I first adopted the habit of wearing earplugs when I started working in the technical production field as I can be exposed to loud noises (e.g. setting up of trusses) from time to time. Although the general noise produced during setup or show is not considered deafening, I was not able to get used to some particular noise (especially loud sonorous noise) no matter how hard I try.
Essentially, earplugs are used by individuals as a device inserted into the user's ear canal to protect the ear from loud noises. It is a simple device that works on isolating the ear from the outside environment and can be either disposable or reusable. Personally, I carry at least a pair of earplugs whenever I am attending a show or at work, just so that I can always have the option of having ear protection when needed.
Earplugs are widely available for the consumer to purchase, from the silicon type that is usually disposable to the flanged type that is meant to be reused. Earplugs have a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) that states the amount of attenuation it provides. NRR performances can also be affected if the earplug is not being applied as designed, hence, always check the application guide to the product, or else the plugs might not even deliver any significant noise attenuation.
When I first tried out the V-Moda Faders VIP earplug, I was intrigued by the product's ability to preserve sound clarity after an attenuation of 12dB in sound levels. Before that, earplugs I have tested on have always produced a muffled sound after being worn and has caused inconvenience as I often find myself removing the earplugs just to hear my colleagues clearly.
From my perspective, in order to justify the additional cost of the V-Moda earplugs ($20 USD), it must satisfy a few of requirements:
- It must be able to provide an adequate amount of NRR while retaining sound intelligibility so that I can wear them while talking to my colleagues in a loud environment.
- The earplugs must be carried around easily.
- I prefer a flanged type earplug as compared to the generic one where you would have to hand-roll the plug and wait for it to expand to fit the ear.
As mentioned above, the Faders VIP earplug is able to retain sound clarity much better than its other counterparts as it utilises a multi-diaphragm filter design to attenuate different bands of frequencies evenly. This evenly tuned characteristic allows the earplug to be appropriate for music listening as it provides a better sound representation than others. In my own experience, I was able to observe a more distinct difference between the V-Moda Faders and other flanged earplugs (e.g. 3M) at louder SPL (sound pressure level).
A carrying case is included in every package when you purchased it. This small little case is sufficient to store your earplugs and a detachable cord, which is a nice bonus. One of the reasons why I would prefer a flanged earplug is due to the ease of use as I can always hang them around my neck when not in use. Although some silicon earplugs might be able to provide a higher level of NRR, the 12dB reduction from the V-Moda is often sufficient for most live sound scenarios (e.g. 100dB – 12dB = 88dB, 4 hours of maximum daily exposure time, NIOSH Standard).
The V-Moda is attractively priced at $20 USD for a reusable and tuned earplug solution. The device does not require any additional external power source as it passive, thus, you do not need to worry about any scenarios where the unit will not operate due to a power outage. After using the earplugs for almost four years, the V-Moda Faders VIP is hard to beat for its rugged enclosure design and an attractive price point.