I decided to get a noise cancelling headset because of the office enviroment and the frequent air travel I expect with my new job. I have tried a couple of brands and in most cases I get a sensation of pressure on my eardrums when the noise cancelling circuit is on. It feels somewhat similar to descending in a plane and not equalizing pressure and becomes quite uncomfortable after a while. Most of the headsets I’ve tried are econmy models in the $40-80 range and curiously the $80 Sony pair look identical to a $40 “Audiobahn” set except for the markings. I’m debating trying a Sennheiser headset which is amost twice as expensive but I can’t try them in the store. Is this sensation of pressure a quirk that I have or is it just from the cheap sets?
I’ve got a $600 noise cancelling headset, and I think I’ve experienced what you’re talking about. I don’t really experience what you would call discomfort, but turning the ANR on limits my hearing in such a way that it feels like my ears are stopped up, like when you have a cold.
Dunno if this is the same issue that you have. Maybe a dealer could let you try a more expensive set out.
I suspect this is a basic phenomenon caused by the way noise-cancelation technology works, and it won’t get any better with better sets.
My reasoning is that producing a sensation of constant pressure with sound waves isn’t going to be easy, and if the headset happens to get it just right it must be because that is how your ear perceives the resulting sound when the noise has been canceled.
You usually get what you pay for.
Noise Cancelling Head Phones for both home and aviation applications.
I have the latest version of the Bose noise-cancelling headphones (non-aviation) and paid $300 for them. I have had no sensation of pressure at all. Bose products come with a guarantee and can be returned if you are not satisfied with them. They are absolutely wonderful for flying!
You can also find Bose products on e-Bay.
If you listen to music or white notice or environmental sounds, do you still have the feelings of pressure?