I Took My Noise-Cancelling Headphones To Disney World

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I love visiting Disney World – the festive atmosphere, the unique rides and the fully immersive experiences. But as I get older, and deafer, and more sensitive to loud noises, enjoying things like a Disney theme park have gotten more challenging. On my most recent trip, I decided to try a new tactic, and brought my noise-cancelling headphones along. I had them anyway, since I needed them for the plane ride down to Florida.

The headphones worked wonders – I was able to enjoy many attractions that would otherwise have been way too loud, and it helped keep my hearing loss exhaustion at bay – for a little while longer anyway.

The first day of our visit, we went to Magic Kingdom where I didn’t really need them. Most of the rides and shows had moderate volumes. I could hear most of what was being said — enough to get the basic back-story, which was all I really needed. Most importantly, the noise level was not overwhelmingly loud. Only once at a bustling lunch spot did my iPhone decibel reader get even close to a dangerous level. Perhaps it is because Magic Kingdom gears itself primarily to families with young children.

I was also pleasantly surprised at the widespread availability of captioning at many of the attractions. Certain shows also offered hearing loops and/or written synopses. I didn’t need to use these things this time around, but I was happy to see that they were available if I do need them in the future.

The second day was a different story. We went to Disney Hollywood Studios, which caters to teens and young adults. The attractions included things like an extreme car stunt show with revving motors and squealing tires and a demonstration of special effects which included booming explosions, gunshots and fireworks. Even the Frozen movie sing-along had the soundtrack pumped way up. It was all very loud.

I was very grateful for the headphones, which I used to block out the overwhelming volume levels. The noise-cancelling feature was an added plus since it helped block out the background noise, making it easier for me to understand the voices that were explaining the action. Most importantly, it helped me keep my sanity, which made the day more fun for my family, all of who hear just fine and didn’t seem bothered in the slightest by any of it.

Isn’t it wonderful that today’s technologies have brought such life improvements for those of us with hearing loss? I know I am grateful for it. It makes me wonder, where should I bring my noise-cancelling headphones next?

Readers, do you take your noise-cancelling headphones out and about with you?

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40 thoughts on “I Took My Noise-Cancelling Headphones To Disney World”

  1. Jerry Henderson – Pownal Maine – Thank you for coming to my space. This is where I post thoughts, opinions and commentary on a variety of subjects at irregular intervals. I try to do something weekly, but have not nailed down a rigid schedule, like every Wednesday, yet. If you would like email notifications of new posts, you can make that happen right on the site. Simply enter your email address to subscribe. Also, if you would like to comment I welcome that. Just do so in the space at the bottom of any selected post. Sharing thoughts, opinion and commentary is a peculiarly human characteristic. It must be exercised to be enjoyed. Jerry Henderson
    Jerry says:

    Well, I’ve been to Disney World once. It was garishly loud most of the time and I believe that’s by design. I managed by turning the volume down, at times to the lowest point and used the forward focusing microphones only.

    I have not had much luck with headphones and my hearing aids. Feedback is common. I had good luck with noise canceling headphones when I was using CIC instruments, but when I needed to go to the more powerful BTE units, feedback began to be a problem.

    I had a pair of CIC instruments years ago that had a kind of limit switch circuit that shut the volume down for sudden loud outbursts. It didn’t do much for understanding however.

    For me, noisy environments are simply avoided if at all possible.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Thanks Jerry. That is a good point about the BTE units. My headphones are pretty big, but it still may be an issue.

  2. Katherine Bouton – New York – Katherine Bouton is the author of "Smart Hearing: Strategies, Skills and Resources for Living Better with Hearing Loss." (2018) available at Amazon.com or B&N.com in paperback or ebook. It updates and amplifies the now-out-of-print "Living Better with Hearing Loss." Her first book, "Shouting Won't Help," tells the story of her hearing loss and her bumpy and sometimes hilarious journey to acceptance. She is a former editor at The New York Times, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Hearing Loss Association of America. She is President of the New York City Chapter of HLAA. Her blog can be found at katherinebouton.com. She has had progressive bilateral hearing loss since she was 30.
    Katherine Bouton says:

    Good idea.
    You could also have probably used musician’s earplugs, which cut out loud noise but let quieter sounds in. Much cheaper too. Or even regular old earplugs. Of course if you’ve got an in-the-ear hearing aid earplugs won’t work — no room for them!
    Just take the hearing aid out?
    The employees at Disney Hollywood Studios are being blasted with that noise all day every day. It has to be taking a toll on their hearing.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Thanks for your suggestions Katherine. I do feel badly for the people who work there!

