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Home / Best Earplugs for Sleep

Written by

Lauren Fountain

author

Earplugs are an easy, affordable, and effective way to block out sounds that could otherwise interfere with your sleep, like traffic noise or your partner’s snoring. Common designs fit inside the ear canal by compressing for insertion and then expanding once in place. Others rest in the outer ear canal.

While there are a variety of different earplugs on the market, shoppers should be aware that not all are designed for sleep. Other earplugs are often intended for situations in which the user is awake, like noisy work environments, concerts, or travel. The level of sound that the earplugs are able to protect against is known as the noise reduction rate (NRR).

Among sleep earplugs, shoppers will have a wide selection of different materials, shapes, price-points, and more. We’ll share our favorite options, explain who they may be best for, and detail other factors you should consider to find the right pair for you.

The Best Earplugs for Sleep

Product Details

Flents Ear Plugs

Best Overall

Flents Ear Plugs

Flents Ear Plugs
Noise Reduction Rate: 29-33 dB
Who it's best for:
  • Those trying to sleep through especially loud noises
  • People who want disposable earplugs
  • Shoppers who prefer to buy in bulk
Highlights:
  • Effectively blocks most sleep-disturbing sounds
  • Tapered foam offers a snug fit
  • Budget-friendly
Flents Ear Plugs

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on the Flents products

The Flents Ear Plugs are light, soft, and highly flexible for a comfortable fit that can help muffle sounds in a noisy room.

These earplugs use lightweight, tapered foam for a snug, custom fit within the ear canal. The NRR varies between 29 dB and 33 dB, a range that can help block significant external sounds. They are designed as single-use, disposable earplugs.

Six pack sizes are available, ranging from 10 to 200 pairs. Due to slightly different designs, the listed NRR varies between these pack sizes. Since the larger packs typically cost less per pair, regular users can save money by buying in bulk. The Flents Ear Plugs are made in the United States.

Mack's Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs

Best Value

Mack's Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs

Mack's Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs
Noise Reduction Rate: 22 dB
Who it's best for:
  • People who want to try earplugs without a big investment
  • Those trying to block moderate noise
  • Individuals who prefer an earplug that rests in the outer ear canal
Highlights:
  • Small packs of 6 pairs
  • Moldable shape allows for a tight fit
  • Sits in the outer ear canal for better comfort
Mack's Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on the Mack's products

Because of their putty-like moldability, the Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs should fit comfortably in most sleepers’ ears, forming an airtight seal without pressing into the ear canal.

While many earplugs are inserted into the ear, the Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs are engineered to rest in the outer ear canal to help prevent the pressure and discomfort sometimes associated with earplugs. The soft, moldable silicone is easy to manipulate to fit your unique ear shape.

Since these earplugs have an NRR of 22 dB, they should diminish how much noise you hear. The unique design helps block out snoring and background noises, but you may still notice louder sounds. Mack’s also makes earplugs with higher NRRs for extra protection.

The Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs are disposable, and each pair may last for up to five uses before needing to be replaced. Each pack includes six pairs of earplugs. They are made in the United States.

Keenhealth Reusable Earplugs

Most Secure

Keenhealth Reusable Earplugs

Keenhealth Reusable Earplugs
Noise Reduction Rate: 29 dB
Who it's best for:
  • Sleepers who prefer reusable earplugs
  • Those who want loud noises filtered rather than muffled
  • People who prefer an easy place to grip
Highlights:
  • Reusable and eco-friendly
  • Flexible design fits most people
  • Snug-fitting design stays in place throughout the night
Keenhealth Reusable Earplugs

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on the Keenhealth products

For most sleepers, the Keenhealth Reusable Earplugs’ Tri-Flange design should be flexible enough to fit comfortably and stay put throughout the night.

This umbrella-like shape has three distinct tiers that fit into the ear canal. An attenuating sound filter extends from the base, protecting against sounds over 85 dB while serving as a convenient place to grip. With an NRR of 29 dB, they should also help block out many common bedroom noises, like snoring, and significantly reduce louder noises.

