Wireless earbud / earplug hybrid - do they exist?
August 23, 2016 3:41 AM   Subscribe

I like to fall asleep listening to podcasts. I also like wearing earplugs so living in a noisy city doesn't wake me in the night. Can I do both with one magical set of headphones?

Currently, I can either fall asleep listing to something *or* wear earplugs, but not both. If I wear earplugs I obviously can't hear what I'm trying to fall asleep to, and if I don't wear earplugs I'll fall asleep but sounds in the night will wake me. I would like some kind of fantastical earbud/earplug solution that is:

Comfortable to sleep in on my side
Won't fall out in the night
Will block out noise like earplugs when not playing sounds

Noise isolation earbuds haven't really worked for me in the sense that they certainly block out background noise when music is playing, but when music is not playing I can hear noises around me.

Does what I am after exist anywhere?
posted by Acarpous to Technology (12 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Am I correct in my understanding that you already own noise isolation earbuds that work great for you so long as something is playing? Rather than trying to find a combination wireless earbud/earplug combo device, why not just arrange for something to play all night on your existing noise isolation earbuds? Create a "sleep" playlist of ~9 hours worth of content (this content can be anything works for you to block out background noise, and doesn't have to change). When you want to fall asleep listening to a podcast, add the podcast to the start of the sleep playlist, and start playing the playlist.
posted by RichardP at 4:30 AM on August 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Have you tried different tips with your noise isolating earphones? Like the ones from Comply? They have different types that offer different levels of isolation.
posted by poxandplague at 4:38 AM on August 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have these sleep headphones and love them. Mine are wired but the cord is super long and thin so it never gets in my way or tries to strangle me, even when I flop around like a fish. (I noticed this wireless version is similar but I can't vouch for how comfortable they are.) I can easily use regular in-ear foam earplugs and then layer my headphones over that. Works great!

Edit to add: I adjust the volume level on my sound/white noise app so I can hear it with the earplugs in.
posted by _Mona_ at 4:41 AM on August 23, 2016

I put in foam plugs and then blue tooth over the ear behind the head headphones to sleep. I have to turn the headphones waaay up but I can hear it comfortably while blocking out some of the deep snoring from my bed mates.
posted by tilde at 5:13 AM on August 23, 2016

I use a combination of these bluetooth headphones and these earplugs. I have to crank the volume on the headphones, but it works really well.
posted by Lucinda at 6:51 AM on August 23, 2016

Hush Technology is exactly the product you are looking for. I backed them on Kickstarter. The product stopped working after one use and I haven't bothered to try to get it working again, so that's a mixed endorsement :-( Also the battery life isn't eight hours, which is a bummer for the active noise cancelling function. But the build quality felt solid and the product developers seemed sincere, it may be worth a look. They're on Amazon for $150.
posted by Nelson at 7:34 AM on August 23, 2016

i know the ear clinic in the hospital i work at sells custom earbuds molded to your ears, though I'm not sure if they're wireless. you could try reaching out to ear clinics near you to see if they do anything similar or have products they can recommend.
posted by carlypennylane at 10:13 AM on August 23, 2016

Shure earbuds sound good and block outside sounds. They come with a variety of changeable inserts to fit your ears. They are not cheap.
posted by bongo_x at 10:52 AM on August 23, 2016

I tried Hush earplugs as well and they've been problematic, although they're working hard to fix the problems. I wouldn't spend $150 on them at the moment; mine are once again sitting on my bedside table waiting for a third attempt at a left earplug that works.
posted by OolooKitty at 2:41 PM on August 23, 2016

IME canalphones (the kind of earbud with the rubber tip, not the kind that comes with iPhones) do a really good job of blocking outside sound. Maybe not quite as well as good earplugs, but close. Some of them have memory-foam tips, which helps.
posted by neckro23 at 2:50 PM on August 23, 2016

I recently went looking for ear buds I could wear while mowing the lawn, and came across Plugfones. They're not wireless, but they seem to be popular enough to have lots of knock-offs on Amazon, so a search for "wireless plugfones" might turn something up. Good luck!
posted by MoTLD at 10:39 PM on August 23, 2016

Aha! Apparently they have a bluetooth version called Liberate.
posted by MoTLD at 10:43 PM on August 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

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