Ear health has taken precedence in music discussions as of late, with more and more artists coming forward with their tinnitus horrors stories and a coordinated campaign across all parts of the industry for people to protect their hearing. A sizeable factor in partygoers’ initial aversion to religious earplug use was the lack of choices; these virtually boiled down to expensive custom earlplugs, or super cheap foam ones that completely sacrificed quality. That’s all changed now, as a new boom is forming for mid tier plugs that promise far more clarity than foam plugs, at about a fourth of the price as customs.
Zound is one such brand coming out of this revolution, and its aim is to stand out for its design and quality. Retailing for $37 USD, it falls right in range with some of its competitors like Earaser and Eargasm. Its design is a tried and true one: sleek, clear, and in a layered cone shape designed to fit and stay put in any ear canal. They’ve taken a bit of a bold move in their “one size fits all” approach; however, everyone who’s had a chance to test the product at Dancing Astronaut confirmed that the fit was still snug. It has a slight edge over its competitors in Noise Reduction Rating (NRR), which in Zound’s case is a 22 decibel reduction.
In terms of quality, it’s definitely there. The clicks and other harmful noises for the eardrums are cut out, but the music was still quite clear rather than muffled. Talking to others was feasible for the majority of the time. However, we felt there was a little bit of room for improvement in terms of the highs — a tough area for any earplug in this class. The case the plugs come with is also on the large side. A good option for Zound in the future would be to custom make a smaller case design to accompany the main one.
Overall, Zound earplugs are worth their price, and we like that it offers such a high NRR for just under $40. The uniform fit is also a big plus of this product.