The Best Earplugs for Sleeping and Blocking Out Noise
Drown out the world and finally get an excellent night’s sleep with these top-of-the-line earplugs.
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- BEST OVERALLEargasm High Fidelity EarplugsSEE IT
- RUNNER-UPVibes High Fidelity EarplugsSEE IT
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCKMack's Ultra Soft Foam EarplugsSEE IT
Quality sleep is incredibly important to our physical and emotional health. Noisy backgrounds can keep you from falling asleep quickly, or make it difficult to maintain your slumber. Whether you work the night shift, have noisy neighbors, or just need an extra edge when trying to sleep, you’ll find the best earplugs for sleeping are worth their weight in gold.
The best earplugs for sleeping will help block outside distractions from interrupting your sleep. They reduce the number of sound waves that can make it into your ears, allowing you to clear your mind and sleep soundly.
- BEST OVERALL: Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs
- RUNNER-UP: Vibes High Fidelity Earplugs
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Mack’s Ultra Soft Foam Earplugs
- HIGH-TECH PICK: 3M PELTOR EEP-100 Ear Plug Kit, Rechargeable
- BEST WAX: Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs
- BEST FOAM: Flents Ear Plugs, 50 Pair
- BEST CUSTOM MOLD: Radians Custom Molded Earplugs
- BEST FOR TRAVEL: EarPlanes Super Soft Adult Ear Plugs
Before You Buy Earplugs
If you’re sleeping well without earplugs, it’s best to continue without them. While earplugs are safe overall, they can cause some issues over time.
Earplugs can push earwax into your ear, allowing it to build up and cause temporary hearing loss. The build-up can also cause tinnitus or an annoying ringing in your ears. Removing the build-up requires special drops to soften the wax or removal by a professional.
It’s best to use earplugs only when you need them. Whether it’s because you worked overtime or there’s a house party down the block, popping a couple of earplugs in your ears is a completely safe tactic for dealing with the occasional noisy night.
Types of Earplugs
Many different types of earplugs will work to provide a good night’s sleep. They come in different shapes, designs, and materials. Some may work better or feel more comfortable than others. Here’s a rundown on various styles of some of the best earplugs for sleeping. Fortunately, most are inexpensive so you can experiment to find the right set.
Foam earplugs are usually the most inexpensive and common styles of earplugs. Made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyurethane (PU) foam, they roll up tightly so the user can place them in the ear canal to expand. Once they do, they block excessive soundwaves from entering the ear canal, helping you sleep better.
Foam earplugs often come in different colors and sizes, but all work the same way. They’re popular in manufacturing settings as they block out noises from loud machinery and tools. However, they can be a little tricky to insert in the ear canal, so users should carefully read the directions to ensure the best protection.
Moldable earplugs can provide an extremely effective sound-isolation barrier. Most moldable earplugs use a soft and pliable material that molds and retains its shape, making them an excellent choice for filling the bowl of your ear. Some also come with standard silicone or foam tips to close off the ear canal, blocking out as much sound as possible.
Moldable earplugs are a little more expensive than foam earplugs, but you can reuse them many times. You can even remold some moldable earplugs if you find you’re not getting the best fit possible.
The best quality moldable earplugs will be comfortable and allow you to fall asleep without even noticing they’re in your ears. Since they conform to your ear’s shape, they aren’t likely to fall out if you’re tossing and turning.
If you’d prefer that your earplugs last more than a night, there are many reusable earplugs on the market. The most popular material for reusable earplugs is silicone, and their shape looks like a small evergreen tree. You can even reuse foam earplugs a time or two before they stop expanding to fill your entire ear canal.
If you’re buying earplugs that you hope to reuse, make sure you can clean them.
Some reusable earplugs hang from the ends of a headband, a lot like audio headphones. These aren’t the best choice for a comfortable sleep, as they’re likely to fall off when you roll over. These are better suited for the workplace than the bedroom.
