9 Best Earplugs (2019) – For Sleeping, Concerts, Musicians & More

Finding the best earplugs?

Well, you are in luck because this (2019) updated guide covers everything about earplugs.

But first, check out the list of top earplugs below.

Let’s dive in…

List of the 10 Best Earplugs 2019

Earplug NameStyleKey Feauture 
Eargasm High Fidelity
(Editor's Choice)
Tri-FlangeStemless low profile design Check Price
LiveMus!c HearSafeTri-FlangeDifferent range of filters to filter out noises. Check Price
Doc's Pro Ear SiliconeNon-vented design helps with lap/surface swimming. Check Price
Downbeats Hi FidelityDouble Flange NRR of 18 provides noticeable reduction in large venues. Check Price
Westone DefendEarElectronic3 amplification settings to hear subtle sounds. Check Price
Hearos Ultimate SoftnessFoamSoft polyurethane foam for overnight comfort. Check Price
Howard Leight 3301105FoamT-shape design that can be easily inserted. Check Price
Mack's Pillow Soft EarplugsPuttyMoldable earplugs can fit a variety of ear types Check Price
ETY ER20 EarplugsTri-FlangeFilters out highs while preserving bass sounds Check Price
Peltor SportTri-FlangeBright color and corded plugs makes them harder to lose. Check Price

1. Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs

 

The Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs is our top pick.

These low profile earplugs come with both a large and small pair to fit a variety of ear sizes. Similar to other earplugs designed for music, these high fidelity plugs filter the sound instead of blocking them out.

They provide a NRR of up to 21 dB and focus on providing sound clarity. Most users will be able to hear the music and lyrics clearly but at a lower volume. This can be a good option for both musicians and listeners alike.

PROS

  • Has extra-long tabs instead of stems. This can make them comfortable for sleep use.
  • Includes a waterproof aluminum case to store the earplugs when not in use.
  • Made of a soft non-toxic silicone that is comfortable to wear.

CONS

  • Tri-flange design can be difficult to clean when compared to molded options.

2. LiveMus!c HearSafe Ear Plugs

 

These earplugs are designed to be one of the best earplugs for musicians. They come in two sizes: regular and large. The LiveMus!c earplugs are designed to filter out piercing noises while still allowing you to hear conversations and music.

The earplugs come with two sets of filters. The white filters have an NRR of 29dB for high protection and the green pair provides a NRR of 23dB for medium protection. LiveMus!c also uses a soft silicone material designed for comfort and long term use for concerts and performances.

PROS

  • Cone shaped tips are designed to fit a variety of ear sizes.
  • Earplugs are a triple flange design to provide a lasting seal.
  • Earplugs filter out harmful noises while still allowing you to hear music.

CONS

  • The included cord is detachable and can sometimes fall off with regular use.

3. Doc’s Pro Ear Plugs

 

One of the best earplugs for swimming, Doc’s Pro plugs come in eight different sizes to fit a range of ear sizes. The blue version of the earplugs are non-vented and can be a good option for people that need earplugs for lap swimming and bathing to form a waterproof seal.

The earplugs are made of a soft silicone that can be cleaned easily between uses. The design allows your inner ear to stay dry by fitting over your ear canal opening. The earplugs still allow you to hear people on the surface.

PROS

  • Non-intrusive design in many sizes keeps your ears dry while swimming laps.
  • Reusable earplugs that are soft for comfort and easy to put into your ears.

CONS

  • Clear blue color can make it hard to locate the earplugs if they fall out in the water.
  • A vented version would need to be used if you’re frequently diving rather than lap swimming.

4. DownBeats High Fidelity Ear Plugs

 

If you’re looking for a pair of earplugs to protect your hearing at a concert, DownBeats is one of the best earplugs for concerts. With concert earplugs, you want to be able to enjoy the performance, and these earplugs help by reducing the loudness while still providing clarity to the music.

They reduce the sound by 18 dB and can be more noticeable compared to 12 dB options in a medium to large venue. Comfort-wise they feel similar to in-ear headphones, and their small design allows them to be worn discretely at an event.

PROS

  • Comes with a metal case keychain to store the earplugs when not in use.
  • Comfortable design allows the earplugs to be worn for long periods.
  • Reusable earplugs that can be cleaned with ease for repeated use.

CONS

  • Can’t switch out earplug tips like similar earplugs for concert use.

