Noise-Cancelling

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Noise-Cancelling: a reader asks…

I am looking for musician style earplugs so I can listen to music keeping the fidelity while making it quieter. Any recommendations? I’ve looked at several expensive options such as from Bose – do you think they’re worth it?

Over the years I’ve tried out a number of hearing protection devices, from simple foam earplugs to yes, those fancy powered Bose noise-cancelling earbuds. The driver for this research has been hearing sensitivity and protection. Hearing loss in middle-age and beyond is pretty common, since even simple everyday things like lawnmowers, leaf blowers and yes, concerts can have cause permanent damage to your hearing.

wireless-earbud-examples

Like you, in this quest I wanted to preserve music fidelity and hearing. So many options (like those foam earplugs) make everything muddy and indistinct, which makes enjoying music at a concert impossible. I even talked to a pro drummer who recommended some musician’s earplugs (called Dubs from Doppler Labs) – and that led me to the company’s flagship offering, Hear Plus. Unfortunately, their flagship product (expensive, powered wireless earbuds) didn’t make it in the highly competitive earbud market. Now you can’t even get the cheap Dubs anywhere.

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After spending way too much money trying out many products, I’ve finally settled on my favorites – called Ear Peace. They are only $25 and don’t require a battery, wire or charging. They are very comfortable (unlike most that hurt your ears after just a short while wearing them), and they come with three sets of filter inserts so you can use the insert that works best in terms of how much sound you want to reduce (low medium, high) while maintaining fidelity so you don’t miss the nuances of music or voice.

Best of all, when you buy a set, you get three earplugs, not two! I have on occasion dropped one as I was inserting or removing it. Once I did lose a single earplug in the airport, so having the spare one was handy. And other times even though I didn’t lose the earbud, it was dirty when I picked it off the floor, so having a clean spare was very nice.

Ear Peace comes in several different varieties, including for listening to music (which does the best at preserving music fidelity), for motorsports, safety, and even some (expensive) custom-fitted versions. You can buy the standard sets at Amazon.com or other online retailers, or directly from
Ear Peace. They come in a handy aluminum tube perfect for pocket or purse. I went so far as to buy several sets (with different colored tubes) so I could use the different filters in each set.

Think of hearing protection as an investment in your physical health, and be sure to keep your earplugs clean – an alcohol dip and wipe every once in awhile will keep them clean and performing well for you for many years. There are other brands of earplugs that I’ve tried, but none are as comfortable as these. Of course, every person’s ears are different, you may find another brand work better for you. Other options include Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs, LiveMus!c HearSafe Earplugs, Earasers Musician’s Earplugs, and ALMA Ear Plugs.

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