Knops Adjustable Ear Plugs Let You Turn Down The Volume of Real Life Sounds

ever wish you could just turn down the volume on outside noise, or mute background chatter like you mute your television? luckily, dutch startup knops are on the same wavelength and have created a rather good-looking device that works as a ‘volume button for your ears.’ founded by musicians, knops is designed to give the wearer full control over the surrounding sounds they hear. the design sets out to protect the ears from loud noises, preventing long-term damage.

knops is acoustically engineered as a volume button for your ears

aptly suited to wear all day long, the ‘volume’ of background noise can be adjusted by turning the simple knob on the side of the knops. while step one will allow you to hear as you would without the plugs, step two can cancel the background noise of a vibrant city, step three is meant for dulling down a loud music concert, and step four creates a little bubble of isolated silence. with no need for unplugging and plugging back in, knops are ergonomically engineered to stay in all day long.

the design is influenced by a traditional volume button

knops was born from a need for comfortable, high-functioning earplugs that actually looked good—all this while providing a decent user experience. whilst electronic hearables were good at lowering noise levels, the electronics distorted the sound, and provided feedback with a slight lag. on the constrast, knops works completely acoustically and each level of noise filtration has been fine-tuned in acoustic labs to perfect the sound quality. by mimicking the natural response of the human ear to sound, the team managed to create a reduction in decibels across all noise frequencies, meaning that sound travels through all the four steps with minimal distortion.

the plugs mimic the natural response of the human ear to sound

‘instead of using electronics to try and synthesize something artificial, we’re taking the actual soundwaves that come into your ear, and modifying them,’ explains arjen de jong, founder and head of technology at knops, who has a PhD in acoustics. ‘so, what you hear is the actual, physical pressure wave, as it was already arriving into your ear.’ 

knops have four settings, ranging from natural hearing to noise cancellation

the musical heritage of knops’ founders even filters down to the product’s aesthetic design, which is based on the look of a classic round button, with the inside shaped like a gramophone cone. at a glance, the sleek-looking buds could even be mistaken for a statement piercing. to guarantee the best user experience, the knops team’ created prototype on prototype, testing these with actual users in real life from the very beginning, and taking their feedback on board. the final product is designed to bring the focus back to user experience—putting the wearer in perfect control of what they want to hear.

the device is designed to be subtle and stylish

knops puts the focus of ear protection back to user experience and aethetics

the plug of knops takes the shape of a grammarphone

knops are available in a whole combination of colorways, mixing monochrome plus with silver and gold

the team tested prototype upon prototype to create the ultimate UX