Don't like hearing the conversation of the jerk next to you at the gym who is blabbing on his cellphone while you are trying to work out? Like listening to music while you vacuum the house or mow the lawn? The traditional earbuds that come with an iPod are woefully inadequate at blocking out exterior noises. Listeners try and compensate for the background noise by increasing the output volume to their headphones. Not such a great idea, since prolonged exposure can result in serious hearing loss. Apple responded with limiting the default iPod audio output in an attempt to curtail the flood of lawsuits that were arising from consumers suffering from hearing loss.
Maybe it's not the iPod that is to blame, but rather the earphones that come with the iPod. I am a big fan of Etymotic Research and their ER•6i Isolator Headphones. These in-the-ear headphones provide 34-36 dB of noise isolation with a 20Hz -16kHz frequency response. These headphones work more efficiently by sitting inside your ear canal and making a seal that blocks out exterior noises. You can expect to lower your iPod output volume by about 15% to 25% and still have the same relative volume as with the original earbuds. Over the long term, this reduction in output volume will undoubtedly be beneficial to protecting your hearing. I like the ER•6i model better than the standard ER•6 due to the enhanced bass response.
These work much differently than the noise canceling technology used by companies such as Bose, that actually introduce noise into the headphone in order to counteract the analyzed background noise.
Pros: Excellent Noise Isolation, Good Frequency Response.
Cons: Difficult to Insert and Extract from Ears When Using Flanged Eartips.
List Price: $149.00
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