Earplug Review- Can You Hear Me Now?

I said, “I have tinnitus”. Did you hear that? I hope not, you’re reading this. Geez. Yes I have low- level tinnitus and it gets aggravated around persistent loud sounds. Sometimes it is the music at concerts. More often than not, it’s the audience. Cheering, whistling, yelling, etc. It all adds up and if someone is particularly trashed and they are yelling in my ears, I know it will be hard to sleep at night. Usually, I wear the in-ear headset I carry for my phone while at a loud show. The problem is that it muffles all the music. After a bit of research, I made a purchase.

es are the Etymotic Research ER20 ETYPlug Hearing Protection Earplugs. They say they can block up to 20db while preserving sound quality. There are a few products like this but I had to choose and these had some good reviews. Amazon prime delivered them the next day. Here are my initial thoughts.  They come in a small plastic case that is discrete and easy to travel with (aka lose and forget). In the case are the two plugs and a black cord of indeterminate usefulness. Maybe for behind the neck so you can take them out of your ears for a bit? This would probably be better without a 17.5″ neck. It basically sits on my shoulders. Inserting the plugs is easy, quite comfortable and nearly invisible from the sides. So far so good.

Time for a test drive! I was heading to a club last weekend for a DJ set tribute to KMFDM, Skinny Puppy, and Front Line Assembly on one floor and Bauhaus, Joy Division, and Love and Rockets on the other. Very exciting night that had many far-away friends jealous. Well, it turned out to be just ok. The club wasn’t near full and this was a Saturday night with good weather. No reason to stay home. The event was 10 pm till 3 am; I got there at 11. More people showed up after 1 am but I only stayed till 2:30. The Djs were fine but not amazing. There were some other surprise songs mixed in on the top floor but nothing flowed well from song to song. I didn’t hear any Joy Division at all in the other spot.

Two songs in, I escaped to the bathroom and put these plugs in. Easy to do in the dark, +1. Easy to open the travel pouch with one hand +1. Too often I think a scene isn’t very loud only to hear ringing on my way home and stare at my ceiling while I try to sleep. The club didn’t sound too loud but knew it wasn’t worth the risk. Overall, they were comfortable all night (even with my goofy piercings) and I had no ringing later in bed. The music did tend to be more bass heavy with these inserted but I was able to enjoy all the music and have conversations with people.

More testing to come for sure but for $13, it has been worth it so far.



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