Originally Posted by AustinJerry
Interesting, Max, thanks for the tip!
Aside from looking odd with earplugs (or folks might take them for hearing aids), these are GREAT for concerts or loud clubs too, as they allow you to hear almost normally, but at lower levels, i.e. unlike foam plugs, you can hear people talking to you (they don't attenuate the frequencies in vocals disproportionately the way foam plugs do. You can still hear speech (and even crickets and such), just at lower volume levels, like turning down the volume of real life LOL.
They're great for driving too, as they'll attenuate road noise, but still allow you to hear things like car horns etc. AND they're invaluable if you happen to have to sit in a vehicle with someone who likes to turn the sound system up louder than you do (I tend to play music in the vehicle at far lower levels than normal folks, just a little above the level of ambient road/wind noise at highway speeds. The music is just as a distraction while driving). If anyone listens to classical or acoustic music, you've probably realized that a lot of it is NOT recorded for vehicular playback (unlike pop music which is normalized to hell and gone). Acoustic and/or classical music tends to have a greater dynamic range with soft passages and loud passages, where pop music is just normalized to a very small dynamic range (because they know that a vast majority of folks listen to pop music while driving and in loud ambient noise conditions (on the subway on an Ipod etc.) so they need to normalize the audio to sound decent under these conditions. The assumption though, is that many classical and acoustic afficionados will be more likely to listen critically in more ideal conditions/surroundings (i.e. with better sound systems at home with lower ambient noise).
For me, turning up something like Esbjorn Svensson Trio so the bass notes are clear above the ambient road/wind noise levels means that I find the loud passages too loud. These plugs allow me to reduce the overall SPL's so I can turn up the volume altering the relative difference between the softer passages compared to the ambient noise, in effect, reducing the noise floor, while turning up the volume to what I find comfortable listening levels.
Be warned though, that constant use for hours like this is not for everyone. If you're accustomed to using earplugs of any kind for extended periods (whether they're foam plugs or Etymotic in-ear monitors like the ER-4P, then these will be similar. If you're NOT used to earplugs for extended use, these may become uncomfortable for extended use till you're conditioned to having plugs in your ears.