Ears – they are a key piece in making music, listening to music, and communication in general. We would even go as far as to say that they are necessary to be a Creative in the music industry, but some people have proven otherwise.
Did you know that the internal parts of the human ear are one of the few parts of the body that cannot naturally heal themselves? If you’ve gone to a few too many concerts without hearing protection you’ve pretty much sealed your fate. Diminished hearing from then on out is guaranteed. That’s why hearing protection is so darn important, especially if you plan on using those ears to make some money.
We’ve all tried foam earplugs, and while they certainly dampen the volume at a concert they take away all the sweet details of the music as well. Boo! Most of us would like to still hear the music, but safely.
In this article, we’ll go over what specifications to look for when making your purchase. We’ll then give you a shortlist of our favorite earplugs to wear out to shows or even rock at your next gig. Continue below.
Specifications to Look For
The figures you’re going to want to look out for when doing your research is the Noise Reduction Rating and/or Single Number Rating (the European system) found with each pair of earplugs. These numbers correspond to the amount of volume effectively reduced while wearing them. In Europe, there is an independent testing facility that handles those classifications but in the US each manufacturer is in charge of the task.
You’ll often see the overall reduction alongside the peak reduction together, which can be confusing. The overall reduction number is the average amount of volume will be reduced. The peak reduction will only refer to the amount of volume effectively reduced during spikes in volume.
When you see the Noise Reduction Rating and/or Single Number Rating be aware that the NRR will always be lower. They are assuming the worst conditions (i.e. improper fit, use, cleanliness, etc.) and hence the lower rating. The SNR shows you the highest amount of reduction possible according to the science under ideal conditions.
Continue below to read about our favorite earplugs and their specifications!
Earasers is one of our favorite hearing protection companies because they tailor their gear for musicians. They know what their doing based on experience with custom earplug design. The founder, Don, set out to create an earplug that could work like the far-more-expensive custom-fit plugs.
Earasers are founded on a soft medical grade silicone that creates a “Smart Seal”. This comfortable fit allows Earasers to form to each individual’s ear shape eliminating costly customized impressions.
These are easily the most comfortable earplugs we tried out as they are designed to curve with the ear canal. This curve allows for a better fit which makes them even more effective at their job. They are color coded by ear and easily identifiable even when in the dark at a show.
They have three options available in terms of noise reduction, refer to the chart above to see their respective reduction curves. Their Standard earplug maintains the flattest curve comparable to other companies. Their stronger earplugs aren’t quite as flat but they reduce the volume by a larger amount, that’s the trade-off.
Despite the hilariously dated video quality, the video below is full of tips to educate you about earplugs and what makes Earasers different.
Earasers are priced at $49.99 for their Standard pair, which is nearly twice the cost of other earplugs on this list but it’s worth it.
Vibes earplugs are a comfortable fit and commonly found in other top earplug lists. They’re slick profile and grabber makes them easy to insert and remove from the ears.
The earplugs have a relatively even frequency response across the board with the lowest frequencies being reduced 15 decibels. The curve below demonstrates the response. As you can see most of the frequency is at the same position which means the audio will maintain its characteristics and you’ll be hearing it as though you aren’t even wearing earplugs – just quieter.
Vibes are designed with comfort in mind, and aesthetics. They come with three different sized plugs that you can swap out based on how your earhole is. The plugs are white and the tips are clear so they virtually disappear. Vibes come comfortably priced as well for $23.99 from a number of retailers.
Earpeace earplugs take a different approach with their design and opt for a flanged silicone body. Their ear tabs are connected to the flanged body of the earplug making it one piece. They have a filter that can be pulled out of the silicone body which is actually doing the majority noise reduction.
The subtlety of the tab may go unappreciated at first but once you have it in you’ll easily forget you’re wearing earplugs. They are both comfortable and don’t look dorky. Plus, they make them in a variety of skin tones so they blend right into your ear.
They have a decent reduction rating across the board, see the chart below.
What makes this a sweet deal is the inclusion of a third earplug in case you misplace one. Also, you’re given all three strengths of the filters they have to offer so you can customize your reduction strength.
Earpeace earplugs are available for $24.95, watch the video below to learn how to use them!
Eargasm earplugs follow a similar design aesthetic and go for all silicone earplugs. They are triple-flanged and include the pull-tab in the body. Eargasm gives you a carrying case that varies from the other designs in its size.
The reduction curve reduces the higher frequencies better than the low but is comparable to the others on this list. It is one of the stronger earplugs on the list in terms of reduction.
The only downside to these earplugs is that there are only two sizes available – Regular and Large. If you have smaller ear canals then you may need to look elsewhere.
Eardial is the final earplug we wanted to feature on our list. We felt it was worth mentioning due to its popularity, accompanying app, and charity effort.
The design comes with a double-flange body and round pull-tab. The noise reduction rating is fair and in line with the others on this list.
With every sale of an Eardial set of earplugs a donation is made to a charity working against tinnitus and Noise Induced Hearing Loss. This feature sets these earplugs apart from the rest.
Watch the vieo below to learn a bit more!
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