Electronic earplugs are an entirely different animal, but they have some excellent features. These earplugs are popular on construction sites and in shooting sports. They protect the user’s hearing from loud, damaging noises while also allowing certain sounds like normal speech to make their way into the ear.
Since they let low-level noise permeate the ear, they’re not the best for those looking for a silent night’s sleep. They can also be slightly bulky since they have built-in electronics and batteries. Also, you’re not likely to find a set that you can mold to your ear’s shape.
What to Consider When Buying Earplugs
It may seem like a small purchase, but one good night with the best earplugs for sleeping, and you’ll realize what you’ve been missing. To make sure you’re getting what you need, here are some key considerations to keep in mind when you’re shopping for your new earplugs.
Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)
If you’re serious about blocking out as much sound as possible, you should look into each set of earplugs’ noise reduction rating, which measures the amount a hearing protection device is capable of reducing sound exposure in decibels (dB). The highest-rated earplugs have an NRR value of 33 dB, but most earplugs achieve results in the 20 to 30 dB range. By their nature, a good fit is more important than a top-of-the-line material when it comes to NRR.
Noise Reduction Ratings are crucial for personnel in loud environments, like construction workers, concert security, and factory workers. For sleeping, however, it’s less of a safety matter.
If you need the absolute best in blocking out noise, go for a set of earplugs with an NRR above 31 dB. Otherwise, most other earplugs will help you to improve your sleep in noisy environments.
Disposable vs. Reusable
Technically, you can reuse any set of earplugs, but there are some reasons why someone would prefer disposable ones or vice versa. For those who prefer a fresh set of earplugs every time, it can be a matter of cleanliness. Also, materials like foam will break down over time, and the sound deadening properties will begin to diminish. Using a disposable earplug will avoid improper fitment or letting more sound through than necessary.
On the other hand, reusable earplugs need replacing far less often, saving the user some money. There’s also the convenience of never running out of earplugs because you threw out your last set without realizing it.
Size and Shape
Ears are unique. In fact, so unique, that most people’s ears aren’t even mirror images of each other. This is a significant reason why it’s important to find the right fit and shape for your ears.
Most foam earplugs will close off a wide range of ear shapes, but the same doesn’t go for silicone plugs that don’t expand. This is why so many high-end earplug sets come with customizable tips to ensure the best fit possible.
If you find your ears to have an irregular shape, don’t fret; moldable earplugs should do the job. Just warm them until they’re pliable, press them into your ear, and work them to fit your ear’s shape. They’re great for people with large or small ears or irregular ears from one side to another.
If an earplug isn’t comfortable in your ear, you’re not going to use them. If your ears are particularly sensitive, it may be best to use a foam earplug.
Foam earplugs are soft and expand to fit your ear perfectly. You don’t have to insert them very far for them to be effective, so they’re ideal for someone with ear sensitivities. The issue is that they’re disposable and will break down after a while, so you’ll need to keep a fresh supply of earplugs on hand.
You may also find that wax earplugs that you can shape over your ear canal are more comfortable than silicone or harder materials. Wax plugs don’t need to go into your ear far, and you can mold them to fit your ear perfectly.
Our Top Picks
Now that you’re aware of the most crucial factors for purchasing the best earplugs for sleeping, you can look at this list of top picks. It’s a compilation of some of the best earplugs for each of several categories and put together using the key considerations outlined above.
1. BEST OVERALL: Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs
When it comes to a great overall product, the Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs fit the bill. These earplugs lower ambient noises as much as 21 dB, so they’ll certainly help you achieve a good night’s rest. Each set of earplugs comes with a small and large set of silicone shells, to find the perfect fit for your ears. They also come with a handy keychain canister to keep them safe and clean when you’re not using them. If you opt for the connector cord, you can let them hang around your neck, keeping them close at hand when you need them. Although they clean up with soap and water, Eargasm does have a proprietary solution and a tiny brush for cleaning them, available as a separate purchase.
