Best In Ear Aviation Headsets

Best In Ear Aviation Headsets – Now that you know how to find the best aviation headset, we sincerely hope you are able to pick a good option and make an informed purchase. However, our favorite out of the lot is the Bose A20 Aviation Headset. Many 737 pilots also used this headset for its excellent noise cancelation, comfort and durability. Even though it is expensive, it’s worth purchasing if you are looking for a premium-quality aviation headset.

For an awesome aviation headset, look no further than the David Clark DC ONE-X, which is practically an industry standard. In use by the United States Air Force and Private contactors, this headset is second to none.


if you’re looking for something more commercially viable with excellent noise cancellation, we recommend the Lightspeed Zulu 3.

1.Bose A20

Pros & Cons


Pros & Cons

3.David Clark H10-30

Pros & Cons


Pros & Cons

5.Lightspeed Zulu 3

Pros & Cons

6.HyperX Cloud

Pros & Cons


Pros & Cons

8.Rugged Air

Pros & Cons


Pros & Cons

10.Aviation Pilot

Pros & Cons

Best In Ear Aviation Headsets – BUYER’S GUIDE

Styles of Headsets

Aviation headsets come in two styles: in-ear and on-ear. As the names sound, an in-ear model is designed with earbud speakers that fit into your ears. On-ear headsets fit over your ears like ear muffs.


On-ear headsets are more common. They have the advantage of fitting almost everyone and having a wide range of products to choose from.


While a less popular choice, in-ear headsets are comfortably light-weight and low-profile. This is an advantage for long flights. A well-fitting in-ear headset is very comfortable, but the fit varies from person to person. Know that you may have to shop around a bit before finding a set that works well for you.

Signal Types

If you are simply using your headset for communication purposes, a mono set will work just fine. It provides the same auditory input in each ear. Most radios are designed to work with mono signal headsets.

If you plan to listen to music or connect to your phone, you may want to upgrade to stereo. A stereo headset feeds a slightly different signal to each ear. This allows music to sound richer. Most stereo headsets can switch between stereo and mono as desired.

Noise Reduction Type

All aviation headsets are designed to reduce noise and protect a pilot’s hearing. There are four types of noise reduction. Each works differently and results in varying levels of noise reduction (measured in decibels).

From least effective to most effective, the four types of noise reduction are:

Passive noise reduction (PNR)

Headsets using passive noise reduction reduce ambient noise by physically insulating your ears using foam or a similar material.

Active noise reduction (ANR)

Active noise reduction is accomplished by the emission of a second sound which is designed to cancel out the ambient noise.

Dynamic noise reduction (DNR)

A dynamic noise reduction headset is a similar, but more advanced version of an ANR headset. The DNR uses digital techniques to reduce noise and it performs slightly better than an ANR set.

Electronic noise reduction (ENR)

A hybrid option that isn’t as common as the others is electronic noise reduction. This type of headset works with standard ANR techniques plus an added automatic gain control (AGC) to optimize performance in high-noise environments.

Plug Type

Wouldn’t it be nice if all aircraft were built with the same types of plugs? Unfortunately, right now that is not the case. Before you purchase your headset, know which type of plug your aircraft has.

The standard types of plugs you may have are:

  • Dual plug (PJs)
  • Helicopter plug (U174)
  • 6-pin plug (LEMO)
  • Airbus plug (XLR)

If you are flying GA aircraft, you can expect to be using dual plugs. All but one of our recommended headsets already come with dual plugs. If the headset you want to purchase comes with a different type of plug, you can buy an adapter to convert it.


For long flights, lighter-weight headsets are generally more comfortable, although design is also important. A well-padded heavier headset can still have fewer pressure points and be more comfortable than a lower-grade lightweight model. The lightest models on our list weigh less than half a pound and the heaviest comes in at about 2 and a half pounds.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do aviation headsets work?

Aviation headsets work like gaming headsets. However, they are more expensive and sturdy. Most of the aviation headsets are over-the-ear style and comprise a cable with one or two plugs. The dual plug models typically comprise one plug for the headphones and one for the microphone.

As already mentioned in the beginning of the guide, there are 3 types of aviation headers: ANR, DNR and PNR. However, the majority of the pilots prefer ANR or DNR aviation headsets as they provide excellent noise reduction. Also, ANR and DNR models are more expensive than the PNR models.

Pilots use aviation headsets to eliminate cockpit noise, reduce disturbance while flying, and communicate with the air traffic controller (ATC). The aviation headset is connected to the airplane’s audio panel. The amount of hearing protection required will depend on the aircraft you will be flying.

How to test an aviation headset at home?

You can test an aviation headset at home by connecting it to your PC or Mac. Most aviation headsets come with two plugs (one for the headphones and one for the microphone) and a mono-stereo switch. However, the plugs can vary from headset to headset depending on the flight you will be flying.

Ensure you switch to the stereo mode when testing the aviation headset on your computer. First things first, you need a PC adapter to connect the aviation headset to your PC. The adapter should comprise two inputs, similar to the inputs on the aircraft’s audio panel. The other end of the adapter should comprise the standard PC input jacks (one for the speakers and one for the microphone). Once you have successfully connected the aviation headset to your PC, you can test it using your favorite songs or use a flight simulator to evaluate features, such as noise cancelation, audio clarity, microphone quality and so on.

Why are aviation headsets so expensive?

Aviation headsets are costlier than regular headphones as they serve not just one but three purposes. They provide you with the utmost comfort when you are flying a plane, protect your ears from cockpit noises, and help you in 2-way communications using the intercom and communication radios. Not only this but they are also FAA approved (the testing adds to the cost), and more durable. Therefore, aviation headsets are much more expensive than regular headphones. They are one of the most expensive headphones on the market.

Can a gaming headset be used for aviation?

The simpler answer is “no.” Gaming headsets cannot be used for aviation as aviation headsets comprise input plugs of different sizes. Even though you can easily find gaming headsets that provide excellent noise cancelation like aviation headsets, you won’t be able to connect the regular gaming headset to the audio panel.

Can I use a Bose Aviation Headset as a regular one?

As already mentioned in the first question, you will need a special aviation headset PC adapter to connect the Bose Aviation Headset to your PC. Moreover, aviation headset PC adapters are expensive. We do not recommend using aviation headsets as regular headsets.

Why are ANR aviation headsets better than PNR aviation headsets?

First things first, ANR aviation headsets provide incredible noise reduction. Secondly, the noise reduction is targeted toward lower frequencies. Lastly, ANR aviation headsets are more comfortable and lighter than their DNR and PNR counterparts. However, they are more expensive.

What is the best aviation headset for student pilots?

We recommend the following aviation headsets for student pilots:

David Clark H10-13.4 Aviation Headset
KORE AVIATION KA-1 Premium Series Aviation Headset

We have already discussed both the aviation headsets in detail above.

What is the best noise-canceling aviation headset?

Per our experience, the Bose A20 Aviation Headset is the best noise-canceling headset on the market currently, followed by the David Clark H10-13.4 Aviation Headset.


Imagine someone asks you, “What is the purpose of an aviation headset?” Naturally, your mind goes to comms. Headsets are vital for communication, right? Absolutely, and they play another role which may be less obvious to new pilots – noise reduction.

At first it may seem quiet inside the cockpit of your aircraft – after all, it’s not like you’re at a heavy metal concert. Still, put on a noise reduction headset and you will instantly notice the difference.

Although the cockpit’s background noise isn’t overly loud, it is loud enough that long-term exposure can cause permanent damage and hearing loss.