Best Earplugs For Musicians: Cheap and Pro options

What did you say? Can you repeat that? If you play music for a long time, these may be questions that are very familiar to you. Or maybe you're sick and tired of that constant ringing in your ears otherwise known as tinnitus. Many musicians often overlook one of the most vital pieces of equipment because it is not a key part of creating their awesome music. What piece of equipment are we talking about? The very simple, yet very crucial, earplug. There are many varieties of earplugs available to musicians, so choosing the right one is not only difficult but extremely important. 

In this guide, we are going to discuss the importance, how to choose, and also break down some options for the best earplugs for musicians. We want to help you protect your hearing and so, let’s turn down the ramp and see if we can help you find those perfect earplugs for your specific needs.

Earplugs are one of the most neglected pieces of gear. We all need them, but when they don't fit perfectly, or they don't filter sound well enough, we cast them into a drawer... much to the dismay of our ears.

Having tried countless brands of earplugs myself over the years, I went on a quest to find which pairs would actually work best. Here's what I found to be the best earplugs currently on the market:

Comparison of the Best Earplugs for Musicians

PRODUCT DETAILS
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Vibes High Fidelity Concert Earplugs

  • Best overall earplugs for musicians
  • Comes in multiple sizes for a perfect fit
  • Design to be perfect for musicians/people that may suffer from sensory processing disorders
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Earasers Musicians Plugs

  • Multiple choices of filter level available
  • Available in a variety of sizes for a perfect fit
  • Crafted in silicone these earbuds adapt to the size of your ear canal
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Mumba High Fidelity Concert Earplugs

  • Sleek design that is subtle and clear
  • Multiple sizes that will lead to better fit
  • Best earplugs for musicians for the money
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Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs

  • Best earplugs for drummers
  • Crafted to be hypoallergenic and comfortable to wear
  • Reduction of noise without damaging the quality of sound
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Audiopure Ear Plugs

  • Best earplugs for band practice
  • Designed with high quality, durable materials for longer life
  • Fitted with a professional level NRR rating for better protection
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Howard Leight by Honeywell Laser Lite High Visibility Disposable Foam Earplugs

  • Best earplugs for small ears
  • Availability in multiple sizes allow for a more personalized fit
  • Crafted in self-adjusting foam for a better fit and fantastic noise reduction
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Are Earplugs Important While Performing?

So, you just left that amazing festival you have dreamt of playing and all you can think about is the constant ringing or buzzing in your ears. Exposure to excessively loud music for long periods of time can irreparably damage your hearing. These symptoms should not be overlooked or ignored. If left unchecked, this damage could not only cause hearing loss but also constant ringing in your ears which is associated with tinnitus.

So, no matter how hard you wanna rock or how loud you want to turn your amp up, be aware that an excess of decibels could lead to unwanted consequences. Using earplugs while performing or watching a performance could be an important way to ensure a long musical career.

With regular conversation landing at 85 decibels and the common show landing somewhere between 100 and 128 decibels, you can see the difference and the effect on your hearing. For short bursts of time, the elevated levels of decibels can be safe, but when a show lasts for several hours, this could be a major problem. So, the answer to the question of the importance of earplugs while performing is absolute. 

How to Choose Earplugs if You’re a Musician

Like with any other piece of your equipment, making sure you choose the right one with the right features is important. Take into consideration certain features which allow your earplugs to work better and protect you at a higher level. So below, we're going to go into several features we think should be at the forefront of your consideration when choosing earplugs for you. 

Fit

One of the most important features to consider when sifting through the plethora of options for the largest impact on the overall performance of your earplugs, is the fit. Having a pair of earplugs that fit your ears perfectly will decrease the chance of irritation and the chance of the ear plugs falling out of your ear canal. You also want to make sure they are easy to remove. By paying close attention to the fit and ease of removal, you will ensure your ear plugs work to the highest level of efficiency.  

Noise Reduction

As a musician, you still must hear the music but be protected from damage that may potentially be caused by frequent exposure to loud sounds. Paying close attention to the noise reduction rate (NRR) will ensure that you get the right earplugs. If you are looking for the best option, the ones rated between 15 to 35 decibels will allow you to protect yourself against the middle ranges to high-frequency noise. The trick to finding the right earplug when considering noise reduction, is to make sure you get the highest possible level of noise attenuation. 

