We’re all familiar with the annoying ringing in our ears after a fun night out. Most of us just pray that it goes away, before going out again a week later, repeating the same process. It turns out that prolonged exposure to loud music can significantly impact our hearing health. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that 70 decibels is a safe noise level. Clubs play music that can reach up to 115 decibels. Yikes.
Sets are the perfect earplugs for anyone that wants to boogie on the dancefloor, while protecting their hearing. However, Sets are not just earplugs. They’re part of a bigger movement that aims to build a safer, more inclusive club culture.
Craccum spoke to the University of Auckland alumni behind the business—Emily Janus, a Wellington-based DJ, and Grace Ko, a fashion designer.
We love music and dancing. When we went out regularly, we would notice our ears ringing on the way home from the club. Earplugs became something we invested in and would take with us everywhere, and it completely changed the way we partied! Our friends would see us putting them in and ask where they could get some, or we would often see others in the bathroom stuffing toilet paper into their ears if we were at a particularly loud venue.
We felt there was a need for hearing protection but that somehow we were the only ones using it. That shouldn’t be the case—earplugs are for everyone. We wanted to provide a solution for our friends and extended dance community, and so, Sets was born!
After realising we needed to create Sets for our likeminded dancers and music lovers, we researched and read everything we could to prepare for the journey ahead. We pulled in creative individuals to customise a logo for us and audio engineers to help us get the best possible earplugs.
We then began test-driving our earplugs to make sure we ourselves loved using them, before launching the brand to others. It was super exciting to take the idea from our brain and execute it into a real product in our hands. We launched Sets in December 2021, debuting at Club 121 in Wellington and later at Nest Fest in the Hawkes Bay.
Being a student is busy, and life is loud. Sets are easy to use, push the earplug into your ear canal until it forms a comfortable seal and gently pull on the base tags of the earplugs to get them back out. They can also be washed in between uses. You can even attach our earplugs to your keys, bag or phone case and you’ll find yourself using them regularly.
Whether they come to your rescue when you’re dancing next to the pounding speaker system at a club on Karangahape Road, in the library to silence everything and enhance your focus, or to block out your flatmates’ manic sex noises, Sets are designed to be taken everywhere and can be worn again and again.
The feeling of your ears ringing after a loud night out is a symptom called tinnitus. While it is common among partygoers, one in 10 people suffer from permanent tinnitus. Prolonged exposure to loud music can cause temporary or permanent tinnitus, as well as hearing loss.
Clubs and venues play music that reaches up to 115 decibels. The louder the noise, the less time it takes to cause permanent hearing damage to occur. The maximum exposure limit allowed by law in a workplace for this decibel level is 15 minutes. Sets provide 23 decibels of premium protection, meaning you’ll be able to protect your hearing without compromising on sound quality.
Sets are available online at www.sets.nz. However, if you’re looking to pick up a pair in time for the weekend, you can head to one of their stockists; Bassment (Vacant Studios, St Kevin’s Arcade) or Crushes (225 Karangahape Road). Keep an eye on their Instagram @setsnz, as they are always expanding to new venues.