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Brain-Saver: Sony Noise-Canceling Headphones... will Sony In-Ear Noise Canceling Earphones Also Work Well?

In Brain-Saver: Sony Noise-Canceling Headphones I discussed just how critical the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Noise-Canceling Over-Ear Headphones to me after my concussion last year.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 noise-canceling headphones continue to be very helpful, especially with a house being built from the ground up right next door what with constant pounding, drilling, sawing, buzzing and the drone of equipment. Were it not for the headphones, I’d just have to leave my home for weeks on end in my Sprinter van, as I cannot tolerate that kind of sustained noise, though I can tolerate much more than even six months ago.

Noise pollution is a cumulative thing over the course of the day, and if there are other stressors, getting the noise down really is a brain saver. Everyone is wired differently but no one benefits from sustained noise.

Noise is far more of a hazard than most people acknowledge, with studies showing damaging hits to learning of children whose classrooms are in noisy environments. Not that adults outgrow the bad effects of noise! Noise disrupts the ability of the brain to focus and learn, at the least.

See also Wikipedia: Sensory Processing Sensitivity.

Along come the Sony WF-1000XM3 True Wireless Noise-Canceling In-Ear Earphones (more info at Sony). I’m not sure they will do the job as well, not having anything over the outer ear, and I tend to have discomfort with in-ear things of any kind, but so useful have the headphones become that I have to try the in-ear version too!

Update: the earphones suck for me, because I cannot get them to fit, and so they constantly fall out at the slightest provocation. Moveover it’s obvious that not having a headphone over the ear is a large disadvantage that works against the earphones. That this is true is easily perceived just by wearing the headphones even turned off.

Sony Noise-canceling Headphones and Earphones at B&H Photo

David C writes:

Noise does more than screw up your cognitive abilities at the time, you get cumulative hearing damage that eventually shows itself when, like me, you discover you are reading lips to hear people talking. I don’t know if the damage is latent or if you just don’t notice as your hearing goes away, drip, drip, drip, but I have read that a single exposure to really loud noise may cause permanent damage. I worked in an underground gold mine for five years, so I got plenty; for instance a jackhammer is estimated to be around 130dBA, but that’s on the street, think of the same noise in a small room with stone walls (tunnel face) with a pneumatic rock drill that is a lot bigger than a typical street jackhammer. I wore foam plugs part of the time, but sometimes didn’t have time or inclination (yes stupid, youthful invincibility). all the “old” guys (40+!) at the mine were deaf.

One thing I find odd is most sources list a chainsaw at around 130dBA, but I don’t find them to be very loud. maybe it’s because my high frequency hearing ability is gone (spectrum matters).

An interesting bit of trivia, apparently a lot of older people in the US have become deaf in the left ear because, before AC, they rolled down the car window while driving.

I don’t wear hearing aids yet, mainly because the markup on them amounts to highway robbery (a device bought by millions of people that is mostly electronic shouldn’t cost $thousands). yeah, I know, this isn’t rational; maybe it’s due to hearing damage ;). I *do* wear plugs or headphones running the tractor, lawnmower, grinder, etc now, but too late.

“protect your ears!” is one bit of advice I’d give to all young people if I could; of course they wouldn’t listen.

If you can tolerate them give foam plugs a shot. they are useful sometimes because they are easy to carry, don’t interfere with your head movement and don’t lose their seal as easily by being bumped (e.g. when your head is in the bushes trimming a tree). plugs aren’t sensitive to your head shape, but the size of your ear canals may dictate which plugs will work.

DIGLLOYD: loud noise is bad news indeed. When I mow the lawn, I use earplugs plugs the Sony noise canceling headphones. Foam earplugs can be risky—I've had way too many that don’t quite fully seat. I prefer the soft rubery ones, having ordered a number of different ones to find some that insert reliably and stay in.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Noise-Canceling Over-Ear Headphones

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