Whether it’s Metallica or Måneskin, we all enjoy going to see live music, but, at the same time, it’s important to protect the old eardrums so we don’t end up deaf in our old age. No one is more aware of this than Ronnie Madra, who developed tinnitus after spending many years as a DJ and event organiser. It was his experiences that inspired him to found Earos, an earplug manufacturer that’s dedicated to “responsible listening” and helping people to “stay safe in sound for longer”.
To date, Earos has launched two sets of earplugs, each costing $41/£34 for a set. There’s the Earos Sport, which are designed for use in sporting environments such as spin classes and noisy stadia. Then there’s the Earos One, which are meant for music listening and producing – and which we’ll be reviewing on this page.
The company describes their earplugs as “the best hearing protection product on the market,” and one that’s capable of “filtering out harmful decibels without sacrificing your ability to communicate and enjoy high-fidelity music and sound.”
That’s a pretty bold claim. So, the big question is: do they live up to the hype? To find out, we took a closer look (and an even closer listen)…
Earos One earplugs review: Design
If you’ve ever felt self-conscious about walking into a gig with two bits of foam sticking out of your ears, you’ll be pleased to know that the Earos One earplugs look very decent, with their sleek black form factor and distinctive gold stripe giving them a semblance of sophistication.
The plugs lodge inside the ears rather well thanks to their compact size and twist‘n’lock functionality. You also get two different tip sizes to improve your chances of getting the right fit. This is also quite handy if you plan to share the buds with a family member who has bigger or smaller ears than you.
As for what they’re made of, they're a combination of medical-grade ABS plastic and thermoplastic rubber which makes these plugs feel reassuringly robust. They wouldn’t survive being stamped on by a gorilla, but being tossed around inside your bag or pocket shouldn’t do them any harm.
Earos One earplugs review: Features
Seeing as these are earplugs, there isn’t a long list of features to tell you about. What’s certainly worth mentioning, though, is the level of ear protection provided. According to Earos, these earplugs were developed over a number of years by “acousticians, audiologists, vibration engineers and industrial designers” to ensure they would preserve eardrums as much as possible – tests have shown that they reduce noise by a minimum of 17dB – while enabling music fans and musicians to hear their tunes in full clarity.
To achieve the latter, Earos has equipped each earplug with a “proprietary, patented sound bore that replicates how the inner ear resonates.” We’ll give our opinion on how well it works in the next section.
One other feature of note is that the Earos One earplugs come with a small carry bag, which means you can stow them away in your pocket after use without them getting dirty or damaged.
Earos One earplugs review: Sound
Whether you’re making your own music or watching other musicians perform on stage, you want to be able to hear the songs in the best possible clarity – but you also want to prevent your eardrums from being blasted to pieces. So, how do the Earos One earplugs perform in terms of balancing these two crucial roles?
Thanks to that twist‘n’lock mechanism, the earplugs fit snugly in the old lugholes, giving you a sense of cocooned security as you crank up your amp or wander into a music venue. It’s not too dissimilar to the feeling you get when putting on a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Even at high volumes, the Earos One earplugs provide a level of reassurance that helps to reduce anxiety levels when those power chords and drum crashes kick in.
However, unlike a bog-standard pair of foam plugs that can leave you wondering what song your favourite band is playing, the Earos One earplugs don’t muffle the music, allowing you to hear every bell and whistle, albeit at a slightly reduced volume.
What’s more, you won’t find them difficult to remove once your session is finished, meaning you can avoid having to reach for the tweezers.
Earos One earplugs review: The alternatives
The Fender Musician Series earplugs offer a cheaper alternative, even if their noise reduction rating (NRR) is slightly lower than the Isolate Pros at 27dB. These accessories are also somewhat bulkier, though they’re still comfy – and are washable too. No wonder they sit pretty at the top our list of the best earplugs for concerts.
Meanwhile, we'll also give a shout out to the Vibes Hi-Fidelity earplugs, which impressed us when we put them through their paces. They're reasonably priced and reduce unwanted noise by 15dB. Sure, they're not going to cut the mustard if you're down at the front, but if you like to stand back from the action, these are well worth a closer look.