It’s 11:59 pm on May 9th and you’re in trouble. Shops are shut. Mother’s Day tomorrow. No gift.
Avoid the nightmare this year and let Earjobs handle it. We’ve put together a short list to help you decide, highlighting some of our best selling and best reviewed products.
For The Mother Who Meditates
The mind has a powerful ability to ignore. Stand next to the ocean for long enough and you forget it’s there. What the brain cannot ignore is inconsistency. Random traffic noise, footsteps, a rattling window. These noises are all too unpredictable in noise and frequency for the brain to zone them out. That’s where a white noise machine comes in.
A white noise machine works by masking disruptive sounds like snores, traffic or construction beneath a soothing wash helpful for sleep or meditation. Many find that the white noise even helps to clarify and direct their own thinking, useful for people struggling with switching their mind’s off at the end of the day or before bed. Our pick is the Lectrofan: it’s ultra portable (4 inches across and 2 inches high), comes programmed with twenty different sounds (10 white noise, 10 fan noise), and the black or white colourways ensure it’ll fit in any decor.
But what makes the Lectrofan different? While most white noise machines are pre-programmed with a range of different sounds that play on loop, the Lectrofan is a digital machine. This means it produces the sound for you in real time without any looping or repetition. An added bonus of the Lectrofan producing sound locally is that it’s effective at all different volume levels. Other white noise machines, particularly at the highest volumes, begin to sound obviously recorded by comparison. As a result, it’s effective at all different volume levels, allowing it to fill rooms of different sizes and consume all manner of noise: everything from a partner’s snore to the morning rubbish pick-up. This means uninterrupted sleep and calm, wherever you set up.
For use as a meditation aid, the Lectrofan can be used as an external prompt to focus on. The calming noise will give you something to still your thinking as you follow your breath. It’s particularly useful for meditating in an urban setting, as it allows you to drown out intrusive noises from neighbouring apartments or the street.
Looking for something other than fan or white noise?
Avantek Portable White Noise Machine ($69.95)
If you like the idea of a calming soundscape but aren’t interested in white or fan noise, there are a range of machines that produce pleasing ambient soundscapes instead. Our pick here is the Avantek Portable White Noise Machine.
Like the Lectrofan, the Avantek is programmed with a range of white and fan noises, so is useful as a sleep aid, or as a tool for covering disruptive sounds. In addition to this range, it includes a set of ambient sounds including: streams, waves, wind, rain, birds, crickets, a campfire, and a clock. These ambient settings can be utilised as the basis for a meditation or to simply transform the ambience of a given space. These calming sounds can be a useful counterweight to the pressures of the working from home environment and assist the user by giving them something nostalgic or restful to focus on.
Don’t be fooled by the small size of the Avantek. It has thirty volume levels, up to 115db, so can be used for larger spaces or even effectively outdoors. In addition, it has a timing function, useful particularly for meditation settings or getting to sleep, that allows you to set how long it will run before gradually and subtly shutting off.
For The Mother Who Can’t Sleep
A traditional sleeping earplug works by either blocking or filtering external noise. You place a silicon earplug over the ear and sound is thus diminished. Alternatively, you might wear a pair of metal earplugs, which physically block the sound from entering. In both cases, there are limits to how much sound can be prevented. This is where Noise Cancelling technology comes in.
The QuietOn Electronic NoiseCancelling Sleep Earbuds work by listening to the noises happening around you and then filtering them out. Whether that’s a snoring partner, a rattling window, or the hum of a fridge or other electronics, the earbuds detect noise and then remove it. Best of all, they’re adaptive: as the noises around you change, the filtering adapts. This way, a single pair of earbuds is able to block out a partner’s snores, the cats fighting outside overnight, and the morning rubbish collection.
We’re particularly excited by the QuietOn. On first inserting the earbuds, it’s as if the world around you has been dulled. All manner of ambient noise disappeared as the earbud sealed, enabling easy sleep. In addition, both earbuds can be manually transition from ‘silent’ to ‘hearing’ mode. In hearing mode, noise is filtered into the earbud, similar to if you were listening to it through an MP3 player. This way, you’re able to easily listen to conversations or your surroundings without removing the plug, so you can easily go back to sleep when you want.
It’s a deluxe product, packaged in a magnetic black charging case. It grants up to twenty hours of use on a single charge of the case and is rechargeable via USB. It comes with three separate ear tip sizes, with replacement tips available online.
