7 Best Earplugs for Musicians {Plus One To AVOID}

Any musician knows how amazing an experience it is to play in front of a live audience. However, they also know the dangers of being around loud noises can inflict to the eardrums. This is why it is imperative for musicians to have a reliable and comfortable earplug during their gigs. An earplug will help lower the risk of developing hearing related problems like tinnitus.

Remember that hearing loss is irreparable. Once damage has been done to your eardrums, there is literally nothing you can do about it. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Getting the perfect earplugs is essential for any musician. But if you don’t have an idea how to pick one, don’t fret, this is where this article comes in.

We will be taking a look at the best earplugs for musicians available today. But before that, we will be discussing the important factors to look for in an earplug. As you would expect, a musician requires a special earplug that not only dampens noise but also allows them to hear their music without any sort of distortion.

Let’s get to it then, shall we?

Important Factors to Consider in an Earplug for Musicians

Noise Reduction Rating or NRR

The most important feature to look for when choosing an earplug is its NRR. This is basically the amount of noise or decibels the earplug can block. Those in the music industry know full well what a decibel is, which is the measurement of sound intensity to the uninitiated. Now, a basic rule of thumb here is that the safe decibel range is under 85 decibels. That is the range of decibel a human ear can withstand without risking incurring any sort of damage to their eardrums.

Now, consider how loud a normal concert is and you will have a clear idea as to the importance of using an earplug. Live performances usually measure at 100 decibels. A heavy rock concert’s decibel range can clock in as high as 120 dB, some rock concerts can even surpass that. Imagine having your ears bombarded with that level of noise a couple times a week!

When choosing an earplug to use during your performances, it is best to check the NRR to figure out if it will deliver adequate protection. You can easily find earplugs that have 12 to 15 dB NRR, but I recommend you opt for 15 dB and above but not surpassing 30 dB NRR. Those that have 30 dB NRR are usually reserved for sleeping aids and will significantly muffle sound quality. Speaking of sound quality…

It Should not Lower Sound Quality

For a musician’s earplugs, it is imperative that they not only protect your ears from loud noises but also not lower the quality of the sound. Performing and listening to live music is an experience and having that experience sullied because the sound quality was muffled is something you would want to avoid.

What you need to look for here is an earplug that also high-fidelity. This combo will help protect your hearing without sacrificing the sound quality. Earplugs that have Hi-Fi features reduces the volume of your surrounding without actually dampening sound quality.

Comfortable Fit

Finally, the last factor you need to consider is the comfort level. Remember, you will be wearing these earplugs multiple times a month and will likely wear them for more than an hour each day. The last thing you want is for it to cause discomfort which will really ruin the mood and might even affect your performance. A custom earplug will offer the best comfort but these are considerably more expensive and will require you to schedule an appointment with an audiologist.

The next best thing is to find specially made earplugs that were designed for musicians to use. These types of earplugs consider comfort alongside safety and reliability. The best earplug for musicians will offer the trifecta of must-have factors we just discussed. Once you found one that offers all three, you have got yourself a winner.


Top 10 Best Earplugs for Musicians

Etymotic High-Fidelity ER20XS

Etymotic High-Fidelity Earplugs, ER20XS Standard Fit, 1 pair, Polybag Packaging
Etymotic ER20XS Earplugs

One of the more well-known brands when it comes to manufacturing high-fidelity earplugs, Etymotic has proven the quality of their products time and time again.

The Etymotic ER20XS Earplugs use a compact triple flange design to create a good seal in your ear canals. It manages to deliver achieve an NRR of 20 dB which can offer a solid protection for your eardrums.

The ER20XS also manages to maintain sound quality making it highly recommended for musicians and concertgoers alike. The comfort level is also pretty good as it manages to fit inside your ear canal without causing any discomfort at all. It is reusable and affordable but I did experience some deterioration in quality after months of constant use with my pair. I suggest you handle and maintain it properly to maximize its lifespan.

Key Features:

  • 20 dB NRR.
  • Comes with a neck cord and carrying case.
  • Sleek design.

Who would this be good for?

A solid earplug for musicians, the 20 dB will be enough to protect you from loud harmful noise during standard live performances. The ER20XS is a good solid all-around choice.

Pros:

  • Easy to wear.
  • Sound quality maintains its clarity.
  • Reusable.

Cons:

  • Some people do not find the triple flange design comfortable.

