When it comes to our hearing, we musicians can’t be too careful in protecting ourselves against the onslaught of loud noise every time we play. Whether it’s solo practice sessions, band rehearsals or gigs, we’re regularly exposed to high decibels of frequencies that can be particularly harmful, and as a sufferer of constant tinnitus I can personally vouch that my biggest regret as a musician is not protecting myself more in my formative years.
Nowadays there are a lot of different options when it comes to hearing protection, ranging from cheap foam plugs through to much more expensive, custom-made silicone moulds, but all have the same goal of saving your precious ears. Launched in 2018, Norwegian-based company Minuendo offer a unique and innovative design with their Lossless Earplugs that feature a host of neat elements that enable you to tailor the feel and fit of the plugs to your ears as well as how much the volume is reduced while you are wearing them.
The plugs feature a patented adjustable membrane that can be fine-tuned to give you between 7db to 25db of noise reduction courtesy of a smooth-feeling, step-less dial situated on each of the plugs. This passive filter is designed to give a very flat frequency response in order to give as natural a sound as possible, with highs, mids and lows remaining clear and only volume being reduced. Coupled with this, the plugs come supplied with a range of different sized and shaped tips ranging from triple tiered cones to smaller buds to ensure a good seal can be formed once the plugs are in place. Rounding things out are a handy carry case, thin connecting cord and cleaning brush, all available for a recommended retail price of USD $159.00 which includes a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Once unpacked, the first thing to do is to spend a little time trying out different sized tips until you find the perfect fit for your ear(s). Once done, which takes a matter of minutes, the plugs feel comfortable and secure, and having worn them for a considerable amount of time (throughout a four-hour rehearsal), remain so throughout. Sound-wise, Minuendo claim that their membrane gives a “clear and natural sound”, which I can certainly confirm. Whether at the lowest setting of -7db, or at a full -25db, the plugs give a very clean volume reduction while maintaining clarity and a full frequency response. To test this further, I swapped the plugs for a pair of soft silicone plugs and the difference was immediately noticeable as I lost most of the low and high frequencies and was left with a thin-sounding, mid-heavy, muffled sounding mix. The inclusion of gearless dials on each plug to allow you to choose how much reduction you require is especially useful, as it allows you to quickly and effortlessly react to any changes in the immediate environment. For instance, this was particularly useful in a rehearsal setting as I could switch between full reduction while playing to much less while talking, saving the frustrating job of having to remove/re-insert plugs every few minutes as I’ve often had to do previously with more traditional plugs.
Another very cool (and useful) aspect of the Lossless Earplugs is there are small magnets on the side of each meaning that when they’re not being used they snap together into one larger unit making it much less likely to (annoyingly) lose one plug. Plus, when used with the included joining cord, whenever you take the plugs out the can snap together on the cord while around your neck making a kind of ‘hearing protection necklace’, which again makes them much less likely to get lost.
Coming in at $159.00, the Minuendo Lossless Earplugs are somewhat of an investment, especially if you only compare them to the cheaper, widely available plugs that are readily available on the market. However, if you start searching for custom-made moulded plugs that offer the same values that the Lossless Earplugs offer, you quickly realise that they are pretty competitively priced especially considering the innovations and options they provide. After using the plugs quite extensively, I didn’t come across any negative points, and was particularly impressed with the adjustable filter and clear, clean sound they supply. As stated at the beginning, all musicians need to be protective of their hearing, and I’d highly recommend these to any musician, regardless of age or level, to ensure their hearing is protected for years to come.
RRP: Minuendo Lossless Earplugs: USD $159.00