The Joys of Noise-Cancelling Headphones

I am proud to share my hearing loss story and tips on Hearing Tracker

I love to travel, attend concerts, and live sporting events, but as my hearing loss has worsened, I have become more sensitive to loud sounds. More frequently, the aftermath of a plane flight or visit to a stadium was a long bout of tinnitus and sometimes, even vertigo. It just wasn’t worth it, until I discovered noise-cancelling headphones. I wear them almost everywhere now — on airplanes, at the movies and of course at any concert or loud stadium. Not only do they protect my hearing in the moment, they prevent days of pain and annoyance afterwards.

I first started using noise-cancelling headphones on plane rides. The white noise of an airplane engine can be easy to ignore, but one day I decided to measure it on my iPhone decibel reader. I was amazed to see how loud it actually is! Noise levels ranged from 80 decibels up to 90 decibels on the plane, an unsafe listening level. The rule of thumb is that prolonged exposure to any noise at or above 85 decibels can cause gradual hearing loss, and this hearing loss is permanent.

After that flight, I purchased a high quality pair of noise-cancelling headphones and now wear them every time I travel on an airplane. I also don them on long bus and train rides to block out the rhythmic sounds of the world passing by. Rhythmic sounds, even if they are not that loud, can sometimes trigger my tinnitus.

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14 thoughts on “The Joys of Noise-Cancelling Headphones

  1. I was thinking of you Shari, because my noise cancelling headphones just saved me after 17 hours of flight abroad. I initially got them to wear them on long, loud car rides when I am a passenger to cut out the road noise, but they are essential when flying. In the past, upon arrival to my destination, I would be deafened for days.

    After reading your positive recommendations about them in the past (like when you used them in Disney), I took them on a trip to Norway and wore them on a six hour train ride, a loud boat through fjords, and then just started wearing them in any crowded situation where there are a lot of people talking (noisy tourists in an large room, etc). Again, it saved me from having two days of residual deafness and louder tinnitus than usual. No matter that I got some weird looks from people (and i certainly do), I don’t really care if I can be comfortable and functional.

    They worked great in conjunction with the Lyric, but with Behind-the-Ear hearing aids I find that my aids feed back and it is necessary to turn down the aids in order to avoid that. But when I fly I turn down the aids anyway while using the headphones. Like you, I have Bose – worth every cent.

    Thank you for sharing your discoveries!

  2. Tip: Before purchasing these headphones retail, take a look at online places such as Craigslist for gently used ones. A quick look at the NY/NJ area of the site showed several of them way below cost.

  3. I’ve also paid the price for spending too long in a noisy place. My tinnitus really flares up when I’m exposed to very loud music or noisy restaurants. I never had problems with vertigo in my younger years but now in my 50s, sudden and prolonged loud noise can give me a bad bout of dizziness which can be very scary! Now I carry HEAROS ear plugs in my purse to use in the open ear that does not have a hearing aid to avoid further hearing damage and just turn off my hearing aid in the aided ear . I find that worst places for extreme noise are churches with live bands , choirs, and huge speakers that are turned up way too loud .

  4. Seems like every one of us should wear headphones on airplanes – the noise is really loud! I wonder about flight attendants, years of flying must damage their hearing for certain.

  5. I just purchased noise cancelling headphones, I did not know I could used them in a movie theatre, how does that work?

    • I wear them during the movie with my hearing aids. For me the noise cancelling feature blocks out the background noise so I can better hear the dialogue. Give it a try.

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