FAQ

LOSSLESS EARPLUGS FOR MUSIC

EARPLUGS

What is the difference to other earplugs?


Although there are examples of other types of adjustable earplugs, a key benefit of Minuendo is the membrane, which others do not have. The membrane can be seen as a "second eardrum" and is critical to achieve a flat frequency response. A flat frequency response is perceived as natural or transparent. Custom molded musicians’ earplugs have fixed membrane filters, and this is one of the reasons these, like Minuendo, sound good.

Most other universal fit earplugs use ports/vents which is basically the same as putting your fingers in your ears and varying the seal. This simple approach of venting is the same as a low pass filter - coloring the sound, removing high frequencies and naturalness, decreasing speech intelligibility. The low-pass characteristic of vented earplugs is perceived as wooly or bass-heavy, without brightness or life. This is why it is incorrect to label these as HiFi or musicians’ earplugs. Unfortunately, there is no standardization of these terms, so anyone can claim high fidelity without being held accountable.




How do Minuendo earplugs work? (technical)


Part of Minuendo’s patented innovation lies in the unique ability to adjust and steplessly tension the membrane. This provides a large range of varying attenuation. However, a variably tensioned membrane does not by itself provide a good frequency response across the adjustable range. A secondary part of the acoustic filter must be adjusted in a synchronized manner to compensate and adjust for the varying resonance of the membrane. The Minuendo earplug lever simultaneously controls a combination of slit thickness, volumes and membrane tensioning to achieve natural sound across the adjustable range. The intricate interaction between membrane structure, tensioning, meshes and varying acoustic canal is calculated by using the Finite Element Method and equivalent electrical circuit analysis of the acousto-mechanical system.

The membrane itself is corrugated (describing a series of parallel ridges and furrows) in a very specific pattern to make it loose enough in the un-tensioned state while reducing clicking (phenomenon some people experience when moving jaw). The corrugation pattern also allows for a wide attenuating range and protects the membrane from unwanted stress and permanent plastic deformation in its tensioned state.




How does Minuendo compare to custom molded earplugs?


Minuendo

+ More affordable

+ Practical leash and magnetic snap for easy availability

+ Do not need time consuming and potentially painful/uncomfortable custom molding process

+ Steplessly adjustable attenuation in ear

+ More open than the lowest attenuating filters for custom mold

+ Award winning design

+ Better for children that are growing

Custom mold

+ Better fit for those with abnormal ear canal anatomies.

+ Can be dual purpose and used with In-ear-monitor (IEM) inserts

+ Can be made more discreet

+ 25dB filter is slightly flatter

- Extra filter sets are very costly

- Singing, chewing or any movement of the jaw often introduces leaks and thereby audible and annoying changes of the sound (foam is better here)

- Even newly molded earplugs can have bass leaks, decreasing the protection and perceived flatness

- Ear canal anatomy changes with age and is quite sensitive to weight fluctuations, thereby compromising fit/leaks/sound quality

- For many people they are more uncomfortable to wear over long periods compared to foam tips due to sweat and material hardness

- They are manufactured slightly larger than your ear canal to try to avoid leaks, but this pressure is uncomfortable over time

Read blog post




Why is the adjustability stepless?


In our user research, we interviewed and tested prototypes with dozens of Norway’s most prominent professional musicians. We also performed sound level measurements of a violin player, and were surprised to learn that levels can reach up to 110 dB in the closest ear. Also, it can be hard to avoid sitting next to very loud instruments like drums or trumpets. The need to finely adjust the attenuation of each ear became apparent. There were also musicians in the orchestras that had multiple sets of custom molds with different attenuation that they used dynamically throughout pieces (although very impractical and expensive). The user research supported that there was a definite need for transparent and steplessly adjustable earplugs.




I already have in-ear monitors, why would I need Minuendo?


Even musicians in amplified music genres that are used to IEM’s when performing concerts, have a need for better earplugs in practice settings and smaller gigs where in-ear monitors are impractical. And they probably attend concerts once in a while too?




What is the experience of the “open” (-7dB) setting like?


It almost feels like your wearing nothing, since the sound is so natural. You can hear everything, just slighly quieter. In our user research, it became obvious that many were struggling to find earplugs that were open and transparent enough. The most open (least attenuating) filters for custom molded earplugs are rated at 9 dB attenuation, but when we measure them in our lab they are closer to 15dB. The difference to Minuendo earplugs in the same measurement setup (7dB) is significant. For reference, 10dB attenuation is perceived as half as loud.




What do you mean by "lossless" earplugs?


We coined and love the term lossless earplugs, since it refers to:

  • Lossless sound quality – transparent, open, natural, flat frequency response

  • Lossless, as you won’t loose your hearing

  • Lossless, as with the magnet and leash, they are hard to loose compared to other earplugs




Where does the name Minuendo come from?


