What is ANC in Aviation? (Active Noise Cancellation)

Active noise cancellation, commonly abbreviated as ANC, is a technology that has become increasingly popular in the aviation industry. It offers a unique solution to one of the most persistent problems faced by passengers on airplanes – noise. The technology has the potential to revolutionize the way people fly, making airline travel more comfortable, quieter, and less stressful. In this article, we will explore what ANC is, how it works, and its impact on aviation.

The Basics of Active Noise Cancellation

Active noise cancellation is a technology that works by creating sound waves that are the opposite of the noise that needs to be canceled out. This is achieved by using microphones and speakers that work together to produce sound waves that have the same amplitude but are out of phase with the original noise. When these opposite sound waves are combined, they cancel each other out, resulting in a reduction in overall noise levels.

ANC was first invented in the 1930s by the United States Navy to improve communication between crew members on naval vessels. It was later adapted for use in aviation to help reduce the amount of noise in airplane cabins. ANC is now used in a wide range of products, from noise-canceling headphones to car cabin noise-reduction systems. However, its use in aviation has been particularly significant, revolutionizing the way people fly.

The Impact of ANC on Airline Travel

ANC has had a significant impact on airline travel, making it more comfortable and less stressful for passengers. The technology works particularly well in canceling out low-frequency noise, such as the sound of the engines during takeoff and landing. This means that passengers can sit back and relax during these noisy and stressful periods, leading to a more pleasant travel experience. ANC also helps to reduce overall levels of noise in the cabin, which can lead to less fatigue and an increased sense of well-being.

In addition to making airline travel more comfortable for passengers, ANC also has benefits for airline crew members. Cabin crew are exposed to high levels of noise during flights, which can lead to hearing loss and other health problems. ANC can help to reduce these risks by reducing overall noise levels in the cabin. This means that crew members can work in a safer and more comfortable environment, leading to better job satisfaction and retention.

The Future of Active Noise Cancellation in Aviation

The future of ANC in aviation looks bright, with new innovations and technologies set to continue improving the passenger experience. For example, researchers are working on developing ANC systems that are tailored to the specific sound profile of individual aircraft. This will allow for more precise noise cancellation and a more comfortable travel experience.

Another development to look out for in the future is the use of active noise control in airport terminals and other ground-based facilities. By applying ANC technology to these areas, airport operators can help to reduce overall noise levels, creating a more comfortable and relaxing environment for travelers. This could help to make airport travel less stressful and more enjoyable, contributing to an overall improvement in the travel experience.


Active noise cancellation is a technology that has the potential to greatly improve the travel experience for airline passengers. By reducing overall noise levels and canceling out specific types of noise, such as the sound of aircraft engines, ANC can make airline travel more comfortable and less stressful. The technology also has benefits for airline crew members, who are exposed to high levels of noise during flights. With new innovations and technologies on the horizon, the future of ANC in aviation looks bright.

If you are interested in learning more about active noise cancellation and its use in the aviation industry, check out this article from NASA on the topic.