Tech Review: Loop Earplugs
Product: Loop Earplugs
Producer: Loop Earplugs (or Loop)
Cost: ~$22.00 – $51.00 CAD
Loop Earplugs are advertised sound-filtering earplugs which allow the user to experience sound without background noises, as well as reducing the overall decibel level. Loop offers 3 different styles of earplugs with a ‘help me choose’ feature available on their website (https://www.loopearplugs.com/pages/quiz). Each of the 3 styles are designed to provide the best performance within differing environments or for specific activities: concerts, general noise sensitivity, construction or traffic sounds, sleep, studying, etc.
Loop Quiet are targeted towards users who are seeking to reduce sound levels for sleep, noise sensitivity, or to focus. This is the strong sound-filtering level offered and is advertised as reducing noise by 27 decibels – or muffling most sounds and voices.
Loop Experience are targeted towards users who are seeking to reduce sound levels for parenting, noise sensitivity, or live events. This designed is advertised as reducing noise by 18 decibels – or allowing the user to hear everything, but just a bit less.
Loop Experience Pro are the most expensive of the 3 options and are targeted towards users who are seeking to reduce a range of sound levels from traffic sounds to general noise sensitivity. This option uses the Experience design, giving a base level noise reduction of 18 decibels, and includes a ‘mute’ which can be added onto the earplugs to further reduce noise up to 27 decibels
- Personalization – each style comes with 4 sizes of ear tips to ensure best fit, with ear tips, earplugs, and mutes available in a variety of colours;
- Loop Quiet is made of soft silicone, as well as the ear tips for all styles, that fit comfortably in the ear – even with extended wear;
- Loop Experience/Pro use a firmer design to allow for easy sounds adjustments by adding or removing the Loop Mute; the firm circular design also gives a solid grabbing point for insertion and removal.
- Easy to lose – as with all earplugs, when not in use they can be easily dropped or misplaced which can add up to a significant expense to replace;
- Not appropriate for independent use by individuals with fine motor impairments – both the initial fitting, on-going adjustments with Loop Mutes, and regular insertion require significant fine motor control;
Ease of Use: Grab and Go ★★★★★
Adaptability: Wide Variety of Settings Available ★★★★☆
Accessibility: Broad Range of Users Served ★★★★☆
Cost vs. Value: Worthwhile Expense ★★★★☆
Overall Rating: ★★★★☆
Though the Experience Pro model is advertised as being able to provide the experience of both the Experience and the Quiet versions, there is a noticible difference when it comes to side-by-side comparison:
The Quiet model is very well designed for significant sound reduction and is by far the most comfortable reusable earplug for sleep that I’ve tested. Loop describes the sound quality of this model as, “muffled” which is a very accurate description. For sleep, noise sensitivity, or focusing in loud environments, Loop Quiet works exactly as advertised. As a safety note: for individuals wishing to use these in public spaces, be aware that the sound filtering level is sufficient to pose a safety concern if the user is not paying attention to their surroundings. This model is not recommended for use by those with poor safety awareness skills.
The Experience model is a better option for use in community, where safety is a concern. This noise-filtering eliminates most of the extraneous background noise (i.e. fluorescent lights, high pitched buzzing from appliances, etc.) with very little impact on voices or other intentional sounds. However, the firmer design which allows for the addition of a Loop Mute, makes this style less comfortable for long-term wear (+1 hour) and is not recommended for sleep use. When tested, the Experience Pro (Experience + Mute) does not provide the same type, nor the same level of sound filtering, as the Loop Quiet model – as is advertised.
Overall, Loop has created a quality product that can meet the needs of both the neurotypical and neurodiverse communities. Their product is well made and applicable for a range of environments, activities, and users. For the most comprehensive experience, purchasing both the Quiet and the Experience Pro styles will ensure that the user can personalize and adjust their Loop Earplugs to meet the majority of their sound-filtering needs.