We Tested 30 Earplugs for Sleeping—These 7 Pairs Helped Us Doze off Faster (2024)

We Tested 30 Earplugs for Sleeping—These 7 Pairs Helped Us Doze off Faster (1)

Whether you're up all night listening to a partner who snores, a barking dog next door, or lots of loud city traffic, a noisy environment can prevent you from getting a good night's sleep. Earplugs are a simple tool to improve sleep quality, lowering your risk of health issues like heart disease, obesity, and high blood pressure. Manan Shah, MD, a board-certified ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT), adds that they're also beneficial for light sleepers or people who live in cities.

We tested 30 pairs by sleeping in each pair for one week to find the best earplugs for sleep. Then, we rated each pick based on noise reduction, comfort, and value. Before publishing this article, a doctor from our Medical Expert Board reviewed it for medical accuracy.

Noise Reduction Rate

An earplug’s noise reduction rating (NRR) measures how much sound an earplug can block out, says Shelby Harris, PsyD, DBSM, a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in behavioral sleep medicine.The higher the NRR, the more effective the earplug reduces noise. When choosing earplugs for sleeping, it’s important to consider the NRR and select ones with a high rating to block out unwanted noise effectively. If you use them for sleeping, you typically need an NRR of 25 or higher—particularly if you sleep in a noisy environment.

Our Top Picks

Jump to Review
Jump to Review

Best for Small Ear Canals:

Anbow Silicone Ear Plugs at Amazon ($8)

Jump to Review

In This Article

  • Noise Reduction Rate

  • Our Picks

  • We Also Tested

  • How We Tested

  • What to Look For

  • Our Experts

  • FAQ

  • Why Trust Verywell Health

We Tested 30 Earplugs for Sleeping—These 7 Pairs Helped Us Doze off Faster (2)

Our Ratings

  • Comfort

    5/5

  • Noise Reduction

    4.8/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Why We Recommend It

If you're looking for comfortable, adjustable earplugs that effectively reduce disruptive noise, look no further than the PQ Wax Ear Plugs for Sleep. These earplugs block out snoring and other loud noises while still allowing you to wake up to important noises like your alarm, a phone call, or a child who needs you.

We found these earplugs created a sense of calm, which is a real plus for sensitive sleepers. They're also made of wax, so once you've put them in properly, they stay put all night long. They're secure, customizable, and have great noise-reduction capabilities. They check all the boxes and then some.

Keep in Mind

They cling to debris like hair and lint, so we threw them out fairly consistently. There's also a bit of a learning curve to getting them to fit your ears properly, but once you've got them in properly, they stay put all night long.

Key Specs:
Material:
Wax | Noise Reduction Rate: 32 decibels | Sizes: Customizable | Colors: Clear

We Tested 30 Earplugs for Sleeping—These 7 Pairs Helped Us Doze off Faster (3)

Our Ratings

  • Comfort

    5/5

  • Noise Reduction

    4/5

  • Design

    4/5

  • Value

    5/5

Pros

  • Effective noise reduction

  • Easily mold to your ear canal

  • Allows you to hear important noises

Cons

  • Can fall out with excessive movement

  • Not customizable

Why We Recommend It

These earplugs, which come with three pairs of plugs and two cases, are as effective as they are affordable. Once they were nestled into place, we didn’t wake to noise despite being surrounded by city sounds such as honking horns, sirens, and other street noises.

The earplugs are made of super-soft, squishy foam that molds seamlessly to the shape of your ear canal—so much so that you may not even notice them. With a noise reduction rating of 32 decibels, they can double as noise-blocking earplugs if you are at a loud event.

Keep in Mind

One downside we experienced was that they can easily fall out if you’re a restless sleeper. But if you tend to stay in one position throughout the night, they provide high quality at an affordable price.

