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Pioneer SE-NC31C-K earbuds sport active noise cancellation

One reason audiologists have been decrying the so-called “iPod generation” is that users of portable media players tend to wear them everywhere they go, turning up the volume louder and louder in order to block out sounds around them and focus on their music, podcasts, video, or what-have-you. Over time, all that earbud-blasting will take a toll on users’ hearing.

Pioneer SE-NC31C-K earbuds

For some folks, a solution might be headphones like the new Pioneer SE-NC31C-K, which features active noise cancellation circuitry. The idea is that the SE-NC31C-K’s sport microphones on ear earpiece that enable the headphones to detect ambient sounds in the environment, then electronically generate interference that substantially eliminates that sound at the users’ ear, leaving (mostly) only the music or other audio the user wants to hear.

“It’s amazing how much more of your music can be heard through the SE-NC31C-K’s in environments such as airplanes, where there’s constant noise being produced around you,” said Pioneer Electronics USA director for AV marketing and product planning Chris Walker, in a statement. “Our new SE-NC31C-K earbuds deliver an elevated music experience that you wouldn’t get out of typical in-ear headphones

Pioneer says the SE-NC31C-Ks can eliminate up to 90 percent of ambient sound (measured at 300Hz). The SE-NC31C-Ks also feature 14.6mm drivers and claim frequency response from 5 to 16,000 Hz. The headphones require a single AAA battery to drive the noise cancellation technology (Pioneer says it should last for about 120 hours), and users can extend battery life by turning off the noise cancellation circuitry if they’re in a quiet place or if the battery runs out: in those cases, the SE-NC31C-Ks function just like normal earbuds.

The SE-NC31C-Ks come with an in-flight plug adapter, four sizes of ear tips, and a carrying pouch. They’re available now for a suggested price of $99.