I abhor the audible-wallpaper feel of background music, preferring to listen to things loud. However, when I went to the cinema to see the (superb) Christopher Nolan film Interstellar on one of the smaller screens in Leicester Square, I nearly had to leave because parts of the film were almost deafening. It was a health and safety menace. And I only have to walk round a big city these days to be almost physically assaulted by noise.
So when these new Dubs earplugs arrived from wearable-tech specialist Device, I was intrigued. I’ve toyed with the idea of wearing hearing protection when I’m out, but find serious electronic protectors, like those sported by rock musicians, over the top, and the foam ones you get on aeroplanes underwhelming.
Dubs are packed full of technology – a cleverly designed system of low- and high-pass sound-attenuating filters – but aren’t electronic. They aren’t drastic either: they don’t muffle and drown sound, but reduce it (by 12 decibels) in a structured way that preserves detail and clarity. They’re also reusable and, being mechanical, obviously don’t run out of power. Really subtle, thoughtful technology that modestly and unobtrusively improves your life.