soundcore Sleep A10 Earbuds – Can You Actually Sleep with These?
When soundcore, by Anker, announced that they were releasing headphones designed for use while sleeping, I was skeptical. In-ear headphones just aren’t that comfortable. Sleeping with them all night? Surely that can’t work for most people. But I have a problem. I’m married to a woman that has had chronic issues sleeping. On top of that, she really doesn’t like in-ear headphones (she will only wear ones that have an over-ear loop so that she doesn’t have to stick them all the way into her ears). So I reached out to soundcore, told them my tale of woe, and requested a review set. They complied, knowing full well I didn’t expect this review to go positively. After a month of use, here is my wife’s review of the soundcore Sleep A10 earbuds.
soundcore Sleep A10 Earbuds Specs
- 4-Point Noise Masking System
- Adaptive Noise Masking
- Night-Long Comfort
- Listen to Your Favorite Content
- Custom Dynamic Drivers
- Smart Switch
- Sleep Monitoring
- In-Ear Alarm
- Up to 10-Hour Playtime
Author’s Note: All of the observations and conclusions in this review are from my wife. She does not have extensive experience with critical listening nor does she care about audio all that much. You may ask why I didn’t try out the A10 earbuds myself after (or before) she used them. I can give you a lot of perfectly valid reasons why (she’s the intended market, is accurate playback really the goal, etc.). But the real reason is because it is kinda gross to stick someone else’s earbuds in your ear.
Sleep A10 Design and Technology
If you are going to make an earbud that you can sleep while wearing, it better be two things – comfortable and small. The soundcore Sleep A10 earbuds are both. As earbuds go, they are about as small as I’ve ever seen. There are a wide range of tips and “ear wings” available so that you can find the one that fits the best.
The technology behind the soundcore Sleep A10 earbuds is pretty nifty. Rather than rely on battery-draining ANC (Active Noise Cancelling), they use passive sound isolation (basically they work as earplugs) for up to 35dB of noise reduction. They can be connected to your phone via Bluetooth 5.2 for streaming content but can be set (in the soundcore App) to automatically switch over to a white noise sound. The “smart masking” feature can adjust the volume to block out any new noises that may start while you are sleeping. To save battery, whatever white noise option you prefer is downloaded to the earbuds. This does create a bit of a delay when setting up the earbuds as each sound has to be downloaded before trying them out (takes about a minute).
Lastly, the A10s are, by design, limited in their functionality. They can receive calls but don’t have a microphone. They have touch controls on the earbuds but they are very limited in Sleep Mode. Most of the controls must be done on your phone and through the app. This makes the learning curve on the A10s a little steep. Most of the owner reviews I’ve seen online have complaints that are specifically addressed by the FAQ on the A10 product page. If you are a new owner, you’ll want to visit that page a couple of times until you have them set up and working properly.
The real selling point with the soundcore Sleep A10 earbuds is the sleep mode. There are multiple options you can enable including Smart Switch and Noise Masking. While you can just put them on and have them play your preferred white noise solution all night, you can also have them detect when you fall asleep with Smart Switch mode. If you are someone that likes to fall asleep while listening to music or podcasts, this is great.
You start your night by listening to whatever you want streaming from your phone. When you fall asleep, the soundcore Sleep A10 earbuds switch to your preferred white noise. If you enable Noise Masking, they will adjust the volume if new outside noises start up (early lawn maintenance is common around here). You can also set a personal alarm that will ring only in the headphones so as to not disturb your partner. Lastly, the app will give you feedback on how you slept (something my wife didn’t really use).
I want to stress again how important it is to read the user manual (accessible on the soundcore App) and the FAQ on their website. When in sleep mode with the Smart Switch on, the headphones will play white noise until they detect that you fall asleep. Then they will shut off to save battery. If you want to keep the Bluetooth streaming or white noise constant, you can do that through the app. These have a ton of flexibility, but you need to know how to set them up best. It will take a little time.
Comfort is key with an earbud that you are supposed to use while sleeping. I’ve reviewed a lot of earbuds and I can’t think of a single pair I’d want to use while sleeping. My wife reported exactly zero problems with comfort. She wore them nearly every night for a month without issue. The soundcore Sleep A10 earbuds not only use friction from the eartip to stay in place but also a soft, flexible “ear wing” for additional security. In the month of use, my wife reported that an earbud only fell out twice and she had no problems with comfort, even when on her side.
I was worried about her losing them. The earbuds are, as I said, tiny and it is inevitable that one might get dislodged. The key here is that, even if one does fall out, you know where it is. It is somewhere in that bed. The one time she “lost” one, we found it very quickly.
Battery life is typical of in-ear headphones. You get about six hours of use with a single charge and about five charges on the case. Now, if you are at all good at math, you realize that six hours is not enough for a full night’s sleep (as if anyone actually gets eight hours). That said, there are expectations to be managed. When a set of headphones is marketed as for use during sleep, you expect them to last throughout your entire sleep. The soundcore Sleep A10 will last all night…just not while streaming content.
From the specs they say you can expect six hours while streaming via Bluetooth or ten hours while playing the white noise. My wife reported that they were nearly always silent when she awoke in the mornings (a feature of the Smart Switch mode). If you think about how these headphones would actually be used, that makes sense. You would spend some amount of time streaming content trying to fall asleep. It would take some amount of time for the headphones to realize that you were asleep and switch over to the white noise. If you wake up and want the headphones to start playing content or white noise, you’ll have to interact with them or the app.
All that said, my wife reported that, even though the headphones were silent when she woke up, the alarm mostly went off. It’s hard to know if a silent headphone is just in standby mode or actually has drained the battery. In a month, she only had one instance where they were completely dead and the alarm didn’t ring. This was a night when she particularly had a hard time falling asleep and used them for streaming for quite a few hours. If you are using these regularly, you should probably set up a backup alarm just in case.
My wife exclusively listens to podcasts to help her fall asleep…the more boring the better (leave your recommendations in the comments). She’s also not that critical about sound quality. With these headphones, I really don’t think sound quality should play much of a role. You want them to be as inoffensive and bland as possible. You certainly don’t want bumping bass or shrill highs. For podcasts, my wife said they sounded fine. She said she had zero complaints about how they sounded.
My wife is a huge fan of the soundcore Sleep A10 earbuds. In her own words:
“When you fall asleep to something playing in the background, and you wake up, having that same thing playing in the background wakes you up more. Having them switch to white noise (or off) is what I really like about these.”
Comfort…check. Works as intended…check. Recommended…double-check! If you are looking for headphones to help you sleep, the soundcore Sleep A10 earbuds check all the boxes. Even though I thought it wasn’t possible to wear in-ear headphones all night comfortably, soundcore has proven me wrong. Of course, we haven’t mentioned price. The soundcore Sleep A10s retail at around $180. That’s a steep price. But with all the technology on board and how well they perform, how much is a good night’s sleep worth? Only you can decide.
I hear there is this Podcast called AV Rant. One of the hosts is super sarcastic and the other knows everything about every piece of gear made. That should do the trick! 😉