EarPeace Ear Plugs Review

EarPeace are one of the newer entrants into the hearing protection market, and pitch their social media advertising squarely at musicians and motorcyclists, as well as general workplace noise. Their USP is that you can change the filters to alter the amount of noise reduction you receive, but they are charging a fairly heavy premium for that.

EarPeace plugs with the three pairs of filters

EarPeace plugs with the three pairs of filters

EarPeace ear plugs - the basics

Price at time of purchase: £18.00

SNR: 17dB, 20dB or 26dB depending on the filters used.

Features: Flanged silicone plugs, washable and reusable, changeable filters, a storage / carrying case, three sets of pairs of filters, and £18 weirdly gets you not two but three ear plugs which is very handy for that under-served market of people with three ears.

Manufacturer: EarPeace Ltd.

EarPeace ear plugs - packaging information

EarPeace fitting instructions

EarPeace fitting instructions

EarPeace performance data

EarPeace performance data

The information in the pack is excellent, with nice clear fitting instructions and good performance data.

EarPeace ear plugs - performance

These are sold as styles for Music, Motorsports and Safety, but when you click through to each on their website and then through to the performance data for them, the data is exactly the same! The only conclusion can be that they are the same plugs, just in different packs for different markets, with a bit of a sales veneer making them sound tailored to that specific use. There seems to be no difference at all between them other than the packaging and colour of the silicone.

How the three variations in the EarPeace product are presented on EarPeace’s website - they appear to be different products but then all the performance data is the same

How the three variations in the EarPeace product are presented on EarPeace’s website - they appear to be different products but then all the performance data is the same

The overall SNR ratings change with the filters used and are 17dB, 20dB and 26dB. This puts them in the lower-to-middle range of noise attenuation, with many other plugs offering much more protection. However, the strongest is not always the best and there is a tendency of people to over-protect rather than choosing something which just ‘takes the top off’ the noise levels. For situations like this, the EarPeace will work well.

For those who do genuinely want as much protection as they can get, The ‘Max’ may be the top EarPeace level of protection at 26dB, but the EARSoftFX have an SNR of 39dB, the reusable EAR Superfit 36 have an SNR of 36dB, the Moldex Sparkplugs are 35dB, and these are just three of many which are stronger than the EarPeace Max. All are a long way above the fairly middling redcutions given by the ‘Max’ filters.

I can’t help notice that EarPeace call these three SNR levels ‘medium’, ‘high’ and ‘max’ rather than low, medium and high. A somewhat disingenuous naming structure as 17dB is most definitely more ‘low’ than ‘medium’, and a 26dB SNR for the ‘max’ is actually a long way off the ‘max’ in many other plugs.

EarPeace ear plugs for musicians

EarPeace really push their product as a good solution for musicians. When looking at hearing protection for music, one of the most important elements is how little the plugs distort the sounds being heard, i.e. are they reducing low, mid-range and high pitched tones all by the same amount, or are some getting more of a reduction than others and therefore changing how the music sounds. Helpfully, data is available for this in the form of HML numbers, the number of decibels the hearing protection reduces the noise by in ‘High’, ‘Medium’ and ‘Low’ frequency ranges. The smaller the difference between these three figures, the less they distort sound and the better they are for listening to music.

For EarPeace the HML numbers are:

  • Medium - 13, 16 and 20dB, giving a range of 7dB.

  • High - 16, 18 and 21dB, giving a range of 5dB.

  • Max - 19, 24 and 27dB, giving a range of 8dB.

The Medium and the Max are pretty poor, and the High at 5dB is still not good, with a lot of other plugs having a much smaller difference in their HML values and therefore being much better for music. On our own list of hearing protection data, as it currently stands there are 36 types of protector which have less of a distorting impact on music than the ‘High’ filter sets, 57 which are better than the Medium, and a whopping 74 types of protector which are better for music and musicians than the ‘Max’ filter set.

What are good alternatives for musicians?

If you want something with roughly the same noise reduction level as the EarPeace (so just reducing the sound levels by a little), the Keep Safe Moulded Ear Plug has an SNR of only 29 so is close to the Max’s SNR of 27dB, but the Keep Safe has an HML range of only 1 dB versus the Max’s 8dB. It is also reusable and costs around 55p versus the EarPeace’s £18.

Alternatively, if you are looking at the ‘High’ filter set and its SNR of 21dB, the EAR Ultratech has the same SNR, but the range in it’s HML data is only 2dB versus the High’s 5dB. It is also reusable and costs about the same as the EarPeace and comes with a case as well - so it does the same SNR, still has a case, the same price, but much less of a distorting effect on music than the EarPeace.

Or the Moldex Rockets have an SNR of 30 and a HML range of 7 dB, the same flange-type construction, are reusable and come with a storage case. They are therefore very similar to the Max filters, but can be bought for as low as around £1.20. There are better on the market for musicians, but if the performance of the EarPeace is what you want then these will give it to you, with a bit more protection, for a lot less money.

