x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Travel essentials: Ear plugs

Ear plugs promise portable silence and uninterrupted slumber wherever you lay your head.

Boots Muffles Wax ear plugs. Tina Chang / The National
Boots Muffles Wax ear plugs. Tina Chang / The National

Sounds can be one of the most evocative parts of any travel trip, but certain noises at particular times are less desirable than others. Late-night revelry, car alarms in the middle of the night and dawn raids by rubbish collectors are rarely welcome. At such moments, it would be great to block out the hubbub and go back to sleep. These ear plugs promise portable silence and uninterrupted slumber wherever you lay your head.

Hearos Ultimate Softness ear plugs

These foam ear plugs are very soft. As a result they are very comfortable to wear even for long periods of time. They effectively block out sounds at a wide range of frequencies and have a noise-reduction rating of 32 decibels. They are also easy to keep clean. Available from www.amazon.com in a pack of 20 pairs from $19.98 (Dh73), plus shipping.

Boots Muffles Wax ear plugs

It is not hard to see why wax has been the material of choice for ear plugs for thousands of years. In Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus orders his men to put wax in their ears to avoid falling prey to the mellifluous sounds of the Sirens. Wax moulds to your ear, creating a snug fit that muffles background sounds. The only problem is that filth and grime cling to them making them less suitable than foam ear plugs for repeated use. Available at Boots from Dh14 for five pairs.

Carewell silicone ear plugs

These plugs are made from silicone. Instead of jamming them into your ear canal, they mould to the shape of your ear and plug its opening. They are soft and fit well, and do a good job of reducing noise. Like wax, however, they pick up dirt and become less effective after the first few wears. They are good to try if you have trouble keeping foam ear plugs in your ears. Available at Lifeline pharmacies. From Dh18 for two pairs.