5. Westone DefendEar Digital Shooter Ear Plugs

 

Westone provides one of the best earplugs for shooting use with their Digital Shooter earplugs. This pair of electronic earplugs provides sound protection of 30 dB. This can be helpful when your ears are exposed to short, loud sounds like those from gun shots.

These in-ear earplugs also are designed to amplify some sounds like voices, and have a feature for reducing wind noise. The earplugs have soft foam tips, and have a low profile design. There is a small button on each of the earplugs to change the amplification levels.

PROS

  • Replaceable foam tips come in a variety of sizes to fit different ear sizes.
  • Designed to be able to easily access the battery and electronics for repairs and upgrades.
  • Amplification of up to 86 dB to pick up ambient sounds while hunting.

CONS

  • Batteries have to be replaced daily when used. There is no off switch with the earplugs.

6. Hearos Ultimate Softness Series

 

Hearos provides one of the best earplugs for sleeping with these disposable soft foam earplugs. Their NRR of 32 dB will help to block out most snoring noises that you experience. Once inserted in your ear canal, they will form an airtight seal so that they don’t fall out in the middle of the night.

They’re designed with soft polyurethane foam so that they are comfortable for overnight use, and they’re small enough to fit well for people with smaller ear canals. In addition to being designed for sleeping, they can also be useful when listening to loud music at concerts.

PROS

  • Neutral skin color makes the earplugs less visible if using them out in public.
  • Soft foam design allows them to be worn comfortably while sleeping.
  • Strong NRR rating of 32 dB to block out snoring noises but still allows you to hear alarms.

CONS

  • May not fit well if your ears have longer ear canals.

7. Howard Leight 3301105 Earplugs

 

These laser lite pair of disposable earplugs from Honeywell can be a good general purpose earplugs to choose. They are highly visible in case you lose them. They come in a mix of bright yellow and magenta. The foam used with the earplugs are smooth to the touch and are designed to resist dirt/dust buildup.

Unlike some other foam earplug options, these are T-shaped to make it easier to insert and remove the earplugs. If you’re needing earplugs for working outdoors, in a factory setting, or while sleeping, this may be a good option for you with a NRR of 32 dB.

PROS

  • Self-adjusting foam can help to fit in a variety of ear shapes.
  • Bright colors make them easy to see if they fall out of your ears.
  • Multi-purpose earplugs can be used for work, sleep, shooting, and music.

CONS

  • People with smaller ear canals may have issues with inserting the earplugs.

8. Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs

 

If foam earplugs are too uncomfortable or don’t fit properly, these earplugs can be a good alternative. The silicone earplugs can be shaped and molded like putty to cover your ear canal with a tight seal. They fall in between reusable and disposable earplugs. The manufacturer recommends changing them every five uses, but some users may be able to get more uses out of them.

The earplugs can be used for swimming when used in water around ten feet or less. When used properly the earplugs will help to keep water out of your ear canal. With a noise reduction rating of 22 dB you can also use the earplugs for sleep and other activities where you need to dampen the noise.

PROS

  • Earplugs can be molded to fit the shape of your ears to fit various ear sizes.
  • Usable in the water. The earplugs are resistant to chlorinated water and can keep water out.

CONS

  • Putty tends to attract dust and dirt due to the sticky texture.

9. ER20 ETY-Plugs

 

If you frequent live music performances, these earplugs can be another good option for protecting your hearing. The ER-20 has a NRR of 20 dB and works by filtering out loud noises rather than blocking out all sounds. The plastic ends on the earplugs provide you with a good grip for inserting and removing the earplugs.

Most users will be able to hear the lyrics clearly at a concert. Instruments may sound different, and the high notes may be dimmed some. This can be helpful if you want to be able to hear the bass better.

PROS

  • Attachable string and storage case helps to keep track of the earplugs when not in use.
  • Earplugs reduce the volume of sounds instead of muffling them so you can still hear.

CONS

  • Reusable earplugs can be difficult to keep clean due to the design.
  • Plastic tips tend to stick out of the ears. Care should be taken around others.

10. Peltor Sport Tri-Flange Corded Reusable Earplugs

 

These neon colored earplugs from 3M have a triple-flange design that’s made of a soft and flexible polymer to fit various ear types. The Peltor earplugs have a Noise reduction rating (NRR) of 26 dB which is helpful for reducing noise by about 13 dB.

