Written by 6:10 am Headphone + Accessory Reviews

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

There are good and bad places to wear earphones..


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.


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