Trying to get to sleep when there's unwanted noise in the background can be a fruitless and frustrating experience. You could try and block out the noise with earplugs, but sometimes that's just not enough. The new Hush earplugs are controlled by a smartphone and mask noise with soothing sounds.

The Hush earplugs are designed to not only block out unwanted sound up to 70 dB, but to mask it with more pleasant, soothing noises of the user's choice if required. The foam tips of the earplugs passively cut out sound and provide the user with a secure and comfortable fit.

A small speaker driver in each earplug, meanwhile, can play locally-stored noise-masking sounds for up to 10 hours and can also provide notifications from the user's Bluetooth-paired smartphone, such as an alarm or an incoming phone call alert. This is aimed at providing the user with peace-of-mind that they won't sleep through something important.

The accompanying smartphone app for iOS or Android allows the user to set up the Hush earplugs based on their current requirements. Alarms can be set or turned off, different types of notifications can be selected for playing through the earplugs (or turned off altogether) and there are a variety of soundscapes to choose from. These include white, brown and pink noise, ocean waves, rainfall, a fan, a crackling fire, a babbling brook, a waterfall and a thunderstorm, with more to be added.

In addition to the available soundscapes, the earplugs can also play binaural beats, which involves playing a certain pitch in one ear and a slightly higher one in the other ear. According to Hush, the way in which the brain interprets the difference encourages certain brain states, such as being calm or alert. The company says that mixing binaural beats with soothing sounds can help to encourage sleep.

The Hush earplugs come with a carry-case that doubles as a charging dock. This contains its own batteries that are topped up from a wall socket and can then provide up to seven full charges to the earplugs even if it is not plugged in. An extra USB outlet port has been included on the charging case for juicing up phones on the go.

There is a Kickstarter campaign underway to raise money for the production of the Hush earplugs. At the time of writing, individuals can pledge from US$115 to receive a pair. Assuming all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in May 2015. The earplugs are expected to go on general sale midway through 2015, retailing at $149.

The video below is the Kickstarter pitch for the Hush earplugs.

Source: Hush, Kickstarter

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