The Five Best and Worst Places to Use a Noise-Isolating or Noise Cancelling Earphone


Yesterday I was driving into Boulder on Four Mile Canyon when I passed a bicyclist.  This, by itself, is a fairly unremarkable occurrence as I often see on average six riders per trip going in or out of Boulder. What made me notice this particular cyclist was that he was riding in the middle of the lane and he was wearing earbuds.  As I passed he didn't show any signs that he saw (or heard) me until I was slightly more than ½ way past him, then he moved closer to the side of the road.

This bicyclist got me thinking about the best and worst places to use noise-cancelling or noise-isolating earphones. So here's my own list as to where I would and where I wouldn't wear earphones that isolate me from hearing the outside world...



Five Best Places to Wear Isolating Earphones

On an Airplane - Noise isolating earbuds are what keeps me sane on any flight that lasts more than fifteen minutes. Buhbye screaming infants and announcements from the pilot detailing ground features that we could see if only it wasn't so cloudy...

In the Office - For tuning out the inevitable distractions of a modern "open office" layout nothing beats noise-isolating earphones. Also the isolation keeps your tastes in music from becoming public information.

On Public Transportation - Buses, subways, trains, even commuter vans are all great places to use earphones. The only drawback is that you had better know where you are going since you won't be hearing all those helpful public address announcements...

When Working Out - Do you really want to hear the "Classic Rock" being pumped through ancient dust-covered ceiling-mounted speakers? I thought not. Isolating in-ear monitors to the rescue...

At Home Late at Night - I know a guy who every once in a while likes to stay up late and listen to loud rock and roll. It drives his wife nuts. Noise-isolating earphones might save that marriage...



Five Worst Places to Wear Isolating Earphones

On Your Bike On The Road - The most important safety features on any bicycle are the rider's eyes and ears. Hearing trouble before it happens keeps bicycle riders safe. Using noise-isolating earphones eliminates this important source of environmental information. That is a really bad idea...

In Your Car - The same reasons that bicycle riders shouldn't wear noise-isolating earphones apply to motorized vehicles as well. You need your ears as well as your eyes to operate a vehicle safely. Noise isolating earphones are just as distracting as cell-phones when used in a moving vehicle.

At Airports or Train Stations - Although noise-isolating earphones are a Godsend when it comes to airplanes, they are less than ideal in airports. The problem is that they do their job so well you can't hear all the public address announcements. I once almost missed my plane do to a last minute gate change that I couldn't hear when it was announced. Nowadays I travel with an extra less-isolating pair of earphones when I travel just for airport use.

While Walking in NYC - "Hey buddy, watch out for that bicycle!" Too bad you didn't hear that before you stepped off the curb. Now you are in a heap, wondering what your deductible is set at.

While Walking the Streets Late at Night - Do I really have to tell you why this is a very bad idea? There's a reason that "prey" animals, such as deer, have big directional ears - so they can hear predators before they can sneak up on them. Urban jungles are no different...Wanna increase your odds of getting mugged - wear your noise isolating earphones 24/7.


comments powered by Disqus

Audiophile Review Sponsors