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Re: Solution to sound sensitivity!

Re: Solution to sound sensitivity!2010-09-11T08:31:43+00:00

The Forums Forums Tools, Techniques & Treatments Solution to sound sensitivity! Re: Solution to sound sensitivity!


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Noise-canceling headphones cancel noise, and isolating headphones isolate you from noise. O.K., that doesn’t really answer the question, does it?

Noise canceling headphones actually have a microphone to pick up ambient sound, and they actually reproduce this sound in the headphone, but out of phase – that is, the sound wave is shifted slightly so that the waves produced by the headphone cancel out the waves produced by the train, plane, or automobile. For that reason, they are best for low, droning sounds (no, not Patrick).

Isolation is achieved by blocking the sound from getting to your ear. The two choices I can think of right now are closed-style headphones and in-ear headphones. Closed-style headphones generally are rather large and fit around the ear, rather than on it (but some open-style headphones fit like that too). Audiophiles prefer open-style for the sound quality, but if you want to block out sound, you want closed. In-ear headphones are small, like earbuds, but fit in the ear canal and have some sort of gasket to make a seal that holds them snug and blocks out ambient sound. The seal is usually silicone, and extra sizes are usually included to fit most ears.

Personally, I use Etymotic in-ear headphones for my iPod – they have amazing sound and they’re very compact, but they’re way expensive. Shure makes some amazing in-ear headphones at various price points, from expensive to way expensive. I’ve found Sony to be less durable, but they’re good value, and there are other brands like Panasonic that are pretty good and pretty inexpensive.

I use closed-style headphones to listen to music on my computer when I am at work. Two reasons for that; they are less effective at isolating sound (so less chance that I’ll miss a phone call) and, even more important, people can tell I am wearing headphones (so they won’t think I’m ignoring them). I guess there’s one more reason – I can wear the headphones without listening to music so that I can cut down the office noise quite a bit, yet still maintain the ability to eavesdrop on conversations between who people think I can’t hear them (it’s important to resist the urge to butt in if you want to maintain the illusion).

It used to be pretty hard to find the in-ear type, but now even Staples carries some models. Wal-Mart or Future Shop or Best Buy should have a range of options, but if you’re fussy you might want to check the web to get an idea of what you’re looking for. Maybe take a look at Sennheiser, Sony, Shure, or maybe even some brands that don’t start with S.