Only a month ago, I wrote about the differences between the Flents Quiet Please and their successor, the Flents Protechs Quiet Please. I found changes in durability but they remained my favorite low frequency noise reduction earplugs for sleeping.
Now we have the Soft formula, another change to the Quiet Please, and it’s a big one:
(I didn’t want to make another post about these so soon, but here we go.)
Several readers have alerted me that the earplugs no longer have a porous structure but are soft and squishy instead.
Indeed the earplugs now come with a yellow bar, “Now SOFTER for more comfort!”
So despite not having finished my last container, I ordered a new batch (same listing as before) and sure enough, I received the soft formula (earplug to the left in the image above).
Having now tried and tested them, these are very different with respect to wearing comfort and low frequency noise reduction.
To distinguish between the new formula and its predecessor, I will call the new formula “Flents Protechs Quiet Please Soft” (abbreviated “QP Soft”) and the old one “Flents Protechs Quiet Please version 1” (abbreviated QP v1).
The QP Soft are indeed much softer to the touch. To me they feel like they are no longer made of PVC but rather PU.
They are somewhat easier to roll up for insertion but can’t be compressed as much as QP v1.
My ear canal is on the larger side, so I can still insert them completely, but for people with a small ear canal this may become a problem.
Inside the ear, they initially feel good, but after about an hour or so both of my ears start hurting.
The earplugs appear to be a lot denser and exert more pressure on my ear canal wall.
I have tried several times to use them for sleeping, but I can’t tolerate QP Soft for a whole night.
You may be surprised that softer earplugs would exert more pressure, but this is not uncommon. Many PU earplugs have a soft feel but are actually denser than porous PVC earplugs like QP v1.
Initially QP v1 may feel rough and stiff and a bit more difficult to roll up, but after a few minutes in the ear I can completely forget them.
So, unfortunately, in terms of wearing comfort the soft formula is a huge step back in my ears.
In fact, there are several other Flents earplug models, such as Flents Quiet Contour, which I find a lot more comfortable than QP Soft.
The original Flents Quiet Please were excellent at reducing noise, in particular low frequency noise, which is rare.
And they did it with very little ear canal pressure. Moreover, only inserted at a moderate depth, they still performed.
They were almost too good to be true.
I kept using and recommending them for years to fend off trucks or bass noise at night.
Their successor, Flents Protechs Quiet Please (QP v1) still retained most of the goodies; they only deteriorate faster, so I have to replace them more often. “OK,” I told myself, “so you have to spend more, but changing them after two or three days is more hygienic so…”
With QP Soft, however, I have a hard time getting decent low frequency noise reduction, even when I completely insert them:
How do I know this?
I use a fridge door slam test to assess and correct earplug insertion.
As long as the test yields a boomy “bum,” I know the earplugs won’t do well against trucks either. With the original Quiet Please and QP v1 it was easy to insert them enough for the “bum” to turn into a “peck” sound.
With QP Soft, I can only pass the door slam test by inserting them fully and additionally pressing on the earplugs.
(Also, I still hear the trucks with these.)
To quantify the noise reduction I am getting, I did a noise reduction test (in 1/3rd octave band steps).
Here is the chart for my ears (red line, single trial) for the QP Soft, after optimizing insertion. The higher the line the better:
Against low frequency noise up to 160 Hz, the predecessor, the QP v1 (green line) are a mile ahead of the QP Soft (red line). Only from 200 Hz on is the performance comparable.
Moldex Pura-Fit (yellow line), one of my favorite tapered PU foam earplugs (which I can easily wear for the whole night), also do substantially better.
So for me, Flents Protechs Quiet Please Soft are unfortunately not a good option for blocking low frequency noise.
It may be possible to get better results, but I suspect you would have to get a very deep fit. In contrast, the beauty of the QP v1 is that they always perform at a reasonable insertion depth.
Given that the earplugs have changed so much, you may be wondering what to do if they don’t work for you anymore either.
For a while now, I have also been using and recommending Mack’s ThermaFit as an alternative for good low frequency noise reduction at night.
These earplugs too are cylindrical PVC earplugs, and they have virtually the same size.
Their performance (including low frequency noise reduction) is comparable to that of the original Flents Quiet Please and the QP v1.
ThermaFit are a bit denser than QP v1. I have always found Quiet Please to be a tad more comfortable, in particular during the first night, which is why they remained my number one choice.
But, ThermaFit exert a lot less pressure than QP Soft.
I can definitely sleep with these in my ears without major issues.
So going forward, ThermaFit will be my preferred choice for low frequency noise reduction at night. They are much closer to the original Quiet Please than QP Soft.
I have already received a new container.
Also check out my comparative review of earplugs for blocking low frequency noise for other alternatives.
In my ears, the original Flents Quiet Please earplugs were pretty close to perfection with respect to wearing comfort and low frequency noise reduction.
(That’s why they have been getting so much attention from me.)
Despite looking similar, Quiet Please Soft are very different earplugs; unfortunately they don’t work for me.
(Unfortunately, as they appear under the old listing, it looks like they are replacing their stiffer predecessor.)
Moreover, there are alternatives that are much closer to the original QP than the soft formula, as detailed in the previous section.
Reading your feedback, dear readers, and checking recent reviews on Amazon (of which many are critical), I am not alone:
People loved the original Flents Quiet Please!
Of course, some folks don’t do well with PVC earplugs in general. Maybe that’s what prompted the company to change the formula.
But these earplugs had been running strong for decades, and there are already many good non-PVC alternatives, including among Flents earplugs.
Why abandon a winning formula and add one more earplug to a crowded space?
If I were the distributer, I’d be looking into bringing back the original formula as soon as possible and putting a green bar on the container, “Flents Quiet Please Classic: The Original Formula!”