Earasers Musician Plugs

Earasers Musicians Plugs Medium with Waterproof Stash Can Case( Assorted Colors, Red or Blue)
Earasers Musicians Plugs

For those who feel uncomfortable wearing triple flange earplugs, the Earasers Musicians Plugs might be more up your alley. It uses an oval tip design which also achieves a good seal around your ear canals. The silicone earbuds adapt to the size of the ear canal which translates to better comfort. If you experience earplug fatigue, this could be a good alternative.

Earasers is also subsidiary of a known manufacturer of hearing-aids which is why I believe they can offer a level of expertise in this category that most other brands cannot. The Earaser earplugs are available in three versions, each offering different levels of NRR. This allows for a more flexible choice depending on where you will be using it.

You can choose between the 19 dB, 26 dB, and 31 dB NRR earplugs. It is also available in different sizes from extra small to large. As for fidelity, the earplugs manage to maintain balanced sound quality to provide musicians with a better grasp of their music during the performance.

Key Features:

  • Comfortable oval shaped design.
  • Three versions with varying NRR.
  • Comes in different sizes.

Who would this be good for?

The Earaser Musician Plugs would be a good option for those who suffer from earplug fatigue. The oval-shaped buds fit quite nicely in the ears without putting any pressure on it. It also comes in three different NRR versions.

Pros:

  • Compact and comfortable design.
  • Three models to choose from each with differing NRRs.
  • Washable.

Cons:

  • Might take a couple of tries to find the perfect fit.

Dubs Acoustic Filters Advanced Tech Earplugs

DUBS Noise Cancelling Music Ear Plugs: Acoustic Filters High Fidelity Hearing Protection
DUBS

Dubs Acoustic is another top-quality earplug for musicians thanks to its ability to reduce environmental or ambient noise without reducing sound quality and clarity. Dubs offers the standard 12 dB NRR but you can also choose their 24 dB NRR earplugs that should protect your ears even during the loudest rock concert performances.

Dubs Acoustic features a special feature in the form of adaptive technology which uses dynamic attenuation. Dynamic attenuation is the process wherein the earplugs reduce noise level without affecting audio fidelity. The design also covers protection from mid-range frequencies which can adversely affect those with high hearing sensitivity.

Putting on this earplug is easy and comfortable. The compact design allows it to be discreetly worn during concerts as it won’t protrude like other earplugs in the market. The downside I found here is with its narrow design. It is relatively narrower than most and might be an issue with those who have larger ear canals.

Key Features:

  • Comes in 12 dB and 24 dB NRR models.
  • Sleek and minimalist design.
  • Utilizes dynamic attenuation technology.

Who would this be good for?

The Dubs Acoustic is a good choice for those who have sensitive hearing thanks to its ability to also protect your ears from mid-range frequencies.

Pros:

  • Dynamic attenuation technology reduces noise without affecting sound quality.
  • The sleek and compact design makes it virtually invisible when worn.
  • 2 versions to choose from 12 dB and 24 dB NRR models.

Cons:

  • The sleek design might cause discomfort for those with relatively larger ear canals.

EarDial Earplugs

EarDial Ear Plugs - Invisible Smart Earplugs for Live Music - Comfortable and Discreet High-Fidelity Reusable Hearing Protection with App. Perfect for Concert, Nightclub, Festival, Musician, DJ, etc.
EarDial Ear Plugs

If you want something that is completely discreet when worn while also providing protection from loud noises as well as having a high-fidelity property then you might want to check EarDial.

Besides its crystal-clear silicone construction, the EarDial Ear Plugs also use double flange design for the optimum seal around the ear canals.

It also features a Hi-Fi noise filter that is located in the center part of the earplugs. This helps lessen loud noises while still allowing you to hear the music clearly as well as have a conversation with another person. For those who worry about having difficulty removing earplugs, the EarDIal has a tab that you can easily pull. The filter also comes with the additional protective layer to protect it from dirt and earwax. It makes it easy to clean too.

One nifty feature EarDial has is a companion app that you can install in your smartphone. This app helps gauge the noise in your surroundings and give you a calculated duration to how long EarDial can protect you from excessively loud noise. While that feature is not a game changer, it does help warn you just for how long the earplugs can protect your eardrums before any damage can occur.

Key Features:

  • Companion App.
  • High-fidelity noise filter.
  • Transparent and low-profile design.
  • Hypoallergenic silicone earplugs.

Who would this be good for?

