There are hundreds of different earplugs available for purchase, and all of them claim to help you sleep better. Which one should you buy? In this article we’ll give you an overview of the top earplug brands and let you know which one is best for your needs. The overall best earplugs for sleeping are HEAROS Xtreme Protection.
Top Picks for Earplugs
- HEAROS – Editor’s choice – best overall
- Howard Leight (Honeywell) – Best for smaller ears
- Mack’s – Highest level of noise reduction
#1. Hearos Xtreme Protection
- Soft polyurethane foam
- Noise-reduction: 33 dB
- Great for side sleepers
- Foam may expand too fast
Our experience with HEAROS
Based on our testing, we found that Hearos Xtreme Protection earplugs for sleeping are a great choice when it comes to blocking out internal noises. However, we also determined that they are not as good for outside noise. Since we are focusing on the earplugs as a sleep aid, their performance in regards to outdoor noise should not be a big deal. They will serve you well in handling common loud noises like a snoring partner, blaring music, and television. Hearos Xtreme Protection earplugs are quite large but happen to be some of the softest in the market.
The insertion process for these earplugs is easy. All you need to do is roll them up and hold them in place in your ear canal until they expand. Hearos Xtreme Protection earplugs should be ideal for you if comfortable and large earplugs are your thing. One of the only downsides to HEAROS I found is that they may be uncomfortable for people with smaller ear canals and the foam may expand too fast.
What makes HEAROS stand out?
- Comfortable – In fact they are some of the softest earplugs in the market available today.
- Easy to insert – The foam is easily rolled up and put into most ears.
- Larger for full coverage – They will stay in and not fall out.
- Keeps the noise out – Once they are in, you will not have to worry about sounds ruining your sleep.
#2. Howard Leight by Honeywell
- Fits small ears
- Disposable 5-pack
- Noise reduction: 30
- Not great for larger ears
Our experience with Honeywell
One thing that we loved about Howard Leight earplugs is that they come with a cord. With this feature, losing them is not easy and finding them in your bag or drawer would not be as problematic as with cordless earplugs. One cool aspect that stood out is that these earplugs come in a beautiful blend of neon and purple color and have a unique T-shape contoured design. The design makes it easy for them to fit into your ear canal and the earplugs have foam tips that are resistant to dirt. This feature reduces the chances of getting an infection.
One set of Howard Leight earplugs contains 100 corded pairs and can block out any noise up to 32 decibels. They will protect your hearing from traffic noise, noisy neighbors, construction sites, and other sounds that can disrupt your sleep throughout the night. We noticed that these earplugs provide a perfect fit if you have average-sized ears. They can be problematic for individuals with smaller ears since they cannot fit into small ear canals. If you do not like the cords, you can also get cordless versions in smaller or larger packs.
What Makes Honeywell Stand Out?
- Have a cord – You won’t easily lose them like other earplugs. There is also a non-cord option.
- Super Comfortable – Soil-resistant closed-cell foam is ultra comfortable for sleeping.
- Easily Portable & Reusable – Cord and quality allow these to be used for months.
- Quality Backed by Honeywell – The company is owned by Honeywell, which is known for their quality.
- Separate wrapping for each pair – Great to hand out at events or the workplace.
If you are a heavy sweater than you may not like them as they can become a bit sticky in the ear canal. But our next pick is perfect for you.
#3. Mack’s Ultra Soft Foam Earplugs
- NRR of 33 dB
- Tapered foam
- Short length
Our experience with Mack’s
Mack’s Ultra Soft Foam earplugs easily make it into this list given the high levels of comfort that they gave us when we were trying them out. The material used to make these earplugs is super low-pressure tapered foam, which makes them some of the most comfortable pair of earplugs that you can find. Their noise reduction rating (NRR) clocks in at 32 decibels, meaning that these earplugs can serve you in other places apart from just sleeping. You can also use them if you are in a loud concert, in a shooting range, or working with power tools among other noisy activities.
