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Airport Earplugging (Awkward Questions Again)
#3024518 09/13/20 02:54 AM
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I want to avoid wearing out my hearing unnecessarily.

Therefore... earplugs on airplanes. (Or buses, or...)

But there may be some risks. What if is in fact these are another way to threaten my hearing?

1. What about when ears pop at altitude?

2. If I am putting earplugs in too much, I might get some sort of infection (maybe even the coronavirus—maybe it could hurt hearing if it got near hearing, maybe. Many points of entry.) Or what if I get traces of weird chemicals or alcohols on the earplugs and push them too far and that somehow burns my ears?

I could use heavy-duty foam earplugs if I wash my fingers well and put them on in advance and don't get forced to take them out by the scanners. They require much rolling out, so could get dirty from my fingers. I would not want to do this at the airport.

I could use my reusable earplugs. They are not as intense, but are easier to insert (and adjust). But I would want to make sure I cleaned them well before/after, whatever that involves. Even these I might not prefer to insert at the airport, in case my fingers are dirty.
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I could try to use my AKG 553s as weak earmuffs. Hm. This is less risky, whether or not it is very effective. (Though even this might somehow have risk. Maybe select low frequencies will be amplified/echoed? I'm maybe being silly here.)
----
p.s.
When I use my reusable earplugs, I really should learn the safe practices. Clean them properly? I use water and cotton?

Also, I guess asking for quasi-medical advice is impolite since it's such a weighty thing. Risky. Well, thanks.

Re: Airport Earplugging (Awkward Questions Again)
winterflower #3024532 09/13/20 04:17 AM
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??? I travelled on international flights every week for many years and used basic foam ear plugs to sleep. Never got any particular infection and to my knowedge it did not impact my audition in any way. Just avoid putting them at take off and landing. And clean your hands before manipulating the ear plugs.

Re: Airport Earplugging (Awkward Questions Again)
winterflower #3024547 09/13/20 05:24 AM
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The usual advice for avoiding outer ear infections amongst healthy people is to make sure your ear canals are dry. Don't put ear plugs in if you're just out of the shower. Tip your head over to each side to make sure no water is pooling inside, and then let them dry naturally.

Other than that, ear plugs should be fine.

Re: Airport Earplugging (Awkward Questions Again)
winterflower #3024550 09/13/20 05:41 AM
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Whatever you decide, you will not be able to use anything that obstruct s your hearing during takeoff and landing.

I would frankly use noise-cancelling headphones. I traveled on airplanes for years— often a new flight every day, without hearing loss. In this age of Coronavirus, I would be hesitant to deal with earplugs on a flight, because they.will require multiple insertions, but just my personal opinion of the possible health risk. No evidence of this.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
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Re: Airport Earplugging (Awkward Questions Again)
winterflower #3024555 09/13/20 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by winterflower
I want to avoid wearing out my hearing unnecessarily.

Therefore... earplugs on airplanes. (Or buses, or...)

But there may be some risks. What if is in fact these are another way to threaten my hearing?

1. What about when ears pop at altitude?
Of course they will pop, and you want them to, otherwise your eardrum (which is airtight) bulges painfully.

BTW, popping is just your Eustachian tubes opening momentarily (by yawning, swallowing hard, doing the Valsalva manoeuvre etc) allowing the pressure to equalize across your eardrum.

Quote
2. If I am putting earplugs in too much, I might get some sort of infection (maybe even the coronavirus—maybe it could hurt hearing if it got near hearing, maybe. Many points of entry.) Or what if I get traces of weird chemicals or alcohols on the earplugs and push them too far and that somehow burns my ears?

I could use heavy-duty foam earplugs if I wash my fingers well and put them on in advance and don't get forced to take them out by the scanners. They require much rolling out, so could get dirty from my fingers. I would not want to do this at the airport.

