The 5 Best Earplugs for Sleeping and Blocking Out Noise
We all know that getting enough sleep is important.
But what can you do when you’re trying to sleep in a noisy environment?
The truth is, some people have hearing that’s so sensitive that even the slightest rustle of the sheets can keep them from snoozing. You can imagine how hard it might be to get sleep for people who have partners who snore loudly, or are surrounded by noisy neighbors who love to party all night, or who have to work at night and sleep during the day.
How can you fix this?
One way is to use earplugs that are specifically designed to help you get uninterrupted sleep.
In addition to ensuring that you get uninterrupted slumber, earplugs can also help you in another way: They filter out high-decibel noises that could otherwise damage your hearing.
When using earplugs for sleeping, the right type should be chosen for maximum comfort and safety. On the other hand, the wrong earplugs can lead to discomfort and the risk of outer ear infections. That’s why, in this article, we have reviewed five of the best earplugs for sleeping. Specifically, we have searched for the best earplugs in the following categories:
- Best overall brand
- Best for side sleepers
- Best for traveling
- Best moldable earplugs
- Best fit for people with smaller ear-canal sizes
Before we introduce the top picks in these categories, let’s first talk about why it’s essential to get the right type of earplugs.
If you're a busy person who doesn't have time to read this entire review, we've simplified everything. Here is a table that provides you with a quick rating of the best earplugs for sleeping.
Tips for Choosing the Right Type of Earplugs
You have to ensure that the earplugs block out as much noise as possible. Otherwise, they may not be helpful for you at all. This may take some trial and error, as everyone's ears are shaped slightly differently. So try a few to see which fit you the best, and are therefore able to block out the most amount of noise.
Earplugs have to be inserted into the ear canal in order to work. Choosing the best-fitting earplug is essential. This is especially true if you tend to sleep on your side or you have a smaller ear canal. You want your earplugs to be comfortable so you are able to get some sleep and you are not having to readjust them throughout the night.
If your earplugs are uncomfortable, you probably won't wear them consistently. They should fit snuggly without being uncomfortable or applying pressure to the eardrum, and they shouldn't irritate your ears or overheat after wearing them for a while. If your earplugs are uncomfortable, it can be a sign that they are too big for your ear canal, which means you should try a smaller size before giving up.
Some earplugs have now gone high-tech, with noise-cancelling properties and designs that maximize the benefits you can get when you use them (depending on your needs). However, this may also come with a higher price tag. Consider your specific needs and think about if the upgrades apply to your situation or somehow make the earplugs work better for you.
Earplugs not only have to fit properly, they also have to be able to stay in place for the duration of their use. If you are trying to get by with earplugs that don't fit you well, not only are you doing yourself a disservice, but you may also be harming your ears. The noise reduction rating (NRR) of an earplug is only true if it properly fits in the ear.
The earplugs that do the work they’re intended for can help you in the following ways:
- Reduce or block out noise
- Allow you to sleep uninterrupted
- Protect your hearing
- Do not give any discomfort
- Ensure that you wake up refreshed and well-rested
- Save your relationship (in case a partner snores)
Now that you know why it is important to find the right fit for you when it comes to earplugs so you can benefit from their intended use, let's look at specific things that you should consider when you're shopping for the best noise-cancelling earplugs for sleeping.
Things You Must Consider When Choosing Earplugs for Sleeping
The earplug must fit comfortably into your ear canal.
The shape of the earplug is essential to the earplugs' level of comfort. You have to try a few out to find which are the most comfortable for you. If your earplugs don’t fit you well, not only will they be uncomfortable, they will also be ineffective at blocking out noise. The good thing is that most earplugs are inexpensive enough that you can get a variety of types to test out to find your best fit.
The shape of the earplug should be something that you personally prefer (moldable, cylindrical, t-shaped, bell-shaped, etc.).
Again, try some options out until you decide which works best for you. It may depend on the activity you plan to be doing while you are wearing your earplugs, which also means that you may need to have several different types of plugs for various activities.
Check the noise-reduction rating (NRR).
The effectiveness of an earplug is specified by a noise reduction rating (NRR), which typically ranges from 15 to 35 decibels of sound attenuation. The higher the rating, the more noise protection it provides, assuming it fits properly. Earplugs with an NRR of 27 and above are considered the most highly effective.
However, earplugs' NRRs show how many decibels of sound they can decrease in a lab setting. The actual performance may vary in the real world, which means you will want to make sure to test your earplugs out in real life instead of relying on the stated NRR.
Choose the material that suits needs.
Silicone and wax earplugs usually last longer than foam earplugs, although they tend to be pricier. Both silicone and wax earplugs can be molded by softening using the heat from your hands, and then placed them into your ear, creating a tight seal to block sound. Wax and silicone earplugs are both easy to clean, so they can be used multiple times. One of the main benefits of using these types of earplugs is that they are very comfortable.
Foam earplugs are the most common, and are made out of the same material that’s used in memory foam mattresses. Compressed foam will expand once it is inserted into your ear canal, until it completely plugs the ear. One disadvantage to buying foam earplugs is that they are not durable. And because foam is very porous, bacteria can easily grow after a small amount of time. However, because foam earplugs are so affordable, they are easy to replace.
