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Snoopy8

Discussion: NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES VS CUSTOM IN EAR MONITORS FOR TRAVELLING

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It was not possible to post there, so decided to start one here.

 

The feature does a good job of summarising the pros and cons of noise cancelling headphones vs ear buds and reflects the author's preference for ear buds.

 

It however misses out on one crucial point. Many people cannot wear ear buds for an extended duration, so it becomes a moot point that it is better at blocking out the sound.

 

By way of experience, used to fly regularly, at times 2 or 3 domestic flights per month, plus occasional international flights to Asia and USA. Tried at least 6 different noise cancelling headphones and 2 or 3 ear buds. One set of ear buds came with 10 different inserts. Alas, my ears could maybe take max of 1 to 2 hours before they got irritated. Was tempted to get custom made ones but the cost and my likely rejection would have made it a costly exercise. And oh!, ear buds and their inserts are very easy to lose.

 

Spoke to fellow travellers who have tried ear buds as well, with the same irritation issue. Maybe 4 out of 5 were using noise cancelling headphones c.f. ear buds.

 

Am still using Bose QC25 for my now occasional flights. They fold nicely and use 1 AAA battery with a slot in the small case for a spare. 

Edited by Snoopy8
Missed out easy

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Hi @Snoopy8

 

I'm in the headphone camp, tried earbuds and they literally made the canal and surroundings extremely sore, and that was after only ~ 30 - 40 minutes of wear.

 

I know you can have them made from casts of your ear but then they will only be suitable for you and make resale difficult.

 

JJ

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8 minutes ago, Janjuc said:

Hi @Snoopy8

 

I'm in the headphone camp, tried earbuds and they literally made the canal and surroundings extremely sore, and that was after only ~ 30 - 40 minutes of wear.

 

I know you can have them made from casts of your ear but then they will only be suitable for you and make resale difficult.

 

JJ

For ear buds to effectively cut out noise, they had to be a tight fit. It is the tight fit which causes the discomfort and irritation in the ears. 

 

When I said max 1 to 2 hours, it was with 1 set of inserts from the one which had 10 choices. Like you, 30 to 40 minutes was typical.

 

Maybe a custom fitted ones would have lasted 2 hours??? Not long enough for any international flight out of Australia.

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I long haul to Europe twice a year, and will be going again in a few weeks. I started with Sure sound isolating earbuds. Extremely effective but like many here, I found them irritating, especially if I fell asleep with them in as I would turn my head and press them further into my ear.

 

I then went to Bose QC15's which were great but couldn't be used without battery power or being able to turn noise cancelling off. Now have Sennheiser PXC550 and the increase in noise isolation and overall practicality is fantastic. I love the wireless use of them for bluetooth music but tend to swap over to disposable ear plugs for sleeping. I still travel with my Apple Air Pods too, as incredibly convenient to carry, can hear PA announcements in the airport or hear traffic when out walking.

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4 minutes ago, blybo said:

I then went to Bose QC15's which were great but couldn't be used without battery power or being able to turn noise cancelling off. Now have Sennheiser PXC550 and the increase in noise isolation and overall practicality is fantastic. I love the wireless use of them for bluetooth music but tend to swap over to disposable ear plugs for sleeping. I still travel with my Apple Air Pods too, as incredibly convenient to carry, can hear PA announcements in the airport or hear traffic when out walking.

Still have my QC15 which I kept for my better half when we fly together. The QC25 improved noise cancelling, had a nice feature : when music muted, the mic on it could pick up what the air  steward was saying. Still had batteries though, but music still worked if they died. And also used disposable ear buds when sleeping!

 

One fact that I omitted was almost all my flights were in cattle class. The noise cancelling headphones were a savior!

 

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8 minutes ago, Snoopy8 said:

One fact that I omitted was almost all my flights were in cattle class. The noise cancelling headphones were a savior!

 

Mine too as a business owner I can't justify the 3x the $$$ of business class.

 

OT but Qantas now only fly direct to London in Europe so if going to continental Europe I have to fly Emirates with Qantas code share. This means I can no longer use my wifes Qantas FF points to upgrade between Melbourne and Dubai... F%^&ers 😡😡. Once you've enjoyed Business it's hard to turn right. I now just pay a premium for exit rows.

Edited by blybo

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I use QC25 or Sony 1000XM2 ( I like the the bluetooth option) noise cancelling headphones.  I cannot get on with earbuds for extended listening - sore ears. 

Edited by frankn
Correction

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I too would struggle to wear universal IEMs for long period of time (especially whilst sleeping).

 

Customs are definitely a life saver.. All of my pro touring sound buddies use them for long flights as well as myself.

Edited by White Lotus

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Not long haul but just trans tasman or trans nullarbor here.

 

No irritation from my Koss earbuds. The Sennheiser noise cancellers keep overloading and giving up, and there's too much leakage around the pads. So earbuds are my go-to.

 

After yesterday's flight my wife and I discussed if we should hack the sennheisers by retrofitting closed cups on them. But the idea fails when it comes to the point of explaining wooden cups to Peter Dutton's border rottweilers and their sniffer dogs.

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1 hour ago, ThirdDrawerDown said:

The Sennheiser noise cancellers keep overloading and giving up, and there's too much leakage around the pads.

What model are the Sennheiser headphones?

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