NRR-rated in-ear headphones?
April 10, 2013 10:58 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking to find out whether any brand of in-ear headphones also carry a noise reduction rating (NRR). I'm not so much shopping for headphones as for earplugs with a headphone feature.

NRR is important because I'm also trying to understand objectively how much I'd be giving up in noise protection compared with standard earplugs.
posted by tirade to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I looked for this a while back and never found any in-ear phones that offered this explicitly. The closest I found was these earmuffs with a 25 NRR.

A lot of the foam-based earbuds do serve this purpose, but I don't think any of them state an NRR, nor do they work as well as regular earplugs for noise reduction. There are some DIY plans around for making your own earbud tips out of regular earplugs.
posted by asperity at 11:03 AM on April 10, 2013

Not sure if it's tested a reference lab, but in-ear headphone manufacturers like Shure and Etymotics list a sound isolation rating with many of their products.
posted by Mercaptan at 11:04 AM on April 10, 2013

Check with Westone. Not sure off the top of my head if they have this, but if anyone does, they probably do.
posted by primethyme at 11:04 AM on April 10, 2013

On another look: 3M has some. The Peltor EARbud seems most suitable.
posted by asperity at 11:08 AM on April 10, 2013

Most manufacturers do not state the noise reduction ration ( as in how much outside noise is reduced by inserting the headphone into the ear) mostly because its dependent on couple of factors like fit and the type of tip you are using ( foam for example will reduce more). Ultimate Ears publishes it at 26db and most passive in-ear heaphones will be roughly the same.

If however your primary reason is to block outside noise, get cheap,regular earplugs or get active noise in-ear cancelling headpones like this search which are universally better at blocking noise than their passive counterparts by an additional 20+ db. However they do need a battery and generally bulkier due to the extra circuit needed to block low-frequency sound.
posted by radsqd at 11:32 AM on April 10, 2013

Why not just use over the head ear protection with regular earbuds? That's what my dad does when mowing the lawn.
posted by rossination at 11:36 AM on April 10, 2013

Here's the Etymotic Earphones page, which lists their noise isolation as 35-42 dB. This page describes their testing methods. (I have the ER-4 and can confirm they're excellent at blocking outside noise.)
posted by phliar at 11:42 AM on April 10, 2013

Radio Shack sells a brand of cheap ear buds, Avio Ear Pearls, that I would describe as precisely that. They don't block sound completely when I have them on with no music playing, but if I do have music on, even at low volume, I can walk down a busy city street and hear nothing but the music. People have said Hi to me, buses have pulled up in front of me. They're quite good for the price --- $10 or $15 bucks.
posted by Diablevert at 12:13 PM on April 10, 2013

You might want to try some aftermarket foam tips. I just got the Tx-100's yesterday and I'm quite pleased with them. I can barely hear my typing as I'm wearing them.
posted by chairface at 7:39 AM on April 12, 2013

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