Overall then, the EarPeace are not great for music and there are many many better protectors out there for musicians. There is a separate blog post on hearing protection for music and musicians.

EarPeace ear plugs - price and value

At £18 a pack, again, weirdly of three plugs, they are certainly priced well above a lot of others and are priced somewhat aspirationally. If we only look at reusable plugs and discount all disposable ones to level the playing field, there are a LOT of plugs which are way cheaper than the EarPeace, have better noise reduction (attenuation, the SNR figure), or are better for music. Ignore nonsense like the Flare Isolate plugs which are just ridiculous things and look at real-world reusable plugs, and most prices are between around 60p and about £2, with some outliers a little higher than that.

If I sort the hearing protectors on our hearing protection data chart by reusable plugs to eliminate all muffs and all disposable plugs, and then sort by price, out of 56 protectors listed, 45 are cheaper than the EarPeace, and most by a long way. For example, the Uvex Whisper+ have the same SNR as the EarPeace Max, and are also reusable, but cost around 93p to buy rather than £18. You are paying a LOT for that over-designed metal storage tube with the EarPeace plugs! Especially as you can get the JSP Maxifit Pro or EAR Caboflex plugs for around £1.04 and £1.24 and both those come with a carrying / storage case as well.

Looked at closer and it is even worse for the EarPeace. The only plugs out of our list of 56 protectors which are more expensive than the EarPeace are the utterly pointless and ridiculous Flare Isolate range, and then a huge jump into the realm of personally moulded plugs where someone comes and takes a cast of your ear and makes you a specific plug. That’s not a good price point for EarPeace to be in given their pretty middling performance.

The EarPeace are not good value and sell a lot more on image than anything else. Put it this way, the Moldex Rockets have better performance, flange construction, are reusable and have a storage case, and cost around a quid or so, versus £18 for the EarPeace.

As an aside, three plugs in the pack? I get that if you lose one then it means you still have a complete pair, but that is still trivial compared to the frankly ridiculous price of these things. Adding a third plug which will have cost pennies to manufacture doesn’t transform a product worth a quid or two at best into one remotely matching what EarPeace charge for these things. It’s just window-dressing and distracting from the fact they are a mediocre product matched with superior pricing. The Moldex Rockets are broadly the same performance in all respects as the EarPeace, but cost £1.20 or so versus EarPeace’s current pricing of around £18. You could lose a hell of a lot of the Rockets before coming even close to the EarPeace price.

EarPeace ear plugs - fit and comfort

Fit is no problem at all, they go in well and being a flanged design, don’t require rolling and squeezing to insert them.

Comfort is less good. I have tried these on a few occasions and yesterday was typical of all the previous ones. I started the day doing a noise assessment so put them in, but after about two hours had to take them out and swap them for a different plug as they were getting too sore to wear any longer.

The comfort of ear plugs is always subjective, but I have used many styles of plug over the years and have no problems at all with most, but these do become painful for me after a couple of hours or so.

EarPeace ear plugs for motorbikes

I tried them on the motorbike on a journey from Cheltenham down to Bristol on the M5, then through the Somerset back roads to Frome, and then back to Cheltenham again.

Noise-wise they are good. The last thing you want on a motorbike is too much protection as you still want to be able to hear what is going on around you and hear approaching vehicles. The SNR on these plugs is mid-performance and for a motorbike that is good - it took the top off the noise nicely without isolating me completely.

However, the same pain issues exist, except amplified by the pressure of the helmet on the ears as well. By the end of each journey they hurt a lot. I have to say I would not wear these again in the future on the bike.

EarPeace ear plugs - summary

EarPeace plugs and case

EarPeace plugs and case

✔︎ Good product information online and in the packaging

✔︎ The storage case is good for keeping them clean

✔︎ The idea of changing filters to suit your need is pretty good…

✘ …although I can’t see many people doing that in practice

✘ Way over-priced though

✘ Many many better plugs are available for musicians

✘ Found them painful after a couple of hours or use

✔︎ Just about the right amount of protection on a motorbike - not too isolating

✘ Were too painful for repeated use on the motorbike

It is hard to avoid the overall impression of rather ordinary and unexceptional performance, which is beaten by many many other plugs, but priced in the extraordinary and higher-end of the market, with some frills to try and justify it but which cannot mask a rather mundane product. The storage tube is nice but way over the top for the product, and the changeable filters are a good idea but in reality, is anyone going to actually keep swapping the filters over, or just stick with one set? I think the answer to that is very obvious.

If it was £1.50 it would be fine, but at £18 it is just silly. It is a middle of the road product with some higher-end marketing. And for music and musicians, these are just a poor buy and there are many better options out there, either based on lower levels of noise distortion, lower price, better comfort, or all three together.