Every musician knows that your hearing is of the utmost importance. This means that finding the best earplugs for musicians is equally important.
Once you begin to experience hearing loss, there’s no way to reverse it, and it may develop into tinnitus. Tinnitus is caused by exposure to loud sounds or music over time. This incurable condition may sound like you have ringing in your ears for no apparent reason and is rampant in the musical community.
Finding yourself a high quality, durable and effective pair of ear plugs is vital if you’re going to be around loud music – whether listening to music at live shows, or playing it yourself.
While not all earplugs, or earmuffs, are made the same, there are some specifically designed for hearing protection from music.
Here are some of the best earplugs for musicians:
(Custom Molded Earplugs)
First on our list are Decibullz, which are custom earplugs that are molded to fit your ears specifically. These earplugs are one of the most popular on Amazon and for good reason.
Because they are custom molded to the shape of your ears, it’s very unlikely they will fall out during a gig or concert. To mold them, you heat the thermoplastic molds in boiling water. After they have cooled, you can mold them to your ears. If you don’t like the fit the first time around, you can easily re-mold them by following the same process.
The main aspect to any type of hearing protection is the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). For earplugs, the max NRR is around 33 decibels (dB). Decibullz comes in strong with a NRR of 31 dB. Perfect protection, especially in loud environments like rock concerts.
If you’re looking for powerful noise reduction as a concert-goer, Decibullz is a great choice. However, these are not high-fidelity earplugs, so they may not be suited for use when playing music yourself.
If you’re playing music yourself, you’ll need something that will protect your hearing but also allow you to hear what you’re playing. It won’t help if you can’t hear anything at all.
Etymotic research has dived into what the best earplug can be while still maintaining good sound quality. And they come up with these beautiful earplugs!
The main element to these earplugs is that they lower sound levels evenly by 20 dB. This means that speech and music remain clear and natural, just quieter. Some foam earplugs only lower certain frequencies and can make noise sound odd. Of course, this needs to be avoided when dealing with sound and music. High-fidelity also means that damaging loud noises are separated from the music, so you can still hear sound and music as intended (but still protecting your ears). While high-fidelity earplugs are useful for musicians, they should not be used as ear protection for shooting. That type of activity will require special kinds of ear protection instead.
These earplugs are quite small with a short stem, which means that they’re more discreet and less likely to protrude from your ear. Because they’re small, you’re able to comfortably wear them under helmets or hats. They also come with interchangeable eartips.
Worried about losing them? ER20XS High Fidelity Earplugs comes with its own case and neck cord, if needed.
Needless to say, these earplugs are reusable. Appropriate cleaning procedures must be followed in order to keep these for a long time to come. If they are used consistently, the eartips will eventually lose their elasticity and begin to let more sound in. Typically, you’ll need to replace the eartips about every 3-6 months, depends on how often and how long you use them.
Overall, these are a solid choice for any musician that protects your hearing while still allowing you to hear music as intended.
LiveMus!c HearSafe Ear Plugs
(Silicone Triple Flange and Noise-Cancelling)
Another great option for earplugs for musicians are the LiveMus!c HearSafe earplugs. Most importantly, these allow you to clearly hear music and speech without damaging your hearing. These earplugs don’t muffle the sounds, just reduce the volume.
HearSafe earplugs are cone-shaped with three flanges. These help the earplugs fit snugly in the ear canal and provide a tight seal to keep out loud noises. The silicone material is hypoallergenic and non-toxic, so you won’t need to worry about skin irritation after prolonged use. They’re also so slim that it’s unlikely anyone will even notice you’re wearing them.
HearSafe earplugs come with two different sets – the earplugs with the white filter have a NRR of 29 dB and the earplugs with the green filter have a NRR of 23 dB. The option to have two different types is great when you find yourself in a variety of settings. We know that the maximum NRR for earplugs is around 33 dB, so the HearSafe option is a solid choice for hearing protection.
These earplugs also come with a portable aluminum carrying case with cord should you decide to use it.
Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs
Just like the name says, these are high fidelity earplugs and are incredibly effective for musicians and music-lovers alike.
Like the Etymotic ER20XS earplugs, the Eargasm earplugs work to reduce sound eveningly, rather than only certain frequencies. This means the sound won’t sound muffled or odd like it can with foam earplugs. Overally, Eargasm earplugs can drop external noise about 21 dB drop to protect your hearing.
However, these earplugs have a NRR of 16 dB, which is quite a bit lower compared to the others on our list. However, you might find that you don’t need such high protection depending on your environment. These could be great for quieter environments, like playing in an orchestra, versus playing heavy metal.
Eargasm earplugs are made from hypoallergenic silicone like HearSafe earplugs, so you won’t need to worry about irritation or discomfort when wearing them. This is great when you need to wear them for long periods of time, such as at a music festival or during band practice.
You’ll also receive two different sizes (normal and large) so there’s a good chance these will fit your ear canal properly. They come with a small aluminum case as well for storage. While these earplugs are small and discreet, they come with a extended “pull-tab” that you can pull on to remove them from your ears. Hopefully, this means you won’t be fumbling with such a small earplug trying to get them out!
However, because they have a tab that sticks out, these type of earplugs are not suitable for sleeping. Check out our guide to the best earplugs for sleeping instead.
Alpine MusicSafe Pro Hearing Protection
If you play music in Europe, you’ll know the name Alpine. Deemed one of the best hearing protection companies in Europe, Alpine creates the MusicSafe Pro earplugs, especially for musicians.
These small earplugs have internal filters that work to preserve solid sound quality without damaging your hearing. They even come with three different acoustic filters depending on what you need and where you are. You can choose between low, medium and high protection and insert that particular filter as needed. The white filter has a NRR of 24 dB, the silver filter has a NRR of 26 dB and the gold filter has a NRR of 27 dB. Which level of protection you require will depend on what type of instrument you’re playing, what kind of music you play or where on the stage you are. This option makes these MusicSafe Pro earplugs stand out among the others.
However like the other earplugs on our list, the MusicSafe Pro earplugs are small and discreet. They fit snugly in the ear canal and create a great seal from loud music. You’ll probably forget you’re wearing them!
Alpine also offers their MusicSafe Classic option, which come with two different filters – medium or high protection.
Whichever option or protection level you choose, these reusable earplugs are effective, comfortable and durable.
Best earplugs for musicians
At the end of the day, what earplugs you choose will depend on a few factors:
- Material used
- Level of protection needed
- High-fidelity ideal for playing music
- Molded earplugs like Decibullz ideal for listening to live music
We believe the earplugs included in our list are the best on the market – both for listening to live music, or playing music yourself. As all of these earplugs are reusable, it’s extremely important to follow the maintenance instructions fully to get the most out of your earplugs.
While many of these earplugs have similar aspects and functions, no two earplugs are the same. You’ll need to try out a handful of different options before finding the best ones for you. But once you find your favourite, your ears and hearing will thank you!