Colorado family has a budding business with earplug necklaces called Noiselace

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Mary Willson
Noiselace as a necklace
Monika McMahon goes to a lot of concerts -- hundreds each year, by her estimation. And although she doesn't remember the specific show she first put in ear plugs, she remembers the last show she didn't. It was a Bad Religion show at the Fillmore which caused her ears to ring for a week after. "That was it, it was right before SXSW and I was done, that was just miserable," she said. So, her love for earplugs was born, out of comfort, out of necessity.

Three years later, she and her mother Lisa Runstrom have developed Noiselace -- necklace that have a pair of earplugs built in -- and built a small business selling them.

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Hearing depends on delicate hair cells in the inner ear that transmit the energy from sound picked up by the outer ear to the brain. Rock concerts can generate around 100 to 120 decibels decibels, and a blast of noise over 110 db for two minutes can hurt your ears immediately.

Free earplugs, like Monika first used, are hard to remember and easy to lose, however. So, the mother-daughter team started working on a solution. "I fashioned a kind of similar thing, just by tying it together, took a photo and sent it to [my mom] and said 'can you make something that looks prettier for me, add some beads, just make it look more like a necklace?,'" and Runstrom, who loves crafting and beading, ran with it.

The Noiselace (pronounced noise-less, like necklace) comes in different sizes, for both male and female necks. The beaded strand fits around your neck and attaches in the front with a magnet. When unhooked, the two high-end ear plugs at each end of the strand come free.

"We bought a bunch of different kinds [of earplugs] on Amazon and kind of played around for awhile. We needed something that was good earplug-wise, but that would also work for what we are doing," McMahon says. "These are some of the better options on the market in general." According to McMahon, the foam earplugs only block out certain high or low frequencies, but the plugs used in Noiselace just mellow out everything rather than affecting the overall experience of a show.

The duo has gotten some traction in Colorado partly thanks to its ties to the music scene, but a few big-name out-of-towners have expressed interest as well. McMahon sold a pair of Noiselace to Kevin Lyman, director of Warped Tour at the festival, and they have been talking to different local Colorado venues about getting them sold at merchandise booths for easier fan access.

McMahon's brother Stefan Runstrom, formerly of Tickle Me Pink and currently with Wiredogs, sports them at every gig he plays. "When people see them looking cool on musicians on stage, it helps a lot," Lisa Runstrom says, joking that she isn't about to start any fashion trends herself.

Noiselace is available online, and the company's Twitter account will tell you which concerts the pair will be attending. Wiredogs shows are a good bet.

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Mary Willson
Noiselace unhooked

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Mary Willson
Noiselace as a earplugs


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38 comments
Craig Hawkins
Craig Hawkins

That ringing will eventually stop going away and you'll have it all day, all night, for the reset of your life. It's NOT fun, I can assure you that.

Craig Hawkins
Craig Hawkins

You'll regret that later in life when your ears are ringing 24/7.

Jason Bullinger
Jason Bullinger

I'm a pro concert photographer and always have a pair of earplugs on hand.

Aric Villarreal
Aric Villarreal

It's easy to go to a concert and wear earplugs if you have long hair, because you can cover 'em up. If you have short hair and wear earplugs, you look lame, and half of being there is not looking lame.

Joshua Ruddy
Joshua Ruddy

Earplugs at a concert? seems like such a waste, i'd rather just suffer the hearing loss tyvm

Taylor Hines
Taylor Hines

Get flat earplugs, they're expensive but it's a one time buy and they'll dampen up to 30db evenly. If you frequent concerts you really need to.

Mel Ćurković
Mel Ćurković

I've been to many (mostly metal) shows, many of then front row, and my hearing is fine, luckily!! But I still wonder what's the point to these things though, just stay at home with a DVD or a CD if the noise is too much. The noise is definitely part of the experience and a little ringing in the ears the next day is a badge of honor!

Christian Wright
Christian Wright

Unfortunately spl is too high at most concerts and I need them. It cuts the highs so all my live music sounds muffled.

Candie Bernard
Candie Bernard

Yep, depending upon the volume of the show. I have some hearing loss from attending so many shows in the past and I'm determined to not have any more. I plan to enjoy live music until I'm old and gray.

Ossama Hussein
Ossama Hussein

No, I've been punk rocking metaling hip hopping raving and reggaeing for 20 years and I can still hear pretty good.....but if I can't at least I also can't hear people say anything stupid anymore

Joel Bader
Joel Bader

I hope they work--and inspire others to develop hearing protection devices. From what I've read, many concertgoers, musicians and other personnel put their hearing in harm's way at concerts. For that matter, would such devices be useful in other areas, such as airport ramps or construction sites? (I know they wear devices which look like headphones, but I was thinking about other methods of hearing protection.)

Paul Quigley
Paul Quigley

I always do. The "If it's too loud, you're to old" is an ignorant statement. I'm looking at you, Rosa.

Willie Culkin
Willie Culkin

I didn't whenI I was younger and suffered a little hearing loss, because I like to be directly in front of the speakers. Started wearing them about 15 years ago and it's preserved my hearing. You get used to them after while and the best part is that they fix one of the biggest problems of the modern concert-going experience: They remove the chatter of all the people who won't shut the fuck up!

Craig Hawkins
Craig Hawkins

It has nothing to do with "too loud", but wanting to save your hearing. If you'd like to keep yourself from having the awful tinnitus later in life, then wear ear plugs. Otherwise, you can't say no one warned you when your ears are ringing like a siren 24/7 for the rest of your life.

Rosa Alex
Rosa Alex

If it's too loud you're too old!

Michael Downs
Michael Downs

Lisa Downs, I know what i need for my birthday

Jeremy Coss
Jeremy Coss

I've got musician quality earplugs. They're great for concerts. Hearnoevil.com

Stan Salazar
Stan Salazar

They look like Elacins. I bought mine in Miami a few years back. The more you shove them in your ear, the more sound they delete. Of course I didn't need a bedazzled gimmick to address proper hearing protection but whatever. Let em make their money and help people keep their hearing.

Danny Yencich
Danny Yencich

Somebody put this on Mitch Ermatinger's Christmas list.

Justin Belmont
Justin Belmont

Only 2 idiots I've seen wearing these are the ones in the photo.

Bryon Mick
Bryon Mick

Protect that hearing so you can enjoy it later :)

Craig Hawkins
Craig Hawkins

Never go to a show without my Etymotic's. Already have some bad tinnitus. It sucks. Don't let it happen to you. You won't be "uncool" because you're wearing earplugs. You're saving your ears from revolting on you later in life, which they absolutely will do.

MonikaRun
MonikaRun

I bet it isn't too late @Brandi Pratt! Never a bad idea to wear protection.

MonikaRun
MonikaRun

What a great birthday gift @Michael Downs!

MonikaRun
MonikaRun

@Jeremy Coss now that's a great way to go! Glad you're conscious of your hearing! 

MonikaRun
MonikaRun

I don't know who that is, but I like the thought it is going on his Christmas list!

MonikaRun
MonikaRun

Hey @Justin Belmont, that's funny, I haven't seen you at any shows - you should say hi next time! I'll be the idiot wearing Noiselace!

MonikaRun
MonikaRun

Sorry to hear you already have tinnitus @Craig Hawkins! I agree that you won't be uncool by wearing earplugs. Cheers to another Etymotic fan!

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