However, since I’d like to retain my teeth—particularly overseas—I relented and had a night guard made. It’s not so horrific after all. However, caring for it in the States was simple—brush it, rinse it, store it, pop it in again at night? How was I going to keep it clean in India, where I can’t rinse it properly and the case was sure to get icky, too?
The solution? This guy: the Brain Pad UV & ozone sanitizing case. It runs on 4 AAA batteries and has a 3 minute cycle; it purport to “leaves appliances 99.9% bacteria free” and you know what—I’ll take that .1% chance! Anything you can fit in here is fair game, from night guards and toothbrush heads to hearing aids and ear buds. I started using it at home before we left to check it out, and I ended up using it every night! It even took away the funky smell my night guard was getting despite faithful brushing.
The case runs around $33 and the bulb lasts for 3000+ hours. It’s not the most petite case in the world, but it worked well enough to earn a spot in my very small suitcase. If you have an appliance you keep in your mouth for hours and hours, whether or not you’re living in India, I highly recommend this case!
Update: 16 months later and the case is still going strong! I’ve been using an antibacterial essential oil blend once in a while to wipe down the inside of the case, but, beyond that, all systems are go!
I had always thought noise canceling headphones were for rich people who couldn’t stand the sound of coach from their first class seats. I considered them an unnecessary luxury and a manifestation of our consumer culture.
And then I tried some.
Audio-Technica ATH ANC23 QuietPoint – Headphones active noise canceling earbuds
BJ let me try his on our first flight to India together and I was sold. They were the sort that fits over the ears, and the amount of airplane engine drone they cut out was remarkable. It made for a generally more pleasant experience and I enjoyed them, but I still thought they were—ultimately—unnecessary, particularly due to their size.
As we were exploring gear for our longterm travels abroad, I started researching noise canceling earbuds. None of the ones I found had exceptional reviews and I figured buying one would be a crapshoot, so I didn’t want to aim for the most expensive. I found one that had the most positive (least negative?) reviews out of the lot and bought them from Amazon.
Why wear noise canceling headphones?
Here’s where I admit my ignorance. I didn’t realize the huge benefit of wearing noise canceling headphone is so that you don’t have to crank up whatever you’re listening to in order to drown out the ambient noise. Duh! Maybe they’re not such an unnecessary luxury after all! Instead of turning the volume all the way up and damaging your ears, you can have the volume at a much more reasonable level when the noise canceling function is switched on.
Active vs Passive noise canceling
There are many options when it comes to noise canceling headphones (who knew?) The first is active vs. passive. Passive basically means that by virtue of having something jammed in your ear, it’s canceling noise. Yes, yes, it can get more complex, but not this on page it’s not! Active noise canceling means there is some kind of electronic voodoo at work to bring you peace; in actuality, the unit is producing soundwaves in an exact opposite pattern as the ambient noise in order to negate it. “Destructive interference,” they call it—how cool is that?!
Not only did I use them on the seemingly endless flight to India this last go ‘round, but I’ve been using them on our long haul drives. We’ve spent almost 30 hours in a small car over the past few days, surrounded by India’s noisy vehicles, horns honking, and general city sounds. When I turn on the noise canceling function of these headphones (as you can also use them without), I can turn down the volume a great deal and hear my music perfectly. You can even use them without music, just turn on the noise canceling function and enjoy a less hectic environment.
A huge factor for me was comfort, as well; ear buds usually hurt my ears almost immediately (and for a long time thereafter). I am using the hard foam covers that come with these (they come with a selection of actual ear pieces) and not only do they fit perfectly, but they are virtually painless, even after hours. I still can’t believe it.
I’ve never really been a headphone person, preferring to take in the sounds of my surroundings. However, there are some times when you prefer to escape for a bit; for those times, these are the perfect choice.
UPDATE: Over three years after publishing this review, it’s still as true as ever. I LOVE these headphones, particularly with the harder foam ear pieces. They are magic!