If you’re like me, travel can be a drain to the system. You see, I’m a very light sleeper. It really doesn’t take much to wake me from my slumber – a little street noise, a few people talking in the next room, that couple having sex down the hall – or worst of all the guy in my dorm snoring at the top of his lungs.
A couple of months ago while reading a travel article I came across these funky earplugs that looked like they had teeny tiny speakers in them. Of course, I was immediately intrigued and searched their website to learn more.
Designed by Doppler Labs, DUBS Acoustic Filters are a new breed of earplugs that use a sophisticated filtration system to reduce the sound pressure at different frequencies. In simple terms, they turn down the volume while still allowing the sound through.
The main use case is for festivals or concerts where you really want to be able to hear the music clearly and not just receive a hot mess of noise. If you go to lots of loud concerts you should be taking steps to protect your hearing – period. DUBS are designed to even out the frequency curve while providing 12 dB of noise reduction so that the final product sounds natural.
So how did they fare in travel related situations? I was lucky enough to be sent a pair to test out on my recent trip. Here are the results:
First of all, the packaging looks great. They fit neatly into a little carry case that you can pop into your pocket.
During a flight
The ambient or white noise you are subject to while flying is something that many people overlook. As soon as you try a pair of noise-canceling headphones you will realize just how loud it really is on a plane.
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting a set of earplugs to produce the same level of noise reduction as an expensive pair of noise-canceling headphones, so I was pleasantly surprised to find a decent amount of ambient noise reduction with the DUBS.
The best example was when I wanted to watch a movie. The flat exterior surface of the DUBS allowed me to comfortable wear the headphones provided by the airline. This combination worked great, blocking most of the outside noise while letting me hear through the headphones clearly.
This is where I was hoping for a miracle but the reality is, there is still a way to go before I will be drifting peacefully off in a dorm room (I doubt this will ever be the case). To be fair, the company doesn’t make any claims that the product is suitable for light sleepers.
One of the big pluses for me when comparing a pair of DUBS to a standard pair of disposable earplugs was that it allowed some of the noise to come through. There is nothing worse than feeling like you can hear every bodily function when you are wearing earplugs at night. In fact, I dare say it is just as detrimental to my sleep as not wearing them.
UPDATE: We were contacted by a representative of Doppler Labs and it seems that we were wearing the earplugs slightly wrong which could have affected the results in our tests. The following image shows correct use.
Doppler Labs would like to point out the following – DUBS were designed to filter and reduce volume, not to eliminate noise. For example, a pair of DUBS will effectively protect a user’s hearing on an airplane by reducing the damaging decibel level of the jet engines, while still allowing the user to engage in conversations with the passengers around him or her. They are not designed or created to eliminate noise for someone that is sleeping.