When imagining noise-cancelling headphones, most of us probably think about a “too-cool” teen strutting down the street listening to their music on blast. Surprisingly, they’re not just for kids! Noise-cancelling headphones can also be very beneficial for people with hearing loss. These headphones help people with hearing loss and hearing aids in two distinct ways. Firstly, they can work as hearing protection, and they can also help improve listening in noisy environments.
How do Noise Cancelling Headphones Work?
Noise cancelling headphones work in two separate ways. The first, is simply the shape of the headphone and the fact that this curvature creates a physical barrier between the noise and your ears. The air between acts as a buffer to sounds. What makes noise-cancelling headphones so much more effective than typical ones is the actual noise-cancelling feature. When turned on, “electronics in the earpiece create a wave that is 180 degrees out of phase with the ambient noise, essentially cancelling it out” (https://www.hearingtracker.com/blog/the-joys-of-noise-cancelling-headphones-with-hearing-loss/?utm_source=Hearing+Tracker+Updates&utm_campaign=9665b5eeb2-HEARING_TRACKER_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_01_19&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_790a5b8263-9665b5eeb2-452566997). This noise cancelling circuitry virtually makes the noise disappear!
Noise Cancelling Headphones as Hearing Protection
No matter our age or our degree of hearing loss, it is imperative we protect our hearing. Noise induced hearing loss is permanent and irreversible loss of hearing that is caused by excess exposure to loud noises. While noise induced hearing loss can occur with one extremely loud moment (such as shooting a gun without hearing protection), however, it is more commonly caused by excess exposure over a prolonged period of time. Noise induced hearing loss can effect anyone, at any age, and is also 100% preventable.
This is why it is so important to protect your hearing and where noise cancelling headphones come in handy. These headphones can be worn anywhere loud noises occur. For example, hearing health advocate Shari Eberts wears noise-cancelling headphones wherever she goes – including on the airplane! White noise on the plane is surely annoying, but is it truly dangerous? Shockingly – yes! Eberts used a smartphone app to determine the noise level on a typical airplane and found out it rings in at 80-90 decibels! 85 decibels or higher are considered to be dangerous to your hearing, and the longer the exposure the higher risk for hearing loss. People that take long haul flights or travel often are exposing themselves to noisier and more dangerous environments than they may know (https://www.hearingtracker.com/blog/the-joys-of-noise-cancelling-headphones-with-hearing-loss/?utm_source=Hearing+Tracker+Updates&utm_campaign=9665b5eeb2-HEARING_TRACKER_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_01_19&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_790a5b8263-9665b5eeb2-452566997).
Noise cancelling headphones are the perfect way to combat this issue. Simply pop on the headphones (music optional) and you will reduce your noise exposure significantly. With the noise-cancelled feature switched off the noise is reduced by up to 20 decibels and higher end headphones can reduce noises by 80 decibels when the cancelling feature is turned on.
Noise Cancelling Headphones to Improve Listening Conditions
Noise cancelling headphones can also help to block out background noises in movie or musical theatres. When the background noise is blocked, it can make the dialogue much more audible and understandable. This is especially important in action movies that involve a lot of dramatic music or loud explosions during important conversations. Noise cancelling headphones can be worn literally anywhere noise is bothersome even if conversation is not the most important aspect, such as theme parks or sports complexes. You may feel like you look a little silly, but the benefit will definitely be worth it!
Where to Purchase Noise Cancelling Headphones?
A 2017 Consumer Report (https://www.consumerreports.org/noise-canceling-headphones/who-makes-the-best-noise-canceling-headphones/) discusses some of the top headphone brands and styles. Noise cancelling headphones are also readily available in most electronics shops and even some airport convenience stores. The price tag of these devices can feel a little high, but if they help you understand better and protect your hearing, they may very well be worth the investment.
Get Your Hearing Checked at Least Annually
Whether or not you are taking steps to protect your hearing, or already use hearing aids, it is important to get your hearing checked at least annually. If you are interested in learning more about hearing loss or how to protect your hearing, or you think you may be experiencing some of the early signs of hearing loss, reach out to our friendly team at Hearing Health today. We look forward to working with you and walking you through the process and journey towards better hearing.