I could use my reusable earplugs. They are not as intense, but are easier to insert (and adjust). But I would want to make sure I cleaned them well before/after, whatever that involves. Even these I might not prefer to insert at the airport, in case my fingers are dirty.
----
I could try to use my AKG 553s as weak earmuffs. Hm. This is less risky, whether or not it is very effective. (Though even this might somehow have risk. Maybe select low frequencies will be amplified/echoed? I'm maybe being silly here.)
----
p.s.
When I use my reusable earplugs, I really should learn the safe practices. Clean them properly? I use water and cotton?

Also, I guess asking for quasi-medical advice is impolite since it's such a weighty thing. Risky. Well, thanks.
Why not get a pair of noise-cancelling earphones (or headphones)? They protect your ears from the noise. I've been using Bose's versions (initially headphones, then earphones) for two decades, and the earphones are easy to insert and remove without touching the bits that go into your ear canal - and you'll get a pretty good insulation from the noise around you. I never travel anywhere without them - for flying, land and sea travel. Long boring noisy air, train or bus journeys become long relaxing musical/concert experiences - with music of my own choosing - with my iPod Classic and Bose QC 20. And for inflight movies (which is when I catch up on the latest blockbusters grin), you get the full cinematic experience with the lush accompanying movie scores from Zimmer or Williams, as well as all those sound effects, with the engine noise all but inaudible.......

You can also get Bluetooth versions of earphones (from Bose, Sony and Apple), though I don't think they are as effective at noise cancelling. (And for inflight movies, don't forget the latency problem.)

Incidentally, you should carry your own bottle of hand sanitizer (alcohol gel or spray) with you when you travel these days, though airports should have dispensers everywhere.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Airport Earplugging (Awkward Questions Again)
winterflower #3024579 09/13/20 07:03 AM
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Just found this article summing up the best noise-cancelling earbuds, in case anyone is interested in getting a pair:

https://www.soundguys.com/best-noise-cancelling-earbuds-5897/


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Airport Earplugging (Awkward Questions Again)
winterflower #3024580 09/13/20 07:14 AM
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This is a very touchy subject for me because as a enthusiast private pilot (until my eyesight test failed me) I developed permanent tinnitus. The roar from a 285 HP Continental engine of WWII design and no exhaust silencing is unforgiving. You wear headphones constantly to keep in touch with ATC (Air Traffic Control) but the kind favoured by airmen in my days, made by David Clark, tended to shout into your ears to make sure the message got through rather than efficiently block outside noise.

My tinnitus is manageable, and only annoying when I am tired and going to bed in the silence of the night. I need a good book (but not a page-turner) to put me to sleep. I can easily mentally block it when playing the piano. It comes naturally : I don't even think about it. But I consciously lower the volume of the phones when playing on the digital, by prudence, which may not be good for my finger control.

The surprising good news is that it is not worsening with age, on the contrary. I now find that I can get two or three hours of respite every afternoon. And I checked my hearing, it's not that I am getting deaf. Airlines? No thank you. My days of relentless international business travel are over, and in Europe we are blessed with fast trains. Just an old guy's testimony.

Last edited by Vikendios; 09/13/20 07:22 AM.

Vincent

"Life is a smorgasbord, and I want to taste every dish."
Steinway "O". Roland LX 706. Viscount Sonus 45 Hybrid with 165 real pipes. Harpsichord by Marc Fontaine.
Re: Airport Earplugging (Awkward Questions Again)
winterflower #3024603 09/13/20 10:05 AM
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I have permanent tinnitus too. It's worse after noise, so I try to avoid it. We can become accustomed to background noise, so it's hard to judge sometimes when something is too loud. It's extraordinary how loud planes and underground trains can be. I remember a few years ago listening to music on my cheap earbuds on a plane. I had to turn it up full to hear it, but wouldn't dream of listening at that volume at home. I hadn't realised how loud the background noise was.