Each flange makes a seal in your ear canal to provide sound protection, and for users with a narrow ear canal, you may want to trim the smallest flange. These earplugs can be a good option if you need a pair of earplugs for shooting or hunting outdoors.

PROS

  • Bright color and corded design makes it easier to keep track of the earplugs.
  • Washable and reusable earplugs can be stored in the included container.
  • Flexible material allows the earplugs to bend to the unique shape of your ears.

CONS

  • Some users may experience discomfort when used for long durations.

Earplug Buyer’s Guide

Selecting the right pair of earplugs can be overwhelming with the different options available. Understanding what features to look for will help to make the selection easier.

Types of earplugs

Before selecting a pair of earplugs, you’ll want to consider what they’ll be used for. Some common uses include sleep, shooting, music, swimming, and work.

  • Sleep: Getting a proper amount of sleep is important to maintaining your health. Some common reasons for using earplugs for sleep include being near heavy snorers, living in a noisy environment, or when you need to sleep while traveling. When choosing earplugs for sleeping, you will want to find a pair that is comfortable for overnight use. They will generally be made of a soft and flexible material. These can come in reusable or disposable options.
  • Shooting: Gunfire sounds can exceed 140 dB and is more than enough to cause permanent hearing damage. When selecting earplugs for shooting, you will want to look at the Noise Reduction Rating. If you’re shooting indoors, you should look for earplugs with an NRR between 28 to 31 dB to reduce the gunfire sounds to safer levels. Some options include electronic earplugs that use microprocessors to reduce short, loud blasts like gunshots. These can also help by amplifying sounds like speech and ambient sounds.
  • Music: Whether you’re a musician or frequent concerts, your ears can be exposed to damaging levels of sound. While normal earplugs can be used, they can destroy the music quality. High fidelity earplugs are designed to filter sounds so that you can still hear the music quality at a lower volume. When looking at music earplugs, you will want to look at the different filters available. ER-9 is typically for solo or acoustic performers, while ER-25 can be helpful for drummers or bands that use amps.
  • Swimming: These earplugs can be a good option if you need to keep water out of your ear canal. This can be helpful in preventing ear infections. Most swimming earplugs will be made of moldable silicone putty or a similar material that provides a seal over the ear canal. Nonputty options will come in a variety of sizes so that you can find one that fits. They come in two different styles. Unvented earplugs will be similar to moldable earplugs and work well in depths of up to 10 feet. If you’re going to be frequently diving, a vented option will work better. These have a tiny pin size hole to help regulate air pressure in your ears.
  • Work: Lawnmowers, motorcycles, power tools, and other machines have the potential of causing hearing loss. Disposable earplugs can be an inexpensive option, and will typically be made of foam. When looking at these options, you will want to select ones that follow OSHA requirements when needed. If you plan on using earplugs often, a reusable pair can be another alternative.

Earplug Styles

Once you determine the type of earplug, you have a wide range of styles to choose from. Here are some of the advantages of each style.

Foam Earplugs

Foam earplugs have the advantage of being small and lightweight. If you’re working in a hot environment, these can still be comfortable to wear. If you need to use other types of safety equipment, this style is unobtrusive.

These types of earplugs tend to attract dirt and other particles, so they will need to be replaced frequently. Most foam earplugs are disposable so this shouldn’t be an issue. Foam earplugs can also tend to fall out depending on the user. Some will have a cord or be a bright color so that you can locate them easily if they get lost.

Universal Earplugs

Universal earplugs can be another style to choose from. These will typically be made of a soft silicone in a series of layers or flanges. Instead of blocking out sound completely, some universal earplugs will filter out noises and reduce the volume as well.

The design can make it difficult to clean the earplugs but with the right tools, your earplugs can be long-lasting. These come in single sizes, and you may find the earplugs uncomfortable if you have narrow ear canals.

Silicone Plugs

This type of plug features moldable putty that fits over your ear canals. This can be a good option if other earplugs irritate your ear canals. These plugs block out the sound and can be helpful for sleeping or can be used for swimming as well.

Silicone plugs can attract dust or other particles and should be replaced when dirty. These tend to last longer than foam earplugs, but can’t be cleaned like reusable options.

Electronic Earplugs

This style of earplugs has tiny microphones and a circuit board that filters out harmful sounds. Most electronic earplugs will have different sizes and shapes of tips so that you can select one that fits your ears. In some cases, you can also opt for a custom fit model as well.

