I just purchased the Plane Quiet NC-7 Noise Cancelling Headphones from their US manufacturers Pro Travel Gear to wear while commuting to work on trains and buses. That way I could listen to music or watch my Tokai 7″ inch portable DVD/DIVX player in relative peace and quiet without having to turn up the volume quite loud like I had to with my old Sennheiser HD 202 headphones
Every time you hear a really loud sound, your hearing acuity decreases. Thankfully, the effect usually isn’t permanent – audiologists refer to it as temporary threshold shift – but repeated exposure to high volumes will likely reduce your hearing ability. If you occasionally experience ringing in your ears after listening to loud music or other sounds, take heed. Nature’s telling you to turn it down. If you don’t, you will suffer some hearing loss – and you’ll never get it back.
That’s why it’s a bad idea to block out external noise by cranking your portable audio device’s volume up to 11. Noise cancelling headphones alleviate this widely ignored problem. Noise cancelling headphones enable you to hear your music without blowing out your eardrums.
Plane Quiet NC-7 Features
- Proprietary noise cancelling algorithm providing up to 17 decibels of noise cancellation across the entire sound spectrum.
- Compact and lightweight (70 grams for headphones on head and 220grams total for headphones stored in the case)
- Volume control and Automatic Noise Cancellation (ANC) on/off switch on separate clippable control box. Note: Headphones still work without noise cancellation if the battery goes flat.
- Foldable design fits easily into included Protective Case
- Limited lifetime warranty
- 1.5m (5 ft) Cord
- Powered by single AAA battery (included) that provides a minimum of 14 hours continuous use
- 3.5mm Stereo plug and Dual-pin airline adapter (included) are compatible with all worldwide airline in-flight entertainment systems and portable electronic devices, such as laptops, iPod™ and other MP3 devices, DVDs and CD players.
Noise Cancellation Explained
Technically speaking, any type of headphone can provide some passive noise reduction. That’s because the materials of the headphones themselves block out some sound waves, especially those at higher frequencies. However the best passive noise cancelling headphones are heavier and bulkier than normal headphones.
Active noise-cancelling headphones can do everything that passive ones can do but they also add an extra level of noise reduction by actively erasing lower-frequency sound waves by creating their own sound waves to cancel out some of the the incoming noise.
Using a microphone, noise cancelling circuitry and speaker noise-cancelling headphones are able to provide a noise reduction of around 20 decibels. That means about 70 percent of ambient noise is effectively blocked, making noise cancelling headphones ideal for airline and train travel, open office environments or any other location with a high level of background noise.
A decibel (dB) is a measure of sound intensity. The dB scale is logarithmic, meaning that a change of 10 dB represents a tenfold change in loudness. So, a sound measuring 30 dB is 10 times louder than a sound measuring 20 dB.
While noise cancelling headphones do a good job distinguishing between the audio a wearer wants to hear and the background noise he or she wants to keep out, some people say that they compromise sound quality by muffling sounds.
Noise-cancelling headphones are better at eliminating low frequency sounds, such as the rumble of a train or roar of an air plane’s jet engines, than say the voice of someone talking on a mobile phone next to you. That’s because higher frequencies are more difficult to cancel out, so the headphones rely more on padding and insulation for this, leaving the circuitry to focus on the lower frequencies.
3 Kinds of Noise Cancelling Headphones
- Around your ear (circumaural) headphones – Surround your whole ear with padding.
Pros: Excellent noise cancelling abilities.
Cons: Expensive, large and heavy.
- On your ear headphones
Pros:Very Good noise cancelling abilities. Generally smaller and lighter than Around ear.
Cons:Don’t offer quite as good a seal against noise as Around ear.
- Ear buds (in your ear canal) – Like other earbuds that come included with MP3 players etc they fit right into your ear.
Pros:Excellent noise cancelling abilities, don’t need batteries because they’re passive and often cheaper,
Cons: Some people like me find them uncomfortable & you can’t share them with others like you can with headphones.
In spite of the trade-offs, many people would never go back to normal audio headphones. That’s because noise cancelling headphones do more than reduce noise. They also help alleviate fatigue when travelling, which can result from exposure to low-frequency noise for an extended period of time. You can even use noise cancelling headphones if you don’t want to listen to another audio source but do want to cancel out background noise. And a little bit of quiet can be music to anyone’s ears.
I only wish the shipping charges to Australia were cheaper. I would have been happy to get them a few days later in exchange for cheaper shipping. Otherwise I rank them 9/10. In comparison the Sennheiser PXC150 noise cancelling headphones require 2 x AAA batteries, only have a 2yr warranty, aren’t foldable and are 50%+ more expensive than the Plane Quiet NC7′s.
The Plane Quiet NC7 Noise Cancelling Headphones can be purchased directly from Plane Quiet for US $80+shipping. It cost me $AUS 120 including express 3 day FedEx International Priority shipping (North Carolina, USA -> Sydney, Australia).
If you prefer ear buds I would recommend the Solitude® Passive Noise Reduction In-the-Ear Stereo Headphones also sold by Plane Quiet for $US $39.95+shipping.
NOTE: If you use the travelinsider discount code you’ll get a 5% discount off the price including shipping