I glad that you're doing your homework when it comes to headset selection. Hearing loss is cumulative and once it's gone it's gone for good. Flying is one of those career fields where you are continously exposed to noise and lots of it and unfortunately it's at the frequency where it does the most damage. When you're young you usually don't think too much about it. I come from a family that has a tendency towards hearing loss, so I've been especially careful and after 37 years in the cockpit I haven't been too affected by it. If you're in this for the long haul I don't think that you can be too careful. Buy the BEST headset you can and use it religiously. I have three David Clark headsets and I've been very happy with them. (But I've had to add some of Oregon Aeros accessories to make them comfortable on some of our 8+ hour flights.) I know that there are others out there that seem just as good as the David Clarks, but I don't know if they are "industrial strength" or not - if you know what I mean. If you're only planning on flying for a hobby, say 40 or 50 hours a year then about any headset will work.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to use a pair of Lightspeed headsets. They seemed to be nice units. That being said, I am still a big fan of David Clarks. There was a saying that no one ever got in trouble for recommending IBM. I think the same thing goes for David Clark. Are the other brands just as good? Who knows? I would guess that they probably are, but never the less, I've got a set of David Clark DCNC headsets that are 12 years old and they still look and work like new. My oldest set of David Clark are over 20 years old and they still look and work like new. As far as I'm concerned, their only shortcomings can be easily and inexpensively corrected with a set of Oregon Aero ear pads and a sheepskin top pad. The others may be OK
and you may get a lot of service out of them. Like I said, if you're only going to be using them for recreational or non-professional use any of them would be just fine. When it comes to a pilot's professional equipment, that's another thing. It doesn't really make a lot of sense to me to skimp on something as basic as a headset. No one ever regretted buying a David Clark - it's the excepted standard. I don't think that I've ever heard anyone ever compare a David Clark to any other brand of headset, but you're always hearing the other brands saying that they are as good as DC's. Get the DCs, you can't go wrong. Besides, getting another brand would be like riding a Yamaha to the Harley convention in Sturgis.
As long as I'm talking about headsets, I also had a set of Bose. If you elect to go with a set on electronic noise canceling units make sure that the unit you choose has world class product support because you will probably have to use it at some point - the "ANR
" part of the thoses headsets can be pretty tempramental. Anyway you look at it, it is going to be a heavy expense so shop around and buy the one that fits you the best. This will be a long term investment so it doesn't necessarily make a lot of sense to buy one particular brand just because it happens to be a little cheaper. Another thing, see if you can try out the set that you are looking at. The various ANR
headsets are better at some frequencies than others. I found that I didn't even need them in the Gulfstream G200; that are helpful in the Gulfstream G100 and an absolute necessity in the Lears. Hope this helps.