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07/21/06
Active Noise-Canceling Headsets For Mowing the Lawn & Listening to Music
Filed under: Ramblings, Entertainment
Posted by: Tim @ 8:07 pm

I recently heard something that I already knew.  Hearing it said again made it really sink in.  “Hearing loss is cumulative and permanent.”  So, I started wearing hearing protection while mowing the lawn - i.e., an over-the-ears passive headset - since our lawn tractor is so damned loud and can drive you nuts when you’re on it for almost 2 hours.  I tried listening to my portable CD/MP3 player with earbuds under the ear cups, but they kept popping out of my ears and I had to crank the volume so loud, that was probably just as bad as the stupid tractor engine.  So, I have been considering active noise reduction (ANR) headsets that can be used with portable music players.

I was just cruising around Amazon.com to see what I could find there.  A number of reviewers recommended “the $300 Bose headphones” and some of the reviewers for the Bose QuietComfort 2 said it was great for mowing the lawn.  But way out of my price range.  The Sony MDR-NC6 got OK reviews and is on sale for $29.90 (lists for $79.90), but several reviewers said they tended to fall off, have problems with wind, or lose effectiveness when you cock your head while mowing the lawn.  That kind of defeats the purpose.  Too bad, since that seemed like a decent sale.  There is a Tech B pair for $26.68 and the reviews were decent.  Those also cover the ear, so may work better for mowing the lawn. The Shure E3c-n got great reviews, but it’s an earbud style, so I don’t know if I’d have to stick them under my passive headsets or whether they’d work fine by themselves.  These are also on sale for $154.88 (list $214.80) - still more than I really wanted to spend.

I also did a Google search and found the Noisebuster PA4000 for $149.  Now this is what I’m talking about!  They have passive noise reduction plus active noise reduction and an audio input!  It blocks up to 26 dB passively and up to an additional 20 dB with the ANR turned on!  This rocks!  Not only would it be great for cutting the lawn, but as mentioned (and as we discovered on our recent NASCAR race trip), these are great for watching auto races with or without the scanners.  I want these!

John Deere also makes an ANR headset with audio input, specifically geared toward users of lawn maintenance equipment.  This are $89.99 and provide 18 dB noise reduction with the ANR turned on.  Apparently they are also available from John Deere dealers and Lowes.  Cool.

I also found a discussion thread at c|net about ANR headphones for mowing the lawn, but there was not a lot of information there, and only a handful of replies.

Anyone have any good recommendations for durable ANR headsets that work well when mowing the lawn and preferable don’t cost a fortune?

2 Responses to “Active Noise-Canceling Headsets For Mowing the Lawn & Listening to Music”

  1. Greg Says:
    Those Noisebusters look great. The audio-in is key, but does that interfere with the active noise reduction? I’ve used noise-reduction before, they are great on subways and planes. But the ones that came free with my mp3 player broke after a year of daily use and I haven’t been able to spring for the more expensive version yet. I’ve also received good anecdotal recommendation for those Sony Phones. A co-worker said they were great, better than the Bose actually, but he wasn’t using them on the lawnmower.
  2. Tim Says:
    Hmmm. I didn’t hear any fedback on the music audio quality with the ANR on the Noisebusters. I wouldn’t think the audio in messes with the ANR, but that’s just a guess. I would hope it doesn’t as that would be stupid. But, sometimes stupid does happen ;-)

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