The Sennheiser SoundProtex Plus are hearing protection earplugs that can be flexibly adapted to different noise settings thanks to interchangeable filters. The disadvantages of basic foam hearing protection products are circumvented by installing special membranes that promise a natural sound image despite strong attenuation.
- Interchangeable filters
- Very good hearing protection
- Transport bag
- Plus set quite expensive
When you go to concerts, work on loud machines or just want to protect your hearing from high noise levels, you might fall back on the colourful foam earplugs that you can buy from the local pharmacy – but these have a serious disadvantage: They completely block your ear canal and attenuate more or less everything from low to high frequencies. The sound is muffled, and too many details are lost, and this ruins all the fun of listening to music.
If you want to avoid this, you should use special earplugs that are designed to meet different requirements, i.e. they are frequency-selective.
Sennheiser has introduced two sets of purpose-designed earplugs SoundProtex and SoundProtex Plus, for just such applications.
SoundProtex vs. SoundProtex Plus
Each of the two sets consists of three pairs of cone-shaped earplugs in S, M as well as L. They are extremely soft, flexible and made of TPE (thermoplastic elastomers), according to the manufacturer, they are of medical quality. The idea is they do not irritate sensitive ears with softeners or other harmful substances. In addition, filters in the form of small plastic pins are included, and these are simply inserted into the earplugs. These pins are the real strong point because they allow you to adjust the degree of decibel reduction. They are equipped with two-stage acoustic filters – a combination of a finely tuned membrane and a sound-absorbing fabric that reduces high and low frequencies equally.
In the SoundProtex set, you will find a set of filters for medium attenuation and a set of noise blockers, which Sennheiser call “full block filters”. The former are intended primarily for travel, festivals, concerts and other events. The block filter, however, lowers all frequencies and is most comparable to the above-mentioned standard foam earplug. Sennheiser also recommends these for relaxing, sleeping or protecting the ears from water while swimming.
The SoundProtex Plus set also has a low filter and a high filter, which – as the names suggest – lower the sound from a little to a lot.
These reusable earplugs can be cleaned under running water and stored in a small bag (approx. 6 x 4.5cm) that zips up and has a key ring that is designed to be carried with you. Important to know: without filters, the earplugs do not provide any significant protection against noise.
What do the individual filters do?
Different activities require different levels of protection. The manufacturer describes the different filters as follows:
- Full block filter: when you need to block all noise out. Suitable for: Travelling, sleeping in especially noisy environments, swimming, when you don’t want water to penetrate the ears.
- Low Block Filter: suitable for quieter or unamplified concerts, noisy offices or for bars and restaurants, these have an estimated SNR (Single Number Rating – sound attenuation value) of 10 dB.
- Mid Block Filter: With an estimated SNR of 17 dB, this filter is said to be an optimal all-rounder for festivals, concerts or travelling.
- High Block Filter: This is the strongest filter, with an estimated SNR of 20 dB; it is said to be suitable for loud music, motorsports or the use of power tools.
The Sennheiser SoundProtex in practice
To place the SoundProtex earplugs correctly in your ears, the manufacturer recommends using both hands. With one hand, pull on the ear from above so that the ear canal is widened. Using your other hand, push the SoundProtex plugs deep into the ear canal. This may feel unusual at first because, unlike in-ear headphones, the SoundProtex have to be placed much deeper in the ear. Thanks to a pull tab on the outside of the earplugs, you will be able to pull them out of your ears again.
If they fit correctly, you can wear them for hours without having to adjust the fit.
At a big band concert, I was then able to test SoundProtex Plus in live use. Since the stage and the hall were quite small, I decided to use the mid-block filter, knowing that the band would be playing entirely over a PA. The result was impressive: a complete frequency band was cut, but neither in the bass range nor in the treble was the cut so high that I missed anything.
As expected with the full-block filter, many frequencies were swallowed up, as there was no diaphragm or filter at work, and this impaired the listening experience – this was strongly reminiscent of regular shop-bought foam plugs. There was also the absence of “ringing” ears that usually follow attendance at loud concerts.
We did not measure any of this, so we have to believe the attenuation values printed in the user manual. However, since they have been tested by Sennheiser according to EU, US and Australian standards, we are pretty sure that these are correct as far as it goes.
How much do the Sennheiser SoundProtex sets cost?
The SoundProtex sets are not cheap: for the small set, Sennheiser have an RRP of 39.90 euros, the Plus variant costs 79.90 euros. While inexpensive foam earplugs may be enough for some festival-goers, if you want to enjoy your favourite band, you choose a more specialist earplug. It is also worth taking a look at the competition: some cheaper earplugs offer permanently installed filters.
Sennheiser’s SoundProtex sets offer very good hearing protection that you can adapt to different scenarios. Thanks to the different filters, in some cases, the SoundProtex lower the volume in quiet to very loud environments by over 20 decibels. These hearing protection sets are not cheap, but they are far better than the basic foam plugs that you can buy in shops.
- Ear couplingEarplugs
- Weight without cablefrom 1.1 g
What's in the box
- 3 pairs of ear tips (S, M, L)
- Plus: 4 filters
- Carrying pocket