Quiet, ye dogs! Looking for earplugs.
July 7, 2005 8:01 PM   Subscribe

Can anybody recommend some good earplugs?

I'm taking the bar exam in 20 days, and I'm looking for some good earplugs. I hate the moldable foam plugs, and I'm looking for something soft and comfortable that I'll forget about. Sony's soft earbud headphones (note, I'm looking for earplugs; these are just for comparison) generally do me right and seem to be about the right size for my ears.

I can Google for earplugs all day, but I'm looking for some personal recommendations, esp. if you've used the 'plugs for a major test like a bar exam.
posted by socratic to Shopping (16 answers total)
I can, but I don't know how to track them down easily. I shall describe them, and will confirm if you find them on a web page:

Florescent ("safety") orange. Shaped like the "fat boy" nuclear bomb: bulbous nose, flared tail. Inside the tail is a removable cylindrical plug; I remove it on my plugs, so as to better fit my ear. Reusable soft rubber. A most excellent earplug.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:15 PM on July 7, 2005

Come to think of it, if your beef is with those nasty yellow foam cylinders, don't write off all foam earplugs.

There are plugs that are foam, but with a slicksmooth surface. They are reusable plugs, and I believe HearOs company repackages them for a very pricey resale.

[and so I go look at the HearOs site and whaddya know, my earplugs are there...]

These are the great fatboy earplugs. I highly recommend them. Shop around: I get mine for about twenty-five cents, not the outrageous $5.00!! HearOs wants. Man, what a scum consumer-screwing company they are.

These are the better foam ones, with the sealed surface. Again, shop around: HearOs exists solely to screw you over a barrel.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:23 PM on July 7, 2005

Mack's. They don't just block noise, they *alter the acoustic properties of your ear canal* by creating a mild vacuum. Unbeatable.
posted by gleuschk at 8:25 PM on July 7, 2005

I happen to live near an airport, so I know that slate got it right. It looks like you could buy them from the link supplied by the article; I work at a place that has a factory, so I, uh, don't know where you'd find them as a consumer.

(on preview Mack's == Howard Leight MAX??)
posted by sleslie at 8:31 PM on July 7, 2005

Oooh, yah, that's the name: Howard Leight! They make awesome soft foam earplugs.

You'll find them at your local contractor's shop, especially Acklands, Graingers (sp?), and the like.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:39 PM on July 7, 2005

You can also go for wax earplugs, you know. Just be careful with use.
posted by dreamsign at 9:02 PM on July 7, 2005

I tentatively ask what could require one to be careful with use of earplugs?
posted by Justinian at 9:11 PM on July 7, 2005

Response by poster: Don't stick them in your bunghole?
posted by socratic at 9:30 PM on July 7, 2005

Response by poster: Also, I'll definitely order a couple of the ones y'all suggest. They're cheap! I was worried i was going to be spending $20 at a gun store or something. I don't mind, really, since it's the bar exam, but still...

(More suggestions welcome.. I'll be road-testing a few in the next 10 days.)
posted by socratic at 9:33 PM on July 7, 2005

Response by poster: One more thing, by "they're cheap", I mean at $0.25... so, if I can find them that cheap.. or something. God, it's late.
posted by socratic at 9:35 PM on July 7, 2005

I haven't had a chance to use them yet (forgot to bring them with me to a concert with 4 bands playing a full set each, in a smaller venue), but I've heard good things about the set I bought from EarLove. The link sounds a bit off, but I promise it's safe for work hehe.

The flanged tips on these are like the ones on etymotic earphones, if you've used them. Quite comfy. The plugs are designed to cut down sound pressure over the entire frequency range, so you get a reduction in volume but no frequency dropoff as commonly seen with other plugs. Not truly heavy-duty, but good for concert situations. They bring you out of the danger zone for damage just enough.

For $15, I'd give 'em a try, see if they help you study/take the test. If not, go see a loud concert or two to celebrate afterwards !
posted by GreenTentacle at 9:36 PM on July 7, 2005

I've had good luck with Howard Leight Max and Howard Leight Max Lite ear plugs. The Lite are similar to the Max, but are a bit smaller and work well for women but they are a bit less effective at blocking noise.

The only problem I've found is with temperture and moisture. If the earplugs are too warm, then they will not compress well and will be hard to use. If they are too cold, they may take awhile to decompress and fill your ear canal. Also, If your hands are wet or sweaty, then they will be hard, if not impossible, to compress and place in your ear.

Take a look at their web site for all of the other varieties (there are about a dozen).
posted by FakeOutdoorsman at 9:59 PM on July 7, 2005

The flanged tips on these are like the ones on etymotic earphones, if you've used them. Quite comfy.

The Earloves were designed by Etymotic, and I think the Etymotic ER20s are identical, but buying through the Etymotic site saves you $3 per pair (for a total of $12).

I finally caved and bought a pair of the ER6i Isolator headphones a few weeks ago. I justified it as helping me study for the bar, and they've been fantastic. I quite literally tune out the world when I have these in, and I imagine the earplugs are equally effective. Ety lists the headphones at $150, but you can find them online for much less. The same may be true of the earplugs, but I'm not sure.
posted by jewishbuddha at 11:02 PM on July 7, 2005

I have also just bought a pair of the Etymotic ER6i headphones. I am very impressed! I've used them on a very long flights, on the train and on the underground train. Fantastic! What I like best about them is that you can have the volume of the player down quite low but still hear everything crystal clear. The bass response is remarkeable considering how small they are. I believe you can also get ones specifically moulded for your earlugs too which would be the ultimate in comfort.
posted by jonesor at 3:12 AM on July 8, 2005

I have tried several earplugs and the most comfortable -- without compromising sound reduction -- were Hearos. Specifically, the Extreme version. Put them in and forget about them, they're soft and effective, unlike other earplugs that either hurt my ears or make them uncomfortably itchy whilst being worn.
posted by Blue Buddha at 7:32 AM on July 8, 2005

Different yet similar question here which may have other suggestions.
posted by GrumpyMonkey at 8:14 AM on July 8, 2005

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