These earplugs are some of the smallest that you can find, and they easily roll into a small cylinder, which we found makes it easy to insert into the ear canal. The size also makes them great for side sleepers. The downside of the small size is that they may prove difficult to remove when you wake up, especially if you have large ear canals. That aside, they are pretty comfortable exerting minimal pressure to your ear canal. If you have sensitive or smaller ears, Mack’s Ultra Soft Foam earplugs are worth a try. Also, if you are not sure about the size of your ear canals, starting with this product would be a good idea. One of the downsides is that if you have a larger ear canal, we noticed that they tend to get stuck.
What Makes Mack’s Stand Out?
- Very Comfortable – The foam used to make these is top quality. You would expect nothing less from a company dedicated to making the best ear protection.
- Multipurpose – 32 db protection means you can use them for more than just sleep if needed.
- Easy to Insert – Foam easily rolls up for insertion and expands for full protection.
Quick View and Comparison
|Earplugs||Sound Protection||Our Review||Buy Now|
|Mack's Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs||Best||Coming Soon||Check Price|
|HEAROS Extreme||Great||Read Full Review||Check Price|
|Mack's Ultra Soft Earplugs||Good||Read Full Review||Check Price|
|Howard Leight (honeywell) Earplugs||Good||Read Full Review||Check Price|
How much noise can ear plugs actually eliminate?
The amount of noise reduction you can expect from your earplugs depends on a few key factors.
- The official noise reduction rating of the ear plugs – The official noise reduction rating displayed on the package indicates the average amount of noise that you can expect the ear plugs to reduce. The higher the number, the more sound that is reduced. For example, if the traffic outside of your house is rated at 61 decibels, then a set of ear plugs that is rated at 28 dB will cause you to only hear 31 decibels of sound.
- Your hearing – If you have sensitive ears, then you’ll hear more sound then someone who already suffers from hearing loss. If your ears are particularly sensitive to loud noises, then you should buy a product with a higher noise reduction rating (NRR).
- How close you are to the noise source – If your partner is snoring loudly right next to you, the sound will seem much louder than traffic from the street outside of your apartment even though the traffic is objectively louder. If the noise that is bothering you is located within your bedroom, you might want to opt for a higher noise reduction rating.
Which type of earplug should I buy?
Earplugs are made out of a few different types of material, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
- Foam – This is the most common material used and is designed specifically for sleeping. Foam earplugs are designed to be disposable and should be thrown away after two or three uses, although some manufacturers recommend discarding them after a single use. They generally have a higher noise reduction rating when compared to other types. Even though they are the most popular type, some people find them uncomfortable and should look for other options.
- Silicon – These ear plugs are made out of a malleable silicon putty that forms a seal over your ear opening instead of being inserted directly into your ear cavity. The positive aspect of silicon earplugs is that they can be molded to fit any ear type, and they usually last for a few days. Unfortunately, since they cover the ear rather than expanding into the ear cavity they tend to have a much lower NRR compared to other types of ear plugs. Many side sleepers prefer silicone material since it doesn’t put pressure on the ear canal while sleeping.
- Wax – These usually have a higher noise reduction rating than silicon, but lower than their foam counterparts. If you’re the type of person who hates foam but wants slightly better protection than silicon, these could be a great option. Wax earplugs don’t go as deep into your ear as foam ear plugs do, so they may be slightly more comfortable, especially for side sleepers.
- Soft plastic – These reusable ear plugs are made out of soft plastic and are designed to be cleaned and used multiple times. They’re more popular for use in entertainment or sporting contexts rather than sleeping. But if you want a permanent solution and can handle the discomfort than these are a great way to block sound.
- Custom molded – If you think all of the above types are too uncomfortable, then custom molding might be a solution. You usually have to go to a doctor or other licensed specialist to get these made, but they will be designed specifically for your ears and should be much more comfortable than standard-sized ear plugs. Unfortunately foam still has a higher NRR, but if you value comfort it’s hard to beat the airtight seal you get from custom molding.
If none of these are working for you, then you should consider investing in noise-canceling earbuds like QuietOn Sleep Earbuds. The active noise canceling that these sleep earbuds provide do a much better job at reducing ambient noise so you can get a good night’s sleep. The advanced noise-masking technology is vastly superior to what you’ll get from a pair of traditional earplugs, but they are much more expensive.