Where does the name Minuendo come from?

Minuendo comes from the music term diminuendo meaning “gradually reducing in force or loudness”.




How do I store the earplugs?


Please store product in the open position in the included carry case between uses. Stay away from direct sunlight over time to avoid discoloration of the outer surfaces. Avoid temperatures over 40 °C for best long-term performance.




How do I clean my earplugs and tips?


Wipe off the earplugs with a clean cloth, or use the brush to clean off any excess ear wax or debris. When needed, disinfect the outside by applying a thin layer of alcohol and lightly rubbing off excess. Soaking and/or heavy rubbing might cause marks and deterioration of the materials. Do NOT use any chemicals, detergents, or soak the earplugs in water as this may harm the function of the earplugs. This product may be adversely affected by certain chemical substances. For further information contact Minuendo.

The silicone tips can be dismantled and cleaned in warm water for about 5 min. Give them a good wipe and leave to dry on a paper towel. The foam tips can NOT be washed in water, as these are not water-proof. Replace foam tips upon signs of deterioration.




How do I know if my hearing is safe?


The earplugs should be worn all times in noisy surroundings/areas without interruption. To ensure the earplugs fit correctly and provide hearing protection, please carefully read the fitting instructions. As Minuendo® earplugs has an adjustable amount of hearing protection, it is the user’s full responsibility to be sufficiently protected in varying sound levels. Even when you use and fit Minuendo® correctly, it is still possible to suffer temporary or permanent hearing loss if the combined sound levels and exposure time are above safe levels. Generally, it is safe to be exposed to 85dB for 8 hours per day without protection. If the level is increased by 3dB, the safe exposure time is halved. Minuendo® in the open position (-7dB) increases the safe level to 92dB for 8 hours. Minuendo® does not accept any liability for hearing loss or any damage you might get while using (or not using) our products. Minuendo® should be regularly inspected for damage and should not be used if it is suspected that service or repair is needed.




Do they require batteries or other electronics?


No, they are completely passive.




Do they play music, like earphones or earbuds do?


No, they are completely passive.




Can I wear Minuendo under earmuffs or earphones?


Yes! The earplugs are quite petite, so will fit under for most people. This is useful when:

  • in a studio setting when playing with a loud click or general monitoring

  • under headphones when DJ’ing

  • in construction, where there might be a need for double protection or taking one earmuff off for communication.




Can I hear people talk through the earplugs?


Yes, depending on what setting the lever is in and the context/sound environment. In the open and middle positions, the quality of communication is great. In the closed position, it will be harder, as the attenuation is quite high.




Where are the earplugs produced?


The Minuendo membrane is 6 microns thin, only a 10th of a human hair. Still, it is robust and well-protected by acoustic meshes that are placed on the inlets and outlets. We are proud to say that Minuendo is designed and manufactured in Norway. Even the plastics are molded locally, and assembly is done at a location deep in the forests north of Oslo. The ultra-fine accuracy needed in the plastic molding and assembly is pushing the limits of what is possible to do in volume production, and this is one of the reasons Minuendo is producing so close to home. Every single earplug is measured at the factory at 8 various stages of adjustment to make sure they pass our strict quality standards.





AVAILABILITY

How can I get my hands on Minuendo earplugs?


There is worldwide availability through multiple partners. Contact one of our resellers here.




How can I become a reseller?


Send us an email here: hello@minuendo.com





WARRANTY & SUPPORT

How long will the warranty last?


Your warranty will have a ten-year validity period on the earplugs. All you have to do is ship the broken item back to us, and we'll replace it for you!




What does the warranty cover


Your warranty will cover manufacturing defects that affect the functionality of the earplugs. It does not cover accidental damage.





HEARING HEALTH

Will the earplugs help against tinnitus?


Minuendo earplugs used properly will help prevent you from getting more hearing damage, which is closely linked to tinnitus. If you experienced ringing ears after being at a club or concert, you will find that wearing our earplugs reduces the stress placed on your sensory system.

If you are bothered by chronic tinnitus and find that wearing our earplugs lessens your symptoms, great! Unfortunately, it is not a claim we can make. The gold standard in treating bothersome tinnitus is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Our advice to you is to protect yourself from further hearing damage with earplugs (when in dangerous sound levels over time) and seek out treatment with and audio therapist.

Weird fact - did you know that the level of tinnitus you experience is not correlated to how bothersome it is found?




Will the earplugs help with my Decreased Sound Tolerance (hyperacusis)?


It depends. Yes, if used correctly.

