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Upgrading From Foam Earplugs to EarPeace

The soft silicone plugs are convenient, comfortable and discreet

by Nara Shin in Design on 25 July 2014

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Among the chaos of logistics and pre-gaming when headed to a live show, hearing protection is often low on the list of priorities—and is only remembered when you leave with your ears ringing and buzzing. Merging convenience, comfort and sound quality is Venice Beach-based EarPeace, founded by music lover Jay Clark who wanted to protect one of his most valuable assets: his hearing.

Your average rock concert can run at 115 decibels, that's safe for your hearing for less than 30 seconds.

Made from hypoallergenic silicone, EarPeace earplugs have a small plastic filter that lowers the overall volume while preserving sound quality and reducing unnecessary background noise. (Compare this to foam plugs, which can block the very frequencies you're trying to hear.) They've recently launched an HD version of their original product, which offers a more durable tab and interchangeable filters for more volume customization: one filter offers medium protection (11 dB attenuation) and the other, high protection (14 dB attenuation). Upon testing them for the past few weeks, we enjoyed shows at a pleasant—no longer painful—sound level and by clipping the case onto our keyring, the ear plugs were always easy to access. Plus, they are discreet: EarPeace has three different skin tone options, so no Day-Glo colors or robotic-looking contraptions.

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"Your average rock concert can run at 115 decibels," EarPeace founder Jay Clark explains to CH. "That's safe for your hearing for less than 30 seconds. If your ears are ringing or they feel dull after a show, that is a sign of some degree of hearing damage. Although hearing loss is devastating, tinnitus might be even more debilitating and can be caused by a single exposure to loud music. I know multiple music junkies/DJs whose fun ended because their ears never stopped ringing after a particular show and they developed hyperacusis. It's like flipping a switch."

They've been a staple at festivals around the world the past few years, offering limited edition co-branded EarPeace sets at Electric Zoo and SXSW to across the pond for Croatia's Dimensions, Amsterdam's Open Air, Japan's Fuji Rock and much more. "If you are going to convince people that hearing protection is cool and worth using, it needs to be associated with the events and experiences that people love," Clark tells CH. "Music fans want to hear the music clearly, comfortably and stay cool," finishes Clark. He also reminds us that hearing protection isn't just for live music and custom-built sound systems—EarPeace also works well for the daily commute on the subway, sporting games—and those incredibly loud bars where conversations are shouted.

A set of three plugs (case included) starts at $13 and is available from EarPeace online.

Images courtesy of EarPeace

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