In January 2019, a friend of mine who stood front row at a concert (because who doesn’t want to see their favorite artist up close and personal?), experienced serious ringing in his ears afterward. Most take this ringing sensation as a normal but temporary occurrence associated with a post-show high, but for him, the noise never stopped.
After visiting an audiologist, he was diagnosed with tinnitus, which is defined as the "perception of sound when no actual external noise is present," according to the American Tinnitus Association. He was unable to leave his house for an entire year because he heard "normal" sounds — anything from the hiss of the air conditioner to outside traffic to phone calls — as abnormally loud, even to the point of pain. It took him three years of wearing to fully recover, which involved the constant use of noise-canceling headphones, and now he encourages everyone to take better care of their ears, especially in loud spaces.
Knowing I'm an avid concert-goer, I was on his list of people to educate. That led to him introducing me to a pair of earplugs that he swore would not only make artists sound clearer, but also improve my overall listening experience — all while protecting my ears. I was skeptical about these actually working, but after seeing what he had gone through, I knew it was time to take my ear health more seriously. So, I decided to give them a try at my next show, and the results shocked me.
Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs
What is considered “too loud” for our ears to handle?
According to this chart from the American Academy of Audiology, there are over a dozen sounds that measure in as “too loud,” meaning extended exposure can cause permanent hearing loss. Concerts, sporting events, blenders and even hair dryers all land in the “very loud” category, which classifies certain sounds as dangerous when exposed to them for more than 30 minutes. Fireworks, jackhammers and ambulances fall under “painful and dangerous,” which comes with the guidance to use hearing protection when around them or avoid them completely.
Dr. Stella Fulman, AuD, CCC-A, a New York-based audiologist, breaks it down simply: “The louder the noise is, the less you should be exposed to it,” she says.
Should you wear earplugs to concerts?
Concerts are notorious for being loud and tend to last about two hours on average. If you’ve never worn earplugs before, you’re probably familiar with the ringing in the ears that occurs afterward. While some people look forward to that feeling, Fulman says it’s not a good sign.
“It’s actually a sign that your ears are being damaged little by little,” she explains.
I first wore the earplugs to a Harry Styles concert in 2021; as soon as I put them in, I could immediately hear a noticeable difference. I can only describe it as feeling like the earplugs "muted" the screams from the crowd around me but managed to isolate the loudest sound — the artist.
I didn’t miss a single word that came out of the singer's mouth that night, and when it was time to take them out, I didn’t experience any ringing or have to ask people to speak up (aka scream) so I could hear them. That experience was all it took for me to decide that I was never going to another concert without these earplugs again.
The three C’s: compact, comfortable and cute
Aside from the amazing ear protection they provide, I love that these earplugs fit my list of requirements, which I refer to as the three C’s.
- Compact: They’re small enough to fit inside my pocket or a small bag, like a belt bag or crossbody. You can even add them to your keychain if you want to make sure you don’t forget them (which I have unfortunately done before).
- Comfortable: While wearing any earplugs, I don’t want to feel like I have anything in my ears. Luckily, these fit perfectly, and I don't have to worry about constantly having to readjust them.
- Cute: Unlike traditional foam earplugs that usually come in some sort of bright color or bland beige, these are mostly clear with a sleek blue base. I wear them so much that they’ve become like a style accessory for me!
Bonus C: They’re also easy to clean! I just give them a quick scrub with any wet wipe I have on hand, and they look good as new.
Now that I’m more conscious of my ear health, I’m more cognizant of how loud certain spaces actually are. So, I'll make sure my earplugs are at the ready for any occasion where I know sound will likely be at maximum volume, like Broadway shows and movie theaters.
Like my friend, I rave about these earplugs to every person I know (and now, to you all). They’re a permanent part of my concert bag and have given my ears the relief they might have been asking for — I just could never hear them ...