Sound Retention

The last thing you want to hear in your jam session is your sweet tunes sounding as if you were underwater. A good pair of earplugs will block noise but not decrease the quality of sound. Using your everyday run-of-the-mill ear plugs, you probably have noticed that most everything sounds muffled or like you're in a tunnel, or like you are underwater.

So, when considering this feature, you really want to look for something that has protection but still gives you the full spectrum of sound. This means potentially looking for high-fidelity earplugs. 

Design

Perhaps not on your immediate "must-consider" radar is the actual design of the earplugs. Some earplugs are easier to travel with and come with a case. Others offer you wonderful adjustability with interchangeable filters. If you're a musician on the road, playing multiple venues, having the ability to change filters depending on the noise level could be a great advantage. 

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Review of the Best Earplugs for Musicians

Okay, so you're ready to get out there and find those perfect earplugs for your musical needs. But which ones are really the best for you? Though you are now equipped with all the information from above and are ready to get out there and make that final decision, we thought we'd help you out a bit and create a list of the best earplugs for musicians.

The options below take into consideration the factors we mentioned above and many other things, that when combined, could make the perfect earplugs for you. 

Vibes High Fidelity Concert Earplugs - Hearing Protection Ear Plugs Noise Reduction for Concerts, Fitness Classes, Motorcycle

PROS

  • Discreet to Wear 
  • Easy to Use and Fit int Ear
  • Hypoallergenic and Safe
  • Designed With Comfortable Soft Ear Tips
  • Perfect for Musicians as They are High-Fidelity 

CONS

  • Some Issues With Ease of Removal
  • May Need to Remove During Conversations

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers have a lot of great things to say about these amazing earplugs. The ability to reduce noise levels offers superior protection when it comes to your auditory sense. Great for band practice, live shows, or just that dream concert you've always wanted to attend, these earplugs are comfortable to wear. Plus, they are almost invisible to the naked eye. Though the removal may be a little difficult, and people may feel you are ignoring them, these ear plugs are a great option. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Comfort and efficiency are vital no matter what product you are using for your needs. Both these features are what stand out the most to us. After long hours in the studio or on the stage, you want to feel that your earplugs are comfortable without irritation and this model does that for you. They are of a high level of noise reduction for added that every musician should invest in. 

Who Will Use This Most 

These earplugs are good for anybody exposed to loud levels of noise. This includes musicians, construction workers, or the avid music lover who attends multiple concerts throughout the year. 

Bottom Line

The Vibes High-Fidelity Concert Earplugs are a great choice when looking to protect the precious ability to hear music and the voices of your friends and family. The high level of performance along with the noise reduction capabilities offer every user a level of confidence and a sense of security.

Earasers Musicians Plugs Medium

PROS

  • Comfortable to Wear
  • Designed to Be Compact
  • Easy to Maintain and Keep Clean
  • Enhanced Performance With Better-Balanced Sound Quality
  • Multiple Versions Available With Differing Noise Reduction Rates

CONS

  • Finding the Perfect Fit May Take a Few Tries
  • Some Issues With Certain Frequencies Not Being Reduced, i.e. Fan Noise

What Recent Buyers Report

Though it may take a few tries to get the perfect fit, most recent buyers rave about this product. The Earasers Musicians Plugs seem to be high performing and comfortable to wear. Many buyers are ecstatic with the perfect attenuation and the reduction of harmful decibels. They have just the right of noise reduction and a wide variety of options that make these earplugs easy to customize to your specific needs. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

These earplugs stand out to us for the same reason as for recent buyers. Their specifically crafted design allows for better attenuation and noise reduction while not irritating the ear canal. Once the perfect fit is found, you can maintain and keep things clean while protecting that very important member of the five senses. 

Noise Reduction Rating: 5 dB Officially (Closer to 12 dB According to Users)

When it comes to musicians and earplugs, the biggest challenge is reducing sound evenly. Most plugs simply muffle the high-end, which is as good as useless when you’re on stage and carefully monitoring your tone.

