It’s Monday morning, 9:45 a.m. on Sept. 12, 2016 — the first day of IMTS 2016. I’m standing in the middle of the Grand Concourse looking around, waiting for the opening ceremony and ribbon cutting, enjoying the frenzy and realizing that I can’t hear a darn thing. The din is literally overwhelming. 

I look around and I see several people trying to talk into their cell phones. What I found very amusing was that they were all pretty much struck in the same pose, like the guy shown here: Bent at the waist, cell phone pressed against one ear, finger stuck in the other ear (pretty much up to the middle knuckle), and a look of total concentration/frustration. As if scrunching your eyebrows and making a very serious face can make you hear any better. 

The other thing I found to be quite comical was that when they spoke they tended to scream based on the theory if you can’t hear well the other person probably can’t either — not likely the case unless the other person you were talking to was also on the Grand Concourse at IMTS.  

After watching this scenario play out around me for a few minutes, I decided to try something. I dug into my knapsack and pulled out my Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic noise-cancelling headphones. These are the ones that have ear buds and are hardly visible, but use the same noise-cancelling technology as their over-the-ear headsets. I use these all the time when I fly or take the train. 

They take up very little room, cancel out babies crying, loud people on cell phones, and the guy sitting next to me who clearly wants to talk. 

Bose always brags about the noise-cancelling capabilities so I decided to put it to the test right there on the Grand Concourse. It was no contest. The second I turned on the earbuds the din and noise completely disappeared. That was cool, so I decided to take it up a notch and see how it works with my cell. I called home and spoke to my wife Mary Ann. It was amazing, the din and background noise were gone, I heard everything she said with no problem, and when I spoke Mary Ann could easily hear everything I had to say. Quite honestly, I was amazed that these little ear buds could do such a remarkable job. 

I used them frequently for the six days of the show and they proved to be extremely quiet, making my phone calls easy instead of frustrating. Now, with these earbuds, no longer do you have to find a quiet place to make a call. 

A little bit more about these QuietComfort 20 ear buds: They are powered by a lithium-ion battery that charges in two hours and provides up to 16 hours of playing time per charge. (I know this to be true, because I have flown to China and India several times and have never had a low battery issue.) The earbuds come with three pairs (small, medium, large) of StayHear ear tips, a clothing clip, USB charging cable and a carrying case. The cost is a little steep at $249.00, but I’ve had mine for two years and have never had a problem, and they are used frequently.

As a Road Warrior, communication is one of the most important factors that determine your success. Good communication helps you win and poor communication usually results in your losing. Why not push the odds a little bit more in your favor? These noise-cancelling earbuds are everything they say they are and more. No more asking “Can you hear me now?”