Most music professionals make hearing protection a priority, and if they don’t, they should. It’s pretty difficult to spend a lifetime in music if you begin suffering hearing loss in your 30s or, God forbid, your 20s.
Sadly, the foam cylinders that people often shove in their ears for noise protection make everything sound muffled and boomy, completely compromising the listening experience. The custom-molded musician’s earplugs manufactured by most IEM companies work well, but with a price tag over $100, they can be beyond the price range of many engineers and musicians.
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Loop Earplugs, which are designed specifically for music listening, are an ideal solution. The earplugs emulate the ear canal with an acoustic channel, and at the end of the channel is an acoustic mesh filter that reduces sound across all frequencies by 20 decibels. Vocals remain present, cymbals still sparkle, the bass still punches and the drums still crack, but the overall mix is 20 dB quieter, allowing music to remain enjoyable without damaging the wearer’s hearing.
Loop Earplugs include three sets of ear tips (one set of heat-activated foam tips and two sizes made of soft silicone; the foams were my favorite) that mount on the end of the acoustic channel. Resting on the external part of the ear, the acoustic channel is constructed of hypoallergenic plastic to prevent skin irritation. The earplugs include a small leather satchel for storage.
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While the loops are comfortable to wear for short amounts of time (two to three hours), I found them somewhat irritating after longer amounts of time, so they may not be the best solution for a three-day festival, but they will be perfectly suited to a typical concert.
Possibly the best thing about the Loop Earplugs is their look. Available in Swinging Silver, Flirty Rose Gold, Raving Red, Glorious Gold or Midnight Black, the plugs look more like a piece of jewelry than ear protection, and at only $29.95, they are a bargain.
Loop Earplugs • www.loopearplugs.com