Amazon Patents Noise-Canceling Headphones That Let Certain Noises In

Image courtesy of Adam Gerard

It’s fun to read new patents, since they’re news about products that aren’t necessarily ever hitting the market in real life, but they could. For example, there’s the new patent from Amazon for a potentially useful product: noise-canceling headphones that cut the audio when a certain sound happens in the world around you.

The headphones, which we learned about via CNET, can be programmed to recognize certain sounds or sound patterns, including words and combinations of words, such as, “Yo, LAURA!”

Another option is for another electronic device to send a signal to shut down the headphones: your doorbell or landline phone could cut off the podcast or music you’re so engrossed in.


Like always-on virtual assistants that listen for key words, this means that the device would always be “listening” to the environment around it. The best-known use of technology like that so far has been for Amazon’s Alexa speaker, which knows to wake up when it hears its own name.

There could be key safety features programmed into the headphones, like having car horns or sirens set as a sound that automatically turns off your music. Common fire alarms systems’ sounds would be a good addition, too.

Amazon’s next noise-canceling headphones could turn off when someone yells your name [CNET]

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