During a recent flight, I was asked by an attendant during take off to remove my earplugs.

My question is: is it forbidden to wear earplugs during take off and landing? If so, why?

  • 1
    The rules and regulations are likely to be different between countries. And different airlines could also impost their own policy for basically any reason. – skifans Jun 5 '18 at 9:12
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    Did the Safety Demo already took place? Maybe you were asked to remove them to listen to their instructions – otorrillas Jun 5 '18 at 9:14
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    @otorillas there was no safety demo – LEV Jun 5 '18 at 9:33
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    @LEV there's always a safety demo (in a commercial flight). – Glorfindel Jun 5 '18 at 9:51
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    It doesn't have to be a physical demo. A demo on screen is sufficient. – dunni Jun 5 '18 at 11:34

In the (unlikely) event of an emergency, you need to be able to hear crew instructions, which means you shouldn't use earplugs or headphones during the most critical parts of the flight, namely take-off and landing.

The fact you didn't even notice there was a safety demo is proof enough that the earplugs were detrimental to communication between the crew and you.

Of course, things are different for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, but for people who are not, it makes no sense adding difficulties in a situation where every second counts.

Not all airlines will enforce this (some will allow you to use headsets during critical phases, others not, for instance). Some may only enforce it in specific cases (e.g. if you are in an exit row). In any case, even if they don't tell you so, it's not a good idea to wear earplugs or a headset during those phases.

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  • My earplugs are not 100% sound cancelling, I could hear the attendant ask me to take them off while looking outside. I could hear the on-screen safety demo. – LEV Jun 5 '18 at 11:10
  • @LEV Standard industrial quality ear plugs are not 100% sound cancelling for the very reason you need to be able to communicate with your co-workers. – Peter M Jun 5 '18 at 11:18
  • @PeterM My point exactly. I can communicate with my earplugs just fine. I was not looking for a judgmental answer, as I can easily understand the need to be heard. I was looking for a factual answer (maybe some rules example from some airlines..). – LEV Jun 5 '18 at 11:22
  • My guess is that the flight attendant was veering from "He can't hear" to "He isn't paying attention." The OP's earlier comment "There was no safety briefing" suggests this. – DavidSupportsMonica Jun 5 '18 at 14:33
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    @LEV the flight crew can't and shouldn't have to guess or know if you can actually hear something with the earplugs or not. In case of doubt, take the safest option. – jcaron Jun 5 '18 at 14:48

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