These earplugs let you turn down the volume of real-world sounds

Dutch startup ‘Knops’ has created a set of earplugs that lets you adjust the volume of real-world sounds, such as car horns, party music, and most annoying of all, crying babies on a flight.

Unlike standard earplugs, Knops lets you listen to your surroundings on four levels – instead of just complete silence. By turning its knob, you can switch between hearing regular sounds, drowning out a city’s noise pollution, toning down a live concert’s raging volume, and totally shutting out any noise.

The co-founders, all of them musicians, made these innovative earplugs to preserve long-term hearing, as well as give users a more stylish alternative to current models out on the market.

You can wear them all day too, considering they use analogue technology. Here’s how Knops works better than electronic hearables:

“Instead of using electronics to try and synthesize something artificial, we’re taking the actual sound waves that come into your ear, and modifying them,” explained Arjen De Jong, co-founder of Knops, who also has a Ph.D. in acoustics.

“So, what you hear is the actual, physical pressure wave, as it was already arriving into your ear.”

Knops is available in different colours and trims, with options ranging from black or white; gramophone, stainless steel, or gold-plated ring material; and smooth or knurling.

You can get yourself some Knops earplugs by supporting their Kickstarter campaign.