For further information, we did a one week trial on the QuietOn. Check it out here.
Looking for a Non-Electronic Option
If you’re interested in high quality sleeping earplugs but aren’t ready to make the move to electronic, consider metal earplugs. In contrast to a traditional foam earplug, the Flare Sleeep has a metal core designed to block rather than simply filter or absorb external noise. Weighing less than a gram, the Sleeep has a slimmer and more ergonomic shape than previous Flare models. It’s designed to fit in even the smallest ear canals, with a slight form factor of only 2mm in length and 2.5mm in diameter designed to minimise irritation for side sleepers or those who toss and turn.
The Flare Sleeep comes with three sets of eartips, in XS, S, and M sizes, along with a stylish carry pouch. It comes in two colourways: a subtle ‘natural finish’, emphasising the metal core; or a more unique ‘silver pink’. Replacement sets of eartips are available online, with each set of eartips expected to last a few months.
Snooze On A Budget?
At a lower price point, we recommend a good pair of foam disposable earplugs as the foundation for a better night’s sleep. The Hearos Sleep Pretty in Pink come in two value pack sizes, 56 and 100 pairs, and are designed to remain comfortable no matter how you sleep. They’re rated at 32 NRR, which means they’re expected to block out about 32 decibels of sound when inserted, more than enough to filter snores and loud neighbours.
One of the main complaints you hear about foam earplugs is that they’re a one-size-fits-all approach. As a result, for people with small or narrow ear canals, the standard foam earplug ends up a poor or uncomfortable fit, with less effective sound attenuation. The Hearos Pretty in Pink is the softest foam earplug we’ve tested, it’s as soft as you can get in a foam body. In addition, it’s slightly smaller than other foam earplugs in the Hearos range, making it the most comfortable foam solution, particularly for those with smaller ears.
For The Mother Who Rocks Out
Our pick for a versatile pair of music earbuds combines a stylish form factor with a health saving approach to protecting your ears. By what makes noise isolating earbuds special?
To answer this, we need to consider some hearing science.
When you’re listening to music on a loud train or walking around, the sound from your earphones is competing with everything else in the world. As a result, you turn the volume up to drown out intrusive external sounds. However, exposure to noise above 85 decibels causes inevitable, irreversible hearing loss in the long term. The top volume on an iPhone? 102 decibels -- the same as a leaf blower!
Noise isolating headphones provide a simple solution. By isolating the listener from external noise, you can listen to your music at a lower volume while achieving a superior listening experience and avoiding long term damage.
The Isotunes Xtra uses Bluetooth 4.1 to connect wirelessly to your smartphone, computer, or other Bluetooth enabled device. It offers eight hours of music playback on a single charge (180 hour standby) and is dust, sweat, and water resistant making it perfect for workouts or work around the house. In addition, the magnetic earbuds allow for the wearer to seamlessly pause and play their music without having to touch your phone, perfect for those unexpected interruptions.
A Mother’s Day Care Package
In addition to the options outlined above, pair with one of the below to make a generous Mother’s Day care package.
To compliment the QuietOn Sleep or the Flare Sleeep, pair with an Earjobs Contoured Sleep Mask. Unlike the ordinary disposable eye mask you may have seen in a hotel or on a plane, the Earjobs model is contoured. It’s designed to shape around the eye sockets, sitting just off the eyelids, allowing the wearer to open and close their eyes without causing irritation. It comes in three colourways: blue, pink, and black, so is a suitable choice for any aesthetic.
As described above, the mask structures around the shape of the face, accommodating the bridge of the nose, the brow, and of course the eyes. As a result, it’s a more comfortable fit while still blocking out all light. One particular benefit of a sleep mask is its flexibility. It can be worn on planes, car rides, or even during an afternoon nap, enabling you to sleep in the middle of the day or in an otherwise bright environment. This can be perfect also for sleeping alongside partners. Now, they’re free to read, watch television, or play video games while you slip into slumber.
To compliment a white noise machine or sleep mask, consider a care package of comfortable hypo-allergenic earplugs for the softest night’s sleep. Made from a combination of cotton and lanolin, the Comfy Wax are designed to fit snugly in any ear. They’re particularly good for people with sensitive skin or a reluctance to use synthetic materials, avoiding the rashes or irritation that some get with traditional silicone earplugs. They come in a pack of six pairs, good for a few month’s sleep, with value packs also available.