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Silent Starter
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Feb 8, 2020

Buying noise-cancelling headphones for a long flight – need advice!

I'll be taking an 11-hour flight, and was advised to buy some Bose noise-cancelling headphones. Having never shopped for headphones before, I'm at Square One!

 

I understand that around ear is more comfortable for a long duration, so I'll skip the on-ear variety. I'll have an iPhone and an iPad with me, so music is available. But knowing me, I'll undoubtedly prefer silence for most of the time.

 

What features should I consider? Which models do you all recommend for comfort over a long duration?

 

Thanks for any input. Much appreciated!  🙂

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Wistful Whiz
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Dec 4, 2016

Re: Buying noise-cancelling headphones for a long flight – need advice!

I will just let you know that there is a misconception about noise cancelling - I don't think there are any noise cancelling headphones out there that will give you silence or remove all the sound if nothing is playing.  I say that because you mentioned you'd prefer silence.

 

Without music/video/soothing sounds you will still hear the engine and people talking.  However it brings it down to a level where if you don't focus you don't tend to notice the noise.  I often do this when it comes time to sleep on a plane and find it very effective.

 

However to eliminate as much unwanted noise as you can, it uses the noise-cancelling as well as you being distracted by music or a video so that the sound tends to fade away.  I see this as when I'm watching a movie, and even during the quiet parts I'm so focused on the movie that I don't hear that kid crying in the row behind.

 

As for features - you need to try them on.  If you're comparing to other brands you need to think of the noise they cancel out, the sound quality, the comfort, the battery life and whether you can use them wirelessly and/or plug them into the aircraft.

 

As far as Bose go, the new NC700s are the best.  I use them daily on the train and at work.  The QC35s aren't quite as good, but I have used them for several international trips and they are still very good.  But it comes down to whether you can hear/feel the difference for the extra cost.