Re: Airport Earplugging (Awkward Questions Again)
winterflower #3024627 09/13/20 11:15 AM
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I was a pilot in the USAF, and when we had altitude chamber training, they also trained us in hearing safety. One thing that they used to drive the point home about hearing damage: they played an excerpt from a Sousa march in full high-fidelity. Then they played it again with reduction in certain frequencies typical of hearing loss. And again and again with more and more simulated hearing loss. Each time the music sounded more tinny and thin and faint. Point taken!

They issued us the rubber reusable earplugs, and a supply of the foam type. You can clean the rubber type with alcohol. They said that you can wash the foam type by putting them thru the laundry in a zippered pocket...or you can simply consider them single-use/disposable (they're cheap). You might be reluctant to insert the foam earplugs very deep, but in fact they told us to put them practically all the way in, with just a little left to pinch for removal. That gives the best hearing protection, and the least likelihood of them slipping out. Of course you want your fingers to be clean before handling/inserting earplugs.

There is nothing wrong with wearing earplugs during takeoff and landing. In the planes I flew in the USAF, we wore them continuously from before engine start, through all phases of flight until after engine shutdown.

I got in the habit of carrying earplugs with me everywhere I go, and I still do to this day. I use them often -- at the movies, in the subway, at parties, at ball games, at concerts, in church...basically in any public place where some idiot may crank up the PA system or music amplification too high.

Re: Airport Earplugging (Awkward Questions Again)
winterflower #3024629 09/13/20 11:27 AM
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In my experience, Bose and Sony have the best noise cancelling headphones. They have good noise cancellation algs and are well built. There are some on-line reviews with similar findings. These headphones can reduce some of the lower frequency sounds on an airplane and make you feel more refreshed at the end of a long flight. I don't know if these provide any benefit to hearing but a specialist might be able to advise you.

Cheaper noise cancelling headphones may be less effective at reducing the noise. But more importantly, you need a comfortable "over the ear" fit that is not clamping with pressure on your head and has no parts touching your ear. You see, after a few hours, they get very painful. I have owned a lot of these. They also break easily.

It is important to test out a few noise cancelling headphones:

1. Make sure they are over-the-ear, are comfortable, don't clamp on your head too hard, are lightweight, and don't touch any part of the ear.

2. Also, some people experience an irritating "pressure sensation" from the noise cancellation, so make sure the headphones don't bother you when the active noise cancelling is turned on. Different brands *(and models within a lineup may vary IME).

My boss owned some noise cancellation ear buds by Sony a decade ago and said they were useless on an airplane as they didn't get the low droning sound out. That is difficult for small drivers.

"Features" such as bluetooth audio and rechargable batteries are worthless IME but you might be stuck with them. Sound quality for music listening of noise-cancellation headphones generally is lousy. And blaring music on a fight defeats the purpose.

Cabin air pressure can be volatile so I am scared to use wax or foam ear plugs, or well-sealed IEMs (in ear monitors).

Bonus - to combat jet-lag on long haul flights, I follow a fasting scheme, drink a lot of water, and use noise-cancelling headphones. I sit near the front of the plane (but in economy lol). Also, carbon fibre planes may be able to fly with higher cabin airpressure, higher humidity, and lower noise. YMMV.

Re: Airport Earplugging (Awkward Questions Again)
newer player #3024643 09/13/20 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by newer player
In my experience, Bose and Sony have the best noise cancelling headphones. They have good noise cancellation algs and are well built.

Just one thing. The word noise cancellation is missleading. I find it rather amazing that it is actually allowed. These headphones do not cancel noise, but they reduce noise.
I have a Sony. I tested all noise reducing headphones when I bought it, and this one was the best (for me), but the stupid thing is that the headphone itself creates beeps that hurt my ears. I just cannot imagine what the team that devised these headphones thought. Hey, the headphones are for people who have problems with sounds, let's make sure that the headphone beeps! The beeping is possible to avoid though, if you are careful in handling it.


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Re: Airport Earplugging (Awkward Questions Again)
Animisha #3024647 09/13/20 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by newer player
In my experience, Bose and Sony have the best noise cancelling headphones. They have good noise cancellation algs and are well built.

