Saturday, October 24, 2015

Airline Headphones

Airline headphones. The good the bad and the ugly. Have you ever flown on a plane before? Kind of loud wasn't it? Between the noise of the plane hurtling through the air at 500 mph, to the sound of the engines and maybe even having to listen to a little of your neighbors music, planes are loud. Airline headphones, or noise canceling headphones as they are also sometimes called can be a lifesaver for travelers.

So let's talk for a minute about sound. Specifically let's talk about reducing sound. Now maybe you remember from high school that sound is a wave. Actually lots of waves, coming at you. Now you have the choice of blocking those waves using a couple of different methods.

One way is passive noise cancellation. This would be earplugs, earmuffs, or sticking your fingers in your ears. This basically prevents, or greatly reduces the amount and energy of the waves that reach your inner ear, creating the sound you hear. This is the crude but effective approach.

There are a few drawbacks to passive noise cancellation though. One is that all sounds are reduced equally. Imagine a noisy airplane. You put on a pair of big earmuffs, close your eyes and enjoy some well-needed peace. But what's this. The flight attendant is asking if you'd like a beverage. She asks a second time. You don't respond because she is blocked out like all the rest of the sounds.

See if the decibel reduction on you earmuffs is 20, and the flight attendant is speaking at 19 then you don't get your in-flight soda. Now imagine if the person next to you was asking for an airsickness bag because there wasn't one in front of them. Yikes!

Now let's say you instead had on a pair of active noise canceling headphones, airline headphones. Here's what's happening behind the scenes. Active sound reduction monitors the surrounding noise levels and creates a sound to match it. Now when these two sound waves run into each other, they essentially cancel each other. Picture two cars as sound, each matched to the other and speeding toward each other. When they hit, both of their energy is spent, and they stop moving. That's what happens to the sound waves.

Now, this technology can't block out every sound actively. It works best for sounds that are steady. Like a lawnmower or the noise inside an airplane. That's because the headphones have to sample the sound, then create and send a counter sound at the right frequency. It can't happen effectively with sounds that are continually changing.

That's where the best part of airline headphones come into play. They also have passive sound blocking capabilities with molded ear cups etc. Then add in the option to flick a switch and have your world hush down even at 30,000 feet, and you've got a winner.

Airline headphones continue to grow lighter and more advanced every day. The technology only existed in sci-fi not that many years ago, and now they are available for purchase by anyone. If you travel or are just looking for a little peace and quiet, consider airline headphones.

You can find different models of airline headphones at Thanks for visiting our blog.

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