Developed by the HEARing Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) and the National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL), in partnership with Australian consumer advocacy group Choice, reviews of more than 20 high-fidelity earplugs have been compiled into an interactive website. What Plug? features noise-reduction properties of each earplug type, along with aspects like: comfort, sound quality, ease of use and price.
With research showing increased numbers of young people at risk of hearing damage from nightclubs and live music, knowing how to protect your hearing is increasingly important.
Earplug Reviews with Music Lovers in Mind
The earplugs reviewed in What Plug? are specifically created with music appreciation in mind. These high fidelity plugs filter across the frequency spectrum from bass (low frequency) through to treble (high frequency), which allows them to maximize audio quality and minimize distortion that is typical of conventional foam earplugs.
“There are several devices on the market, but the team recognised that choosing between a bewildering array can often be overwhelming. The aim of the project was to provide a way to easily compare products and help people choose what is best for them.” –Dr. Elizabeth Beach, HEARing CRC Researcher
Each plug listed in the What Plug? review is based on “rigorous scientific testing in the lab and the experiences of actual users in real music venues”. While the lab tests measured the effectiveness of each earplug in terms of reducing sound levels, the user ratings are provided to give a “real world” perspective.
Volunteers were asked to wear the earplugs whenever they were out and listening to music at live venues. After wearing them for a period of time, they then returned to provide feedback on each one–rating for comfort, fit, appearance and sound quality. These scores are then converted into a five-star rating based on the users’ rating.
The new online tool allows users to quickly filter information to suit their individual listening needs–sorting by price, noise reduction score, comfort, sound quality or the overall five star rating.
Interested readers can check out the new What Plug? tool here.
Curious if your listening habits are putting you at risk? Check out NAL’s Know Your Noise risk calculator.