Just one thing. The word noise cancellation is missleading. I find it rather amazing that it is actually allowed. These headphones do not cancel noise, but they reduce noise.
Noise reduction is achieved passively by earplugs, around-ears headphones, earbuds that fit snugly.....anything that forms a barrier to the sound.

Active noise cancellation (ANC) requires the generation of destructive interference by recording the ambient noise and emitting an inverted waveform.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Airport Earplugging (Awkward Questions Again)
newer player #3024660 09/13/20 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by newer player
Cabin air pressure can be volatile so I am scared to use wax or foam ear plugs, or well-sealed IEMs (in ear monitors).

There is no need for such concern, when it comes to proper hearing protection. Foam ear plugs (or rubber ones for that matter) have no effect on the ability to clear your ears. In the T-37 we did aerobatics training with large elevation swings to over 20,000 feet, with no cabin pressurization, wearing earplugs constantly. As for wax earplugs -- those are for swimming, not for hearing protection!

Last edited by scriabinfanatic; 09/13/20 12:31 PM.
Re: Airport Earplugging (Awkward Questions Again)
winterflower #3024666 09/13/20 12:38 PM
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A word of caution on noise cancelling headphones - make sure you try them out before you purchase them. My son let me try his and I immediately experienced vertigo and nausea. Some people are more sensitive than others.


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: Airport Earplugging (Awkward Questions Again)
bennevis #3024688 09/13/20 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by newer player
In my experience, Bose and Sony have the best noise cancelling headphones. They have good noise cancellation algs and are well built.

Just one thing. The word noise cancellation is missleading. I find it rather amazing that it is actually allowed. These headphones do not cancel noise, but they reduce noise.
Noise reduction is achieved passively by earplugs, around-ears headphones, earbuds that fit snugly.....anything that forms a barrier to the sound.

Active noise cancellation (ANC) requires the generation of destructive interference by recording the ambient noise and emitting an inverted waveform.

The word cancellation suggests that noise is cancelled, but it is not. It is reduced.


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
*
... feeling like the pianist on the Titanic ...
Re: Airport Earplugging (Awkward Questions Again)
Animisha #3024700 09/13/20 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Animisha
The word cancellation suggests that noise is cancelled, but it is not. It is reduced.

Arguing semantics here, but the effect for active noise cancelling is literally actively canceling out some of the noise sound waves. It's just not canceling out all noise. It's most effective on white noise, which an airplane's humming can fall under.

When it comes to plane rides though, I would just use etymotic earbuds for passive cancellation. They're relatively cheap and effective and are more comfortable for me than foam earbuds, which can hurt my ear canal after wearing for too long, or safety earmuffs which can get too hot.

If you're watching in flight movies, a good set of active noise canceling headphones/earbuds is certainly the way to go.

Re: Airport Earplugging (Awkward Questions Again)
Animisha #3024702 09/13/20 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by bennevis
Noise reduction is achieved passively by earplugs, around-ears headphones, earbuds that fit snugly.....anything that forms a barrier to the sound.

Active noise cancellation (ANC) requires the generation of destructive interference by recording the ambient noise and emitting an inverted waveform.

The word cancellation suggests that noise is cancelled, but it is not. It is reduced.
Technically, the noise is being electronically cancelled - but the interfering waveforms aren't 100% perfect with all the offending frequencies with current technology. That's why some headphones/earphones are better than others, and some even allow you to change the frequencies targeted. If the noise was a pure set of frequencies, it could be easily be 100% cancelled. Real life isn't pure.

For interested purchasers, the distinction is important, because some headphones or earphones with effective ear sealing are sold as "noise-reducing", which can mislead buyers into thinking that there is active noise-cancelling going on, when - in effect - all they are getting are just the equivalent of (supposedly) better-sealing earbuds. There are also special moulds that one can buy to fit into your ear canals to replace the buds your phones came with, which are sold variously as 'noise-reducing' or 'noise-isolating'.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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