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Earplugs can help block sound, which may benefit those needing quieter environments to fall asleep and live in noisy areas or with a snoring partner. We review the ten best here.

Earplugs are products that people put in their ears to block outside noise. People may use them for different reasons and in different situations, including:

  • During sleep: About one-third of all adults in the United States experience sleep deprivation. A 2020 study on hospital patients shows that earplugs and eye masks may help people wake up less often during sleep.
  • For comfort: Research shows that comfort is a key deciding factor in earplug use. How well earplugs fit often depends on ear canal size and where they sit while a person sleeps. A person may need to try a couple of options to find their ideal match.
  • To cancel out noise: The noise reduction rating (NRR) roughly indicates how well earplugs and similar devices can block sound. The higher the NRR rating, the more noise is blocked out.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Best for a high NRR: Howard Leight by Honeywell Laser Lite

  • Price: around $27 for 200 pairs
  • Noise Reduction Rate (NRR): 32 decibels (dB)
  • Material: foam
  • Reusable: no

These yellow and magenta foam earplugs offer a high NRR of 32 dB, making them suitable for people who sleep in noisy environments.

The manufacturer claims its product has a near-universal fit, and the soil-resistant, closed-cell foam skin prevents dirt buildup.


  • has a high NRR rating
  • has an easy-to-use design, according to reviews
  • easily visible, so a person will not lose pairs


  • may fall out when sleeping
  • not reusable
  • may cause itching inside the ear canals, according to reviews
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Best hypoallergenic: Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs

  • Price: around $13 for 12 pairs
  • NRR: 22 dB
  • Material: silicone
  • Reusable: yes

These moldable, silicone earplugs offer hypoallergenic, waterproof protection. They cover the opening of the ear canal rather than fitting inside it.

The manufacturer says its product alleviates pressure and pain during flying and can block out snoring. The NRR is 22 dB.


  • has a hypoallergic design
  • may be more comfortable as the earplugs change shape easily
  • these earplugs are multi-use, as people can also use them for swimming and traveling


  • comes in a smaller pack size than many other earplugs
  • may not fit everyone’s ears
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Best size adjustable: Kuyax Premium Silicone Ear Plugs

  • Price: around $20 for four pairs
  • NRR: 32 dB
  • Material: silicone
  • Reusable: yes

These washable, reusable earplugs have an NRR of 32 dB. They contain high-grade, hypoallergenic silicone and are suitable for different noise and pressure environments, such as concerts, watersport arenas, and construction sites.

The manufacturer states that people can cut the material to make it more suitable for children and adults with smaller ear canals.

The company also states that these earplugs are suitable for side sleepers because they fit flush with a person’s ear.


  • washable and reusable
  • they sit flush with the ears, making them more comfortable for side sleepers
  • adjustable, so suitable for most ear canal sizes
  • have a high NRR rating, which means they may block out more noise than some other products


  • some reviewers state that the earplugs may break when removing them from the ear canals
  • some customers with long hair state that their hair sticks to the earplugs, making it painful to remove
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Best for blocking construction sound: The Ear Buddy Premium Soft Foam Earplugs

  • Price: around $25 for 50 pairs
  • NRR: 32 dB
  • Material: foam
  • Reusable: yes

These earplugs can protect hearing by blocking noise at concerts, construction sites, shooting ranges, and snoring sleepers. They have a high NRR of 32 dB.

The company notes that they come with simple instructions and work best when consumers follow these instructions. A person should discard them after several uses.


  • can block out noises that people may encounter in both rural and urban areas
  • according to reviews, these earplugs are comfortable to wear
  • the company offers a 60-day 100% money-back guarantee


  • according to some reviewers, the earplugs will not stay in if a person has a smaller ear canal
  • some customers say the earplugs may not cover the whole ear canal if a person has a large ear canal
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Best reusable earplugs: ANBOW Silicone Ear Plugs

  • Price: around $16 for three pairs
  • NRR: 32 dB
  • Material: silicone
  • Reusable: yes

These reusable, washable, and hypoallergenic earplugs have an NRR of 32 dB. The manufacturer says that the ultra-soft, high-grade silicone material can last for years and that it has a comfortable design.

