If you’re like me, a musician/concertgoer who cares about their hearing, then there’s a good chance you’ve used those little foam earplugs – and hate them.
This is why I was excited to try the Etymotic's Music Pro earplugs. They, like other similar electronic earplugs, claim to protect you from loud music by not muffling it to all heck, but instead piping it in in all its hi-fidelity greatness at a lower, safer volume.
And when you’re not around loud sounds, the Music Pros adapt and let natural sound in, so you don’t have to pop them in and out between taking in tunes like with foam plugs.
The Music Pro plugs also have a mode that amplifies safe-level sound and trims fewer decibels off loud sound, ostensibly for those who might already be a little hard of hearing.
I brought the e-plugs to a very, very hip Brooklyn music club to see if they actually provide the hi-fi sound pass-through they proclaim to. My verdict is: I would say so! At the very least, they sounded far better than the stuffy, muddy foam plugs I’ve used in the past. In fact, for the most part, the music detail I was hearing was pretty close to what I’d get without earplugs in at all.
Now, the downsides to these otherwise convenient e-plugs are:
One, they don’t reduce the same level of sound as foam plugs, leaving you, according to some ratings, still at risk of hearing damage.
Secondly, every quality pair of electronic earplugs I've seen online are hundreds of dollars, and the Music Pros are no different, selling for $299.
If you’re a real sound quality nerd and don’t dabble in the most extreme kinds of loud music, then it might be worth it to you to pay up for something like the Music Pros.
Of course, you’ll want to be sure not to spend all your money on hi-tech hearing protection gear, because you might not have any left over for concerts. And that’s certainly not very, very hip.