It is no secret headphones make travel a more tolerable, but did you know active noise cancelling headphones make airline food more palatable?
Active Noise Cancelling Headphones Make Airline Food Taste Better
According to Professor Barry Smith, founder of the Center for the Study of the Senses, white noise actually makes food taste worse.
Smith took his findings to the skies when he traveled on return flights from British Airways, flying both with and without active noise cancelling headphones. He discovered he was able to enjoy his food more with out the constant hum of the airplane’s engine and the air conditioner units, “suggesting that flavor is not just about the tongue, but rather a combination of taste and smell.”
Via Daily Mail, Smith reports the constant drone and vibrations hitting your eardrums on a plane harm the ability of your tongue to distinguish between sweet, sour and salt which equals bland food.
“Apart from the dry air and the fact you are at high altitude in a low-pressure environment, white noise in your ear makes the tongue less able to discriminate between sweet and sour by about 15 percent,” Smith said.
However, not all foods are affected. “It doesn’t seem to affect umami – the savory taste of foods such as strong cheese, shellfish, tomatoes and soy… At the same time, droning sounds accentuate bitterness,” he adds.
Such interesting findings. Regardless, British Airways is looking to keep their customers happy and have reportedly already started serving meals with umami.
But I have yet to hear of other airlines doing the same. In that respect, I guess this is another justification for you to splurge on those active noise cancelling headphones you’ve always wanted.