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Do I need ANR in my helmet?

by Shawna Bock • November 02, 2020

Flight Helmet Communications Upgrades

By Lightspeed Aviation August 12, 2020

Do I need ANR in my helmet?

For many of us that learned to fly a long time ago, we became quite happy with a comfortable pair of passive headsets or standard comms in a helmet. Then Active Noise Reduction (ANR) came along in the 1990s, and not everyone was convinced it was actually better in the cockpit than passive noise reduction.

Fast forward 25+ years – the technology has now matured and has proven itself to provide a variety of benefits that really do improve the flying experience.

Let’s examine a few of those:

Noise reduction in both piston and turbine environments

ANR is particularly good at reducing low-frequency noise, and there is a substantial amount of low-frequency noise in both piston and turbine aircraft.

Clearer comms

With much of that low-frequency noise out of the way, it is much easier to hear the comms clearly. This mitigates the need to turn up the volume on comms so that they are louder than the noise. This in turn provides genuine savings when it comes to noise-induced hearing loss.

Less fatigue

Studies have shown that by reducing the monotonous low-frequency drone in the aircraft, there is a measurable reduction in fatigue. We know this leads to fresher, better decision-making.

Mechanical anomalies are more noticeable

One of the concerns we sometimes hear from pilots is that they will not hear mechanical anomalies that could warn of an impending problem. Interestingly, the opposite is actually true. Because the background noise is reduced, any acoustic anomaly is actually more noticeable when ANR is present. You can read anecdotal stories of this from pilots on various aviation forums and blogs.

Enhanced features

Lightspeed ANR systems for helmets have integrated Bluetooth and a Quick Disconnect. In its early days, Bluetooth may have been viewed as a frivolous feature that pilots in a busy environment would not use. Today, however, it is a vital way to receive alerts from navigation apps and provide an excellent back communication source. Having this built right into the system provides these benefits with no additional components, cables, or connections.

To facilitate a “hands-free” emergency egress, Lightspeed ANR systems for helmets include a beautifully integrated “quick disconnect” that will automatically break free ensuring that you and your helmet exit the aircraft with no noticeable drag from the connection to the panel.

Better comfort

With a proper fit, ANR systems can rest more lightly on the ears due to the fact that it is the electronic signals that are doing much of the noise reduction, not a strong clamping force. This leads to a much more comfortable fit. Lightspeed ANR systems are also designed with the human ear in mind, and the shape of the cups and assemblies are designed for maximum comfort.

Premium materials

High-quality parts and manufacturing processes are used throughout the system, but the most notable component is the unique Kevlar reinforced cables used in the Lightspeed systems. We introduced these cables in 2015 in our most expensive headset and have since migrated most of our products to these cables due to their extreme superiority in the field. They are the epitome of rugged, durable, and flexible.

Do you need ANR in your helmet? Of course not, BUT you will enjoy your flying much more immensely with it and will benefit from some of the on-board safety features that are also part of an upgrade. is a certified installer of Lightspeed Aviation's ZULU H-Mod for Helmets. Find our Lightspeed products HERE.

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