Any concerns with Noise Cancelling Headsets

Pardon the odd question, but are there any major concerns or drawbacks for using noise cancelling headsets (I believe these are known as active noise-reducing (ANR) headsets) in any aircraft including general aviation?

I have heard concerns mentioned over the years about the ANR headsets blocking out too much noise and people not being able to fully hear the engines. That being said, it seems like most pilots use ANR headsets and I have yet to hear of anybody having an actual issue with one.

Raymundo (that’s fun to say),

I flew GA up to the airlines with my Bose ANRs and never had an issue. ANR stands for Active Noise Reduction, not noise canceling. The noise isn’t canceled, it’s reduced and it’s fine.

Adam

Hey Raymundo,

I just wrapped up the program with ATP and thought I’d chime in on your question about ANR headsets. I used the Bose A20s throughout my training and honestly, they were great. They cut down on noise but still let me catch important stuff, like if there was something off with the engine. Never felt like they blocked out too much sound.

The only tiny hassle is the batteries. They do need changing every now and then, so I made sure to keep a spare set handy for longer flights. But really, it’s no big deal with a bit of planning.

Hope that helps! If you’ve got more questions, feel free to ask!

Raymundo,

The best part of the Bose A20’s, you can choose when to have the noise reduction or not! During my private I didn’t use that function because I wanted to get used to the normal operating sounds of the engine in different phases of flight. When I got to the instrument phase, communication with ATC got much more involved so I started using the ANR then.

Hannah

Raymundo,

I actually had this conversation the other week I think with Chris, I have both the A30’s and A20’s; however, my situation is unusual because the Embraer 145 is notoriously known to have a louder flightdeck. While I have not used David Clarke’s in the E145, I can say I’ve used all three of my headsets in a Piper Cherokee (Single Piston Engine) - never once had a concern. While I would say the Bose A30’s have had the best option for ANC, the sound quality and cancellation are better suited for operational needs. I’m not a salesperson for Bose, but Adam years ago kept joking with Chris (here on the forum) about getting Bose, and he finally did… you can’t go wrong with a Bose headset.

As for the batteries that Jay mentioned, I haven’t had many changes in the Bose A30’s if I keep the ANC at a consistent level. I don’t use the Bluetooth function; therefore, probably conserves my batteries.

If you’re looking for a pair of Bose A20’s, you can find a decent used pair from those looking to upgrade at a fair price.

Brady

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$1000 for a headset, ouch.

Spending $1,000 for a piece of equipment you’ll use for at least 5yrs AND will make you job easier and infinitely more comfy is a relatively small investment. You’ll either spend it now or later but the sooner you do, the more use and benefit you’ll enjoy.

Adam

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Yeah, that’s definitely true. My wife has to stop buying the organic stuff.

Martin,

$1,000 or a company issued headset that you have to sanitize when you get in; I rather my own squeaky clean, fresh feeling, quality headset. I recently had to return my Bose A30’s because my toggle switch for the ANC popped off, easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Not ONLY did the repair the ANC toggle, but they also replaced the headband, earmuffs, and boom mic for me too. :slight_smile:

Brady

Btw, in SouthWest’s new contract they give their pilots $1,000 for a new headset if you just want to wait. :wink:

Adam

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I’d just like to add here. When I took my intro flight at ATP in spring 2020, the instructor advised me straight away to go ahead and buy the expensive Bose A20’s. He said that if I didn’t buy them now, I’d end up buying them later and spend money on two different headsets, and he was 100% correct. They are worth it and most end up buying them eventually. I’m glad I bought them at the very start and even though they were expensive, they still work like brand new today. The cost per hour after 2000+ hours of use so far is about $0.50/flight hour, which is a pretty good deal if you ask me!

Roscoe

Well, I have no problem plunking down $1000 when I’m making some money. Training on the other hand…but, quality is quality.

Yeah, when you break it down by hour (which is how I view most investments) it makes total sense.

I recently flew with a captain who has had his A20’s for some time and they honestly looked in good shape. I’m not sure what the $ per flight hour is on those pair, but I’m sure it’s exponentially smaller.

Brady

Not to belabor this but my Bose X are older than most of you on this forum and they still 100%.

Adam

Why haven’t you upgraded… :scream:

No need. I actually no longer use my Bose daily. The 717 is pretty quiet so I just use a stupid light single ear Telex.

Adam

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I am not an ATP but have flown about 1000 hours with my Bose A20 with no issue.
Personally think it helps to wait until after starting the engine to put them on and turn them off for the run-up.

When I flew the A 320 we used the Telex as well, it is by far my preferred method when the cockpit does not sound like an open air Steerman.