Not quite as comfortable or effective as custom fitted protection… but nowhere near the price, either. They are many, many times better than cheap foam earplugs. Recommended.
First Impressions / Setting up
They come in a plastic-wrapped presentation pack, containing three plugs, three attenuators (more in a sec about these), and a smart metal case with a keyring link on it. The silicone plugs have two small cones on them for a snug fit, and a small tab that gives you something to grab hold of when removing them from your ears. One of the nice things about them is that once they’re in your ears, they are pretty invisible.
Invisible, that is, unless you use the bright red attenuators that are also supplied. By removing the flesh-coloured attenuators that are fitted (basically a small hard plastic tube) and replacing them with the red ones, you get “high” as opposed to “medium” sound reduction. It’s great that there’s a choice, although the red colour does make them more noticeable in the ear.
Instructions are provided for inserting, removing and adjusting the plugs, but it’s pretty self-explanatory stuff.
The selling point of earplugs like this is that they reduce (or “attenuate”) the overall volume without actually stopping any of the frequency range reaching your eardrum. The idea is that it is like turning the volume down, as oppose to muffling it out, which is what foam earplugs do. That is designed to make them infinitely more usable for those of us who attend events either to play the music, or to listen to music being played.
I’ve used this type of earplug before, and I find them a massive improvement over the foam variety. They definitely take some getting used to, mainly because any change at all to what you’re expecting to hear is a shock at first, and if you’re DJing, that shock is often followed by a bit of panic as you wonder whether or not you’ll be able to do the job. I found the medium rather than the high fittings to work for me, and once I’d got used to them, they were – almost – unnoticeable. You certainly get used to them.
If you already have hearing damage, or just don’t like distortion at the time followed by days of ringing in your ears after extra loud DJ gigs or club events, you need to do something, and foam earplugs are a definite no-go.
The best available are, of course, custom fitted ones, but they come at a considerable premium. If you can’t afford that route, or just want to dip your toes in the waters of looking after your hearing, for the price, I can’t fault these. Having the two “levels” of protection is great, having a spare plug is a nice touch, and the well-engineered metal keyring holder is a fantastic idea. Overall, I recommend them.