Invisible Earplugs for Concerts
When wearing earplugs on a concert, many people wish them to be invisible, so nobody else can notice that hearing protection is being worn.
Fortunately, there are ways this can be achieved. There is totally invisible hearing protection available.
What hearing protection to wear on a concert depends on how much hearing protection is desired.
The safest choice are foam earplugs. An alternative with less hearing protection, which is also more visible, are reusable earplugs. Foam earplugs will be discussed first.
Foam earplugs? These brightly shining things that jump into everybody’s eyes immediately if someone wears them?
To avoid being that person, simply do not wear yellow or green earplugs, wear flesh colored ones such as Mack’s Ultra Soft.
There are also other brands available in flesh color such as the Hearos Ultimate Softness. You usually can buy a specific brand easily from eBay or Amazon.
Foam earplugs must be used correctly. They are supposed to be ⅔ up to ¾ in your ear canal and only a smaller part in your outer ear. If not used correctly, then they provide less hearing protection and are more visible.
To insert an earplug correctly, first roll it with your fingers until it is compressed to a small stem. The rolling is demonstrated in the picture below.
Then insert it around ⅔ into your ear canal and wait for it to expand.
Another trick to hide earplugs is to paint them black. You best start out with a flesh colored earplug and paint it with a black permanent marker. If the environment is not well lit, which on a concert it usually is not, then they will be even less visible than normal flesh colored plugs.
If you are crazy about invisibility then you might consider cutting the earplugs shorter a bit. Please be aware that this will also lessen the hearing protection function. But it is probably still sufficient for most concerts. Test it out yourself. However, we do not accept any liability for this tip or any other tips.
Cutting a foam earplug shorter by around ¼ of its length is sufficient. This cuts away the part that normally remains in your outer ear. Should you ever have problems getting a cut earplug out of your ears again, use tweezers.
If all steps are performed and the earplug is cut shorter, painted black, and inserted properly, nothing visible remains for others to be seen. Others only see a black dot where your ear canal is and since your ear canal also appears as a black dot under normal conditions, nobody will realize that you are wearing ear protection.
For a more detailed description read our article on how to hide foam earplugs.
Well hidden earplugs are not recognizable for others.
You are at a concert and not at a doctor’s office, so nobody is going to shine a flash light into your ear canal.
However, foam earplugs are strong and distort the sound. Music does not sound as good with them.
There are huge differences in sound quality between different brands of foam earplugs. We recommend the Bilsom 303 as it has the best sound quality of all foam earplugs we have tested so far. They are not flesh colored, so paint them black.
Foam earplugs provide strong sound protection. If the concert is not very loud, then reusable earplugs should be considered, as they are available with less hearing protection.
A comparatively weak foam earplug (e.g. Uvex Hi-Com) is still stronger than almost all of the reusable earplugs.
Reusable earplugs usually provide better sound quality than foam earplugs, but they provide insufficient protection for loud concerts.
An alternative to foam earplugs are reusable earplugs such as the ACS Pacato.
Reusable earplugs are more visible than a well hidden foam earplug. But reusable earplugs provide better sound quality than foam earplugs.
Reusable earplugs provide only medium sound protection, so they will be too weak for loud concerts.
Available reusable earplugs are:
- ACS Pacato. An earplug which is well hidden is the ACS Pacato. Fortunately, it also provides a good sound quality.
- Etymotic Research ER20XS. The ER 20XS provides slightly better sound quality in our opinion, but is also more visible.
- Alpine PartyPlug. This plug is more visible than the two earplugs above due to its stem and also has meaningfully worse sound quality in our opinion.
Other Types of Earplugs
Professional musicians earplugs, such as the ER25 provide the best sound quality. It is just like a volume knob turned down a bit. But they are also more visible than well hidden foam earplugs or the best reusable earplugs. And they also cost around USD 200-300.
Another type of earplugs are wax earplugs. They do provide hearing protection, but are also more visible than foam or reusable earplugs, and also have worse sound quality.
Why it is Important to Wear Hearing Protection
For attending concerts it is very advisable to wear hearing protection. The music of any concert whatsoever other than classical is loud enough to damage your ears. And even classical concerts sometimes use amplifiers in unsafe ways or are too loud if you sit in front.
If no hearing protection is worn, often the usual consequence is piping or noisy ears and impaired hearing for a few hours afterwards. Some people also feel a slight pain in the ears. Usually the ears recover and the ears revert back to normal within a few hours to a few days.
But if you are unlucky, then one day the piping and hearing impairment stays and may never go away again for the rest of your live.
But also if your ears recover, there is a good chance that some small hearing damage will be permanent. You might not realize this, because the difference from before to after is minimal. But if you do it often enough it may accumulate and later on in life you could realize that do not hear well any more.
Going to concerts for decades to come without having anything to regret afterwards is possible if sufficient hearing protection is used.
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