Earplug Encomium

by F.

I love earplugs. I wear them to sleep and I wear them many times when I’m writing. Their effect on writing is profound: suddenly, you “hear” the words much easier. Your “inner voice” is louder. It’s very, very cool. Now I learn I’m not the only one to enjoy this effect. Writing in Slate, Thomas Beller offers a wonderful earplug encomium:

I didn’t want to be cured of hearing, I just wanted to be rescued from hearing certain things. I started testing different brands and strengths. All the best earplugs were little foam cylinders—anything waxy or rubber didn’t work well and was unpleasant. They came in varying degrees of decibel-blocking strength, indicated by number. The low end, 26, I found too low. The heavy-duty 33 grade felt like having traffic pylons shoved in my head. Somewhere around 29 to 31 seemed ideal.

Such a small, mundane little object, but what an effect on a day! How, I wondered, did earplugs come into existence?

Learn how here. My favorite plugs are these (the Hearing Technologies ones). The Ear Plug Super Store is here. Since I have very large ear canals, I need the big ‘uns. The little orange conical ones get lost in my head.

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