For those of you who travel with your trusty Bose QC’s, Sennheiser, Sony or any other noise canceling headphone, try this the next time you’re flying. This idea creates about as much noise elimination as you will ever have on a flight (yes, including the teething baby sitting in the first row of economy while you are in the last row of First….ask me how I know). It almost gives you a sense of vertigo with the silence while still travelling at 350-400mph!

What I have discovered is by combining the strengths of 2 technologies, I’ve virtually eliminated background noise and dramatically improved the sound quality that I get from my iPad. What I have been doing is using my earbuds (Bose Mie2i’s) and my noise canceling headphones (Bose QC15) in tandem. It wont matter what brand of earbuds or noise canceling headset you use but the difference will amaze you. I basically insert my earbuds as I normally would, and then cover them with the Noise Canceling Headphones. I then gently squeeze the headphones against my head to create a bit of suction.

In the case of the Bose Headphones, I remove the cable from the headset since I don’t need it and just turn them on for their noise canceling ability while using the earbuds for the music input. If you can’t detach your wire for the the headphone, simply coil it up and attach it to the side of your headset with a zip tie.

This accomplished a few things for me. It dramatically improved the sound quality by improving both bass and treble and it also eliminated what I would say is about 95% of the background noise.

Yesterday was a perfect example. My wife and I were traveling home from SNA to GRR and during our SNA-ORD leg I was seated in the last row of 1st (3B on a CO 737), and behind me was a baby having trouble with teething. She cried for about 70% of the flight. I only ever noticed the screaming when I took off my headset to speak to my wife (who I couldn’t hear at all with the headset/headphone combo on) or the flight attendant during meal service.

The drawback is that you need to carry another piece of equipment on board, but since earbuds are such a small item that fits into the headphone case anyway, it seems like a small inconvenience for what amounts to almost total elimination of ambient noise when you are on an airplane. You’ll also gain more battery life from your noise canceling headphones since you’re not using them for the music. Try it next time you’re on board……