The importance of getting a good night’s sleep for human health and happiness is stressed by both academia and the popular press. For some of us, however, sleep can be elusive. Noise — both familiar and unfamiliar — is a common sleep-robbing culprit. Familiar sleep interruptions can include noisy neighbors, noisy neighborhoods, and snoring bedmates. Unfamiliar noises keep many business travelers up at night in hotels and on airplanes the overall din easily thwarts rest for many.
Noise cancelling headphones created a market due to the sound levels on planes but aren’t practical if you have to hear an alarm or an alert. Also headphones may work fine when you’re sitting upright in a train or airplane seat, but can be uncomfortable when you’re sleeping in a bed.
Hush Technology was started by three college friends in 2014. Each is named Dan and all three were engineering majors whose sleep was often disturbed by partying in the dorm. They launched a successful Kickstarter campaign, obtained venture capital funding, and in March of this year will start shipping the Hush Smart Earplugs for $150 for a set of two earplugs with extra tips, a charging case, and a USB charging cable.
The earplugs include sound eliminating foam, noise masking circuitry, and low power wireless Bluetooth connectivity. You can pre-set alarms with the smart phone app and play preset soothing soundtracks. You cannot use the Hush Smart Earplugs to listen to music or audio books. While the earplugs block sound indiscriminately up to 70 decibels, alarms such as fire and burglar alarms are typically louder than 70 decibels so you should hear them, according to Hush. One advantage of this design is that when its alarm clock goes off, only you hear it and others in the room will not be disturbed.
Bright lights, vibrations, too much caffeine or sugar, or thoughts and concerns may still interfere with sleep, but if the Hush Smart Earplugs function as promised, at least sound won’t be an issue.