancelling Earphones





Introduction: Create the Ultimate Noise Cancelling Earphones

Today I am going to show everybody how to create earphones that maximize noise cancellation, plus its very simple. Double the fun!

Basically we're going to put together foam ear plugs, which is basically the most noise cancellation you can hope for unless you live on the moon or enter a vacuum chamber to listen to music. LETS GO!

Step 1: Materials

You will need:
-Foam ear plugs
-In-ear headphones
-Extra earcap thingies that should come with your in-ear headphones
-Superglue (I hate this stuff)
-Tweezers (optional)

Step 2: Cuttin' the HOle

This can be up to you as to how you want to create a hole. Well maybe it would be better to call it a tunnel.

I used a cylindrical filer to create this tunnel. Then I also used sharp-tipped scissors to make a bigger hole. Take a filer of some sort and try to clear out the hole a bit. I believe this is the hardest part of this instructable.

Step 3: Cut the Earpieces

Yes, you're going to have to sacrifice one of your earpieces to arrive at a more glorious earpiece. Most in-ear headphones, if not all, should come with different sized earpieces and its likely that you're not going to use the other sizes, so just cut it up!

Basically you want to remove the outer bulb of the earpiece and keep only the piece that keeps your earpiece attached to the headphone. We only need this because it will be the thing that holds our ear foam plug and the headphones together

All we want is that itsy bitsy tube thingy

Step 4: GAHH Superglue

I really hate this stuff

Anyways, we want to apply the superglue to the cut up earpiece. Look:

So apply the superglue to the outer silicon earpiece and not the headphones themselves. Dont actually apply the superglue before looking at the next step.

Step 5: Attaching the 2

Now before you put the headphones into the ear plugs, stretch out the hole of the ear plug so you have more room no get the headphones into the ear plugs.

It should look a little something like that. it looks so cuteee...

Step 6: DONE

You are done! In case you dont know how ear plugs work, you roll them up to make them a very small size, and before they start getting bigger, shove them into your ear. Wait for the plugs to grow in size and you have these wonderful sound canceling headphones.

They really do cancel sound out very efficiently and they look sexy.

2 People Made This Project!


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25 Discussions

This is "Noise Isolation", not "Noise Cancellation". "Noise Cancellation" uses sound 180 degrees out of phase (usually requiring a microphone in each ear piece) to actively neutralize the sound. Passive noise reduction like foam insulation, provides sound isolation; not cancellation.

Please consider better representing your Instructable as

"Create the Ultimate Noise Isolation Earphones"

By using the word "Cancellation" you are unintentionally misleading people actually looking for a "Noise Cancellation" instructable. And those seeking "Noise Isolation" cannot find your instructable.

I guess you don't have a clue as to what noise cancelling headphones are. That was a waste of 2 minutes of my life. This was ultimate nothing.

1 reply

Ummm I'm from the US and we call those "in-ear headphones" earphones

1 reply

Noise reduction is what you are doing with these. Noise cancellation is creating a out of phase sound to cancel out the original noise,

Good stuff, saves from buying comply foam tips, I do have noise cancelling headphones but the earbuds are awful and don't stay in. These are the solution. Thanks

I absolutely love this instruct able. I love it so much because of your voice tone, your attitude and completness, and most of all, the way you make something awesome even more awesome and more fun. Thank you so much for making an even better place, for it is people like you that make this site work. Thanks once again. PS: You just made my day. :D

A leather punch would put a fine hole through the ear plug. Just mash the plug into a pancake and punch.

Have you thought about using a bridal? heating it up so it half melt's half stabs it's way through?

You could also, instead of drilling or cutting a whole insert a stiff coffee straw all the way through and glur that inthe thcap piece that goes into the earbug.

What about crushing it all the way flat and then using a cigar punch, the round one not the slicer, to punch a hole through?

this just reduces noise, not cancels it, canceling involves a microphone a microcontroller, and complex algorithms

Well, I guess the author meant sound ISOLATION, but the fact is that a good isolating in-ear phone (or "canal earphomne" as they are also called) is in fact the "ULTIMATE" earphone of all.

All "active" noise cancelling headphones are of low fidelity compared to the better isolating earphones. All cancelling circuits add undesirable artifacts and work properly only in the low frecuencies, thus being effective to attenuate a low hum type of noise. Rigorous testing articles of active vs. isolating phones can be found on the net.

The better isolating earphones were developed from musicians in-ear professional monitors, but with a flatter frequency response. Present day canal earphones can easily equal very high quality HiFi headphones but cost usually twice the "equivalent" of what the over the head phones cost for a similar sound. (It is the cost of having truly high fidelity on a portable device!).

Some personal project notes-
Didn't use superglue.  The compression of the foam around the tip of the earbuds was more than enough to hold in place.
Had great success in punching the hold by using a rotary leather punch.  The punch has a wide variety of sizes, so it was easy to punch the exact size I needed.
Paper punch makes holes way too big for any of the buds I used - though it might work if combined with superglue.
These are great on the subway - I'm able to use them at a far lower volume than my old buds, due to blocking the ambient noise from the train. 

Just a thought - If there was a constant tone of X Herts, (X refering to a single tone inaudible to the human ear), with the appropriate control circuitry and limiters, would this block out all other noises, except the incoming noise? i'm building an active noise cancelling processor unit, I'll post it up when i'm done.

This is a really good idea..but! Technically, this is considered "high isolation", NOT "noise cancelling". Noise cancelling involves using another set of microphones to purposely pick up ambient sound near each earphone and then combining this with the "program" audio in such a way that the ambient sound is "cancelled". The technique is called phase cancellation. The newer military aircraft use a version of this technology at the source to reduce engine noise. The technique has the added advantage of reducing thermal signature somewhat (if anybody cares). It kind of makes me wonder if a cheap pair of noise cancellers could be built...I've got to think about this..Hmmm!