Need a break from the noise? Make your earplug choice wisely
‘Every little noise at night keeps me awake’.
‘I love live music - the louder the better’.
‘I’d just like my life to be a little quieter’.
Any of those sound familiar?
If so, it sounds like ear protection could be the right way forward.
The thing is, the world we live in is a loud one. Full of noisy activity that is often on our doorstep and invades our daily environment. Noise is part of our working life, our social lives, and even when we’re trying to get some much-needed sleep, it’s disturbing us there, too.
Add to that the fact that people have different tolerance levels. As unique human beings, we not only see the world differently, but we hear it differently, too. And as life takes us down our own individual paths, we experience life in different ways. Our jobs, our locations, our home situations, our own unique needs.
Sometimes all we want is for life to be a bit more peaceful. To get our own space and quiet from the world.
Whatever the reason may be that you want to reduce the volume, one thing remains - help is out there. And it comes in the form of noise-reducing earplugs.
So whether you need a break from your partner’s incessant snoring or you’re looking to protect your ears when flying, noise-reducing earplugs will help you live your life the way you want to.
In this blog post, we’re going to take a closer look at noise cancellation. What exactly is it? How can it help your hearing? And what type of noise-reducing earplugs should you be looking for?
Here we go.
What is noise cancellation?
In a broad sense, noise cancellation can be simply put as ‘a process that helps to reduce, or completely eliminate noise’.
It all started way back in 1933, in Germany, when an important doctor named Paul Lueg first made the discovery (at a very basic level). But it’s been nearly 100 years since, and technology has evolved beyond recognition. Which is where noise-reducing earplugs and headphones come in.
What makes them so great is that they help the wearer to drown out ambient noise and give them the ability to hear the world the way they want to.
There are three main types of noise cancellation to get to grips with.
Let’s break it down.
Passive noise cancellation
Earplugs that offer passive noise cancellation rely on the design of the product to achieve the desired effect. This is mostly down to the shape, design and materials used. They can hugely help wearers to block out the ambient sounds of everyday life.
Active noise cancellation (ANC)
Devices that introduce ANC into the mix, take it one step further. They use their clever design and technology to listen out for background sounds and use clever audio trickery to “cancel” these potential disruptive noises out.
However, they do have their limits. For example, they’re not the best at silencing certain types of noise. The process is fast, but it can occur in real time, so ANC works best with consistent low-frequency noise as opposed to high-pitched sounds that are inconsistent (like human speech for example).
Adaptive noise cancellation
A newer technology, it works much like ANC, but with a small twist. It works with microphones to detect how loud the outside noise is. If it is loud, it will strengthen noise cancellation. If it is quiet, it will lower it instead.
Why people wear earplugs for noise reduction
How effective are earplugs? It’s a good question. Let’s find out.
Earplugs are worn by millions of people every day, for a whole host of different reasons.
But there’s an important one to remember: noise can be harmful.
Sound is measured in decibels (dB). A whisper is about 30 dB, a motorcycle engine running is about 95dB and a passing siren from a vehicle sits at about 120 dB. With that in mind, consider this: prolonged exposure to any noise above 85 dB can damage your hearing. And any loud noise above 120dB can cause immediate damage.
It’s a scary thought and something that a lot of people take for granted. The sad thing is that once the damage is done, it won’t heal. So hearing protection isn’t just a luxury – it’s a must.
And hearing damage is on the rise amongst the younger generation. Which is ironic, as the people most uninformed about dangers of noise such as loud music are sometimes the most in need of protection.
Here are some reasons why people invest in earplugs.
They experience noise sensitivity
If you’ve ever endured feelings such as distress, anger, or panic attacks due to unwanted noise, chances are you have noise sensitivity. Noise sensitivity affects everyone differently. And whether your trigger is finding construction outside your office window unbearable, or struggling with the sound of loud chewing, noise-reducing earplugs are there to help.
Noise sensitivity is often linked to other lived experiences, such as autism, ADHD and misophonia, which can mean you have heightened levels of noise sensitivity.
To help with sleep issues
Noise-reducing earplugs are well-known to help with sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or insomnia. Not to mention the infuriating sound of rhythmic snoring when you’re trying to sleep.
Whatever the reason, these earplugs are designed to help with sleep issues and block out all that unwanted noise, allowing you to get that much-needed snooze time.
Children make a lot of noise. Fact. Whether they’re playing, crying, laughing, even eating. There’s never a dull moment.
With many more parents finding working from home a more permanent fixture in their lives, noise reducing earplugs are a must.
And let’s face it, even if work isn’t the issue, sometimes parents just want to have a bit of peace. A quiet moment amid the chaos, without missing anything important.
