I love traveling, but recently it has been harder for me to ride comfortably on an airplane. It’s not the size of the seats or the lack of legroom, although both seem to get smaller every day, it is the noise. The constant hum of the engine seems to trigger my tinnitus, with the bouts getting more severe lately. You can read about that here. So when I needed to fly my daughter out to California (from New York) for camp, I was worried how I would handle the two 6-hour plane flights on back-to-back days. I didn’t want to be incapacitated or have more trouble than usual hearing when I needed to be alert and upbeat for her start to camp.
On previous plane flights, I had tried a number of tactics to keep out the background noise — turning off my hearing aids which then act as earplugs and wearing hoods/hats to block the noise further — but I had not wanted to shell out the cash for a pair of noise cancelling headphones. Plus, who has room in their carry-on bag for such a bulky item. But this time, I felt like I didn’t have a choice. Twelve hours on a plane within a 36 hour period was not the time to skimp on noise protection. So I dug into my wallet and bought a pair.
They worked wonders! I turned my hearing aids way down (I have a sleep mode) and put on the headphones. I had chosen the over the ear variety, because earbuds always hurt my ears, and I thought the padding might offer some extra protection in addition to comfort. As people were boarding, I put in the battery and switched on the noise cancelling feature, just to get a sense of how it might sound. It made a bit of a difference, but it wasn’t too loud yet, so I withheld judgement. Once we were in the air, the impact was tremendous. The hum of the engine was essentially gone, as were most other sounds, but to me the main goal was to get rid of the rhythmic engine sound, which I think is what triggers my tinnitus.
Flight number one went well, and I was able to drop my daughter off without any hearing or tinnitus episode. Flight number two also went well, and I was no worse for wear the following day. This is a new experience after airplane travel. Looks like I need to make some permanent room in my carry-on luggage for these noise cancelling headphones.
Readers, do you use noise cancelling headphones on the plane?