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Block the bad sounds and harness the good with Hush earplugs

This world we live in can be pretty noisy — especially when you’re trying to get some sleep. But tossing in standard earplugs to block out excess sounds, from inside and outside, can cause problems when that alarm clock rings.  A new pair of “smart earplugs” called Hush aims to solve this dilemma by keeping the bad sounds out, and letting the good ones in.

The earplugs combine sound-eliminating foam with a small driver that plays soothing sounds like white noise, ocean waves, and rain drops. And thanks to the earplugs’ Bluetooth connectivity to your smartphone, and a specialized app, you can set alarms and choose which notifications to let into your peaceful slumber. When your alarm goes off in the morning, or you receive an emergency phone call, Hush lets you know.

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Hush claims that the smart earplugs eliminate up to 70 db of volume, and let in ambient sounds for 8 hours on a single charge. The wireless earpieces are made of silicone and come with a sliding charging case (which also acts as a cell phone battery pack).

“Hush’s ultimate goal is to help people sleep better in the context of others around them, and ultimately enable people to live a better quality of life,” said Daniel Lee of Hush Technology in a statement. “The world is only getting noisier, and we aim to provide a way for people to live together harmoniously despite this.”

The three engineering students at UC San Diego that created Hush, which was initially funded by $600K worth in Kickstarter donations, just received the Cool Idea! Award sponsored by Proto Labs to bring the product to fruition. “The Cool Idea! Award was established to help product designers and engineers bring useful concepts to market,” said Proto Labs’ founder Larry Lukis. “The potential to improve the quality of life for millions of people is a large reason why we want to help make Hush a reality.”

Hush, which will be sold for about $150, hopes to launch by late summer 2015, and you can pre-order the plugs at the Kickstarter site now. So if you have noisy neighbors, a significant other who snores, or are a regular nighttime flier, you may want to sign up for a pair.