Engineering a Better Earplug

Flare Audio has the mindset that people should enjoy pure sound, undistorted. They try to design and build products around the principle of waveform integrity –  the signal moving into a system is the same as the sound wave that comes out of a system. The company is running a highly successful campaign for ISOLATE – solid titanium micro ear plugs design to isolate the listener from noise.

The plugs are available in both aluminum and titanium bases, with ear foams as the material to touch a user’s ear. The product claims that traditional earplugs absorb sound waves filtering out some waves while letting others pass. ISOLATE plugs are able to block the sound waves altogether and allow your ears to conduct the sound instead. Three different sizes of ear foams are currently available to accommodate every ear canal.

Designing around the idea that lower frequencies can product more energy, the plugs seek to completely block the low energy sounds to protect a user’s ears from long term damage. The safety aspect gives more opportunity for the plugs to be used in a manufacturing or racing environment, and might also be able to help users to sleep in a louder environment. The rule of thumb that I’ve heard is 85 decibels as the upper limit for safe sound and Flare seems to use that threshold as well.

The ear plugs have a patent pending design but the campaign page says that no electronics are used in the assembly. I’m not sure if that means the patent will be based on the geometry of the plug’s base or if there is a novel way that the material is being used or manufactured. The comments section mentions several times that testing was done in-house that cannot be released to the public but independent laboratory testing will be conducted and published in the coming months.

It’s great to see an established company continue to develop new products that are unique in design and also conscious of safety. Using a complete redesign approach to any object, even earplugs, can lead to new ideas. The campaign will be funded on August 14 and first units are expected to ship in September, 2016.