Over the years, many brands have sought to craft the perfect “musician's” earplug that reduces frequencies evenly: Hearos, Etymonic, and Eargasm among them.

However, in my and many other musicians' experience, the high end is still too dampened and the fit too uncomfortable. We ultimately chuck them away and continue playing shows unprotected.

Enter Earasers. Their customer reviews are full of users who switched from other brands, finding Earasers to have the most realistic, high definition sound. Even the negative reviewers agree the sound is almost perfectly flat and the fit is very comfortable. They mostly took issue with the overall sound reduction being too low (more on this later).

What’s unique about the Earasers is that they ditch the three-tiered cone design that so many other specialty plugs use. Instead, there’s a single silicone cup with a filter inside. While I’m no expert on the physics, this unique approach seems to do the job better than the alternatives. The cup makes a tight seal within your ear canal and the filter apparently does the trick, attenuating frequencies more evenly.

So What's The Catch?

While Earasers reduce sound more evenly, they reduce less sound overall compared to other plugs. This is the main user critique. The noise can still be too loud in a particularly noisy environment -- say, at the shooting range or behind a drum kit.

In fact, on paper, Earasers are rated as only reducing 5 dB compared to 16 dB for Eargasm plugs and 32 dB for foam plugs. However, these ratings are very conservative, based on somebody who may wear them incorrectly and/or not fit them properly. Under proper conditions, Earasers should reduce 12-19 dB, which is more average.

Who Will Use This Most 

People who will get the most use out of these ear plugs are, of course, musicians or frequent concert-goers. With the biggest advantage being for musicians who specifically suffer from constant irritation and frustration with typical earplugs. This is often called earplug fatigue. The perfectly-designed earplugs fit nicely and do not put unwarranted pressure on the ear canal. The versatility of choice makes it easy to customize a piece of equipment for any musician.

Bottom Line

If you choose to go with our runner-up choice, you will not be sorry. The finely-crafted, perfectly designed ear plug offers a level of performance only surpassed by our overall best ear plug. With a wide variety of options from size to noise reduction, there is something for every musician. Plus, the price tag means they will be easy to replace if lost with little to no damage to your wallet. 

High Fidelity Concert Earplugs, Reusable Musicians Ear Plugs, 24dB Advanced Filter Technology Ear Protection for Music Festivals, DJs, Musicians

PROS

  • Portability is Good
  • Price Versus Value is Excellent 
  • Great Quality Noise Reduction and Sound Quality
  • Designed to Be Comfortable to Wear and Easy to Fit
  • The Holder is a Sturdy and Convenient Method For Transport

CONS

  • Issues With Removal 
  • Some Issues With Sub-Par Noise Reduction in High-Frequency Spectrums

What Recent Buyers Report

Though some customers have had issues with the removal process and some sub-par noise reduction at certain levels, there are many benefits recent customers rave about. The biggest positive discussed when talking about this model is the comfort and overall noise reduction capabilities. For the price, the value is worth the investment.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Mumba High-Fidelity Concert Earplugs have many great qualities. The one that stands out most to us is the value versus the price. These earplugs offer a level of performance comparable to two of their higher-end competitors. The portability and comfort only add to the efficiency and overall excellence. 

Who Will Use This Most 

These earplugs are beneficial for musicians and studio workers looking for a budget-friendly option. Looking at the performance and noise reduction capabilities of these earplugs, those musicians will be able to garner the most bang for their buck. 

Bottom Line

These earplugs are a great choice for the musician or constant concert-goer looking for a cheap and efficient set of earplugs to protect their hearing. These earplugs allow people to enjoy the concert and also the conversations afterward without fear of hearing damage or having constant ringing often associated with long exposure to loud sounds. 

Best Earplugs for Drummers:
 Eargasm High-Fidelity Earplugs

Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs for Concerts Musicians Motorcycles Noise Sensitivity Conditions and More (Ear Plugs Come in Premium Gift Box Packaging) - Blue

PROS

  • Multiple Sizes Available 
  • Comfortable to Wear for Extended Time Frames
  • The Ability to Reuse the Earplugs Multiple Times
  • Easy to Transport Due to the Durable Carrying Case
  • Quality of Sound is Not Reduced Along With Noise 

CONS

  • Higher Price Point Than Others
  • Issues With Removal Being Difficult
  • Not as Much Noise Attenuation as Other Models

What Recent Buyers Report

These earplugs are a high-quality option and are super comfortable to wear. Though there may be some issues with the price and removal, overall most recent buyers are pleased with the purchase and happy with the overall performance.

