Snoring is a major sleep disruptor. Living with someone who snores impacts your health, overall well-being, and puts an unnecessary strain on your relationship. No one is snoring on purpose, but that doesn't make it any more bearable. For those who live with someone who snores, there are two options. Get them to stop snoring or block/filter out the snoring noise. Getting someone to stop snoring can take time, isn't always possible, and is mostly out of your control. For this reason, sometimes the best solution is noise management. Studies have shown that using earplugs is an effective short-term treatment for dealing with a partner who snores.
In this review, we look at the popular QuietOn earbuds designed specifically to reduce snoring noises.
QuietOn was founded in 2015 by ex-Nokia engineers Matti Nisula and Janne Kyllönen. They are currently distributing their second generation of earbuds. The latest version, released in 2019, is smaller, lighter and has fine-tuned handling snoring frequencies. Over the years, QuietOn has sold over 30,000 units around the world.
The QuietOn earbuds detect low-frequency noises such as snoring, noises through walls, or airplane cabin noises and eliminate them by emitting the opposite of those sounds in your ears. A typical snorer produces noise that can range from 20 and 65 dB but can go as high as 90 dB. QuietOn states their earplugs reduce sounds up to 40 dB, which is significantly more than other sleeping earplugs we have reviewed.
If you are unfamiliar with decibels, the chart below gives some examples of certain noise levels. Keep in mind that decibels are logarithmic, and so for every 10 point change, there is a 10-fold increase in the sound.
|0||The faintest sound heard by the human ear|
|30||A whisper or quiet library|
|60||Normal conversation, a sewing machine or typewriter (if you remember what that sounds like!)|
|90||Lawnmower, shop tools, or truck traffic.|
The main part of the earbuds is a flat peanut shape that contains all the technology. The outside of it has the charging pad, the mode switching button, and the microphone. Inside the earbuds are a battery and speaker. The speaker emits sounds through that soft foam ear tip that goes into the ear canal.
The primary technology behind the QuietOn headphones is Active Noise Cancelling. The microphone samples the sound, and a speaker plays a phase-shifted sound, which cancels the original sound. This technology is much different than noise-masking, which involves playing noises to mask out original sounds. Here are the differences between active noise canceling vs. noise-masking:
Active noise canceling – Active noise canceling devices use a combination of a sound sampling microphone and a speaker to create sounds that cancel out the original sounds.
Noise masking – Noise masking devices play a sound to mask out the original sound.
The microphone itself is not easily noticeable. It is a small hole on the top of the earbud. The only time I noticed the microphone is when I fiddled with the earbuds and accidentally brushed my hand over it. When this happens, the noise can be quite loud. Fortunately, this seems to only happen with my hands, and it did not occur when rolling my head on the pillow.
The mode switching button is so small and inconspicuous that the earbuds come with a sticker that points out the button location.
The first time I tried to press it the mode button I was a bit concerned it would be difficult to use but after a few uses I found it quite easy to press. The mode button toggles between the following two options:
Hearing Mode – The hearing mode is without the noise canceling. However, keep in mind that if the earbud picks up a sound past a certain level that it will automatically turn on.
Silencing – The silencing mode uses the active noise canceling. QuietOn recommends that users sleep with the earbuds in silencing modes as sometimes the snoring sound won't exceed the required level.
There are no indicators that let you know if the earplugs are in noise-canceling or listen mode. The only way to know is to put the earplugs in your ear and listen for the subtle sound change.
The earbuds come in a small carrying case that also functions as the charging base. Use the provided charging cable and insert it into the back of the case and plug it in. Two blue lights mean that the earbuds need charging. Once the case blue lights turn off, the earbuds are ready for use. Each earbud has a specific left/right spot inside the case. The two small gold circles on each of the earbuds are the charging pads.
When removed from the storage/charging case, the earbuds turn on immediately. There is no pairing or setup required.
Fitting the QuietOn earbuds into your ear is simple. Push the earbud into your ear with the round and wider part facing upwards then twist backward. If the earbuds feel loose or too snug, swap out the ear tips. By default, the QuietOn earbuds have the medium ear tips installed but also come with small and large options.
