Welcome to Earjobs In-Depth, where we road test new hearing protection giving you the best sense of performance and value for money. This week we’re road testing Loop® High Fidelity Music Ear Plugs ($49.95), a high fidelity music ear plug with a stylish twist.
Loop In-brief:- High-fidelity music ear plugs with a unique Loop design, ear plug as accessory.
- Available in five colours (black, silver, red, gold, rose gold).
- Clear music and conversation, strong acoustic filters.
- Very lightweight, which can be somewhat jarring considering the look of the plug.
- Carry case could be improved.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS AND UNBOXING
The most striking difference between the Loop and competing high fidelity ear plugs is the look. The Loop is designed to be conspicuous, built around the titular ring shaped acoustic filter. Slightly resembling a hoop ear plug, it sits flush inside the small of the ear, and comes in five colours: Midnight Black, Glorious Gold, Swinging Silver, Rose Gold, and Red. It’s a unique quality -- where the majority of ear plugs are designed to be inconspicuous, the Loop instead stands out as a statement piece and accessory.
In a word, they look good. We road tested the ‘Glorious Gold’ colourway and it looked quite elegant from a distance, standing out to the right degree and accessorising nicely with the right outfit. While the earring design may on first sight suggest a more feminine look, the ear plugs are ultimately gender neutral and you can use the different colours to find a look that works for you.
In the box, you get six tips in small, medium, and large: three silicone and three foam, so there’s always going to be a fitting set for you in the box. I was shocked at how light the ear plugs were, the ring looks like metal but is actually a feather-light plastic. Whether this is a pro or a con will depend on you: in one read, it might feel like it’s cheap, but on the other hand it feels like you’re wearing nothing at all when inserted and is good for all night partying.
LISTENING QUALITY, FIT, AND MAINTENANCE
We tested the ear plugs on two counts: how it performed at filtering loud music and how well we could converse while wearing them in both a quiet and loud environment. For the filter test, we were asking how clear the music was and also whether the sound dampening was conspicuous.
The acoustic filters on the Loop are really strong. You can hear the music clearly with the distortion and excessive noisiness stripped off. They’re rated at an SNR of 18dB (H = 19dB, M = 15dB, L = 13dB) so a solid mid-range level of noise attenuation appropriate for a concert context. In conversation, I had very little trouble distinguishing music from conversation when standing close to my friends, which is great for avoiding removing and re-inserting the plugs in the midst of a boogie. In terms of music, the important bass sounds were still very clear and there was very little noticeable compression in terms of the music I was listening to. In short, the Loop is going to protect your ears without compromising your musical experience.
They also performed well at the simple conversation hearing test. I was able to clearly understand conversation in a variety of settings, both in quiet, loud, and noisy rooms, and that conversation came through clearly. The fit for the Loop was strong, once inserted I felt no movement even when bouncing around -- they’re good for the dancefloor.
The silicone tips for the Loop are easily cleaned: just wipe them with a damp cloth. Upkeep between uses will maximise the life cycle of the tips, allowing you to use them for a very long time. If you’re only going out to concerts a few times a month, your Loop will last almost indefinitely with proper maintenance and storage.
Because of the medium level sound attenuation, the Loop can also be utilised in a work from home context. It helped with focus by gently filtering external noises, while still being wearable during conversations. I could see this as a useful ear plug for individuals with autism or sensory processing disorder, who are looking to turn down the external environment without filtering it entirely.
There’s also suggestion that the Loop can be an appropriate motorcycling ear plug, with its medium level sound attenuation comparable to low- medium level filters in dedicated motorcycling solutions. While Earjobs did not test this use per se, based on the sound rating readings provided by the Loop it should be good for middle-volume bikes but maybe not your loudest hog.
You get a small carry case, which is nice and very compact but requires some initial fiddling to fit the Loops in correctly. This is the one aspect that clearly needed improvement: the case didn’t feel particularly hardy and I wasn’t able to attach it to my keyring. A stronger case would make it easier to cart around and more likely that I would use it whenever a noisy environment presented itself.
The Loop is one of the more comfortable music ear plugs we’ve trialled and the unique shape and style of the ear plug is striking. They give a good degree of sound blocking and the acoustic filter is effective at maintaining aural clarity whether for music or conversation. I’d recommend a third party case over the one Loop provides but that’s only one misgiving in an otherwise bright experience.
Loop® High Fidelity Music Ear Plugs