Transparency Mode is a feature that's becoming more common on wireless earbuds. Since Apple introduced Transparency Mode with the Airpods Pro, it's been slowly adopted by nearly every new wireless earbud on the market. While it goes by many names (Ambient Aware, Hear Through, etc), the function remains largely the same. But what is Transparency Mode and how does it work?
What is Transparency Mode?
The goal of Transparency Mode is to allow the listener to hear what's going on around them without removing their earbuds. By utilizing the Earbuds' built-in microphones, the earbuds can control the level of external sound you hear and blend it with whatever you have playing. This allows you to hear your surroundings while still listening to whatever you like. It's quite a useful feature, especially on Airpod-Style earbuds where you run the risk of dropping or losing the earbud if you take them off.
How does Transparency Mode work?
Transparency mode is typically found on wireless earbuds with Adaptive Noise Cancellation. By using built-in mics, the headphones can send a feed of outside sounds, to let you hear what's going on around you despite the natural noise cancellation of the earbuds' shape. ANC is the reverse of this, where the earbuds monitor the outside sound with the mic and play the phase-inverted version of that in real-time to cancel out the sound waves and get better isolation. Both functions rely on the same principle and are normally controlled by the earbuds' built-in touch controls/parent app.
Do my headphones have Transparency Mode?
With so many products available, it would be nearly impossible to list every single model of headphones with Transparency Mode. If you have a pair of Airpods-style wireless earbuds made after 2020, then the answer is most likely yes. Having an Adaptive Noise Cancellation mode is another indicator that it most likely has Transparency Mode. If your headphones have an app that you can use to control the device's settings, you can find it there (although transparency mode goes by several other names, depending on the brand).
Shop for Earbuds with ANC and Transparency Mode here