No matter how much experience you have as a pilot, you know how important your aviation headsets are. Your headsets are one of the most important pieces of equipment you need as a pilot, and with good reason. Not only are they your main form of back and forth communication, but they also protect your ears and ensure you can think clearly and hear important transmissions. Since finding the right headset is so important, this article will review how to choose the right aviation headset.
The style of headset you choose will affect overall comfort and can affect noise reduction. Over-ear and on-ear headsets are the most common style of headsets among pilots. While these headsets tend to be heavier on the ear, they typically provide the most noise reduction and overall comfort. In-ear headphones are less common, but they are used in cases where the other headset styles are just too heavy and uncomfortable, as they are very lightweight and comfortable, although they don’t have a universal fit.
When it comes to comfort, you need to pay attention to the ear cushion material and headband construction. To avoid overly heavy headsets, you want as little weight in the headband as possible, with most of the weight being from the foam. Pick a foam or gel that you don’t mind being on your ears for extended periods of time that provides breathability and conforms to the ear. If you prefer in-ear headphones, you may want to try a few different styles, as everyone’s ear canals are a little bit different. You also don’t want your in-ear headsets to have heavy cables, as this can cause them to easily fall out of the ear.
Unfortunately, if you don’t have the right fit for in-ear headphones, you may be losing out on the amount of noise reduction you need. However, regardless of what headphones you choose, aviation headsets will come with a passive noise reduction (PNR) and an active noise reduction (ANR) rating expressed in decibels. Although ANR headsets usually provide the most protection, they’re usually the most expensive, so you may want to invest in high-quality PNR headphones rather than a low-quality ANR set. However, the decibel rating you choose will depend on the aircraft you pilot and how loud the engine is.
Knowing how to choose the right aviation headset will point you in the right direction while keeping your comfort and budget in mind, and you’ll never have to waste your time with tight and uncomfortable headsets ever again.