2. RUNNER-UP: Vibes High Fidelity Earplugs
The Vibes High Fidelity Earplugs will lower noises by up to 22 dB, so they’ll drown out the garbage truck, noisy neighbors, or the dogs when the mailman shows up. The silicone buds come in three sizes, allowing you to choose the one that blocks out the most sound without being uncomfortable. With the transparent outer shells, the design makes them nearly undetectable. They also come with a plastic clamshell-style carrying case, so you can throw them in your pocket or a bag without losing them. Vibes also designed these earplugs to be as comfortable as possible, helping you drift off into peaceful slumber.
3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Mack’s Ultra Soft Foam Earplugs
The Ultra Soft Foam Earplugs from Mack’s are a great deal, offering over two dozen sets of plugs in every jar. These foam plugs have an NRR rating of 33 dB, as high as an earplug can go. They use ComfyCush comfort foam for a very comfortable fit and allow you to close your eyes and forget they’re in your ears. The jar can fit inside your nightstand, and it has a flip-top lid that you can reach into or shake a set out from when you’re ready to use a pair. They’re relatively one-size-fits-all, so you and your partner can share a jar of these plugs and benefit from an excellent night’s sleep.
4. HIGH-TECH PICK: 3M PELTOR EEP-100 Ear Plug Kit, Rechargeable
The 3M PELTOR earplug set is perfect for folks who want better sleep but don’t want complete isolation from the world. These electronic earplugs have an on/off switch with a volume adjustment that allows you to choose how loud you want the outside world. They come with a case that doubles as a charger, so you can keep these earplugs topped off after a long night’s rest. The included ear tips have an NRR rating of 23 dB, which is enough to dull loud noises. Luckily, it’s not enough to keep you from hearing your dog whine to go outside before a mess happens. They also won’t block out an alarm clock, so you don’t have to worry about being late for work because you used your earplugs.
5. BEST WAX: Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs
If you want a great night’s sleep but don’t want to put a plug inside of your ear canal, Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs are worth trying. These moldable silicone earplugs are a wax-like consistency that you can place inside your ear’s bowl and form to fit over the canal. This seals off sounds for an NRR of 22 dB. Mack’s states that you can reuse these earplugs until they become dirty and no longer stick, which they say is around five uses. They come in a hard plastic case, though you may want to find another way to store used plugs. Also, you can rip them in half for children’s smaller ears.
6. BEST FOAM: Flents Ear Plugs, 50 Pair
The Flents Quiet Time Ear Plugs are the foam earplug of choice for anyone whose chief concerns are silence and comfort. These plugs have a Noise Reduction Rating of 33 dB, so for an earplug, they block as much sound as possible. They’re also extremely comfortable, thanks to the foam material. While the name suggests these plugs are for downtime, they’re suitable for any loud scenario, like construction or machinery-related work. When it’s time to hit the pillow, simply open the reusable jar of 50 earplugs and pop a pair in your ears. Although they’re disposable, you can reuse them for a few days until the foam starts to break down.
7. BEST CUSTOM MOLD: Radians Custom Molded Earplugs
Radians Custom Molded Earplugs are popular among those in shooting sports, as they can be an alternative to expensive versions provided by a doctor. To get your custom fit, you mix two compounds for a few seconds and then place them in your ears. Once you press them into shape, they’ll firm up in place. They become a set of practical, soft polymer earplugs that are also reusable and easy to wipe clean. Properly mixed and molded, they’ll provide a Noise Reduction Rating of 26 dB—without having to stick a foam plug in your ear canal. When not in use, you can keep them safe and clean by reusing the plastic containers that held the compounds.
8. BEST FOR TRAVEL: EarPlanes Super Soft Adult Ear Plugs
If you’re worried about an upcoming flight, the EarPlanes Ear Plugs have you covered. These reusable silicone plugs lower noises by 20 decibels. They also help reduce the effects of air pressure changes inside of your ears, reducing your need to chew gum or swallow to release pressure on a plane. The result is a far more comfortable flight and possibly a great nap. They come in a set of three per box, but they can last quite a while since you can reuse them. These are the adult version, but they also come in a child’s size.