Batteries will need to be replaced on a regular basis depending on how much you use the plugs. There are some rechargeable options as well. This style can be excessive for normal use but can be a helpful tool for shooting or hunting.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some questions that may come up when selecting a pair of earplugs. This information can be helpful when making a selection.

What is the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)?

The NRR is a rating system that shows how much sound reduction the earplugs will provide. This scale goes from 0 to the mid-30s, and the higher numbers provide more protection. The EPA requires the NRR to be displayed on the packaging of earplugs so that you can get an idea of the protection you need.

What benefits do earplugs provide?

Earplugs help to reduce the levels of harmful sounds that your ears are exposed to. This can be helpful if you’re working in an area with loud noises, or if you’re at a concert with friends. Unprotected ears will cause hearing loss over time.

What is the difference between sound blocking and filtering?

Sound blocking earplugs are designed to reduce the sound levels that your ears are exposed to. This can be helpful when you’re working around loud machines. Sound filters also provide a reduction to the sound volume but also allow you to hear voices and music clearly but at a lower level.

What are some of the common earplug shapes?

Earplugs can come in a variety of sizes. Foam earplugs will typically be in a cylinder shape, while some others can be cone shaped, or have layers of flanges depending on the design.

When should you use disposable earplugs?

Disposable earplugs can be a good option if you’re working around machines in a factory setting. Disposable earplugs are typically cheaper than reusable options and remove the need of having to clean them between uses.

When should you use reusable earplugs?

Reusable earplugs are common with musicians and concert goers. If you choose to have custom fitted earplugs, they will typically be reusable, though some may have replaceable tips.

What should you consider when selecting earplugs?

The NRR and comfort are two items of consideration when selecting earplugs. You will want to select a pair that has a sufficient NRR to your work, and comfort should be considered if you’re wearing them for long periods of time.

What are Hi-Fi earplugs?

Hi-Fi earplugs are typically used by people working around loud music. They are typically cone-shaped, and allow users to safely listen to high volume sounds while maintaining clarity.

What are some methods for storing earplugs?

Most reusable earplugs will include a carrying case to store the earplugs. If they don’t have them, you will want to keep them in a container that keeps out dust and dirt.

What is the difference between silicone and foam tips?

Foam tips are typically used when you need to block out the sound. Silicone tips, on the other hand, reduce the levels but provide a level of clarity.

What types of earplugs are suitable for sleeping?

When selecting earplugs for sleep you will want to select ones that can reduce an adequate amount of sound, and be comfortable for overnight use. You will also want to make sure that they fit properly so that they don’t fall out during the night.

What are some reasons to use earplugs at a concert?

Concerts can expose your ears to sound levels between 98-110 dB. Your ears can start to be damaged at levels of 85 dB or higher. Depending on how loud the music is, your ears can be damaged in under ten minutes.

Can foam earplugs be used for music?

Foam earplugs shouldn’t be used for music. They can muffle the music and make it hard to understand conversations around you.

What are some tips for preventing earplugs from falling out?

Finding earplugs that fit your ears properly will help to prevent them from falling out. Most reusable earplugs will come in large/normal and small sizes. With expandable foam plugs, you will want to insert them properly to help keep them from falling out. Another alternative would be to purchase custom-fitted earplugs.

What can you use to clean reusable earplugs?

Warm water and soap is the best option for cleaning your earplugs. Other cleaning solutions can damage your earplugs over time. You can also use rubbing alcohol afterward to disinfect the earplugs.

What sound levels can damage your ears?

Exposing your ears to sounds of 85 dB or more can damage your hearing. Lawnmowers, for example, put out sound levels of 107 dB. Sitting in traffic on your commute can put out sound levels of 85 dB. Protecting your ears with earplugs can help to reduce these sounds to safer levels.

What types of earplugs are used for swimming?

When selecting earplugs for swimming you will want to select ones that are waterproof to keep water out of the ear canals.

What types of batteries do electronic earplugs use?

Most electronic earplugs use the same types of batteries as hearing aids.

How do earplugs change the noise exposure levels?

Earplugs work by reducing the dB of the sounds you’re exposed to at safer levels.

Can you still hear alarms while wearing earplugs?

Earplugs can’t completely block out sounds and in most cases, users are still able to hear their alarms.

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