The inconspicuous design of this earplug is great for those who are not comfortable with earplugs that jut out of their ears. It also helps you track how long you can safely stay in a loud environment.

Pros:

  • Convenient and convenient to put on and remove.
  • Comfortable.
  • High-fidelity filters help retain sound quality while lowering the volume of your surroundings.

Cons:

  • Due to the transparent silicone construction, it can be quite easy to misplace.

Surefire EP4 Sonic Ear Defenders

SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders Plus filtered Earplugs, triple flanged design, reusable, Clear, Large
SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders

Part of a hardcore rock band? Chances are you will require an earplug that provides enough protection to handle the loud riffs of the guitar and the thunderous beats of the drums. In that regard, you might want to look at the Surefire EP4 Sonic Ear Defense. In case you enjoy some headbanging, the Surefire EP4 also comes with its patented EarLock feature that secures the earplug to your ears.

The EP4 also has a 24 dB NRR which should be enough to protect your ears even from gunfire level noise. It does so without affecting the audio fidelity too much. It uses the triple flange design which helps deliver an airtight seal around your ears. However, triple flange earplugs do cause discomfort to some wearers.

As an added feature, the EarLock design is compatible with other communication equipment as the noise reduction filter is removable. A good feature to have if you often use other earplugs or earphones for different activities.

Key Features:

  • EarLock design technology.
  • 24 dB NRR.
  • Compact and low-profile construction.

Who would this be good for?

The 24 dB NRR and EarLock design makes this a good choice for musicians who perform exceptionally loud and hard-hitting music. Basically, this should be a good option for metalheads.

Pros:

  • Secure and locks in place.
  • EarLock can be used with other communication systems.
  • 24 dB NRR.
  • Good choice for rock and metal musicians.

Cons:

  • Does not offer the same level of fidelity to those in this list.+

 DeciBullz Custom Molded Earplugs

Decibullz - Custom Molded Earplugs, 31dB Highest NRR, Comfortable Hearing Protection for Shooting, Travel, Swimming, Work and Concerts (Red) The DEciBullz Earplugs are heavy-duty, reusable, durable. It is designed to accommodate other activities that require your ears to be protected from harmful loud noises. I have to say that the design of the earplug is quite stylish as it looks more like an actual headphone than an earplug. A nice touch but that also means it is quite visible, a downside for those who prefer something a little more discreet.

The silicone tips use the triple flange designed which is either good or bad depending on whether you find this design comfortable or not. Now, the biggest draw of this earplug is that it is completely moldable. You dip the earplug in a glass of hot water for a couple of minutes, let it dry and slightly cool off, once cool enough to handle you simply place them in your ears and wait for it to mold itself into a shape that perfectly fits your ears.

Key Features:

  • Moldable earplugs.
  • Easy shape system allows you to remold it over and over.
  • Designed for use with other activities such as swimming.

Who would this be good for?

The DeciBullz is a unique earplug in that it allows you to custom mold the fit of the earbuds. If you have trouble finding an earplug that offers the perfect fit then this should be a good alternative to actually buying an expensive custom earplug from an audiologist.

Pros:

  • Moldable to provide the perfect fit.
  • Durable design and construction.
  • 31 NRR.

Cons:

  • Sound quality is not that good.

One to Avoid: Vikidom Professional High-Fidelity Earplugs

Professional High Fidelity Ear Plugs 2018 Сritical Noise Protection Soft Silicone Reusable Plugs for Work, Musicians, Concerts, Airplane, Shooting While the adjustable NRR button is a nice touch and can offer you a more flexible range of protection, the overall construction of this earplugs negates that convenient feature.

The Vikidom earplug is quite uncomfortable to wear. The NRR activation button also seems to have design flaws based on customer reviews who complained it will either work or it won’t from time to time.

Save yourself the cash and headache by opting for the other products included in this list.


Related Video: 

Musicians rely on their hearing to make a living and need to be able to hear the music their produce. Loud noise is a real occupational hazard. While earplugs can help limit exposure to loud noise on stage, there are plenty of other dangerous noises in our surroundings when you are not up on stage. This quick video has some other useful ways to try to limit hearing loss during your everyday lives.

Conclusion

Musicians will require the need to protect their ears as, basically, that is part of their bread and butter.

You can do this with a good earplug but musicians will not only need hearing protection but the ability to listen to their music unobstructed. The list of products above covers a wide range of specific requirements for a musician.

Hopefully, this article helped you to find the best one to accompany you during your performances.

 

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