The Best Earplugs for Concerts: 4 important features
If you're a regular concert-goer, you know that concerts can get pretty loud. Uptill a point where you can't only hear but feel the bass running through your body. It's a great feeling but there's a downside to it: hearing damage. With an earplug designed for concerts, you'll get to enjoy that feeling without having to worry about any negative side effects.
In this article, we'll go more in depth about the importance of earplugs at concerts and the four key features that make an earplug great for concerts.
Why wear earplugs to a concert?
There's a pretty good chance you already came home with a muffled sound or ringing ears. If you're lucky it usually goes away after a few days. If you're unlucky, one loud concert is all it takes for a lifetime of hearing problems.
But, what causes hearing problems?
Irreversible hearing damage can occur as low as 85 decibels. A normal conversation is around 60 decibels. Most concerts easily reach 100 decibels. Your ears can only cope with that level of sound for fifteen minutes without proper protection.
Knowing this, it's strange that so few people wear earplugs right?
Less than 5% of us wear earplugs when going to concerts. And of that 5 %, most people aren't wearing earplugs designed for concerts, but those fluorescent foam plugs, that totally ruin your music experience. You know them right?
What makes the best concert earplug?
We asked a lot of music enthusiasts and these requirements were on the top of their lists:
- "I want the music to sound great" ...
- but "They must protect my ears"
- "The less I notice them, the better"
- "I don't want a nerdy look"
You'll notice that it all comes down to four key features: sound quality, sound reduction, comfort and looks. When buying an earplug for concerts you should evaluate these four features, just like we did when we designed Loop Earplugs for music.
Let's dive in!
Feature 1: Enjoy The Music
Great sound quality is the most important feature. Makes sense, when you pay 100 bucks for a concert you want the whole shebang. Not a distorted, diminished version.
The sound has to be great. But how can you assure it will?
Natural sounding music
Artists, bands, and DJ's fine-tune their music to give it a specific sound. During a concert, you'll want to hear the music like they intend it to sound. You want as little distortion as possible.
How do we translate this to earplug-terms?
What you need to look for is an earplug with an equal attenuation over the entire hearing spectrum. An equal attenuation across all frequencies will result in a natural sounding experience without distortions, as you'll see in the example below.
Most earplugs have an uneven attenuation because they block your ear canal off completely. The result: distorted sound.
To counter this undesired side effect, earplugs must have a resonance chamber.
There are different ways to include a resonance chamber in an earplug. At Loop, we went for an innovative approach and designed a hollow acoustic channel that acts as a resonance chamber. Sound waves enter Loop via a small opening and travel through the hollow channel on the inside of Loop. This acoustic resonator has the same length as your ear canal and mimics its function, with a natural sound experience as a result.
You know what's also great about natural and clear sound? Easier conversations!
When the sound is natural, it helps our brain to filter out voices. So, next time you're wearing earplugs at a concert you'll say "Yes, get me some beer." instead of "WHAAAAAAT?" when your friend asks you if you want a drink.
If you want to dive deeper into the importance of equal attenuation, check out our technology page!
But don't forget the key message that matters most: music should sound like it's supposed to sound, just less loud. And that brings us to the second feature: sound reduction.
Feature 2: Protect your hearing
Ever came home from a concert with a ringing in your ears? That's called tinnitus, one of the first signs of hearing damage. No need to freak out straight away because it could be just temporary. But don't forget it might as well be.
Did you know that 1 out of 4 people experiences tinnitus, a constant beep in the ears? Here's how that happens:
Your ears can only cope with a sound level of 85 decibels. The louder it gets, the higher and faster the risk of hearing damage will be. Most concerts and other music venues like clubs or festivals, easily reach sound levels at and above 100 decibels. At this level, your hearing risks damage after only 15 minutes! And because no good concert ever ended after 15 minutes, earplugs are the best solution to enjoy longer without any worries.
Translated into earplug-term, you'll want an earplug with a decent sound reduction but not too much. It's all about finding the right balance between protection and experience.
At Loop, we have found that the perfect balance often lies around a reduction of 18 decibels. It lets enough music in for you to enjoy the concerts to the fullest and protects your hearing from sound levels up to 105 decibels. Which is just what you need if you find yourself at a heavy rock concert or front row next to screaming hordes of fans.
Not sure how much 18dB is? Check our post indicating what kind of dB-levels we encounter in our daily lives.
Feature 3: Comfort from the first to the last song
An earplug can sound awesome and protect your ears from damage, but no one is going to wear it when it's uncomfortable right? In a perfect world, you'd forget you're wearing earplugs by the time you finish your first drink.
So how do we translate ultimate comfort to earplugs? Simple: you want an earplug that's easy to insert and take out. The ear tip, the part of the earplug that sits directly in your ear, has to have a soft contact and tailored fit.
After testing more than 30 different ear tips from different manufacturers across the globe with a broad testing panel. The conclusion was clear: ears are too different for one ear tip to fit everyone. Some people liked the ease of use and softness of silicone ear tips, others preferred the special feel of memory foam. Not to mention, the difference in the size of people's ear canal.
There are two things you'll want to look at: the material and size of an earplug or its ear tips. Let's have a closer look at the two most common materials: silicone and foam.
Silicone ear tips: Ease of use and durability
The silicone ear tips are the most compact ones. You'll find these kinds of ear tips along with earbuds of famous brands like Beats. Their biggest advantages are durability and ease of use, you can insert them in using one hand. Another big plus of hypoallergenic silicone is its soft touch, which causes no irritations.
Memory foam ear tips: Perfect isolation
Memory foam earplugs are heat activated and offer great isolation. You warm them up by rolling them between your fingers. After you've inserted them, they'll adapt to the form of your ear canal. They ensure the best seal and soft contact with your inner ear.
After you've chosen your preferred ear tip, the next step is choosing your size.
Not every earplug brand offers different materials or sizes but it's definitely a big plus. It won't only benefit the comfort of the earplug but also the effectiveness of it. The better the earplug fits your ears, the better the sound quality and protection.
Feature 4: Complement your Looks
Last but not least, we have looks.
Although there are many different kinds of earplugs on the market, but they all have one thing in common: they don't look good. And while that may not bother you that much, if you're a regular concert-goer, you'll appreciate a good looking earplug.
It can go two ways: either you prefer an earplug that's really discreet or you'll want one that stands out. The choice is up to you.
Too long didn't read? Well, here's a short recap:
In short: Protect Your Ears. Party Harder.
Four features that make an earplug great for concerts.
- Sound Quality: look for an earplug with an acoustic resonator. This will ensure an equal sound reduction across all frequencies.
- Sound reduction: protect your hearing but let enough sound come in to enjoy the concert. We recommend a 18-decibel filter.
- Ultimate comfort: every ear is unique find an earplug that fits your needs. Define your personal preference of material and size.
- Great looks: an earplug that doesn't stick out and that's elegant.
We didn't just bring these four features together in a blog post, we also brought them together in a new earplug for music. You can check out Loop earplugs here.