The Keenhealth Reusable Earplugs use hypoallergenic, BPA-free silicone. These earplugs are durable and reusable so that you don’t have to replace them night after night. Simply clean them between uses to help prevent the buildup of bacteria.

Each set comes with two pairs, two cases, and a storage pouch.

The Ear Buddy Earplugs

Best Foam

The Ear Buddy Earplugs

The Ear Buddy Earplugs
Noise Reduction Rate: 32 dB
Who it's best for:
  • Shoppers comforted by a money-back guarantee
  • Those trying to sleep in especially noisy environments
  • Sleepers who prefer the feel of soft foam
Highlights:
  • Comfortable polyfoam design
  • Classic bell-shaped construction
  • Strong noise reduction rating
The Ear Buddy Earplugs

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on the The Ear Buddy products

Constructed of soft foam, the Ear Buddy Earplugs are built to rest comfortably in the ear without falling out.

These disposable earplugs use a bell-shaped design for added comfort. They are crafted of soft, non-abrasive polyfoam that is easy to compress to fit inside the ear, and slow to rebound for a customized fit. Thanks to their NRR of 32 dB, the Ear Buddy Premium Soft Foam Earplugs should be effective at blocking snoring, traffic noise, and other sounds that could interrupt your sleep.

The Ear Buddy Earplugs come in a jar that contains 50 pairs. If customers aren’t satisfied, they can take advantage of a 60-day money-back guarantee.

Anbow Waterproof Noise Reduction Earplugs

Best Silicone

Anbow Waterproof Noise Reduction Earplugs

Anbow Waterproof Noise Reduction Earplugs
Noise Reduction Rate: 32 dB
Who it's best for:
  • Those who prefer a reusable option
  • People who find it difficult to mold earplugs to their ears
  • Sleepers who want strong noise-blocking potential
Highlights:
  • High-grade silicone is very durable
  • Waterproof for easy cleaning
  • Hypoallergenic
Anbow Waterproof Noise Reduction Earplugs

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on the Anbow products

The Anbow Waterproof Earplugs use high-grade, BPA-free silicone for superior comfort. Since the silicone is washable, the Anbow Earplugs can be cleaned and safely reused.

Because of their ergonomic shape and soft material, the Anbow Waterproof Earplugs are easier to insert than many earplugs. Rather than manually compressing the material before insertion, the user holds onto the base, spins, and carefully inserts the earplugs. While they are crafted to be comfortable for everyday use, sleepers should clean them regularly to prevent bacteria and wax buildup.

The Anbow Waterproof Earplugs have an NRR of 32 dB to help protect against loud noises that may otherwise wake you.

The set comes with three pairs, each of which has its own plastic storage box. One pair has a cord connecting the two earplugs, while the other two pairs are cordless. An included waterproof pouch can hold up to two pairs of earplugs at a time for convenient transport.

How to Choose Earplugs for Sleeping


Selecting the right earplugs for sleeping can help improve your rest. However, there is a wide range of options available, so you’ll need to consider a variety of factors to decide which earplugs are best for you. Quality and comfort are particularly important, but other criteria may come into play in your purchasing decision.

What to Consider When Purchasing Earplugs for Sleep

We’ll break down the top things shoppers look for when purchasing earplugs for sleeping. On the surface, earplug options may seem quite similar, but focusing more closely on the aspects that set them apart can help you hone in on a pair that suits your needs.

Price
The price-point for a pair of earplugs usually depends on its materials and reusability. If you buy disposable earplugs in bulk, prices start at under 25 cents per pair. Reusable pairs often cost closer to $10 each, though some technologically-advanced, noise-cancelling devices cost over $100.

The best value will depend on your intended usage. If you plan to use earplugs every night and don’t mind cleaning them regularly, reusable earplugs will most likely save you money in the long run. The ongoing monthly cost of disposable earplugs can add up. However, if you plan to only use earplugs occasionally or you don’t want to clean them between uses, disposable options may be a better value.

