About Hush Smart Earplugs
According to the company behind Hush Smart Earplugs, 1 in 4 couples resort to sleeping separately—largely because of snoring. Whether you’re a student, a frequent traveler, or one-half of a couple though, the fact of the matter is that we live in a noisy world.
To completely block out this noise and help you sleep peacefully through the night, Hush, the “world’s first smart earplugs,” promises to combine sound-eliminating foam like traditional earplugs, with noise masking technology like a noise machine. This way, we’re told that Hush Earplugs can block sounds up to 70db and “fully isolate you from your surroundings.”
On each full charge, Hush’s earplugs claim to work for up to 8 hours, so you’ll be able to continue blocking out sounds throughout the night. Combined with the Hush smartphone app and Bluetooth connectivity, you’ll be able to filter notifications (to alert you when a specific contact calls), personalize your alarm settings (while preventing waking others), change to different sounds, and even locate your earplugs if they’re lost.
You’re looking for a better night’s sleep, and you want to know if Hush Smart Earplugs really will deliver a “wall of soothing sounds” throughout the night. Or, will they just be a high-priced gadget that’ll gather dust in your junk drawer six months from now? We’ll tell you what we learned during our research so you can answer this important question.
How Do Hush Smart Earplugs Work?
Hush’s Sound Blocking Technology
Each Hush Earplug is about 1.1” H x 0.65” W (including foam tip), weighs .36 lbs, and is configured to work with iPhone 4s and newer, as well as Android 4.3+ using Bluetooth LE.
Collectively, we’re told this hardware and software reduces sound in two ways:
- Like an earplug, sound-eliminating foam provides a first line of defense by passively reducing outside noises up to 30db (similar to a quiet office or library). Hush comes with an ultra-thin profile and three different silicone or foam tips, which can provide custom comfort.
- An in-ear speaker plays an audio track, similar to a noise machine, to mask any residual sounds not deadened by the foam. Formally, this is known noise masking (playing soothing sounds at the same frequencies as the noise you’re trying to block out). According to the company, this adds another 40db of sound elimination, for a total of 70db—or the sound level of freeway traffic.
When combined, Hush claims their earplugs are effective for droning sounds (traffic, for example), as well as the sharp, sudden sounds (like the crack of thunder) that are often responsible for waking individuals up.
Important note: As you can see based on their functionality, Hush earplugs are just that; earplugs. However, they aren’t headphones, because they can currently only play the following 11 sounds:
- White Noise
- Brown Noise
- Pink Noise
- Ocean Waves
- Crackling Fire
- Babbling Brook
- Binaural beats – Playing one pitch in one ear and a slightly higher pitch in the other, which can promote different brain states, such as calm or alert.
The company claims they’re “exploring the ability to let users upload their own custom sounds,” although they’re limited by earplug size. No timeline is given.
The Hush Smartphone App
While each of Hush’s sounds can be selected through their iOS and Android apps, the audio loops that provide sound masking are stored directly on the earplugs. We’ll come back around to why this is in a second.
With Hush’s app, you’ll control which alerts (or even specific contacts) wake you up. This way, the company claims you can sleep through unimportant notifications, while still allowing alarms or emergency calls to get through.
Hush’s personal alarm also notifies you without waking anyone else. If your earplugs fall out at some point during the night and you don’t respond to your alarm, the app will sound your smartphone’s alarm through its speaker after three attempts.
If you Hush Earplugs are misplaced for any reason, the app’s tracking feature will help you locate them.
What happens if your Smart Earplugs run out of juice?
Hush’s Pocket Charge Case
According to Hush, your earplugs’ lithium ion batteries should last about 5-8 hours on a single charge, depending on the volume of your sounds and “other environmental factors.” On standby, they’ll be able to remain charged for as long as 120 hours.
The Hush Smart Earplugs, shown here recharging inside their compact case.
When the time comes, you’ll place your Smart Earplugs inside their Hush Pocket Charge case, which is about 5.3” long and can fully recharge your earplugs three times. Then, the charging case itself will need to be recharged using the included USB cable.
Are There Any Possible Side Effects from Using Hush Smart Earplugs?
Remember the direct-to-earplug sounds we discussed previously? Hush claims this allows their earplugs to emit ultra-low radiation, since all the audio files are stored in the earplugs. Therefore, we’re told they expose users to a “fraction of what business professionals using Bluetooth headsets are exposed to during a single phone call.”
As far as their silicone or foam tips, Hush claims they can simply be wiped down with a damp cloth “as your hygienic tolerances allow.” The founders (more about them soon) claim they replace their tips once per week, although some users can go for months without replacing them.