Keep in Mind

Key Specs:
Material:
Memory foam, silicone case | Noise Reduction Rate: 32 decibels | Sizes: One size | Colors: Black, gray

  • We Tested 30 Earplugs for Sleeping—These 7 Pairs Helped Us Doze off Faster (4)

  • We Tested 30 Earplugs for Sleeping—These 7 Pairs Helped Us Doze off Faster (5)

Best for Blocking Snoring

Mack's Ultra-Soft Foam Earplugs

We Tested 30 Earplugs for Sleeping—These 7 Pairs Helped Us Doze off Faster (6)

Our Ratings

  • Comfort

    4.5/5

  • Noise Reduction

    4/5

  • Design

    4/5

  • Value

    5/5

Pros

  • Contains high noise reduction rating

  • Promotes sleep

  • Soft and comfortable

Cons

  • Can fall out with excessive movement

  • Beige color makes them difficult to find

Why We Recommend It

If you have a partner who snores, you know how challenging it can be to fall and stay asleep. Mack's Soft Foam Ear Plugs have a noise reduction rating of 33 decibels, the highest of any earplugs on our list. This means they can block out disruptive sounds like snoring.

The earplugs are made from soft, squishy, low-pressure, slow-release foam. Their cushy feel is non-irritating the delicate skin of your ear canal, and with 50 earplugs in one bottle, they last quite a long time.

Keep in Mind

These beige earplugs tend to fall out with movement throughout the night and can be difficult to find.

Key Specs:
Material:
Foam | Noise Reduction Rate: 33 decibels | Sizes: One size | Colors: Beige

  • We Tested 30 Earplugs for Sleeping—These 7 Pairs Helped Us Doze off Faster (7)

  • We Tested 30 Earplugs for Sleeping—These 7 Pairs Helped Us Doze off Faster (8)

  • We Tested 30 Earplugs for Sleeping—These 7 Pairs Helped Us Doze off Faster (9)

We Tested 30 Earplugs for Sleeping—These 7 Pairs Helped Us Doze off Faster (10)

Our Ratings

  • Comfort

    4.5/5

  • Noise Reduction

    4.5/5

  • Design

    4.8/5

  • Value

    5/5

Pros

  • Contoured shape for easy insertion

  • Effective noise reduction

  • Bright colors make them easy to spot

Cons

  • Don’t come with a reusable carrying case

  • Not ideal for small ear canals

Why We Recommend It

These Howard Leight by Honeywell Laser Lite earplugs are both affordable and effective. They come with a noise reduction rating of 32 decibels, which is pretty impressive for such an inexpensive pair. Plus, the unique contoured shape of the earplugs means they are easy to insert and stay put even when sleeping on your side. Even if an earplug does happen to fall out—which is unlikely—the bright colors make them easy to spot in the bed or on the floor.

These Howard Leight earplugs effectively block snoring and other nighttime noises. Made of low-pressure foam that expands to fit almost any ear canal size, they seem especially ideal for larger ear canals.

Keep in Mind

Their bulky size made them too big for smaller ears. We also wish they came with a carrying case.

Key Specs:
Material:
Foam | Noise Reduction Rate: 32 decibels | Sizes: One size | Colors: Pink, yellow

Best for Small Ear Canals

Anbow Silicone Ear Plugs

We Tested 30 Earplugs for Sleeping—These 7 Pairs Helped Us Doze off Faster (11)

Our Ratings

  • Comfort

    5/5

  • Noise Reduction

    4.5/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Pros

  • Insertion is simple

  • Reusable and easy to clean

  • Travel-friendly

Cons

  • One of the pairs is corded

  • The stem might be uncomfortable for some

Why We Recommend It

It can be difficult to find comfortable earplugs if you have small ear canals. The Anbow Reusable Ear Plugs are soft and cushy and mold well to your ears without feeling too big and bulky. We especially appreciated how simple it was to insert these earplugs during testing. You can twist them into your ears rather than squishing or contorting them to fit.

We loved that these earplugs were effective at blocking out most nighttime noises, are reusable, and are easy to clean, making them more environmentally friendly than disposable earplugs. Plus, this set comes with three pairs of earplugs and a case for each pair—a real bonus if you misplace a pair or are traveling.

Keep in Mind

One downside is that one pair of earplugs is corded and designed with straight stems that stick out of your ears, which we felt limited their use. However, the BPA-free silicone is so flexible that it didn't pose much of an issue while sleeping. If you find the stem uncomfortable, you can easily trim it for a closer fit.

