Okay, I admit it. I thought expensive noise reduction earphones were just another fad for people with more money than sense. That was until an American Airlines business class flight to France with complimentary noise cancelling headphones changed my mind. Muting out the roar of the engine and the guy snoring in the seat across the aisle, the headphones made the nine-and-a-half-hour long flight bearable - almost pleasant.

Biz class upgrades aren’t a staple in my usual econo-class flight plans. But thanks to Santa and a new pair of Able Planet’s Clear Harmony noise cancelling headphones I can now tune out the chaos in style. Better yet, they work great for fading out distractions in my home office, too. I’m wearing them as I type, much to the chagrin of my husband who just realized he’s been talking to himself.

Favorite feature:  Comfort! The padded ear cushions are so much better for long haul listening than earbuds. 

Not-so-favorite feature: The obvious. Despite the fold-flat design, they’re big. Big enough in these days of diminishing carry-on allowances to make me think twice about toting them along. Bummer!

Bottom line: No way, no how am I jetting off for a 5-hour-plus flight without them. Something else can give.


Linx Audio Technology
Although the speaker components differ, all three headphones share Able Planet’s patented Linx Audio technology. Originally developed for a new generation of top-of-the-line hearing aids, Linx Audio technology alters the audio signal to increase the intensity of higher-frequency harmonics. This makes it easier to hear words, music, and sounds in the higher frequencies where clarity is often lost, while also ensuring that speech and other high-frequency sounds are not smothered by bass tracks. Able Planet compares the results to the difference between hearing a “C” note on a piano as opposed to a “C” chord. The “C” chord, which sounds richer and more complex, demonstrates the impact of adding harmonics to the audio signal.

Listen to the difference between Able Planet’s
Linx Audio technology and standard audio sources

Linx Audio technology also fits into Able Planet’s mission of creating audio solutions for people with hearing disabilities. By filtering undesirable sounds and noise via the state-of-the-art active noise cancellation (ANC) technology, Able Planet headphones encourage users to listen to music at lower volumes to reduce long-term hearing loss. The phones also provide crisp sound for people already suffering from moderate hearing problems, and even accommodate hearing aids thanks to a new technology that restricts electromagnetic interference.

Special Features
Sound Clarity headphones also reduce distortion at higher volumes by soft-clipping the sound wave rather than squaring it off, delivering a full-bodied frequency range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz and an industry-leading 18 dB of active noise cancellation. And as a bonus, the phones offer an inline volume control that makes it easy to turn the volume up or down without reaching for your portable audio device. Other features include a 5-foot removable cord with 1/8-inch, 1/4-inch, and two-prong airline adapters; a lightweight adjustable headband that provides a superior fit; full-size swiveling ear cups with soft cushions; and a hard-shell protective carrying case with a storage area for iPods and other MP3 players.

The headphones—which can be used at home as well as on the road with TVs, computers, portable DVD players, CD players, MP3 players, and assisted listening devices—fold flat for easy storage.

Note: The noise cancellation feature requires two AAA batteries (not included), but can also be turned off should the batteries run down. As a result, users can still listen to music without power, unlike many competing noise-canceling headphones.

What’s in the Box
Sound Clarity headphones, removable cord, 1/8- and 1/4-inch stereo adapters, two-prong airline adapter, hard-shell carrying case, user’s manual.

Available at www.ableplanet.com or The Travel Store at EllenBarone.com powered by Amazon.


About Ellen Barone: Consumer travel expert Ellen Barone is the founder and publisher of EllenBarone.com and YourLifeIsATrip.com. Learn more here and connect on Twitter at,FacebookGoogle+ and LinkedIn.


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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".