Are the earplugs reusable or disposable?
As previously mentioned, reusable earplugs and the moldable options are usually pricier than disposable ones. However, they are usually more durable than disposable options, and they can be reused for several nights. Disposal earplugs can usually be worn just once or twice.
Are you getting the value for your money with that pair of earplugs? While everyone wants to save money, the quality of sleep that you're getting each night is priceless. The product that offers you the best value may not be the same for the next person. This will be a personal decision that may require a few trial runs.
Other Features to Consider
When choosing earplugs, make sure that they are made from high-grade materials so that they don’t disintegrate or leave some particles in your ear canal. You don't want anything left behind in your ear once you take the earplug out that could possibly lead to an infection, so you want to make sure they are easy to remove from your ear without leaving anything behind.
It should minimize noise but not completely block out your hearing, in case there is an emergency or you live with small children or family members/roommates with health concerns. You want to be able to get a good night's sleep without putting yourself or other people into harm's way. Make sure that if someone needed you in an emergency, you will be able to hear it and wake up. You just want the earplugs to take the edge off when it comes to outside noise.
Ensure that the earplugs can be cleaned to minimize the risk of contamination and infection. If your earplugs can be used multiple times, they need to be easy to clean. This also means that you can't forget to clean them after each use, or neglect them, because they could grow bacteria that could make you sick.
Know Before You Buy
What size are your ears?
Earplugs do not come with standard sizing, and are typically offered in a one-size-fits-all form. But some brands offer small, medium, and large options, which can be helpful if you know that your ears are particularly large or small.
Try several sizes until you think you have figured out your ear and ear canal size. Most earplugs are sized to fit men, so women are more likely to be comfortable in a smaller size.
Do you know how to properly insert earplugs?
Most manufacturers will either give you written instructions with their product or direct you to a video tutorial on their website. Take some time to practice the recommended method of insertion so you can be sure that you are getting the best use out of your earplugs.
Do a complete test.
Before buying in bulk, take your earplugs for a test drive. The best way to decide if your earplugs really work for your needs is to mimic the activity you'll be using them for and seeing whether they stay comfortable.
Also, try moving your jaw around because this will alter the shape and size of your ear canal, and can let you know if your comfortable earplugs may turn painful. Finally, test to see how effective the earplugs are. Turn on a fan or turn up your radio to see how much they mute it.
Now that you know the factors that you must consider when shopping for the best noise-cancelling earplugs for sleeping, lets look at the best products that are on the market today.
5 Best Earplugs for Sleeping and Blocking Out Noise
This is the best overall option, both for comfort and value. The “Quiet Please” earplugs are used by audio engineers and musicians because of their level of comfort. The company that makes these knows that you will use a lot of earplugs if you plan to use them every night.
These no-frills earplugs will give you great protection at a great price, which means you won't be paying a high price to be able to sleep every night. These earplugs give you a very good NRR of 29. This level of NRR is enough to drown out loud snoring, but not so much that you will sleep through your alarm in the morning.
These non-toxic earplugs are among the shortest options available, which adds to their level of comfort. They are easy to use—you just have to unwrap each earplug and insert it into one of your ear canals. This product provides the best safe option that's perfect for diminishing loud noises and helps you get the uninterrupted sleep that you need.
If you prefer to sleep on your side, these may be the best earplugs for you. The Flents Quiet Contour earplugs offer hearing protection to help you sleep in any loud environment. They are also ideal for giving you silence when you need to have focus or concentration.
These earplugs are made with a soft foam that sits easily and comfortably in your ear. The foam compresses quickly, which makes them easy to insert. Their specialized contour shape gives you a snug and comfortable fit. With an NNR of 33, you will be able to sleep soundly through the night.
This is the best option for traveling because they come with a carrying case, which keeps them hygienic. They are made of extra-soft and extra-light foam. They have a tapered shape that will easily fit in your ear canal. These earplugs seal gently and tight without applying pressure to your ears.
The outer surface of the earplug is smooth and non-irritating to your ear canal. These earplugs offer an NRR of 33, which is the highest independently tested rating available.
These are the best moldable earplugs available, and they are designed for comfort. Once fitted, they are very comfortable because they fit precisely to the ear without applying any pressure, which some people find to be more comfortable than foam earplugs.
The earplugs give you medium to high sound protection, which ranks them among the best reusable earplugs for sleeping. They provide an NNR of 22. Each earplug can be used up to five times before it loses its sticky texture and has to be discarded.
These earplugs offer the best fit for people with smaller ear canals. The small size of the earplugs give you an optimal fit and ear protection for smaller ears, but is still appropriate for any size ear and ear canal. Laser Lite’s low-pressure foam expands gently inside your ear canal to give you a comfortable long-term wear. The contoured t-shape lets you handle them easily, which makes inserting the earplugs and removing them easy to do.
They are made from a self-adjusting polyurethane foam that expands to fit almost every wearer. They have an NNR of 32, which will allow you to have a quiet night's sleep. The smooth, soil-resistant material that the closed-cell foam skin is made of helps prevent dirt build-up.
All of the featured earplugs for sleeping are the best picks for their categories. However, today’s winner is Flents Quiet Please Earplugs for effective noise reduction, comfort, and value for your money.