Considerations to Make Before Purchasing Earplugs for Sleep
Earplugs may not be the best solution for everyone looking for that good night sleep. They may be uncomfortable for some. With that in mind, here are some of the things to consider when looking for the best earplugs for sleeping. These are the same attributes we use to rate all ear plugs.
- Fit – The perfect fit translates to maximum noise cancelling for a particular set of earplugs.
- Comfort – Uncomfortable earplugs may deprive you of sleep instead of making you sleep better. Foam or silicone earplugs are the most comfortable.
- Noise Reduction Rating – The higher the rating, the better an earplug is at keeping out the noise.
- Durability – Going for reusable earplugs is the best idea since it saves you some bucks in the long run.
- User-Friendliness – You may find it easier to insert some types of earplugs into your ear than others.
You should try out different types of earplugs and settle on the one that you are most comfortable with.
Is It Safe to Sleep With Earplugs Every Night?
In general, earplugs are safe to use, but they come with some potential side effects if you use them every day. They slowly push the wax in your ear back, which causes build-up. As a result, several problems like tinnitus and temporary loss of hearing may arise. In case this happens to you; then you need to make an appointment with your doctor or start using ear drops to soften the wax so that it can clear out quickly.
Earplugs can also cause ear infections though in rare cases. Bacteria may either grow on the excess wax that builds up or on the earplugs if not cleaned properly before and after each use. Ear infections are a serious problem that requires immediate medical intervention, otherwise you could experience hearing loss.
Pros & Cons of Using Earplugs While Sleeping
Why Use Earplugs During Sleep?
- They block out irritating noise at night
- Ideal for blocking out background noise when sleeping during the day
- Useful while travelling long distances
- Improves sleep quality
Some Potential Downsides
- Does not solve noise problems in the long-term
- May cause infections in the ear though on rare occasions
- May fall out of your ear canal in the middle of sleep
- May lead to earwax build-up
More Solutions for Better Sleep
A pair of earplugs goes a long way in enhancing the quality of your sleep, but that isn’t all they do. There are several other practices that can help you sleep even better besides keeping background noise away. Here are some tips that you can employ to have some quality sleep.
- Having a Consistent Sleeping Pattern – Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day is the prerequisite to sleeping healthy. The ideal times are sleeping not too late into the night and waking up in the morning. Sleeping in the dark is much easier, and you will wake up energized when the sun comes up in the morning.
- Turn Off the Lights – The lights include devices, such as television, cell phones, tablets, and computers. These devices emit blue light, which suppresses sleep. As a result, you may not get enough quality sleep. Keep your devices away an hour before bedtime to ensure your body prepares itself for rest without any interruptions.
- Add Some Comfort – Invest in a good pillow and mattress to ensure your body is comfortable as you get your shuteye. Being uncomfortable during sleep adversely affects the quality of your sleep and may even harm your body.
- Have a Nightly Ritual – Find a relaxing activity that you can perform every night before bedtime. Your mind will associate such actions with sleep rendering it easier to fall asleep every night. You can try listening to soft music, meditation, reading or taking a shower.
- Avoid Eating Right Before Bed – You should allow your body to relax and digest food for at least two hours before going to bed. Eating just before getting into bed will make it harder to fall asleep. Also, avoid alcohol before bedtime since it also adversely affects sleep quality. You may drink water but not so much that you have to interrupt your sleep to go to the bathroom.
Earplugs are a great solution for light sleepers who dwell in noisy environments. They can go a long way in improving your quality of sleep if any kind of noise is an issue in your bedroom. While using them, you need to ensure that you maintain high standards of cleanliness to avoid developing any ear complications. Also, follow the usage instructions that come with the earplugs, but never for any reason push them further than necessary into your ear.
Related product reviews:
Psst... the sleep review industry is full of liars, sharks, and thieves. It's a modern-day version of getting ripped off at your local mattress store. So, why should you trust us?