ETYMOTIC Earplugs - Review

The good folks at ETYMOTIC sent me a set of their new ER20XS High Fidelity Earplugs for a test run and I'm glad they did. I half expected to use them once or twice then lose them in a drawer somewhere. Was I ever wrong. Naturally, if you don't wear them, they will not work. It follows that if you have trouble inserting them, you will not wear them. Of all the earplugs I've tried over the years, ER20XS plugs are the easiest to insert and therefore also the most comfortable over long stretches.

Hearing loss is cumulative. Over our lifetimes, we are exposed to a constant barrage of sound. All these sounds add up over time to reduce our hearing capacity. Pretty straightforward stuff there. We all know it yet rarely avail ourselves of the opportunity to help delay that noiseless onset.

The reason of course is that it's inconvenient to carry big mouse ear protection with us everywhere. And earplugs, though effective, muffle too much sound, are uncomfortable, are difficult to insert, and make you look like a weirdo at the local restaurant.

Once in, the ER20XS plugs strut their stuff as no other plug can. Noise reduction occurs at 20db across the spectrum. This serves to reduce sound impact while maintaining fidelity. That's a key point for musicians, shop workers, and people working with others in a noisy environment. Knocking all sound to zero turns you into a zombie and can prove to be a hazard unto itself when communication between coworkers is required. Motorsports teams and construction workers using radio communication can easily use a headset over installed ER20XS earplugs.

My wood shop has fans, machines, and random noise present all day long. There are multiple sound deadening devices at arms length throughout the shop. Some work better than others but none work when hanging on a hook, resting in a drawer, or lying on the bench.

I have worn my new ER20XS earplugs up to four hours straight with no discomfort whatsoever. They reduce sound evenly and even allow me to hear my background radio. I keep my phone in my top left shirt pocket while working and have missed calls when wearing other ear protection. ER20XS plugs allow me to not only hear the phone ring but also talk on it without removing them. That's another key point as the drama, minor though it seems, of removing/replacing earplugs multiple times over the day eventually results in simply leaving them out.

You only get one set of ears and they will degrade over time. ETYMOTIC's ER20XS earplugs go a long way toward helping you extend that time. I use them. A lot. Give them a shot.

Price: from $19.95