Tuning in and tuning out

Posted by Jon Peddie on June 9th 2012 | Discuss
Categories: Hardware Review
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Getting a good night’s (day’s) sleep

If you travel (as if anyone reading this doesn’t), you know the challenge of trying to get a restful sleep on a long flight. You stuff polyurethane memory foam in your ears, don noise-canceling headphones, put eye patches on, and swallow a sleeping pill with a glass of wine or two, or maybe soothing herbal tea. That’s one technique, and it works, but it isn’t the most comfortable at times—especially the earplugs on a long flight, or while eating.

We recently learned about SleepPhones from AcousticSheep (“pajamas for your ears”). This is a soft cotton headband with built-in headphones. The headband helps muffle the noise, and the close-fitting headphones deliver the background sound, the movie, music, or whatever. One of the problems with airline-supplied headphones is they don’t fit tightly enough, so noise leaks in and creates a hissing sound. If you buy expensive noise-canceling headphones (worn, I think, for the logo as much for the effect—the Rolex of your ears), they can be tight fitting, which helps with the noise leaking in, but after awhile they begin to hurt.

The neat thing about the SleepPhone is you can also pull them over your eyes to block out light, and it’s much more comfortable than the elastic-strung eye patches.

The headphones themselves are not the greatest, but better than what you get on an airplane; and they are soft and comfortable, even for side sleepers. There’s also a subjective quality to this product. In our testing, we found them to be comforting and very desirable. Nothing that can be quantified, but once worn, they become very addictive. In fact, when two of us were flying together, there was some serious contention for the headband. “Here, c’mon, take these incredibly expensive noise-canceling headphones. Give me the band … c’mon, give it to me.”

You can buy them online for $49.95, and they come in three colors, with a music CD of soothing sounds and songs. You might want to buy two.

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