These earplugs come with a plastic storage box and a waterproof travel pouch. A person does not roll these earplugs between their fingertips, as they would with foam plugs, but instead twists them during insertion to ensure the right fit.


  • reusable and reportedly fits all ear sizes
  • the twist design may create a secure fit
  • a high NRR rating may mean these earplugs are suitable for noisier environments


  • each pack only provides three earplugs, which is fewer than some competitors
  • according to some reviews, these may not be comfortable for side sleepers
  • some customers state that the earplugs did not block out sound adequately
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Best for natural materials: Mighty Plugs Pure Beeswax Ear Plugs

  • Price: around $39 for 12 pairs
  • NRR: 34 dB
  • Material: beeswax
  • Reusable: yes, up to 50 times

Containing natural beeswax, these earplugs are hypoallergenic, reusable, and waterproof.

According to the manufacturer, these earplugs are excellent for swimmers. They have an NRR of 34 dB.


  • beeswax is a natural material, which some people may prefer
  • have one of the highest NRR ratings in this article
  • these earplugs are reusable


  • as these earplugs contain beeswax, they are not suitable for vegans
  • according to reviews, these earplugs have a fragile design and may break easily
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Best for side sleepers: Hearprotek Memory Foam Eartips

  • Price: $19.99 for one pair
  • NRR: 30–33 dB
  • Material: memory foam
  • Reusable: yes

The company says these earplugs have foam ear tips and wings that enhance their fit and function. They come in small, medium, and large sizes.

Containing soft, hypoallergenic memory foam, the manufacturer says these ear plugs are suitable for side sleepers.


  • suitable for side sleepers
  • come in three sizes to fit most ear canal sizes


  • some reviewers state that the earplugs made their ears sore
  • only comes with one pair per purchase
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Best customizable: Decibullz Custom Molded High-Fidelity Earplugs

  • Price: around $26 for one pair
  • NRR: 31 dB
  • Material: thermoplastic
  • Reusable: yes

These molded earpieces have high-fidelity acoustic filters and suit people with tinnitus, according to reviews. They may also be a good purchase for travelers, swimmers, and those who attend concerts.

The manufacturer also says that its product fits all ear canal sizes. The NRR rating is 31 dB.

The earplugs include three tip sizes and come with a carrying pouch.

Decibullz Earplugs are compatible with other products that the company sells. For example, an earplug-to-earphone kit is available. These may be ideal for musicians and regular concertgoers.


  • may help reduce tinnitus symptoms, according to reviews
  • come in different sizes to fit most ear canals
  • compatible with other products from the company


  • some customers state that the not moldable enough
  • not compatible with helmet wear, as helmet may move the earplugs
  • may not be very effective for shooting
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Best for minimal noise reduction: Noise Reduction Ear Plugs by Loop Experience

  • Price: around $35 per pair
  • NRR: 18 dB
  • Material: silicone
  • Reusable: yes

These earplugs muffle sounds but still allow the user to hear, which some people may feel safer using overnight. The company explains the design preserves noise quality while filtering noise pollution.

They come in four different sizes, which may suit a range of ear canal sizes.


  • comes with multiple sized ear tips
  • ships in eco-friendly packaging
  • easy to remove as they feature a loop


  • higher price in comparison to other similar products
  • lower NRR, so they may not be suitable for people who sleep in noisy environments
  • according to some reviewers, may cause ear pain
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The following table compares the earplugs in this article on price, NRR, and more.

PricePack sizeNRRMaterialReusable
Howard Leightaround $27200 pairs32 dBfoamno
Mack’saround $1312 pairs22 dBsiliconeyes
Kuyaxaround $20four pairs32 dBsiliconeyes
The Ear Buddyaround $2550 pairs32 dBfoamyes
ANBOWaround $16three pairs32 dBsiliconeyes
Mighty Plugsaround $3912 pairs34 dBbeeswaxyes
Hearprotek$19.99one pair30–33 dBmemory foamyes
Decibullzaround $26one pair31 dBthermoplasticyes
Loop Experiencearound $35one pair18 dBsiliconeyes

Medical News Today chooses earplugs for sleep that fit the following criteria where possible:

