Best Earplugs for Musicians to Buy in 2019
Constant exposure to loud music is one of the most dangerous aspects of being a musician. Being in a loud environment (80dB+) for hours on end can cause serious problems: from temporary discomfort to tinnitus and even permanent hearing loss. That’s why every musician needs to have a pair of good quality earplugs in their kit – to protect their hearing, which is the most important ‘tool’ for a musician.
You might be wondering if earplugs don’t limit your ability to hear the music in the venue, or the person next to you. The general answer is no, they don’t, as most club earplugs are designed to only filter out the dangerous frequencies, while still letting you hear the music. What’s more, some ‘smart’ earplugs are able to emphasize very soft sounds, like someone asking you a question in the club, letting you hear them better and facilitating the conversation. With this out of the way, let’s take a look at our top recommendations in terms of club earplugs:
- 1 1. Soft Silicone Noise Cancelling Earplugs
- 2 2. Soft Silicone ‘3 Layered’ Earplugs
- 3 3. EarDial Ear Plugs
- 4 4. LiveMus!c HearSafe Ear Plugs
- 5 5. EarPeace HD Concert Ear Plugs
- 6 6. Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs
- 7 7. Decibullz – Custom Molded Percussive Filters
- 8 Foam vs Silicone
- 9 Standard vs Custom
- 10 Design Concerns
- 11 Are electronic earplugs worth the money?
1. Soft Silicone Noise Cancelling Earplugs
They fit really well into our ears when we tested them and although they are sometimes hard to get out, they didn’t fall out once.
These earplugs are also completely waterproof so you don’t need to worry about sweat or drenching them in a pool.
When we tested this pair, it was the best performer when it came to hearing audio with the least distortion, giving great protection without compromising sound quality.
2. Soft Silicone ‘3 Layered’ Earplugs
Silicone earplugs are generally considered to be more comfortable than foam ones when it comes to frequency filtering. There are many people who prefer silicone earplugs to foam as they are far more comfortable, especially over longer periods of time. This pair is fit for construction work, motorcycling, and other loud activities/environments.
If you have very sensitive ears, you should probably stick with silicone earplugs. Check these ones out here:
3. EarDial Ear Plugs
The EarDials are one of the most popular club-grade earplugs available on the market right now. They have a number of advantages compared to most alternatives. For one, they are incredibly small, which makes them virtually invisible in the wearer’s ear. They are made from soft silicone, which is hypoallergenic and resistant to earwax, keeping your plugs clean and functional for a long time. Grace to the small size and soft material, they’re also very comfortable to wear, even for several hours.
What’s more, this model has a complementary mobile app you can use to detect the sound volume in the venue and find out how long you can stay safe in that environment while wearing your EarDials.
The EarDial Ear Plugs come with a small aluminum case that can be attached to your wallet, keys, or even clothes so that you can always have the earplugs with you. Find the latest price and shop these earplugs here:
4. LiveMus!c HearSafe Ear Plugs
The LiveMus!c HearSafe Ear Plugs are probably your best bet when it comes to musician earplugs in the mid-priced range. Why? Simply because they offer the best sound isolation on the market! LifeMus!c’s earplug kit includes two pairs of plugs, each with a different filter – one with 23dB NRR (noise reduction ratio), and one with 29dB NRR. 29dB is the highest NRR you can find in club-grade earplugs, and it is the best for protecting your ears against blaring monitors. The 23dB plugs are more suitable for quieter environments, like outdoor music festivals, where you’re not necessarily within 10 feet from the speakers. Despite the high NRR, LiveMus!c earplugs don’t muffle the sound like foam plugs do, grace to the special silicone filter.
The LiveMus!c HearSafe Ear Plugs claim to last up to 12 months with minimum maintenance, and come with a cord as well as a case for easier wear and carrying around.
Check the latest price or get yours here:
5. EarPeace HD Concert Ear Plugs
EarPeace is one of the most reputable brands when it comes to musician’s earplugs. Their kit includes three pairs of plugs with different filters for various situations. Labeled Medium, High, and Max, EarPeace plugs offer protection up to 20dB. Granted, they are not as effective as the 29dB ones, but they’re still good enough for regular club or festival use. The filters undergo a 4-step manufacturing process, making sure the frequencies are evenly attenuated for a realistic sound experience. Another advantage of this model is its design – the earplugs are made of flesh-colored silicone (4 shades available), so that they are almost unnoticeable when worn. The plugs also come with an aluminum case you can attach to your keychain to make sure you don’t lose them or forget them at home.
