I can sleep through anything, but a friend who suffers both from being a light sleeper and having noisy London neighbours asked me to get in a sample of these simultaneously passive and active noise-masking ear inserts from Massachusetts’ finest, Bose. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in 30 years in tech, it’s that, while not the sexiest of brands, when it comes to ears, Bose knows. And so it is with Sleepbuds, which are carefully designed to fit into the ear perfectly (and hence create the necessary seal for a high degree of passive noise reduction) and then play a variety of soothing sounds to mask whatever noise still gets through. There’s a good selection of on-board sounds (sea, rain, etc) and more available on the accompanying app. You can set sounds to play gently all night, or to cut off after a predetermined time.
The fit of the seal is all-important, the company says, and there’s a detailed video on the website to enable you to select the right supplied ear tip and fit it correctly. So, did they work for my friend? They did, although she hates technology, so was soon opting not to use them, which seems perverse. Customer reviews since the Sleepbuds’ launch are split 50/50. Bose accordingly offers a 30-day trial period, which is very decent, since I can’t imagine it can do anything with the rejects but dump them.