  • Price: MNT chooses earplugs that suit a range of budgets.
  • Size: MNT chooses earplugs in a range of sizes to fit most ear canals.
  • Materials: MNT chooses earplugs that contain safe materials, such as silicone and foam.
  • NRR: MNT chooses earplugs with a medium and high NRR that can block loud noises in a range of environments.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

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Earplugs may be thermoplastic, silicone, foam, or wax. Shapes and sizes also vary. People may wish to consider the following when purchasing earplugs:

  • Cost: The price may depend on the materials and whether the earplugs are reusable or disposable.
  • Quantity: Some companies sell single-use earplugs in bulk. This may be useful for people who intend to use their earplugs regularly or if they are buying earplugs for a group of people.
  • Reusable vs. single-use: Some earplugs are washable and reusable, while others are only suitable for a single use. Single-use earplugs may have a greater impact on the environment than reusable varieties.
  • Size and shape: Many earplugs fit most ear canal sizes and shapes. However, some companies tailor products specifically for different ear canal sizes. A person can consider trying less expensive earplug options for size before opting for a more expensive brand if they are unsure of the size of their ear canal. Certain materials, such as foam, may be easier to mold to a person’s ear.
  • Materials: A person should consider the materials used in their chosen earplug. Silicone earplugs are hypoallergenic and easy to clean but may be harder to adapt to the shape of a person’s ear. Foam ear plugs are very adaptable, but they may not always resist a buildup of dirt or ear wax. If a person has a latex allergy, they should avoid earplugs that contain latex.

It is generally safe to wear earplugs when sleeping, although the research into the risks of doing so is limited. A person may experience a buildup of earwax or a higher risk of ear infections if they use earplugs regularly.

That said, some research into sleep quality in intensive care units suggests that using earplugs and eye masks while sleeping may lead to fewer sleep interruptions.

Learn more about the safety of wearing earplugs when sleeping.

Wearing earplugs can have negative effects, including pushing earwax deeper into the ear. This may increase the risk of tinnitus or hearing loss. In addition, bacteria can build up on some earplugs, which may lead to an ear infection.

Below are a few alternatives a person can consider:

  • White noise machines: These produce a continuous background sound that can drown out distracting noises.
  • Sleep apps: There are dozens of these, and they offer relaxing melodies, noise cancellation, sounds of nature, and sleep trackers.
  • Headband headphones: These have soft speaker inserts for back and side sleepers. They can also play white noise from an app.
  • Music: Background music may help redirect attention from distracting noises.
  • Soundproofing: While this may be an expensive option, insulated windows and doors can help cancel out noise.

Medical News Today reviews a variety of products that can help people fall asleep faster and remain asleep longer. Read our picks of the:

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Here we answer some common questions about these products.

Are there earplugs that block all noise?

No, all earplugs will let in some noise. The earplugs that block the most noise have high NRR ratings. Currently, NRR 33 dB is the highest rating for earplugs. These earplugs may block loud noises.

Europe uses a Single Number Rating (SNR) to describe the same rating as NRR. NRR is in use in the U.S. and Canada. However, SNR ratings tend to be 3 decibels higher than NRR ratings. A person should take this discrepancy into account when researching earplugs.

What are the most effective earplugs?

The most effective earplugs are the ones that have a comfortable fit and effectively help block out noise disturbances.

People may choose moldable earplugs containing foam or ones with exchangeable tip sizes to increase comfort.

Which is better, foam or silicone earplugs?

The better earplug depends on a person’s preference.

Foam earplugs are moldable and may have a higher average NRR. However, silicone products are more likely to be reusable, making them less expensive in the long term.

Are loop earplugs better than foam earplugs?

Loop earplugs may be easier to remove from the ear than foam earplugs, as a person simply has to hook their finger around the loop and gently pull.

However, deciding whether to purchase loop or foam earplugs depends on personal preference.

When purchasing the best earplugs for sleeping, there are several factors to consider, such as cost, ear size, comfort, and intended use.

A person should keep earplugs clean if they reuse them to lower their risk of developing an ear infection.

If an individual is worried about hearing loss, they should contact a doctor for advice.