Why it Stands Out to Us

For us the same is true. What really stands out is the variety of choices that lead to the perfect fit and noise reduction capabilities. These earplugs do their job and leave the sound quality alone so you can enjoy the sweet melodies of the music around you.

Who Will Use This Most 

These are great for anyone super concerned with hearing but still want to crank the amps up to 11. Musicians who spend a lot of time in small rooms with loud noise or for music lovers who can’t wait for that next show, will benefit from the amazing construction of these earplugs.

Bottom Line

Overall, the Eargasm High-Fidelity earplugs are a great choice for many reasons. Taking into consideration the high level of performance and the attention to detail brought into the mix, you will be happy with these little gems being at your beck and call, any time of the day.

Best Earplugs for Band Practice:
Audiopure Ear Plugs

Audiopure #1 Hi Fidelity Earplugs for Concerts, Music Festivals, Musicians, Motorcycles, Noise Sensitivity etc. Free App Included. Best Hearing Protection, NRR Rated Noise Filter Ear Plugs

PROS

  • Design of Earplugs Fits Comfortably In-Ear
  • Downloadable App to Help Monitor Sound Levels
  • Comes With Announcing Convenient Carrying Case
  • Perfect Level of Noise Reduction and Sound Quality
  • Cleaning These Earplugs is Simple and Easy 

CONS

  • Issues With Definition in Vocals
  • May Have Some Problems With Staying Attached to the Cord
  • Need to Be Cautious of Potentially Getting Stuck In Your Ear (Follow Directions)

What Recent Buyers Report

The most notable and continuous thing recent buyers of the Audiopure Earplugs talk about is the quality of noise reduction. Many love the fact that while these earplugs do reduce noise, they also leave the sound quality alone. That is great when you are trying to craft that perfect song. However, there have been some issues with filters coming free from the base and a few complaints when it comes to vocal quality during conversations.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The level of performance when using these earplugs is exceptional. The comfort and ease of maintaining them also stand out and make these easily one of the best options available for you and your band's practice needs.

Who Will Use This Most 

These are perfect for the musician hitting the studio or the garage. The fact that you can still hear conversation for the most part and still protect your hearing when the music gets a little loud is an advantage that many musicians can’t, and shouldn’t, pass up.

Bottom Line

In the end, when you are looking for a comfortable to wear, high performing earplug for your studio needs, this model is not a bad choice. The high attenuation mixed with the amazing ability to leave sound quality intact make this a good fit for those creative conversations in-between the chords.

Howard Leight by Honeywell Laser Lite High Visibility Disposable Foam Earplugs, (Contains 25 Single Bags)

PROS

  • Affordable Price and Great Value
  • Perfectly Designed for Ultimate Comfort
  • Comes in Two Varieties (Corded/Uncorded)
  • High Level of Noise Reduction Capability (NRR32)
  • Individually Wrapped Product Makes This Model More Hygienic

CONS

  • Not as Effective With a Short Ear Canal
  • Comfort Reduction the Longer They Are in Use
  • Some Issues With Expansion Once in the Ear

What Recent Buyers Report

Overall recent buyers are happy with their purchase. Most love the comfort and noise reduction capabilities of these earplugs. The fact that they come in a large bag and are individually wrapped also seems to give customers a sense of great value for their investment. They do seem to have a problem with customers that have a short ear canal and a few have said that the earplugs don’t expand enough once in their ear. None of the issues seem universal through.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Where this stands out for us is the option of sizes. Some people have smaller ear canals and that means normal earplugs may not work. With the choice of sizes, if you have small ears, you will definitely be covered. The NRR rating is also something that just sticks out for us. A rating of NRR32 is a nice level, meaning you will have ultimate ear protection for an affordable price.

