Our ears take a pummelling in today’s world; we live in loud cities, go to obnoxiously loud clubs, and crank the volume on our headphones. Unfortunately, continuous exposure to such loud noises can greatly damage our hearing over time. Doppler Labs has created a solution: DUBS.
DUBS are technologically advanced acoustic filters for your everyday life. They’re designed to fit snugly and flush into your ears with a sleek minimalist design.
As one investor for Doppler Labs, Fritz Lanman, tells Paresh Dave of the LA Times, “Sunglasses went from something that was prescribed by doctors to a fashion product, and that’s what we’re trying to do for ear protection.” Lanman has a point; those bulky neon plugs are anything but a fashion statement. Adrienne Rubinstein, professor of audiology at Brooklyn College, also told Dave that musicians often give up on ear plugs due to the poor quality of sound. That’s where DUBS come in.
DUBS are not ear plugs; muffling environmental noises with a bright neon foam plug is not a solution. The layers of filters inside DUBS moderate the volume of sound coming into your ears. As Doppler Labs explain, it’s much more effective to turn down a noisy stereo than stuff it with (neon) pillows. Traditional ear plugs are cheap, massive, and generally look terrible.
Environmental noise has increased in the past few decades with construction, public transportation, and events. A normal conversation is about 65 dB (decibels) and a jet engine is about 140 dB. A concert or club is around 110 dB. According to Doppler Labs, constant noise above just 85 dB is enough to cause permanent damage to our ears. The damage can be sudden (like ringing ears after a concert) or develop over time (long term hearing loss). DUBS have the ability to block about 12 dB. As the creators explain, they’re not designed to cut out all the noise, but enough to cause a lot less damage than our environment usually causes.
Amazingly, DUBS do not contain any electrical parts. The hard work of lowering the volume of environmental sounds is done just by perfecting the layers of filters. The creators have used a combination of stainless steel, silicone, polymer foam, and high strength plastics to have a lightweight product that can still protect your ears.
DUBS use Dynamic Attenuation; not all sounds need to be completely blocked but, rather, the sounds should be treated, and reduced, individually. There are two main parts in DUBS: a mechanical configuration of high and low pass filters. The high reduces the sound of things like screeching of a subway on the tracks while the low takes care of things like guitars and singing. The individual sounds of the audio spectrum can be controlled by varying the widths and sizes of the foam in the filters. Rather than distortion or muffling, DUBS filter the distinct sounds to reduce the volume but maintain clarity.
DUBS are meant to be used as an everyday tool like on the subway, concerts, airplanes, or a sporting event. They’re designed to still let you hear everything but at a much safer (and quieter) level. Even though they’re a health-conscious product they couldn’t look less like it. Instead, these ear plugs are rather futuristic and resemble a Bluetooth or wireless headphones, unlike the traditional bulky neon ear plugs.
Corinne Iozzio of Smithsonian Mag believes that DUBS may flourish in this new sleek ear plug world because “the best earplug is the one someone will actually wear,” and DUBS have proven to be stylish.
If you’re looking to protect your ears and preserve the sounds in your environment then look no further. DUBS are only $25 and come in four colours: pink, teal, blue, and white. They’re only available in one-size-fits-all for those 16 and older. From November, they’ll be available from Best Buy.