Air travel can be taxing. The sonic gauntlet of shuttles, airports, and planes can test the endurance of anyone who otherwise enjoys listening. Here are a few thoughts to save your ears and sanity.
Perhaps too obvious, but how often do you remember to take them with you? More importantly, how much of your travel day do you wear them? The ride to/from the airport, the wait at the airport, and all of the time on the plane are opportunities to dim the ambient noise. Announcements at the airport and on the plane seem especially loud to me, so I am sure to be wearing plugs for those. The calm I experience from something as simple as earplugs is wonderful.
One of the loudest sounds I encounter when flying is the flush of the airplane toilet (although bus brakes are probably louder). I make a point to close my ears for that flush, either by wearing plugs or just using my fingers.
A lot of people like noise cancellation headphones, which work quite well. Personally, I prefer a decent pair of closed back headphones. Anything that sounds good and provides you with some reasonable isolation will do the trick. They can be very handy if your plane features unhappy, pre-talkers. It can also be a quick way to let overly talkative neighbors know that you are not interested in conversation.
Have all of your devices and batteries charged before you leave. You won’t get through that movie/game/album/podcast if you run out of juice.
Good health brings good hearing. Planes are very dry and the simple act of breathing on a plane can really take the moisture out of you. Force yourself to drink some water, especially near the end of the trip (when you can anticipate plentiful bathrooms).
See also: Shure vs Sony headphones, a pinboard of headphones
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