  3. I wear my noise-cancelling earphones to the gym, not just to listen to audiobooks and music, but to muffle the loud music and bone-jarring sound of weights behind dropped.
    I would like to know if anyone has had experience with noise-cancelling earplugs. I was in Panera’s yesterday and was on the verge of a panic attack from the constant barrage of voices and silverware. I must have looked like a madwoman because an employee stopped to ask if I needed help. I am uncomfortable bringing bulky earphones to a restaurant, but earplugs would be a low-key option.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      That is a good idea. Thanks for sharing it. I have not tried the earplug version yet.

  4. kathimestayer – Williamsburg – My work, whether it's writing or advocacy, is all about hearing and hearing loss. From advances in cognitive neuroscience to acoustics to sounds in nature to language, it's all under my massive umbrella of curiousity.
    kathimestayer says:

    Please post a photo of you in the ‘phones! I want to see how…..visible….they are. It’s really cool when somebody who’s HoH “goes visual” like that. I am thinking of getting a blaze-orange vest that says “DEAF” on the back in big letters for when I’m on a hiking trail that’s also used by cyclists. Their “on your left” is really not ever loud enough for me to hear. They need to know that, right?

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Good idea. I should have taken a photo! They are pretty big. Thanks for reading!

    2. I made one for bicycling. I hope drivers see it and know to give me a wide berth since I can’t hear them behind me, it does seem better when I wear it.
      Don’t be shy, put on your dayglow and rock it!

  5. wgiles – Central Illinois – I'm a 68 year old Mining Engineer living in Central Illinois. My family has been involved in Mining for at least four generations. My main recreational interests are Photography, Analog Electronics, Camping, Hiking, Hunting and Fishing.
    Bill says:

    I understand what noise cancelling earphones are, but I don’t quite understand how you are using them. What are you using for your program source? Do the headphones amplify sounds by themselves or do they require a separate amplifier. I have amplified hearing protection muffs that allow the outside in until the sound level gets too high, but I don’t believe that you are referring to them. While noise cancelling earphones may reduce the apparent noise level, they work by producing noise that is out of phase with the environmental noise. I’m not certain that this provides an actual reduction in the sound level.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      I use them simply to block the noise and do not attach them to any program or audio feed. I am using them as earplugs/earmuffs basically. For me, if I put on the noise cancelling feature, it blocks out the background noise even more than it normally does just from being an earmuff, and lets me hear the voices better. I use the Bose ones. I hope that helps explain it better. Thanks for your question.

      1. wgiles – Central Illinois – I'm a 68 year old Mining Engineer living in Central Illinois. My family has been involved in Mining for at least four generations. My main recreational interests are Photography, Analog Electronics, Camping, Hiking, Hunting and Fishing.
        wgiles says:

        Thanks, I understand a bit better.

  6. I use my noise cancelling headphones when I am riding in the car and not driving. They are not plugged into any device, I just turn them on. On trips of an hour or more, the road noise leaves me deafer and exhausted by the time I get to my destination. It also helps when the other person has the radio or cd player going in the car, which pretty much sounds like barking dogs to me and causes me to feel stressed out and irritated. I would love to use them while driving because you can still hear things like speech and sirens, just not all the other noises – however I am afraid I would get pulled over if I attempted that. I think we need smaller versions!

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Good idea to wear them as a passenger in the car on a long trip. I should try that. I always wear them on planes and trains. Thanks for the idea.

  7. I have a moderate to severe hearing loss and wear hearing aids for work and general conversations. But I cannot wear them in restaurants or other public places very often because the background noises get too loud. But at the same time my hearing is poor when I don’t wear them, and I have noticed that I am sensitive to loud noises. People think that is strange because I have a hearing loss! Now I know I am not crazy!

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Not crazy at all! Thanks for your comment!

    2. kathimestayer – Williamsburg – My work, whether it's writing or advocacy, is all about hearing and hearing loss. From advances in cognitive neuroscience to acoustics to sounds in nature to language, it's all under my massive umbrella of curiousity.
      kathimestayer says:

      thanks for the photo. Should we Occupy Panera with our headphones on?

    3. Me too!!! I’m 51,born severe to profoundly deaf…..my hearing family think I’m a drama queen…when I decide to switch my hearing aids off completely whilst outside…. Could this be the reason why I get a lot of headaches… Hearing exhaustion/stress?

