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Why Musician Earplugs are a Lie

And what high-fidelity and acoustic filtered earplugs mean

There's been a growing awareness about "musician earplugs". This is also known as high-fidelity or acoustic earplugs. These are great because, rather than stuffing a foam block in your ears, these earplugs have an acoustic filter in them - essentially a fine mesh - that filters sound as it passes through them to enter into your eardrums. They are specifically engineered to either attenuate at specific frequencies, or to provide musos with super flat attenuation that they need.

There are two problems with musician earplugs. The first is that many people often complain that "I still can't hear conversations clearly", and either dismiss all earplugs as useless, or wear them pulled out slightly so that they can hear. This could be because they are using tube filter "musician earplugs", and the difference in sound clarity between the two are huge! We have also seen a lot of imitation filters lately - These earplugs generally don't provide attenuation rating certification, and are unable to guarantee proper attenuation or quality. 

PS: Every single White Cat earplug filter is acoustically tested, so you know that you're getting quality sound at its best.

Wearing an incorrectly fitted or partially fitted earplug is dangerous. It gives you a false sense of protecting your ears from noise, but actually only attenuates sound by 5 - 10dB!

The second problem is that high-fidelity acoustic filters are not just for musicians, they're great for a wide range of applications! Few of us actually need Class 5 earplugs, rated with a 26-36 dB attenuation. We are seldom in environments that are pounding out constant levels of 110dB and more. Class 5 earplugs are more than appropriate if you're using a chainsaw, beside an airplane (not in the cabin) or at a rock concert or gig, standing up front near the speakers. But if you're using a lawnmower (95dB), a bulldozer (105dB), a power drill (100dB) or a blender to make your smoothie (85dB), it's important to choose the right amount of attenuation so that you don't overprotect your ears and end up isolated from your environment. Don't use a hatchet to remove a fly!.

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So look out for quality acoustic pill-filtered earplugs. All White Cat Earplugs have been selected for that reason - to provide clarity in communication and music so that you can focus on and enjoy the things that matter. Because the attenuation of specific frequencies has to be engineered to high precision, you also do want to make sure that your filters come from a reputable source. Which is why we test all our filters acoustically to make sure that only the best quality reaches your hands.

Pro-tip: White Cat Earplug filters are the same filters as those in your custom earplugs - Sometimes better! So you can renew your custom earplug filters with White Cat filters once they have worn out. So why use White Cat Earplugs instead of custom musician earplugs? For one, they're a fraction of the price. Traditionally, most earplugs only come in 1, maybe 2 eartip sizes, which doesn't provide a very good or comfortable fit. White Cat Earplugs come in 4 different eartip sizes, so unless you have very oval, irregular shaped ears, you're very likely to find a size that fits you comfortably. Unsure if White Cat Earplugs can fit your ears? Well, if you're in Wellington, you're in luck. Book a fitting appointment with the Wellington Hearing Association to make sure that you walk away with a great fit. 

So what's the difference between White Cat Living/Music Earplugs and White Cat Pro-Musician Earplugs? White Cat Pro-Musician earplugs are carefully engineered to have super flat attenuation! What this means is that the different frequencies are attenuated at the same level, making sure that what you hear is "true sound", just at a lower volume. For an audio engineer or professional musician, this makes a huge difference, and is worth the extra dosh. For us mere mortals, however, White Cat Living/Music Earplugs are just as good, sometimes even better, since attenuating a little more of the higher frequencies can make the listening experience a little more comfortable. If you have a limited budget, it actually makes sense to purchase White Cat Living Earplugs and renew the filters regularly (recommended best practice is once a year), since oil and dust gets trapped in the filter over time and degrades the sound clarity.

More about earplugs

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Back to: Different types of HPD

Earplugs, earmuffs, custom earplugs, noise-cancelling headsets and acoustic filters. Discover the difference.

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Tube vs Pill Earplug Filters

Differentiate between unfiltered, tube filters and pill filters so you can get crystal clear sound while protecting your ears.

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Impact and Impulse Earplugs

Gunshots, hammering, clanging pots and the hiss of the espresso machine. Non-linear earplugs can handle that.

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Fit and Seal

Fit and seal matters.. and can bring a 25 dB rated earplug to protect you by just 5 dB! Find out how to get the right fit.