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I love my boyfriend, but hate his snoring. In an attempt to sleep through the night, I purchased some EAR Classic Earplugs (previously reviewed). Although they were comfortable and did help me get a good nights sleep, I did have a couple of occasions where they got stuck in my ear, which made me a little concerned about continuous usage. So, I decided to see if I could find anything with a tapered out end, as having part that was too wide to fit into my ear canal would give me peace of mind that I could remove them again, and came across the Howard Leight Max Lite earplugs, purchasing 20 pairs for £2.50 including delivery.
The earplugs come with each pair individually wrapped, and are a kind of deep green in colour. Upon taking them out of the wrapping I was immediately struck by how squishy these were. The previous foam plugs I had used were rather firm, but these were very soft, and could in fact be pressed entirely flat. I was worried they wouldn't regain their shape, but they soon sprung back as I watched.
The plugs have one narrow end, and another wider end. To use them you simply squeeze the long narrow part into a tube, and insert into the ear canal. It will then gradually expand back to it's full size, snugly sealing up your ear canal and blocking out any unwanted noise. The length of the plug means the wider end sits outside of the main ear canal, enabling you to get a grip and remove the plugs easily.
These are incredibly comfortable to wear, and I could hardly notice when I had these in at all. They also seemed to block out more sound than the other brand I had tried - whereas with the other brand I could hear my alarm in the mornings, I now have to ask my boyfriend to wake me when he leaves the house so I can take the earplugs out, otherwise I'll sleep right through it. I have never had the plug come out on it's own, and I've never had any problems removing them.
These plugs are designed to be disposable for hygeine purposes. If you really wanted to stretch your budget, you could perhaps use them a couple of nights in a row, but I do think that with them being quite cheap it's not a great hardship to replace them regularly.
I'm very happy - I've found my perfect plug. And the boyfriend is happy, as he no longer gets shouted at. Happiness all round, 5 stars!
Before buying our own home, my husband and I rented a house separated only by a strip of pavement from a very busy road. Lorries and other traffic ran by all through the day and night. I had assumed that I would adjust to the noise, having lived of a reasonably busy road and next to railway lines in the past, but I did not. I needed earplugs to get any sleep at all. Week after week of wearing earplugs every night soon caused my ears to become irritated. The pressure caused by wearing earplugs was extremely painful. Eventually, it got to the point that the pain in my ears from the earplugs kept me awake nearly as much as the incessant traffic noises. I decided to try some new earplugs to see if I could find ones that didn't hurt my ears as much. I ordered a "women's earplug sample pack" from snorestore.co.uk which included a selection of 11 types of earplugs particularly good for women and others with smaller ear canals. I found Howard Leight Max Lite Earplugs to be the best for my ears.
===Look, Feel and Noise Control===
The Max Lite Earplugs are green in colour and flared at the ends. They are the same T shape as the pink and yellow Howard Leight earplugs which you see quite often, however these green ones are made of very soft foam which is designed to create much less pressure in your ears. This soft foam is probably why I found these earplugs worked better for me than any of the many others I tried- since it was pressure which was causing so much of my pain. You can feel a huge pressure difference compared to most foam earplugs. However, I am not that fond of the T-shape. I find them a bit big and dislike the flared ends (which are designed to make them easier to insert and remove). They probably wouldn't be a problem for someone using these earplugs while upright (for work or riding a motorcycle) or sleeping on your back, but I found the shape slightly uncomfortable for sleeping on my side.
The Max Lite earplugs are rated NRR 30 and SNR 34. I find they block out considerably less noise than many other foam earplugs. I could hear some traffic noise particularly if the window was open. I could also hear my husband talking to me- if not always exactly what he was saying. It certainly didn't block out the sound of the alarm. However, they are quite good at blocking squeaky stairs and floorboards, most traffic, the TV, clanking pans, the neighbour's barking dog, bin men, birds, etc. They block out light snoring, but I'm not sure they would completely block loud snoring.
These are technically one use earplugs, but I normally wear mine for at least a week or two before throwing them out and getting a new pair.
===Price and Availability===
You can buy these earplugs a variety of places online. I have bought 20 individually wrapped sets off Amazon for about £3.50 (free shipping). You can also get a box of 200 pairs on Amazon for £22.99. I have not seen them in shops, but I haven't really been looking for them as they are easier and cheaper for me to buy online so it is quite possible some shops might carry them without me knowing.
I'm giving these earplugs 4 stars because I find the low pressure foam to be suitable for my ears. They aren't the best shape for me and there are other types which block far more sound, but these are comfortable for regular, extended wear and block enough sound that I can sleep. I no longer live on a busy road, but still wear these earplugs when I need a bit of peace and quiet.