To remove the earbuds from your ears, gently twist and pull them out. Place the earbuds back into the corresponding left/right side of the case and close the lid. The earbuds automatically turn off, so there is no need to press the mode button before storage. The charging pads on the earbuds will automatically align in the case, and no fiddling is required to get the earbuds ready to charge. The earbuds should last up to 20 hours before they need additional charging.
The QuietOn earbuds came with attractive packaging featuring multilingual details about the earbuds. Inside the box are the headphones, a charging cable, extra ear tips, and 14 instruction booklets in different languages. While I appreciate the instructions in multiple languages, it is a giant waste of paper. One booklet with a link to a Youtube video or a website with language selection would be a better use of resources.
The QuietOn comes with a sturdy and nicely designed storage/charging case. The case is easy to open and close. The earbuds easily slide out and can be put back in the case without much effort. The fit of the earbuds in the case seems very loose at first, but after closing the case, the earbuds stop moving. If you shake the case, it feels solid, as if the case is empty. I think keeping the earbuds loose when the case is open can make it easier to get the earbuds in and out, and that allows room for the earbuds to fit no matter what sized ear tips you use.
There are some significant differences between earbuds, and one type doesn't work for all situations. What makes the QuietOn so interesting is that they are specifically designed for blocking out low frequency sounds such as snoring or noise on an airplane. I was hoping to try out the QuietOn earbuds on a planned flight to San Diego but concerns over the coronavirus has limited my ability to travel. I decided to try the QuietOn earbuds for what they are best for…sleep. While my wife and kids don't snore, I am sensitive to noises when sleeping and was excited to try them out.
It has been very warm in California this Spring, and my wife and I have been sleeping with the windows open. With open windows, so many sounds come in from a variety of creatures (frogs/deer/birds), neighbors, traffic, not to mention the sounds from inside the house such as kids and a cat. It was a perfect opportunity to test out the QuietOn earbuds to see if they would block enough noises to help me sleep better.
The first night I tried the QuietOn, and I was lying in bed, and there were a ton of frogs making their noises. While I don't find it a disturbing noise, it was quite loud. I pulled the earbuds out of the case and put them into my ears. Once inserted and twisted back they had a good seal and they laid perfectly flat in my ear. The earbuds turned on automatically, and there was nothing to tinker with: no adjustments, volume control, or concern about pairing. Laying on my side, with my ear on the pillow, I felt no different than not having anything in my ear. I was pleasantly surprised at how the earbuds were so comfortable and pulled out my phone to browse Reddit before sleep. After browsing Reddit for a while I thought the frogs stopped making sounds. If you know anything about frogs they all tend to make noises and then suddenly they stop. I pulled out the earbuds and realized they hadn't, rather it was that the earbuds had successfully masked the sounds. In our video review of the earbuds, I recorded the sound of the frogs so one can get an idea of the sound that was completely masked. I know that frogs aren't the same as snoring, but I still found the earbuds significantly reduced a variety of noises that commonly disturb my sleeping.
One of my favorite things about the QuietOn earbuds was how easy they were to use. One morning I woke up (from a night without the earbuds), and there was a lot of noise from my family starting their day. I reached over, grabbed the QuietOn case, opened it, and put in the earplugs without opening my eyes, then fell back asleep until my wife told me to get out of bed and take the kids to school. The noise-canceling seems good while sleeping. Blocking out up to 40 dB is significant. With that said, know these focus on the low frequency sounds so they aren't necessarily an all-purpose earplug. I wouldn't use these at a concert or other loud event, but I would use them for sleeping, on an airplane, or working at a coffee shop.
Snoring is disruptive and impacts relationships. The QuietOn earbuds are a comfortable and effective method for reducing noises such as snoring while you sleep. With a reduction of low frequencies up to 40 dB, the QuietOn is a viable solution for those who struggle living with a snoring bed partner. Fortunately, QuietOn offers a 60 day money-back guarantee (minus shipping) on their earbuds, making it easy to test out to see if they will help improve your sleep.
Have you tried the QuietOn earbuds? Let us know your experience as a comment below.