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      I use the ones from Bose. They are expensive but work very well.

  8. Cathy – United States – My passion is writing and being a health advocate. The marriage of the two is what I've decided to do now during my "Second Chapter." My blog, An Empowered Spirit, is for people age 50+ who want to live a vibrant and healthy life. I am a writer for several health websites focusing on Multiple Sclerosis. I enjoy "paying it forward to others" as an MS Peer Advocate for Teva Neuroscience. I am happily married with one wonderful son and 3 adorable cats. I am crazy about classic black and white movies. My perfect weekend would be to hang out with Robert Osborne at the TCM Film Festival in Hollywood. I'll have to work on that.
    Cathy says:

    I am just beginning to have ringing in my ears with loud noises bothering me. Do you wear those big, bulky headsets around? Just want to learn more. And what is BTE that someone mentioned. So glad you got to travel in comfort with your headphones. Good job!

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Here is a picture of the headphones I wore. I wear them just when I need them – on a plane, or at a movie, or at an attraction/ride at Disney. I usually don’t wear them just walking around during the day unless it is in a very loud place. Hope that helps! Also – BTE is behind the ear – a type of hearing aid. http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00M1NEUA0?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage

  9. I love Disney World but I am constantly dismayed at the noise level, and fear I have hastened my own trip to the hearing aid store every time I go. I try ear plugs but they are a pain and don’t stay in good. I’m checking out your headphones!

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Please do. Thanks for your comment!

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      I agree. Thanks for your comment.

  10. I too want to see a pic! And did you notice others wearing them?

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Yes! Mostly children though. I will definitely get a photo next time!

      1. kathimestayer – Williamsburg – My work, whether it's writing or advocacy, is all about hearing and hearing loss. From advances in cognitive neuroscience to acoustics to sounds in nature to language, it's all under my massive umbrella of curiousity.
        Kathi Mestayer says:

        How about a selfie?
        🙂

  11. We have been going to Disney World yearly for many years. The volume of the parades on Main Street USA has been getting louder. Just about all the music at Disney Springs and at the Epcot Pavilion is way too loud. I downloaded a db meter on my iphone, but I couldn’t get within 50 feet, and over 200 feet from the Epcot Pavilion, and sttill, it registered over 100db. Having to wear headphones and bringing headphones for children is not the soloution. It was not always like this.I have sent a complaint to guest services who responded quickly. The person I talked to agreed, and said they have been getting a lot of complaints about the volume. Complaints are passed on to the appropriate departments. Please, send an email to them with your complaint about the noise, and maybe if we make enough noise, the will turn down the volume.
    email is: guest.services@disneyworld.com

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Thank you for that information. Great idea.

  12. I have a 3M Earmuff I wear when mowing the lawn, using chipper shredder, etc. Wear the muff over my hearing aids. I have moderate hearing loss and use Widex Unique Fusion 440 bte/ric. Use Com-dex for connection to cell phone. Enjoy listening to phone calls, music, audio books from cell phone (android) via Com-dex. Especially like the ambient sound/room mute feature. Not sure what noise cancelling head phones would do for me. Would these just be a substitute for the Ear Muffs. Would I get the same benefit from using a sound source from cell phone via Com-dex set to zero or low volume? With/without room mute?

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Seems like you have a system that works for you which is great news. The Earmuff seems similar to my headphones. The one difference would be the noise cancelling feature which blocks out background sounds helping to make voices clearer for me. Thanks for sharing your system.

  13. Michael Thaddeus Doyle – Chicago, IL – I'm a NYC-native, Latino, Jew-by-choice, hardcore WDW fan in Chicago with an Irish last name. I believe in social justice, big cities, and public transit. I do nonprofit development. I've written this blog since 2005. Believe in the world you want to live in. #Resist <a href="https://www.chicagocarless.com/bio/">Full Bio on Chicago Carless >></a>
    Michael Benami Doyle says:

    I’m ADHD with noise hypersensitivity which I discovered only a few years ago. I wear my Bose QC25s on airplanes now, and they’ve made flights from Chicago to WDW so much more bearable. I never though to bring them into the parks with me. Except: fireworks shows! I wither and sometimes want to just recoil in fear with my hands over my ears when I have to deal with the superloud fireworks at Epcot or (just kill me now) Magic Kingdom, parsk which I otherwise love. Reading your post, it just seems so obvious now. Later this year, I’ll finally be able to enjoy Illuminations without the fear. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Excellent! Glad to help.

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