Check the latest price here:
6. Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs
The name of this one says it all – these earplugs provide high fidelity sound quality without damaging your hearing. With an NRR of 16 dB, the earplugs can actually reduce noise up to 21dB, should the music at the venue be that loud. They are completely transparent and have a small, elongated edge for easy removal. Naturally, they’re also made of hypoallergenic silicone, so that you can wear them for hours on end regardless of how sensitive your skin is.
The Eargasms also come with a compact aluminum case for storage. The latest price can be checked here:
7. Decibullz – Custom Molded Percussive Filters
The Decibullz are custom molded earplugs – meaning they come with a foam muff that adjusts to the shape of your ear canal, ensuring a perfect fit. However, as opposed to regular foam plugs, these ones do have a frequency filter built into them, so that the sound quality is not compromised. One thing the Decibullz have in common with foam plugs is the NRR – which goes up to 31dB. Grace to the foam muff, the sound insulation is higher than that of silicone plugs, allowing for not only live venue use, but also for work, swimming, and even shooting.
The Decibullz are available in several colors (the design is pretty noticeable when worn), and can be found here:
These would be our top recommendations when it comes to musician earplugs. All of these have been designed specifically for club or festival use, which means they will still let you hear that sick beat while protecting your eardrums from permanent damage. However, there are a couple dilemmas going on in the music community when it comes to earplugs…
Foam vs Silicone
Lately we’ve witnessed a boom of silicone earplugs on the market. And it’s probably because they are discreet, comfortable, and very efficient in isolating dangerous frequencies without compromising sound quality. However, silicone plugs can only go up to a 24dB NRR, due to the nature of the material. If your ears are extremely sensitive, foam would probably be a better choice, as it has a much higher NRR, usually up to 32dB. On the other hand, foam is less comfortable, and usually noticeable – so it’s up to you to decide what is more important for you.
Standard vs Custom
Standard vs custom made earplugs is another debated topic. Sure, custom-made ones will feel more comfortable in your ear (as they are literally modeled after your ear canal), but they are much more expensive than standard models, and they don’t make that much of a difference in terms of sound isolation. What’s more, custom-made earplugs are usually pretty visible in your ear, which is not always a look we musicians are going for. On the other hand, regular earplugs are made to fit most ears, which means some might not be the most comfortable thing to wear for hours on end, but they are much cheaper and widely available. They also do their job of keeping dangerous frequencies away just as well as custom earplugs.
Earplugs are very simple devices, and they’re usually designed to be as subtle as possible. However, the subtler (aka smaller) the earplugs, the easier it is to lose it in a dark venue, especially after a couple of drinks. And while that’s hardly a problem with one-use foam plugs, losing some $200 custom-made ones can be quite annoying. If there’s one advice you should take from this article, it’s this one – look for earplugs with some kind of wire or string connecting them. Besides being much harder to lose, connected earplugs can also be worn around your neck if you decide to take them off when mixing, and put back in when you’re done. It’s also great if your plugs come with a convenient case – this way you won’t have to worry about losing them at home or on the road either.
Are electronic earplugs worth the money?
This depends on a couple of aspects. For one, it’s how much time you spend in clubs – if it’s a couple hours per night, two days a week, we’d say no. However, if you’re serious about pursuing a pro music career and you intend to play at the venue more than 4 days a week, you should probably splurge. As we said at the top of this article, hearing is the most important tool for a musician. No mixer, controller, or software can save your career if your hearing isn’t what it used to be due to constant exposure to loud music over the years. Think of it as a once-in-a-lifetime investment, and remember that your health is always the top priority.
There goes everything we could think of regarding musician’s earplugs – from the most common types, to the advantages and disadvantages of each of them. Make sure you always have a pair of earplugs with you when going to work, or just casually hitting the club on a Saturday night. Remember – hearing damage is permanent and you don’t want to risk your potential pro DJ career!