I’ve always thought that earplugs were weird and uncomfortable and questioned why anyone would ever use them. But this year, since I live on the first floor right across from Lowell construction and a busy street, they have become essential to my life. Earplugs on average block out 30 decibels of sound or so, which is enough to block out loud machinery noises and car engines. The way earplugs fit is particularly important to their ability to block out noise, and more importantly, their comfort. It takes a little while to get used to the feeling of having something plugging up your ear, especially when sleeping, but after wearing them night after night it begins to feel normal.