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Lifewire / Jason Schneider
Good sound blocking
Solid build quality
Tight, aggressive fit
Flimsy carrying case
Thes Vibes High Fidelity earplugs block sound really well, and because there are multiple size options they serve as a great choice for more people.
The Vibes High Fidelity Earplugs are among the most unique looking earplugs on the market. The trend toward multi-tiered, silicone earplugs has taken over the market almost completely, but Vibes has opted to go in an earbud-style direction, which gives you a lot of options for fit and comfort. These earplugs provide a solid degree of sound attenuation, come with a few different silicone tips, and even throw in a plastic carrying case.
There are some shortcomings, particularly in the quality of the whole package and in the look/feel of the plugs, but if you value attenuation first and foremost, these earplugs are pretty solid. Read on to find out how they fared in our testing.
One key consideration with an earplug is how it looks in your ears. Most higher-dollar earplugs opt to go for a low-profile look, virtually disappearing when you put the plugs into your ears. The Vibes, while not totally obtrusive, do stick out a bit more than we were hoping. This is likely because they are, essentially, the same size and shape as your favorite pair of in-ear earbuds, just without the wires.
The other odd choice, from a design standpoint, is that the shaft and earplug filter is a clear, barrel-shaped housing, and the silicone tips themselves are a solid white. This does set Vibes apart in a field of all-clear earplugs, but it’s a little annoying because they’re prone to collecting dirt and earwax. To be fair, the whole earplug is just under 1 inch long, so it isn’t giant, per se, but, because of the way it sits in your ear (and because the silicone tip keeps it from going in very far), you will see a small amount of the shaft sticking out.
The Vibes, while not totally obtrusive, do stick out a bit more than we were hoping. This is likely because they are, essentially, the same size and shape as a pair of in-ear earbuds, just without the wires.
Because of their earbud-like shape, the Vibes feel a lot different than the standard silicone, cone-shaped earplugs. This does help a lot in the sound-blocking category, which we’ll get into later, but you’ll sacrifice a bit in comfort. Some lighter plugs are easier to wear, virtually disappearing once you’ve put them in and worn them for a few minutes.
The Vibes are always present, always firmly pressing in your ear canal. There are a few different sizes of tips, and this is nice to see because it ensures that you’ll have options if your ears are bigger or smaller than normal. If you are okay with the feel of silicone tips pressing in your ears, much like headphones, this will likely be okay for you. But for our money, some softer, lighter, single-component earplug designs feel a lot better for extended use.
These earplugs feel really solid from a build perspective. The filter-housing cylinder is really rigid and solid (Vibes calls it “glass-clear”, but to us, it felt more like a solid plastic), while the silicone tips are soft and flexible. We think this was a really smart choice, because earplugs that are all-silicone and soft tend to feel more flimsy and more breakable. You do sacrifice a bit in the comfort department, but we think these plugs well tend to last longer.
The filter-housing cylinder is really rigid and solid (Vibes calls it “glass-clear”, but to us it felt more like a solid plastic), while the silicone tips are soft and flexible.
On top of that, there are multiple interchangeable tips you can swap on and off. While the intention here is to find the silicone tip that fits your ear best, it doubles as a way for you to swap in new tips if the ones you’re using get really dirty. Combine this with the lifetime warranty included by Vibes, and you have a real solid set of plugs that come with plenty of peace of mind. At right around half an ounce, they are a little bit heavier than the lighter plugs, but this helps with the durability.
A little background on earplugs: most classic foam plugs do a great job of blotting out sound, but they tend to overdo it in the mids and the high end of the spectrum. This means that you’ll muffle whatever you’re listening to in unnatural, weird-sounding ways. If you’re using earplugs for sleeping or general loud environments, this isn’t necessarily an issue, but if you’re using earplugs for loud music, you’ll lose a lot of the listening experience. The Vibes plugs employ a filter in the shaft that aims to smooth out that spectrum, giving you a flatter more natural EQ. In our tests, this held true for loud concerts, making them some of the best we’ve tested when it comes to representing a sound spectrum.
The reason you’ll need earplugs for loud concerts is because most concerts project volume at around 100 dB, and based on what we know about the health of your hearing, if you expose yourself to that decibel level for longer than 15–20 minutes, you’ll get irreparable damage. If you’ve ever left a concert with your ears ringing, that means you’ve actually damaged your hearing. These earplugs promise to lower that sound level by up to 22dB, meaning you can bring loud concerts into a much safer range. We found that these were some of the best, most effective plugs on the market in this regard, and we’d recommend you bring them to any rock concert.
This package was pretty middle of the road when compared to the rest of the earplug market. You’ll get a small carrying case that measures about two inches wide, and that’s nice to see, but it was pretty flimsy and breakable in our opinion. This case also didn’t include any keychain option, which is a shame because earplugs are an easy thing to forget, but a keychain helps alleviate that. It is nice to see three different sizes of ear tips included in the package, ensuring you can find the right fit, and ensuring that you’ll always have a silicone tip to replace a grimy one. But, there are no fancy gimmicks here, and all things considered, it’s a pretty basic package.
You can get foam eartips for virtually pennies, but a reusable pair like this will tend to hover around $30. It’s nice to see that these earplugs get down closer to $20 (we picked them up on Amazon for $23). It might not seem like a lot, but most competitors in this category of this quality will be much closer to $28–30, so $23 is a steal for what you get here. At their core, these earplugs are very effective at evenly blocking sound, and the lifetime warranty means that that investment should last you a long time.
The Vibes plugs employ a filter in the shaft that aims to smooth out that spectrum, giving you a flatter more natural EQ. In our tests, this held true for loud concerts, and were some of the best we’ve tested when it comes to representing a sound spectrum, but quieter.
Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs (View on Amazon): The Eargasm option gives you, in our opinion, a more comfortable, more natural sound-blocking experience, but for a decent amount more money.
Brison High Fi Earplugs (View on Amazon): Brison has an option for right around $20 that has more in the way of accessories, but seems just a little cheaper.
EarDial HiFi Earplugs (View on Amazon): For just a few bucks more, you can get more comfortable earplugs with the added option to pair with a dB-reading app.
Lots of sound blocking in a unique design.
These earplugs were really surprising to us. On looks alone, we weren’t sure we’d love how they felt, and to be fair, they do feel a little clunky and tight. But this helped to lower a lot of dB levels, and it did so in a really even, natural way. This is huge if you want earplugs that will make the concert experience quieter but not muddier. These are a necessity for regular concert-goers.