Noise Reduction Rating: 32 dB

Foam plugs aren’t going to give you the audiophile-level sound you’ll get form Earasers. However, there are three major advantages to using them:

  1. They block way more sound overall. With a noise reduction rating of 32 dB, you could fall asleep at a Metallica concert wearing these.
  2. They are inexpensive. You can get hundreds of pairs for the same price as one set of specialty ear plugs.
  3. They are flexible. Anybody can figure out how to wear them and they won’t cause too much discomfort.

The reason I like the Howard Leight Foam Ear Plugs, in particular, is that they still do a decent job of reducing low frequencies. As one user pointed out, “If you're a musician, these make stage volume sound like the same material asclub volume, instead of making loud volume sound like loud muffled bass and nothing else. If you're on a shooting range or a noisy job site, you'll still be able to hear and understand speech...”

So What's The Catch?

Again, by nature, foam plugs aren't going to sound as nice as specialty models. The sound will feel "muffled" with bass frequencies louder than the treble. Howard Leights may perform better than other foam plugs, but they're still not in the same ballpark as Earasers or Eargasms.

Still, for 1/100th the price of specialty plugs, it can be tough to pass this one up.

Who Will Use This Most 

Because of the high NRR, anyone working in a field or office where exceptionally loud, consistent noise is produced. This means studio techs, musicians, and construction workers are all covered with this earplug.

Bottom Line

These are a great choice for anyone looking for a little extra auditory protection on a tight budget. The performance and comfort of these earplugs make them easily one of the best choices for musicians, or anyone else for that matter, who wants to protect their hearing for years to come.

Benefits of Investing in Quality Earplugs if You’re a Musician

We have touched on several of the benefits already but we will break them down further below. There are many benefits to finding and investing in the right pair of earplugs. It may not seem cool, but you will thank us when you are able to take advantage of the following benefits:

Protect Your Hearing

This benefit seems easy and almost like we're beating a dead horse, but by protecting your hearing, you will be able to enjoy music and delightful conversation long into your later years. Plus, as a musician, that means you must be able to hear so you can craft those delicate notes to pound out that awesome hit. 

Allow Noise vs. Volume Balance

Another benefit is like protecting your hearing but rather protecting your music. Canceling out some volumes means you will often get enriched noise. Taking a little of the loud out allows you to concentrate on the actual notes and melodies more easily. 

Extend Your Career

With the two benefits from above, the result of using earplugs as a musician is that you will be able to enjoy your career well into those latter years we discussed earlier. By protecting your hearing, you will be able to enjoy and craft music without fear of hearing loss or any other major auditory damage. 

Types of Earplugs for Musicians

When looking for earplugs for musicians, there are, of course, several options. The type of earplugs you choose are just as important as why you choose them. So below, we're going to break down some of the most common types of earplugs for musicians available on the market today. 

Musician

This is the most common type of earplug used by musicians. Plus, earplugs are crafted to decrease the volume of a wide spectrum. This style of earplug is usually made of silicone and comes with a noise reduction rating. 

Custom-Made

The custom-made variety of earplugs are a more expensive version of the musician's earplugs. This type of earplug is made to order and crafted specifically for the musician in question. Made of silicone or quality-grade vinyl, many of these give the musician the ability to adjust attenuation levels. 

Passive Electronic

This type of earplug decreases all external noises whether loud or quiet by a given number of decimals. There are varieties of this type that allow you to adjust the attenuation as well. 

In-Ear Monitors

This style is more of a headphone that allows you the ability to decrease noise levels, much like earplugs. If you're a musician that opts for this choice, you will like the custom-made, in-ear monitors crafted specifically for you. 

Filtered

This model gives you very similar benefits to the passive electronic earplugs but instead doesn't use batteries. The filtered version of earplugs often uses mechanical methods such as compression acceleration to decrease the decibels. 

Conclusion

Thinking about potential hearing loss when you're rocking out to your latest jams may not sound that rock and roll, but it could save you in the long run. Having the vast amount of choices when it comes to choosing a good pair of earplugs as a musician may seem daunting and even a little stressful, but now that you have the knowledge of what to look for, we hope you are better equipped to make that decision. Protecting your hearing by using earplugs may be just as important as fine-tuning your craft as you protect and extend your career.