My review of the new QuietOn Sleep earplugs

A few years ago I purchased a pair of QuietOn noise-cancelling earplugs from an Indigogo campaign. They work really well and I still use them today. The main problem with them is that they are too large to sleep with. This was the main reason for buying them, to cut down on snoring noises from our dog and "other family members".

I soon realised that I could sleep with just one earbud in, the ear that is not pressed into the pillow, but this only has an effect that is good for blocking outside noises (meaning the local cockerels and dogs). The reduced effectiveness is too much to handle the low-frequency sounds associated with snoring.

Enter QuietOn Sleep, the new, improved earbuds (that were a little overdue) that promised to be designed for sleeping. The company had taken all the comments and criticism from the first product and produced a unit that was even smaller and had better acoustic properties. This seemed like it would be ideal, and I looked forward to the day they arrived.

Then they arrived :(

So here's my review of the QuietOn Sleep noise-cancelling earbuds.

Firstly, I have to say that the QuietOn Sleep are great at blocking sound, especially snoring. They are not, however, at all suitable for sleeping with. Part of the reason I liked the idea of the QuietOn Sleep was the soft body, as hard plastic pushing against your ear is just uncomfortable. This proved to be true (at least for me) last night when I tried them out for the first time.

This seems to have been a design change since I ordered them, even though the specs still show a foam base (see below).

Initially, the plastic body was supposed to be a soft-body, or at least to have a surround that made it comfortable to sleep with, which was the most significant selling point for me. I asked the developers this question, and their response was:
We first intended to enclose the plastic body of the earplug with a soft cushion, but this would increase the size of the earplug. And in order for QuietOn Sleep to fit well into the ear, it is advantageous if it is as small and light as possible. 
Sounds more like it was changed because it would have added time to the already way overdue schedule, and cost to the unit. I think removing this was the problem I have. There is plenty of room in my ears at least, for a thin foam case.

I changed to the smallest foam earbuds so that the QuietOn fit as snug as possible, as I felt the medium size was applying too much pressure to my inner ears. To start with, they were just uncomfortable, so made myself give them an hour to be fair. After 30 minutes, however, the pressure of lying on them was too much, and I had to remove them.

The hard plastic was pushing against the Concha, and the pressure was uncomfortable. After about 20-30 minutes, the pressure seemed to have transferred to my temples and just rolling onto my back and relieving the pressure stopped the discomfort. Reapplying pressure resulted in the same discomfort within minutes.

Eventually, after a couple of hours of not being able to get comfortable, I ended up removing one and sleeping as I had before, with just the exposed ear plugged. These earbuds would probably be absolutely fine for someone who sleeps on their back (I know at least one person who does), but if you sleep on your side, the discomfort is just too great.

One the other thing that I found very annoying, was the fact that the plastic body of the earbuds was either rubbing against my ear or the pillow, so every time I moved or even breathed, you could hear the squeak of the plastic. This ended up being worse than the snoring. I find the sound of my heartbeat someone comforting though.

I really wished the developers had stuck with the soft coating as I believe this would have helped a great deal. 

The unit overall is fine and would be great for travelling (or those aforementioned vampires), but I can't endorse them for sleeping in a bed. 

There are positives for the units though, so I'll quickly give them their dues. The reduced size is great, and comparing them to the older units, they are considerably smaller. Well done for reducing the size and adding features! The ability to switch the units from noise cancelling to "listen" mode is great, but again, this would probably only be useful for when you're travelling, so you don't have to take them out to hear people on a plane, for example. I wouldn't want this feature for just sleeping.

The case is an improvement, and the addition of magnets to snap the case shut and hold the earbuds in place is a great one.

Overall, I'd give them a 5/10 for sleeping with, but it would have been more like 9/10 if the comfort issue hadn't been there.

Oh well, back to the drawing board. 


  1. I'm waiting for mine to arrive, and now I'm bummed that they won't be any good for what I purchased them for. Fingers crossed, but... :-(

    1. Hopefully they'll be more comfortable in your ears, but I've yet to use them. I've been using the old ones as with them actually being larger, it's easier to swap from one ear to the other in the night. I asked them about the foam surrounds, but doubt I'll get an answer on that :( Fingers crossed for you!

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