Ear Defenders!

I bought a pair of adult-sized ear defenders from Sensitive Ears last week when I was having problems working from home because of noise. They arrived yesterday, so I figured I’d do a little first-impressions post about them.

I chose the red ones, they’re also available in yellow and black. They’re quite heavy for their size, but I guess they contain a lot of soundproofing material. They fold up really small and in a sturdy, compact shape, which is my favourite thing about them because I know I can throw them in my backpack and not worry about them getting bumped about. They fit over the ear, and have a deep pocket that the outer ear structure fits into, so no uncomfortable pressure on the ear cartilage, this is a big win. The cushions are made of pleather, which is quite soft and doesn’t cause me any sensory issues. The foam inside is also soft, no annoying crinkly sensations. The plastic is sort of satin, not quite matte-rough, but not glossy either. The headband has a pleather cover (I may well end up making a replacement as it’s quite plasticky here).

So that’s the look and feel. Performance. If you’re expecting complete silence, you’re looking in the wrong place. I tried them out in the office at work, which is part of an old building with high ceilings, there’s normally a fair bit of echo and general office noise. With the defenders on, I can still hear people talking, but the high-frequency noises like echoes and keyboard noises are filtered out. Everything’s pleasantly muted, and it’s actually much easier to pick out what people are saying without the background noises.

I haven’t tried it against the noisy-neighbour kinds of noise, but I suspect that they will filter out the higher notes, like light switches, clanking, clattering and clicking noises, etc, but won’t do much for the music.

Wearing them for any length of time might take some getting used to. There’s an odd kind of pressure that’s a little uncomfortable. I realise this is essential for a good seal around the ear to cancel as much noise as possible, so I suggest anyone who gets a pair of these takes it slowly, and wears them only as long as it’s comfortable to do so. Take breaks, I’m sure it’s like wearing prescription glasses and it just takes a bit of time to adjust.

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