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From pilot to passenger: A history of the noise-cancelling headphone

Looking back, it seems as if noise-cancelling headphones went from a technological novelty to a de rigueur accessory for frequent fliers in the blink of a red eye. But developing these noise-cancelling cans wasn’t nearly so swift. The brainchild of Dr. Amare Bose, noise-cancelling technology took well over a decade to go from concept to product, and even then, it wasn’t for consumers.

At an event held in New York celebrating Bose’s 50th anniversary, we got to witness the evolution of the active noise-cancelling headphone, narrated through accounts told by Bose employees. In our video, we take you through the timeline, from the first-ever noise-cancelers made for pilots flying around the world, right up to Bose’s just-released Q25.

Today, active noise-cancelling is a science employed by many headphone companies, but in our experience, none of them work quite like Bose’s. After all, the company wrote the book on the technology.