Not only are planes loud, but the air pressure also involved in the process can actually cause damage to your ears.
Wearing noise-reducing earplugs when flying will not only reduce the noise of the passengers and engine, but they’ll also work to equalize the air pressure inside and outside of your ear. When the cabin air pressure changes rapidly, earplugs will help to restore the balance you need to avoid ear damage.
Protection from loud music
Music is a huge part of many people’s lives. Whether you work in the industry or enjoy live music regularly, being exposed to that level of noise isn’t good for your hearing. In fact, it can cause permanent damage.
This is why many musicians and live concert-goers find themselves in trouble with their hearing early in life, suffering with conditions such as tinnitus. Earplugs can help to mitigate the effects, by blocking out the unwanted noise, but allowing you to still hear the music, just less loud.
Motorcycle engines can reach average levels of 95 dB. Considering that hearing damage can happen at any point above 85 dB, it’s an important risk to factor in when riding.
By wearing earplugs that cancel out that damaging noise, your hearing will be protected, and you’ll still hear all the vital sounds you need to. Not only will they protect your hearing, but they’ll help to keep you focused, without cutting you off completely.
What to look for when buying noise-reducing earplugs
Searching for the best noise-reducing earplugs can be confusing, to say the least.
Here’s a list of the things to look out for:
- Tech to filter out noise
Nowadays wearing earplugs doesn't mean having to take one out and shout ‘YES?’ every time someone talks to you.
No, we’re not talking earplugs that completely block and muffle noise. The best earplugs for noise reduction have acoustic channels that filter out the noise, letting you hear everything you need to, just on your terms. Earplugs that actually enhance your everyday life.
- Ditch the throwaways
We’re living in a world where sustainability matters. Gone are the days of throwaway, cheap, disposable earplugs. It’s all about searching for products that are reusable, sustainable, and kind to the environment. In times like these, it’s important that we all do our bit to make a positive impact on the world.
With reusable earplugs for noise reduction, you can feel happy you’re making a green decision.
- dB levels matter
Look for the amount of noise reduction that your new earplugs will give you. This will be shown in dB levels.
Again, it’s all down to when you want to use them and protection that you’re looking for. If you’re looking for protection from loud music, but you still want to hear everything, you want earplugs that block a higher dB, whilst enhancing the sound at the same time.
Whereas, if you’re looking for earplugs for sleep, you’ll be looking for earplugs that will block out most unwanted noise and put you in your own bubble.
- Stylish and convenient
Earplugs can be cool. It’s a fact. They often come in a range of colors and their very own carry case.
Gone are the days of clunky headphones, modern earplugs are small and convenient and can slip into your pocket, ready for when you need them.
- Maximum comfort
You want to find earplugs that offer the maximum amount of comfort, and that don’t fall out.
There’s nothing more annoying than being fast asleep and continuously waking up to pop a fallen earplug back in.
Our noise-reducing earplugs cover all of these bases. You can take our quiz to find out which will work best for you.
The Engage are designed with conversation in mind. They offer up to 16 decibels of
coverage and are designed to limit the ‘occlusion effect.’ Which is that echoey, head-
underwater feeling you get with most earplugs. They’re perfect for reducing anxiety in
social situations without impacting your ability to chat and connect. And they’re earplugs that allow you to hear everything you need to remain present, calm, and focused.
Ideal for: Parenting, noise sensitivity, social gatherings.
The Experience earplugs reduce noise by up to 18 dB, giving that extra protection. Their modern tech using an innovative acoustic channel works to filter outside noise, whilst still allowing you to hear all the important stuff, without the sound quality ever having to suffer.
Ideal for: Noise sensitivity, nightlife and events, motorcycle riding
Earplugs like Loop Quiet are perfect for blocking out most unwanted noise (they can reduce noise by up to 27 dB), bringing peace and calm back to your world. If you struggle with noise affecting your sleep, earplugs like these can really help you to get that much-needed shut-eye.
Ideal for: Sleep, noise sensitivity and focus
So there you have it. While the road to finding the perfect earplugs for noise reduction may seem like a minefield, there are certain important things to watch out for.
- People invest in earplugs for all different reasons. For added protection, for blocking noise out, and much more.
- There are different types of noise cancellation such as passive, adaptive, and active.
- If you have noise sensitivity, autism, ADHD, or a condition such as misophonia, earplugs can help to reduce the volume and make social interactions easier.
- People with sleep issues such as insomnia can also use noise-reducing earplugs to help them.
- Make sure you choose a pair that is all about comfort. Our range of earplugs come with different tips that can fit snugly in all different ears.
- Some earplugs work with an acoustic channel to filter out the noise. Meaning that you can live life at your volume.
Not sure what earplugs are for you? Find out with our quiz.
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