There are now so many devices that track our sleep and help us get a better night’s rest, but they often take a lot of commitment or offer dubious results. Now one of the most low-tech pieces of gear–the earplug–is getting a “smart” makeover that actually seems to make a lot of sense.
The Hush earplug, made with sound-eliminating foam and a tiny speaker, uses noise-filtering tech and a 10-hour selection of white noise options to block out snoring and loud neighbors as any good earplug should. But the Bluetooth-connected device, paired with a smartphone app, also allows users to actually hear noises they want to hear: like alarms, emergency phone calls, or other customizable notifications. An added benefit is that your alarm won’t wake up your partner because only you will hear it.
The CDC says that insufficient sleep is a growing public health epidemic, linked to car crashes, job-related accidents, lower productivity, and higher risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, depression, and cancer. In a 2009 survey, more than one-third of adults reported unintentionally falling asleep during the day at least one day in the prior month. There are many reasons that people don’t get enough sleep, but as a person who lives in New York City and has a white noise machine to drown out noisy neighbors, I can say noise is definitely one of them.
The company’s Kickstarter is over but you can sign-up for its email list to be notified when the headphones are available for sale–plans are for later this summer. It just received a grant award from Proto Labs, a custom prototype and low-volume manufacturer, to create test samples of its designs and make an initial production run. The cost will be a little over $150.