Wearables

Silence is golden, with QuietOn’s active-noise-cancelling earplugs

Silence is golden, with QuietO...
New Atlas goes hands-on with QuietOn active-noise-cancelling earplugs
New Atlas goes hands-on with QuietOn active-noise-cancelling earplugs
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New Atlas goes hands-on with QuietOn active-noise-cancelling earplugs
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New Atlas goes hands-on with QuietOn active-noise-cancelling earplugs
QuietOn founder Janne Kyllönen modelling his creation
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QuietOn founder Janne Kyllönen modelling his creation
The earplugs are comfortable, and are much better at drowning out problematic low sound frequencies
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The earplugs are comfortable, and are much better at drowning out problematic low sound frequencies
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Last year we covered a wickedly simple product called QuietOn: earplugs with built-in active noise cancellation (ANC). This week at CES 2017, we got our first hands-on.

The core vision behind QuietOn strikes us as one of those "why didn't I think of that?" ideas that will have you kicking yourself. Take the concept of the earplug – block out noise – but use active-noise-cancelling tech to better flush out sounds.

Inserting the plugs into my ears in an ultra-crowded CES hall didn't completely drown out the din, but it made a big difference. Founder Janne Kyllönen tells me the system's ANC is much better at cancelling out lower frequencies, while the hum of voices in the conference hall leans towards the higher range.

At least in theory, this will be well-served for the types of situations where you're most likely to need earplugs. If you're trying to sleep in an apartment building, the walls will already block out most high frequencies from noisy neighbors, nearby parties or barking dogs; leaving only the lower ones that seep through for the earplugs to better tackle. Ditto for airplanes, where the engine's hum is a low pitch.

If you're thinking about the earplugs for work, trying to cancel out the voices of neighboring coworkers, they won't likely be as effective.

QuietOn founder Janne Kyllönen modelling his creation
QuietOn founder Janne Kyllönen modelling his creation

The plugs are small and felt comfortable in my ears, even when resting the side of my head on a pillow-like object in the demo area. There's no setup or companion app: Remove them from their charging case, at which point they'll automatically power on. Then insert them in your ears and enjoy the silence. When you reinsert them back into the case they'll automatically power off.

The plugs include several different ear tip sizes, to help you find the best fit. The company says a full charge lasts up to 50 hours.

The earplugs are comfortable, and are much better at drowning out problematic low sound frequencies
The earplugs are comfortable, and are much better at drowning out problematic low sound frequencies

We have a review unit and will report back on QuietOn after testing it on airplanes and in the bedroom, and comparing to leading ANC headphones from companies like Bose. Based on our time in the demo area, though, it looks like a smart and effective – though somewhat expensive – way to take noise-blocking beyond what standard earplugs can do.

QuietOn noise-cancelling earplugs are available to pre-order from the product page below, for $199.

Product page: QuietOn

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3 comments
PAV
I want a pair, just not willing to shell out $100 let alone $200, on a pair that may or may not be effective against the noises I'm trying to drown out. Maybe I'll feel different after the coming test and review.
Dan Lewis
The hearing-challenged must think the hearing world is insane.
ljaques
If they stopped all the noise of truck compression brakes (freeway downgrade 1/4mi away) and dog barking (next door), I'd almost be willing to spring for a pair, but that's a whole lot of money. If they worked for that and were $79, I'd put a pair on my credit card _today_.