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Earplugs are effective and affordable tools to create a more restful sleeping environment. However, one size doesn’t fit all, and different earplug designs suit different sleeping types.
- Best overall for sleeping: Flents Quiet Please Earplugs
- Best for people with wide ear canals: Howard Leight MAX-1 Foam Earplugs
- Best for comfort: Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Putty Earplugs
- Best for reuse: Hearprotek Sleeping Earplugs
- Best for people with small ear canals: Ohropax Classic Wax Earplugs
- Best for noise masking: Bose Sleepbuds II
- Best custom-molded earplugs for sleeping: Radians Custom Molded Earplugs
If honking horns or a snoring partner keep you awake, you already know what
High quality earplugs are a simple fix for a loud sleep environment, since they reduce noise significantly. Even better, no earplug is designed to block out noise completely, so you won’t have to worry about sleeping through your alarm clock or an emergency.
We kept an eye (and ear) out for the best earplugs available to help those seeking a quieter night’s sleep. Here’s what we found.
We zeroed in on some of the best earplug options out there by considering a range of prices, materials, and design. We looked at features, such as:
- ease of use
- noise reduction ability
Noise reduction rating (NRR) is an average reduction of noise with directed use in laboratory tests. We include an NRR with the products listed below — products with higher NRRs can reduce noise better than products with lower NRRs.
We analyzed the claims made by each product manufacturer, and we contrasted them with user critiques and reviews to provide you with accurate information.
Read on and get ready for your best night’s sleep.
- $ = under $15
- $$ = $15–$50
- $$$ = over $50
Best overall earplugs for sleeping
Flents Quiet Please Earplugs
- Price: $
- NRR: 29 decibels
- Pro: comfortable for side sleepers
- Con: for one-time use
Low-tech foam earplugs are still considered by many to be the most effective type for blocking out noise. To use foam earplugs effectively, you’ll need to fit them appropriately in your ear. This internal positioning is what makes them so effective.
Flents Quiet Please Earplugs are cylindrical with flattened sides. These foam earplugs are designed to lie flat inside the opening of the ear, making them a more comfortable choice for side sleepers.
They get high marks for being malleable and expandable, making them a good choice for most ear canal sizes. Since they don’t taper at one end, they may provide a more thorough seal when inserted in the ear. However, you might find that you dislike that amount of pressure in your ear.
Like all foam earplugs, only use them once to eliminate buildup of bacteria.
Try this for fit
Roll the ends of the earplugs into a shape and size that feels appropriate for your ear canal, and place them partially inside. Hold them in place to let them expand and create a seal.
Best earplugs for sleeping for people with wide ear canals
Howard Leight MAX-1 Foam Earplugs
- Price: $
- NRR: 33 decibels
- Pro: good for people in loud, industrial environments
- Con: not suitable for small ears
For people with wide ear canals, these foam earplugs may provide a better fit than other foam types. They are bell-shaped and contoured to stay in place.
Howard Leight earplugs are designed to provide hearing protection for people who work around loud noises and industrial environments. So these earplugs also feature a fairly high NRR (33 decibels), making them a good choice for blocking out loud parties and other noises.
Like all foam earplugs, they’re designed for one-time use.
Most comfortable earplugs for sleeping
Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Putty Earplugs
- Price: $
- NRR: 22 decibels
- Pro: block out constant background noises
- Con: a tad too large
Unlike foam earplugs, putty earplugs cover the outer opening of the ear, instead of plugging the ear canal. This makes them more comfortable for people who find foam earplugs irritating, itchy, or too pressurized.
Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Putty Earplugs have an NRR of 22 decibels. According to the manufacturer, the earplugs are best suited for reducing constant background noises rather than sharp bursts.
They’re easy to mold to your ear opening’s shape and comfortable for most users to wear. Some find them a tad too large or waxy to the touch.
In addition to providing noise reduction during sleep, these earplugs can reduce ear pressure and pain while flying. They’re also waterproof and can be used in the pool or at the beach if you want to protect your ears from moisture.
Best reusable earplugs for sleeping
Hearprotek Sleeping Earplugs
- Price: $$
- NRR: 32 decibels
- Pro: made of washable silicone
- Con: may not stay put during sleep
These earplugs feature a double-layer ergonomic design, using air pockets between layers as additional soundproofing. They’re made of soft, washable silicone.
These transportable earplugs come with a small carrying case and backpack hook.
They can also be used to reduce noise in loud environments, like concerts, shooting ranges, and construction sites.
Best earplugs for people with small ear canals
Ohropax Classic Wax Earplugs
- Price: $$
- NRR: 23 decibels
- Pro: may provide tighter seal than other foam or silicone types
- Con: some users find them sticky
Ohropax Classic earplugs are made from wax and cotton. They’re moldable to the ear and designed to completely seal the ear’s entrance.
