After working an entire week you want to release your stress on Friday night, Saturday night or even on Sunday night (if you really had one hell of a week). A night of clubbing with your friends is a great way to unwind and to start your weekend. A worse way to start your weekend? Waking up with ringing ears the next morning. Which can easily be prevented by wearing earplugs. Unlike many believe an earplug does not have to ruin your night out. That is, if you get yourself an earplug meant for clubbing.
What makes an earplug great for clubbing?
All earplugs have one and the same goal: to protect your ears by reducing the volume around you. But while you're at a club you want to enjoy the music, talk with friends and order drinks at the bar. If all the previous is important to you, foam earplugs (which are often handed out for free at clubs) just won't cut it. And that's because they're designed to block sound entirely instead of filtering it.
That brings us to the first, and for many, the most important feature that makes an earplug great for clubbing: sound quality.
Feature 1: Sound Quality
Most clubs have these amazing sound systems that blast out music. Clubs sometimes spent thousands of dollars on speakers to provide you with the top-notch sound quality. But what defines great sound quality? For that, we have to take a step back, right into the production room of your favorite artists.
Every artist or DJ fine-tunes its music to give it a specific sound. In the club, you want to hear their music blast through the speakers as they intended it to sound when making it. You want it to sound natural, with as little distortion as possible.
To make sure an earplug distorts sound as little as possible, you'll have to look at its attenuation curve. This represents the earplug's sound reduction across all frequencies (different levels of volume). Find yourself 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.
The best example for the uneven attenuation curve on the right would be foam earplugs. They block out sound because they completely close off your ear canal, which has a very important function to make music sound natural. Your ear canal normally acts as a natural resonator, boosting and lowering certain frequencies. But when you block out your ear canal, you lose this function. 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 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.
Feature 2: Talk with Friends
With great sound (which we just defined above) comes another advantage: communicating with friends. When sound that's entering your ears is natural, it helps your brain to filter out voices. This makes it easier to have a conversion with friends, flirts and bar staff.
Be able to talk freely instead of shouting and actually understanding what someone is saying is definitely not a feature to underestimate at a club. You'll learn to appreciate it when you've been waiting at the bar for 10 minutes, it's finally your time to order and the bar staff fucks up your order because you were unable to understand it clearly.
Feature 3: Protect your ears
I don't think we have to elaborate much on how loud music in clubs can be but just to give you an idea: hearing damage (can) occur after only 10 to 15 minutes when you're out clubbing. And while most people believe those four songs won't do any damage, those four songs can be just all it takes for a lifetime of hearing problems or ringing ears.
In earplug terms, protection is defined as sound reduction and measured in decibels (dB). To give you an idea; a normal conversation is around 60dB, hearing damage occurs at or above 85dB. Knowing most clubs peak around 105dB, it's not that surprising your ears can only endure it for about 10 to 15 minutes.
In order to protect your hearing at clubs, you have to reduce the volume of 100dB-105dB and try to bring it back to a level of 85dB or less. With some quick calculation, you know you need a pair of earplugs with a sound reduction of 20dB.
Feature 4: Comfortably Clubbing
When you're out clubbing you want to release stress, not add stress by constantly having to make sure your earplug stays in place. So treat your ears and yourself to a comfortable earplug that stays put even when you're dancing like a maniac.
Comfortable earplugs have four things in common:
- They're easy to insert and remove
- Stay Put
- Have a soft contact and tailored fit
- Don't stick out (if you'll be using them for sleeping)
In order to check off all four points above, you'll have to closely evaluate the earplug's ear tip. This is the part of an earplug that sits directly in your ear canal and determines a lot of the earplug's comfort level.
Your ears are as unique as your fingerprints. So there's not just one ear tip (or earplug) that fits everyone. More and more brands include multiple ear tips with their earplugs. These vary in sizes and (sometimes) in materials. At Loop we offer six different pairs of ear tips: foam and silicone in both small, medium and large. By choosing an earplug that offers different ear tips you get the chance to try them out at home and you'll always have plenty of spare sets.
To find your perfect size, select the ear tip that fills up your ear canal completely. This way, you make sure all sound that enters your ear passes through the earplug's acoustic chamber and the sound reducing filter. The result? Music is brought back to an enjoyable (and safe) level without distortion.
Feature 5: Looks
It's not because clubs are rather dark that you don't want to look good while you're there. There are two options:
- A discrete earplug
- An earplug with a design that improves your outfit
If you prefer to wear a discrete earplug the best option for you would be getting a transparent or nude version. In darker environments, like clubs, this will make them (almost) invisible that's is, of course, if you're seeing them from the side. Most transparent earplugs do stick out a little bit so they'll be noticeable when you're facing someone.
Another option could be getting yourself an earplug you want people to notice. Whether that's because of the design, color or just because you don't mind them showing. It may come as a surprise to you but the look of most earplugs has improved the last years. In fact, there are even a few brands that look cool. The best example? Loop earplugs.
You won't find Loop at your grandma’s drugstore. Its round shape doesn't stick out is discrete, and elegant. With five different colors, the earplug pairs great with every outfit from jeans to a tuxedo.