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There is more to life than a good pair of earphones, but now there are some earplugs that can actually shut out the unnecessary noises you choose not to listen to.

The Dutch startup, Knops, has a smart solution to turning down the volume of life. The company has created a stylish looking set of earplugs that work as a 'volume button for your ears'. Each pair of knops has four settings, ranging from noise reduction to complete silence. There's one that lets you hear what you would without earplugs, there's another designed to filter the noise of a vibrant city, one that's perfect for a live music setting, and finally one that cuts sound out altogether.

The musical heritage of Knops' founders even filters down to the product's aesthetic design, which is based on the look of a classic round button, with the inside shaped like a gramophone cone.

At a glance, the sleek-looking buds could even be mistaken for a statement piercing. To guarantee the best user experience, the Knops team' created prototype on prototype, testing these with actual users in real life from the very beginning, and taking their feedback on board. The final product is designed to bring the focus back to user experience – putting the wearer in perfect control of what they want to hear.

But, how does it work?

Knops uses no electronics, no apps and no batteries. Instead, the devices have been acoustically engineered with sound being filtered using good old physics. Knops was born from a need for comfortable, high functioning earplugs that actually looked good. Whilst electronic hearables were good at lowering noise levels, the electronics distorted the sound, and provided feedback with a slight lag.

Knops work completely acoustically and each level of noise filtration has been fine-tuned in acoustic labs to perfect the sound quality. By mimicking the natural response of the human ear to sound, the team managed to create a reduction in decibels across all noise frequencies, meaning that sound travels through all the four steps with minimal distortion.

What's even more impressive is that the designers created a similar reduction in dB across all the frequencies creating a very flat response curve. By simply rotating the outer ring ambient sounds gets a 10, 20, or 30-decibel filter, cancelling out construction work, conversation or pretty much everything.

Yes, you can still feel the base of most sounds but there is definite protection from any overwhelming volume. Knops start at €85 (US$97) with knurled or gold-plated rings at an extra cost. In the meantime, have a look at the Knops in action below.

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