Finally, it’s important to note that repeatedly using earbuds can force earwax to the back and eventually impair hearing or cause other concerns. Granted, this depends on dozens of factors, such as the shape of your ear canal, the amount (and consistency) of the earwax produced by your body, and more.
If you have any concerns about wearing earbuds all night, every night, be sure to talk with your doctor.
Now, how much will you pay for all this technology?
Where Can You Buy Hush Smart Earplugs? How Much Do They Cost?
Hush Smart Earplugs can’t be purchased directly from the company, and were only available through Amazon at the time of our research. There, one pair was priced at $150, which includes:
- Two Hush Earplugs
- Hush Charge Case
- 6 pairs of foam tips (S, S-short, M, M-short, L, L-short)
- Three sets of silicone tips (S, M, L)
- USB to micro-USB cable
You can also purchase 8 pairs of replacement silicone or memory foam tips for $10.
All Hush Smart Earplugs purchased through Amazon come with a 30-day refund policy, less S&H charges, as well as a one-year limited warranty against defects in materials and workmanship under normal use (from the company, not Amazon).
In order to process a refund or file a warranty claim, Hush’s customer service department can be reached at email@example.com or via an online contact form.
What’s Up with Hush’s Reviews for Their Smart Earplugs?
While you’ll certainly find plenty of traditional earplugs, noise machines, and noise cancelling headphones elsewhere online, you won’t find anything else that combines them into a single device like Hush. As such, their Smart Earplugs have received a lot of attention from popular news outlets like SlashGear, TheVerge, Digital Trends, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, and others.
Overall, of those who tested Smart Earplugs firsthand, most seemed please with their ability to effectively block out a wide range of sounds. They also seemed pleased with their overall comfort, as well as the notifications and alarms via the smartphone app.
On Amazon, Hush’s Smart Earplugs had nearly 70 customer reviews at the time of our research, with a 3-star average rating. There, common compliments referenced their ability to block out noise/improve sleep quality, easy setup, and comfortable fitment.
On the other hand, by far the most common complaint referenced shorter battery life than expected—many found it only lasted for 4-5 hours on per charge, which largely appears to be based on volume. Here’s how one Amazon customer put it:
“The company claims that if you keep it at 50% volume or lower that they will last 8 hours. I consistently kept the volume at 33% or less and my earbuds were out of battery power by 5-6 hours. I slept great when these worked, but unfortunately, for $150, I need these to last a minimum of 8 hours, no matter what the volume. I returned the product, but it does concern me that after 300 charges, the battery life is expected to reduce to 80%, so essentially in less than a year, you're going to have a product that MAYBE lasts 4 hours a night?”
Several customers also claimed that Hush’s iOS and Android apps were buggy and disconnected frequently from the earplugs, although the company seems to have released updates since many of these reviews were posted.
Finally, Random Product Critic filmed an in-depth video about their experience with Hush Smart Earplugs, and found that it took a fair amount of work to find the right pads, especially if you’re a side sleeper. On the other hand, they found the instructions were clear, the earplugs were comfortable, and that they didn’t move around a lot.
Be sure to check out their video below, which includes some good insight into how to place these earplugs into your ear, as well as a walkthrough of Hush’s app:
Who Founded Hush?
Hush was founded in 2014 by two guys—both named Daniel Lee—one a mechanical engineer and the other a software engineer. A third party was listed on the company’s Kickstarter campaign, although they appear to have since left the company.
Speaking of Kickstarter, Hush raised nearly $600K there on an original goal of $100K, and original batches of Hush Earplugs went out to backers in February 2015.
Will Hush Smart Earplugs Deliver a Better Night’s Sleep?
There are dozens of different causes of poor sleep, and just as many ways to improve the quality of your sleep. Some of these can be based on personal preferences, such as temperature, while others can be based on medical concerns. As such, if you find that you’re frequently not sleeping well, making an appointment with your doctor might be a solid first option.
Pro tip: Hush claims the white noise generated by earplugs may be effective for reducing some symptoms of tinnitus.
On top of this, even if Hush’s earplugs help you stay asleep, this doesn’t necessarily translate into better sleep.
With this said, if the main culprit behind your poor sleep is excessive noise, you won’t find anything out there that works quite the same way as Hush Smart Earplugs. Again, whether or not this will deliver a better night’s sleep though depends on a lot of factors, including personal preference, size and shape of your ear and canal, and more.
The good news is that Smart Earplugs seem to come with mostly positive online reviews, and that the company seems to stand behind them with a 30-day refund policy. Just keep in mind that you’ll be out a few bucks in return S&H if you’re dissatisfied.
How pleased were you with Hush’s Smart Earplugs? Did they deliver a better night’s sleep, or were you disappointed? Tell us everything you experienced in your review below!