How Noise-Cancelling Headphones Help Me Enjoy Busy Places With Hearing Loss


I love visiting Disney World – the festive atmosphere, the unique rides and the fully immersive experiences. But as I get older, deafer and more sensitive to loud noises, enjoying things like a Disney theme park have gotten more challenging. On my most recent trip, I decided to try a new tactic, and brought my noise-cancelling headphones along. I had them anyway, since I needed them for the plane ride down to Florida.

The headphones worked wonders – I was able to enjoy many attractions that would otherwise have been way too loud, and it helped keep my hearing loss exhaustion at bay, for a little while longer anyway.

The first day of our visit, we went to Magic Kingdom where I didn’t really need them. Most of the rides and shows had moderate volumes. I could hear most of what was being said, enough to get the basic back story, which was all I really needed. Most importantly, the noise level was not overwhelmingly loud. Only once at a bustling lunch spot did my iPhone decibel reader get even close to a dangerous level. Perhaps it is because Magic Kingdom gears itself primarily to families with young children.

I was also pleasantly surprised at the widespread availability of captioning at many of the attractions. Certain shows also offered hearing loops and/or written synopses. I didn’t need to use these things this time around, but I was happy to see that they were available if I do need them in the future.

The second day was a different story. We went to Disney Hollywood Studios, which caters to teens and young adults. The attractions included things like an extreme car stunt show with revving motors and squealing tires and a demonstration of special effects which included booming explosions, gunshots and fireworks. Even the “Frozen” movie sing-along had the soundtrack pumped way up. It was all very loud.

I was very grateful for the headphones, which I used to block out the overwhelming volume levels. The noise-cancelling feature was an added plus since it helped block out the background noise, making it easier for me to understand the voices explaining the action. Most importantly, it helped me stay comfortable, which made the day more fun for my family, all of whom hear just fine and didn’t seem bothered in the slightest by any of it.

Isn’t it wonderful that today’s technologies have brought such life improvements for those of us with hearing loss? I know I am grateful for it. It makes me wonder, where should I bring my noise-cancelling headphones next?

A version of this post first appeared on LivingWithHearingLoss.com.

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Thinkstock photo by William87.


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