I guess I have spent too much time on planes.... or the overhead is too darn loud.

How to best drown it out while listening to an audiobook ?

  • 1
    any decent noise cancelling headphones should be able to Sep 20 '16 at 3:10
  • 4
    If so,I would question whether that is desirable - PA announcements may be important for safety. Sep 20 '16 at 4:07
  • just for clarity: note that (infuriatingly), announcements actually STOP the audio channel (say, of a movie you are watching on the seat-back system) and the person speaking the announcement actually comes through that same audio channel. so if you are listening to a movie/whatever ON THE SEATBACK SYSTEM it is utterly impossible to stop the announcement chit-chat. regarding whether free-standing cancelling headphones can cancel that type of sound - no, they can not at all.
    – Fattie
    Sep 20 '16 at 5:00

Not usually. Noise cancelling headphones are typically designed to cancel out low frequency sounds such as engine noise. You might find you can hear voices more clearly when wearing noise cancelling headphones as the background noise has been removed.

If you wish to suppress all sounds then you might look into in-ear moulded earpieces, such as ones by Shure that are designed to block all sound but provide a path for audio from your phone/laptop.


Yes, yes they do - as long as you don't plug them into the in-seat entertainment system; which relays the PA announcement on the audio jack.

I have used both the in ear passive noise cancelling headphones and active in ear and on ear headphones.

The active ones cancel out the PA completely; whereas the effectiveness of the passive ones depends on how snugly they fit in your ear.

I found that the active noise cancelling headphones provided in business class (on Emirates) do not work as effectively as aftermarket ones.

The brands I have used (linked to their Amazon pages), in order of effectiveness of cancellation:

  1. Bose QC 25 - this is the newer model, I have the older version.

  2. Bose QC 20 - this is the newer model, I have the older version.

  3. UE Triple-Fi

  4. SOL Republic

  • I have bose QC15 and QC20 and I don't find that the PA is cancelled out at all. Maybe mine are defective...
    – Berwyn
    Sep 20 '16 at 14:45
  • @Berwyn Yes, the responder is answering a diff question. The bose are nice, but don't deal with the overhead PA... Sep 20 '16 at 17:27
  • The PA is completely cancelled out on mine - and I have the older one. I just flew with them 2 days ago; and they worked perfectly. I bought them specifically for their noise cancelling feature. It goes without saying, you have to make sure the feature it turned on, by default the headphones work even if the NC is turned off. Sep 21 '16 at 18:51

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