These earplugs are made to be comfortable and durable, though some users find them sticky or oily. For that reason, they may be uncomfortable for people with long hair that might stick to them while sleeping.
They’re reusable, which might make them a more affordable choice over time. People with small ear canals often find that these provide a better fit and tighter seal than foam or silicone types.
Best earbuds for noise masking
Bose Sleepbuds II
- Price: $$$
- Pro: good for people with tinnitus
- Con: need to be recharged daily and only mask external noise
Bose is well known for noise-canceling technology, though this is different from noise masking. The Sleepbuds mask, instead of block or cancel, external noise — that’s why they don’t have an NRR. They’re like tiny white noise machines that fit snugly into your ears.
They connect to an app that provides you with a library of white noise and environmental nature sounds to choose from. You can also choose the volume and duration of play. There’s an alarm function if you want to use them to wake you up, too.
If you have tinnitus, these may be a good choice for you. The American Tinnitus Association notes that many people with this condition find relief with sound masking.
These sleep earbuds come with three tips, so you can choose the best fit for your ears. The design, which uses a mix of durable plastic, has comfort in mind — even for side sleepers.
These Sleepbuds need to be recharged daily and will hold a charge for about 8 hours.
Users report that the Sleepbuds are excellent for masking transportation sounds, such as traffic. For some people, they don’t work as well for snoring.
Best custom-molded earplugs for sleeping
Radians Custom Molded Earplugs
- Price: $
- NRR: 26 decibels
- Pro: custom-molded to your ears
- Con: takes 10 minutes to make both earplugs
Custom-molded earplugs are designed to provide you with a personalized fit. This do-it-yourself kit from Radians includes silicone material that you mold into earplugs. It takes around 10 minutes to make both earplugs, and users say it’s easy to do.
In addition to blocking out sound effectively, custom-molded earplugs can be washed, making them very cost-effective.
Still searching for the right sleep products?
Let us help. We provide evidence-driven reviews and brand comparisons on top sleep products, like pillows and mattresses, so you can get the sound sleep you deserve.
|Flents Quiet Please Earplugs||$||29 decibels||foam|
|Howard Leight MAX-1 Foam Earplugs||$||33 decibels||foam|
|Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Putty Earplugs||$||22 decibels||silicone|
|Hearprotek Sleeping Earplugs||$$||32 decibels||silicone|
|Ohropax Classic Wax Earplugs||$$||23 decibels||wax|
|Bose Sleepbuds II||$$$||N/A||earbuds that mask noise|
|Radians Custom Molded Earplugs||$||26 decibels||silicone|
Here’s what to consider when choosing the best earplugs for a great night’s sleep:
- Fit. What works best for you will probably be determined by fit. Ill-fitting earplugs won’t provide you with enough noise reduction. The size of your ear canal is an important factor. If the earplugs are too big for your ear canal, they’ll constantly slide out. Too small, and they may be uncomfortable.
- Type. Experimenting with different types may help you find the type that provides you with the most comfort and noise reduction. Some are designed to fit into your ear canal, while others cover your ear. Both techniques can block out sound.
- Materials. Earplugs are commonly made of foam, cotton, or silicone. Some materials may be stickier than others, and some may be less comfortable for some users.
- Price. You can find packages of disposable earplugs for under $10. There are also reusable varieties, which tend to cost a bit more.
- Reusable vs. single-use. There are pros and cons to both types. Of course, disposable earplugs are usually cheaper. However, they’re also not as durable and aren’t very environmentally friendly. They can also build up gunk if they’re not used as intended (i.e., they’re used more than once).
- Noise reduction rating. Check the NRR before you buy. The higher the rating, the more sound the earplugs can block out.
Earplugs are generally considered safe. However, no matter what type of earplug you decide works best, make sure you know the potential risks.
External white noise machines can be used in addition to earplugs to completely muffle other sounds. They can also be used instead of earplugs.
Other devices are also available that you can wear for noise reduction during sleep, including earmuffs. While they typically provide high NRR, most people find these earmuffs uncomfortable to wear during sleep, since they fit over the head like standard headphones.
Is it OK to sleep with earplugs every night?
Earplugs are generally thought to be safe. However, it’s important to use them correctly and clean them properly if they’re reusable.
If they’re designed to be single-use, don’t be tempted to reuse them. Instead, throw them away, and use a new pair each night.
What is an NRR?
An NRR (noise reduction rating) is a rating that shows how many decibels of noise a pair of earplugs can block. The higher the NRR, the more sound the earplugs will block when used as intended.
Can earplugs block out snoring?
Depending on the NRR, earplugs may be able to block out some sounds of snoring. However, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to block the sound of snoring completely.
When noise interferes with sleep, not only is it exhausting, but it’s also detrimental to health.
Earplugs are an inexpensive and effective solution, with many types of earplugs to choose from, including noise-masking options.
Factors to consider when choosing earplugs include the size of your ear canal and personal preferences about materials.