Earlove Hi-Fi Earplugs

The sound level at most concerts and clubs far exceeds safe exposure levels for bare ears. The volume at a nightclub, for example, is usually around 105 decibels, which is louder than being in close proximity to a running chainsaw. Repeated exposure to unsafe decibel levels can lead to permanent hearing loss and has been linked to Tinnitus, a persistent noise or ringing in the ears.

Carolynn Travis, a Chicago-based DJ and tour manager for the long-running rock & soul outfit Poi Dog Pondering, created Earlove Hi-Fi Earplugs in 2003. Travis, who is legally deaf and suffers from Tinnitus, began seeing audiologist Gail Gudmundsen after learning that she had significant hearing loss in 1994. Gudmundsen’s husband, Dr. Mead Killion, founded Etymotic Research, the company responsible for developing the type of earplug that Earlove sells through its Website and at the popular Chicago venue Schuba’s.

While most concert venues sell foam plugs, which lower the volume, Earlove allows you to hear the music clearly—with no distortion or muffling—but at a safe level. Earlove uses the same patented technology as Musicians Earplugs™ for only a fraction of the cost.

Tell me about how you originally got into this line, Carolynn.
 I lost my hearing from DJ'ing and touring with a rock band.

What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
Make microfine glitter art.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
Getting people to realize just how important hearing protection is.

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up? 
A mortician.

What does your future hold?
Saving eardrums, two at a time.

Earlove sent me a free pair to try and let you know what I though about them.  I personally don't have a lot of call to use earplugs myself, so I gave the pair they sent me to local musician Rahsaan Barber to test drive and report back here.  You might remember Rahsaan from Monday's interview with the band El Movimiento

In what way did you use the Earlove Hi-Fi Earplugs, Rahsaan?
As a professional saxophonist, I've used (and continue to use) the Earlove Hi-Fi Earplugs in numerous settings, including soundchecks and performances. Often, I use the plugs when playing with the various rock and funk bands I perform with, most recently onstage with pop/rock singer Shelly Fairchild.

How would you rate their comfort and effectiveness?
I find them to be very comfortable and able to be inserted into a staying position at a variety of depths comfortably for musicians who prefer to adjust them for the setting.  They are VERY effective in providing protection for the ears without canceling the necessary ranges of hearing needed to perform at a balanced and professional level.

How do they compare to other earplugs you've used?
The earplugs were identical in size, style and shape to another set I've grown comfortable with. They seem to perform identically, which, in this case, is a good thing.

Did you notice any drawbacks?
No real drawbacks! The keychain is a great idea, but I'd prefer a firmer case with a hard metal key-ring that could go on a set of keys or something that could be clipped on a bag or to a case.

Would you recommend Earlove Hi-Fi Earplugs to your colleagues?
I absolutely have, and I've even shared the identical pair I have with my colleagues as well.  I would also recommend them to my students at Belmont University.

Learn more about Earlove Hi-Fi Earplugs at their website.