Many people have reduced tolerance to everyday sounds that are not usually harmful to our hearing. This oversensitivity to sound is a disorder called hyperacusis, a type of Decreased Sound Tolerance (DST). Unfortunately, isolating or shielding yourself from sound levels that are not dangerous actually makes the condition worse. Studies have found that overuse of hearing protection may actually cause reduced sound tolerance, in addition to worsening an existing condition. Overprotection happens when the worn hearing protection is too isolating, and this contributes to the symptoms getting worse. It becomes a vicious circle where you unknowingly train your ear and brain to become more sensitive and alert to sounds that in reality are not damaging to your hearing. As it progresses, the threshold is lowered, and more sounds become unbearable.

Minuendo have been used successfully as part of the treatment by gradually opening up the earplugs over time – habituating away the perceived need to wear hearing protection. No other earplugs exist that have this stepless variability and maintains a natural sound experience (flat frequency response). Used correctly together with an audio therapist, recovery from this condition is less painful. Read blog post.





EAR TIPS

How do I choose the correct ear tip?


A good seal into the ear canal is important for the best sound experience, but comfort may be an additional factor in choosing your preferred ear tip. A triple flanged silicone ear tip pressed far into the ear canal usually provides the tightest seal for most people. This gives the best frequency response. However, some may find that foam ear tips are more stable and comfortable, and therefore allow them to wear the earplugs for longer periods of time. The user may choose to accept a slightly less ideal seal for the sake of comfort, and this will typically increase the bass levels slightly through the earplugs.




How do I know if I inserted the earplugs correctly?


Some people have been unsure if the earplugs were “working”, and this might be due to most people not being used to the open and transparent nature of the acoustic filter. Play some loud music or white noise and try to adjust the lever back and forth with a pinky finger. The change in attenuation should be audible. The earplugs should not fall out easily.




How do I know the earplugs won’t fall out?


The earplugs are quite light, so we have no reports of this being an issue for those who spend the time to find the right tip.




Can Minuendo be custom molded to my ears?


Yes, it is possible and has been done. However, it is not something we recommend for most people. It can be a solution for the few percentages of people that have out of the ordinary ear canal anatomies. Custom molding must be done by your local custom mold provider and is not something Minuendo facilitates directly.




How long will ear tips last?


Ear tips can last for weeks, months or even years, depending on amount of use, cleaning and individual factors like earwax, sweat etc.




Where can I get replacement ear tips?


Ask your reseller or find another here.




Do other ear tips fit Minuendo earplugs?


Yes, if they have the right internal diameter. As long as the internal diameter is around 3,5-4mm, tips should fit well. The range can be increased from to 2,5-4,5mm, but the flexibility of the material will determine how well it works.





USE CASES

Can I use the earplugs for hunting and shooting?


Potentially:

  • Our earplugs can be adjusted to open position and this might be too risky for those that are not very familiar with the product. This is why we don’t actively market Minuendo for this use.

  • When hunting, most of the time is spent not shooting and actively listening for auditory cues in nature, so a natural sound and frequency response is important. Having the earplugs at around the mid position (-15dB) might be a good compromise for some that want to have a natural sound experience, while being protected against rare single shots (depending on type of weapon)

  • Minuendo could be used under earmuffs when at shooting practice as part of double protection, preferably in closed mode.




Can I use the earplugs for MC & motor sports?


Yes! The earplugs are quite petite, so will fit under a helmet for most people.




Can a child use Minuendo earplugs?


Yes, we have tested the fit of Minuendo earplugs in ears of children down to 5 years.




Can I use the earplugs in noisy child care situations?


Yes, Minuendo are open and transparent so communication is not compromised.




Can I use the earplugs on an airplane?


Yes, they are very useful with the ability to open up the earplugs without taking them out to communicate and listen to briefings.




Can I use the earplugs for sleep?


Yes, we have feedback from a number of people that use them regularly while sleeping.




Can the earplugs be used for Autism Spectrum Disorder?


Yes, many that have this condition are bothered by specific or loud sounds and can easily get overstimulated. It is important that they are not completely isolated from the world around them, and use them in the open position as much as possible. Overuse of high attenuation can lead to a negative spiral of becoming less and less able to deal with everyday sounds.




Can I use the earplugs while doing construction and working heavy machinery?


Yes, although take extra care in very loud environments that the attenuation is set at an appropriate level. Also beware of “friendly fire” – maybe your co-worker just fired up his jackhammer without forewarning? Double protection in the form of earmuffs can be a necessity at extreme sound levels or if working in noise for prolonged periods of time.




I work as a bartender in a loud environment, are Minuendo earplugs suitable there?


Yes, this is an ideal use case. It is still possible to communicate and hear your customers while protecting your hearing. And as the night develops and music gets louder, just adjust and increase the attenuation.