Reusable vs. Single Use
Some earplugs are intended for single use, while others are built for reusability. Disposable, single-use earplugs usually are composed of less durable materials to make them more affordable. They can be highly convenient, since you throw them away after use rather than cleaning them.

Reusable earplugs use more durable materials engineered to stand up to nightly use. They should be cleaned regularly, which some owners may find inconvenient. However, they produce less waste and may save you money over time.

Materials
Earplugs may use a variety of materials, including foam, silicone, wax, and latex. Foam is usually the most common and affordable option. Silicone models generally rest at the entrance of the ear and do not penetrate the ear canal much, if at all. Many people consider wax earplugs among the most effective, but they usually carry a higher price despite the fact that they are intended for single use.

Some earplugs may also contain latex. For most individuals, this shouldn’t be a problem, but those with latex allergies should look at product descriptions carefully to ensure they select a latex-free model.

Noise Reduction
The level of noise reduction is measured by NRR, or noise reduction rating, which indicates how many decibels (dB) the earplugs are capable of blocking out. Higher numbers indicate more significant potential noise reduction. Earplugs typically have an NRR between 22 dB to 33 dB. Depending on your needs and how loud the noises in your bedroom are, options on either end of this range may be appropriate.

Comfort
If you plan to wear earplugs while you sleep, comfort is critical. Several factors can contribute to how comfortable earplugs feel to you, including their materials, size, and shape. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to anticipate which earplugs will be most comfortable for you, so finding your ideal pair may be a matter of trial and error.

Is it Safe to Sleep with Earplugs?

Experts typically view earplugs as safe when used as directed, but there are some potential risks. Regular use of earplugs could contribute to earwax buildup, which can cause dizziness, tinnitus, itchy ears, and hearing difficulties. Additionally, putting an earplug in too deeply and/or removing it too quickly could also risk damage to the ear canal.

While muffling noise is the goal of wearing earplugs, this can have drawbacks. You may be less likely to awaken to important sounds, like an alarm or a child crying.

To reduce some of the potential risks associated with earplugs, sleepers should follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Maintaining clean hands and ears, carefully inserting and removing the earplugs, and cleaning or disposing of them according to the provided guidelines should help make them safer and more comfortable. However, if you are concerned, have an underlying condition, or experience pain or discomfort, it’s always best to talk to your doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sleeping with Earplugs

Is it bad to sleep with earplugs every night?

Most experts consider sleeping with earplugs safe, but it does carry potential risks, like earwax buildup, damage to the ear canal, and blocking out important sounds. To minimize risks, follow the instructions that come with the earplugs. Inserting or removing them incorrectly or not following hygiene procedures could lead to issues.

What is “noise reduction rating,” or NRR?

The noise reduction rating (NRR) is a unit of measurement that indicates how many decibels (dB) earplugs and other hearing protection devices can block out when used correctly. A higher NRR indicates a greater potential for noise reduction. Ratings typically range from 22 dB to 33 dB for earplugs.

Do earplugs block the sound of snoring?

Correctly worn earplugs should block or significantly reduce the sound of snoring. However, if your partner snores loudly and/or your earplugs have a lower NRR, you may still hear some sounds.

What else can I do to reduce nighttime noise?

While earplugs are an affordable and effective way to reduce nighttime noise, there are several other options, including headphones, sound apps, white noise machines, fans, and room modifications.

Several sleep headphone designs are available, some of which rest in the ear and others outside. Some sleep masks and pillows have built-in speakers to give sleepers listening options without the use of conventional headphones. Sound apps can be used on your favorite device and/or in conjunction with headphones. They may include music, meditations, nature sounds, sleep stories, and more.

White noise machines produce a consistent background sound that some liken to rushing water or radio static, and this can help drown out other sounds. A fan can have a similar effect.

Finally, room modifications may be useful. Soft materials, like curtains and carpet, can help absorb sound to keep the room quieter. If the noises are coming from outside, soundproof curtains are worth considering.

Written by

Lauren Fountain

author

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