I think your kid is crying and, by the way, I can’t hear you, either.

Seasoned traveler Nick Topitzes of PC/Nametag compares Madison to the cities he visits - and reports back on his findings.

If you ever see me getting ready to board a plane, you will see a big set of Bose earphones around my neck that I will wear on the flight. (I didn’t always wear the big earphones. Years ago, I started wearing ear plugs, the soft mushy kind about the size of the tip of your little finger that you compress, put in your ear, and the soft foam expands to seal out a lot of noise.)

I began the habit when I started flying a lot. I am deeply protective of my hearing. I had great hearing when I was young and I still do, in certain ranges. I can’t stay in a hotel room that is next to the elevators because I hear the motors of the elevators when they go up and down — not a way to get a great night’s sleep. My one son has inherited this from me — his nickname from his friends is “Sonic.” My other son was a deejay in various clubs in Madison and elsewhere, so enough said about his hearing.

I didn’t want to be one of those people who lost their hearing at a young age, so to protect my inner ears from noise of the jet engines, I wore the earplugs. I noticed a side benefit: I couldn’t hear the sound of kids on the plane screaming and crying. While others around me were gritting their teeth, I was enjoying my flight. I always carry several clean pair in my briefcase and occasionally I have helped out a fellow traveler who was suffering from the sound of a crying baby.

Don’t get me wrong. Most kids are great on a plane and I love it when they are arguing over who will get the window seat. But once in a while, you get one that is frightened, tired or hungry. And everyone on board will know about it. Anyone will tolerate a few minutes of crying, but sometimes it goes on and on. (Crying is preferable to the little three-year old kid who kept kicking the back of my seat and whose mother said there was nothing she could do.)

For entertainment, I would sometimes wear ear buds and listen to my music or the entertainment provided on the plane. My sets usually have better sound and are much more sanitary than those provided by the airlines, but I have noticed that with ear buds, what one is doing is turning the volume up to drown out the noise of the jet engines. Being protective of my hearing, that was the wrong way to go, so that is when I started wearing the noise cancelling earphones. The big ones that completely cover the ears.

They have an on-off switch and you must leave them off turning take-off and landing. During that time, the earphones alone provide protection — and once you hear the two “dings,” it means that the pilot has reached a safe altitude. The switch goes on and sometimes I won’t even listen to music — just enjoy the peace and quiet.

Bose has stores around the country and even a kiosk in the Denver airport where you can check them out. They are expensive and there are other brands… although I have found Bose the best for me.

Even if you don’t want to spend the money for earphones and you want a quiet flight, as well as to protect your ears, just spend a buck and get some foam earplugs from the drug store. Find a style or type that fits well, is soft, and easy to put in. In fact, buy one pair for going and another for your return. Shut out the noise of the plane, protect your ears, and let junior wail away.

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