What is better, noise-canceling headphones, earplugs, or something else?

Having tried a couple of those foam earplugs that supposedly block out 33 decibels of noise, and another type of foam ones that don’t specify decibels, I have to say these aren’t really at all effective at blocking out any noise at all. You will still hear it if you can still hear the way humans are meant to hear. I doubt these protect your hearing except to block out the harshest of sounds. I’m concerned that they don’t allow ears to breathe if users use them for many hours. Aren’t those ear holes there for a reason?

Think: Doggie ears are pointy for a reason. They breathe and allow moisture to leave them and this is why dogs such as German Shepherds whose ears point straight up do not get ear infections. Dogs with floppy ears such as Beagles and Bassett Hounds are more prone to ear infections because their ears don’t breathe as well. Moisture can get trapped inside. You must be very careful when taking your Beagle into the shower or bathing him not to get water inside his ears because it’s not going to leave his ears so easily.

Puzzle’s ears are sometimes up, sometimes down, depending on the hair length. After her haircut they stand up and look awfully cute. Right now, they flop down. (Yes, I am going to remember to take a photo this time….)

So when you put these foam things in your ears, they’re hard to put in and not only that, you kinda have to shove them in. So that pushes ear wax into your ear and keeps it there. All those hours that your ears aren’t breathing, that wax sits there trapped. That, to me, does not sound healthy for ears.

When workers who work in truly loud places use these large headphone-type things.  Organizations that have looked into why people lost their hearing after doing such work.  I can imagine these included workers in construction, certain sports, of course the military, some sciences, sometimes music and theater and other performance media such as circus workers, probably much of the service industry such as janitorial workers have to deal with very loud machinery as well. I have seen very simply-made bulky headphones sold at hardware stores and my guess is that these “safety” devices are the best for your ears. They breathe and I’ll bet they truly make you completely TEMPORARILY DEAF. Ah, heaven!

You can most likely make  your own pair our of felt. I mean extremely thick, heavy felt.  I’ll bet it’s possible to do this! If you have an old broken headset that fits well but you are no longer using for music, then add the felt to it and voila, you have a well-fitting set of noise-canceling headphones! My guess is that you should use pads from some other device and put them on your homemade headset. However, we all might not have to go through such trouble at all, since there very well be mom and pop hardware stores selling these RIGHT NOW I CAN’T HEAR A THING headsets for cheap.

Right now I am using a pair called TSC. I am unsure of the model number. These I purchased ages ago for airline flights and I got them directly from the manufacturer. I had a different pair before that that were much higher priced and inferior quality. These were cheaper and much much better. I don’t even know if they are made anymore.

They are durable,  not at all flimsy like other pairs I’ve seen. You can choose to turn on the “noise canceling” feature or not, via a switch on the right hand side. I find that yes, it does change things. Go check it out for yourself. Honestly I am not sure what it does but the manufacturer explains this better than I can. I think they were meant for airplanes but they do not have that obnoxious double plug. They have a regular audio jack plug, the smaller one they have on most smaller systems such as radios, not the wider kind you see on larger systems such as stereos. So they plug into my computer and portable music player, and into many cellular telephones (but not all).

The headset uses one small battery that lasts forever and ever. Remember to turn off the headset when you’re done using them to save the battery! There’s a light on there that will light up so that will remind you.

As for wearing them with glasses, I think it depends on the glasses and the shape of your head. They make kind of a seal around your ears but your glasses are going to annoy you under certain circumstances and that might be unavoidable. The headset presses onto your ears. It kinda has to to ensure noises are blocked out.

With these headphones on you probably want to play other noise to completely drown out what you don’t want to hear. Noise-canceling devices do block noise, but not 100%. Nothing can block out the most offensive noises, trust me. My question is now, what noise will block out the offensive noise but not be equally, or not more offensive?

I don’t like playing music while I work. Why should I distract myself? If I want to listen to music, I want to concentrate on it, I don’t want it bleeping in the background! Wow, if I, as composer years ago realized that “music” was going to mean “background” for people’s much more important work, I would have been offended! Does anyone go to hear the music and actually listen to the music anymore, or do we go and have it drone on and on in the background in some bar while we talk over it?

Is that what art means now? Background to your day? Decoration? Is that what it’s come to? Next time I give a reading, will I be talked over and ignored like I don’t matter? I hope not! (Sadly, some writers have ended up having this happen to them….)

Anyway, the question of what to play into my ears while I sit here writing is up for debate. The last thing I want to hear is anything that reeks of “meditation music” since it reminds me of shrinks and those stupid groups. It sounds obnoxious and often these marketers are selling you something highly priced.

I don’t mind those “mind waves” though that you can get for free. Mindroid and others. Many are sound waves designed to help you concentrate better. You can design your own, too.


Feedback and comments welcome!