Sep. 19, 2018We live in a world of constant noise. Noise pollution has been linked to a variety of problems that, frankly, are becoming so commonplace, we don’t even really see them as problems anymore. Tinnitus. Insomnia. Headaches. Even high blood pressure.
A constant state of noise in cities and densely populated metropolitan areas might be what we’re used to, but it doesn’t make for a healthy brain. In some cases, it can cause elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can create a domino effect and slew of seemingly unrelated symptoms.
Sexy Earplugs? They’re a Thing Now
Karl Berglund was a surfer, a cool guy. The Swedish surfer had dreadlocks, and wasn’t interested in bulky, embarrassing earplugs.
But surfing and diving accidents got the best of him, causing him to lose up to 90% of his hearing, so something had to give.
Unfortunately, the earplug industry hadn’t quite caught up with the demand for a less obtrusive earplug. As co-founder Jukka Viitasara put it, the industry was “brutally unsexy,” and marred with giant gooey globs that were disposable and unattractive. Custom ear plugs were expensive, and still had the same fundamental design flaws.
With a background in design and an eagerness to fill the gap, Jukka helped bring Karl’s vision to life. In 2010, they debuted a new earplug — one that was aesthetically pleasing, effective, and gave people the option to turn down the volume on everyday life.
Eco-Friendly Peace and Quiet
Happy Ears turn down the volume by 25 decibels — enough to make it possible to enjoy a cup of coffee in a crowded cafe, without giving you the feeling of being underwater.
The core is made of the same plastic used in LEGO bricks — super durable, no matter what you put it through. Comprised entirely of biocompatible plastics, these materials are so inert that they can actually be used inside the body for medical devices.
In the wake of the war against plastic, Happy Ears launched a set of ear plugs with a core made 100% of recycled plastics. They sold them in recycled brown paper bags, and they were a hit — an instant sellout. Now they’re gearing up to produce another version, set to launch in the near future.
Plastic Products as a Solution
Now here’s the really crazy part — Happy Ears is using recycled plastics in this new line, but they’re also being very intentional about using plastic from an eco-friendly perspective, period.
Jukka’s mission is to create products with a plastic foundation in their design so that, as new plant-based plastics are developed they can easily be swapped into the design.
“There’s this misconception that all plastic is bad and the root of all evil in the world, but plastic is not one material, it’s maybe 500 materials,” says Jukka.
It’s part of a brand initiative to change the narrative surrounding the use of plastics to a more practical conversation for the sake of facilitating real solutions, and it has the power to solve the problems with overabundance of recycled plastics.