Keep in Mind

Key Specs:
Material:
BPA-free silicone | Noise Reduction Rate: Not listed | Sizes: One size | Colors: Light blue

We Tested 30 Earplugs for Sleeping—These 7 Pairs Helped Us Doze off Faster (12)

We Tested 30 Earplugs for Sleeping—These 7 Pairs Helped Us Doze off Faster (13)

Our Ratings

  • Comfort

    5/5

  • Noise Reduction

    3.8/5

  • Design

    4.2/5

  • Value

    4/5

Pros

  • Come in multiple sizes

  • Flexible and comfortable

  • Easy insertion and removal

Cons

  • May not be ideal for side sleepers

Why We Recommend It

If you normally find earplugs cumbersome, irritating, and uncomfortable, you may like the Hearprotek Sleeping Ear Plugs. These soft and flexible earplugs were among the most comfortable on our list. They gently contour your ear canals and don’t irritate, even after hours of wear.

They come in two sizes, both of which boast a tiered nodule design and are particularly well-suited for small ear canals. They’re also made of silicone, which is a bonus for anyone with allergies or sensitivities. The earplugs have a stem on the end, making insertion and removal a breeze. As for their noise reduction abilities, these earplugs passed our testing with flying colors. Not only did they muffle sounds, but they also allow enough sound to filter in so that you can still hear critical sounds.

Keep in Mind

This stem can also make them somewhat uncomfortable for people who sleep on their sides.

Key Specs:
Material:
Silicone | Noise Reduction Rate: 30 decibels (small), 32 decibels (standard) | Sizes: Small and standard | Colors: Pink, clear, blue

  • We Tested 30 Earplugs for Sleeping—These 7 Pairs Helped Us Doze off Faster (14)

  • We Tested 30 Earplugs for Sleeping—These 7 Pairs Helped Us Doze off Faster (15)

We Tested 30 Earplugs for Sleeping—These 7 Pairs Helped Us Doze off Faster (16)

Our Ratings

  • Comfort

    5/5

  • Noise Reduction

    4/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Pros

  • Customizable fit

  • Reusable and easy to clean

  • Environmentally friendly

Cons

  • Low noise reduction rating

Why We Recommend It

You never know what to expect about nighttime noise if you’re traveling. With the Becheln Reusable Ear Plugs, you can travel with confidence. These earplugs are made of soft silicone, so they can be easily shaped and molded to fit your ear canal, providing a comfortable and secure fit. Store them in your carry-on, and they are ready to go when needed. They fit so snugly that even the most restless sleeper will find them still in place in the morning. The earplugs are reusable and easy to clean, making them an environmentally friendly option. Silicone is also great for people with allergies or sensitivities.

If you’re using them to help you rest while traveling, they are a great choice when blocking out the sounds of a hotel ice machine or elevator.

Keep in Mind

The only downside is that these earplugs have a lower noise reduction rating than the others on our list, at only 22 decibels.

Key Specs:
Material:
Silicone | Noise Reduction Rate: 22 decibels | Sizes: Spec | Colors: Blue, light green, purple, yellow-green

We Also Tested

  • Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs: These earplugs are made with soft, supple material, but we were disappointed in their noise reduction capabilities. The instructions were also difficult to understand, and we had difficulty getting the plugs to fit properly. They might be better suited for someone with small ear canals.
  • Flents Earplugs: These earplugs took some getting used to, but they did a fairly decent job of muting far-away noises in the home, like the television or banging of pots and pans. However, they are ineffective at blocking out snoring or particularly loud sounds that interfere with sleep.
  • SleepDeep Sleeping Ear Plugs: Although these earplugs were comfortable, easy to wear, and stayed in place even when sleeping on our side, they failed to block out noise or muffle sounds that interfere with sleep. Even text alerts from another room could be heard while wearing them.

How We Tested the Earplugs

We consulted experts and tested 30 earplugs with different features and materials at various price points. Each set was used for at least one week (but sometimes longer) and evaluated based on its impact on our nightly sleep and noise levels during the testing period. We judged their performance based on the following criteria:

  • Comfort: When wearing the earplugs, we paid close attention to how easy they were to use, wear, and take out. We noted whether they stayed put throughout the night, clung onto debris, were easy to clean, and if the design, fit, and feel allowed for uninterrupted rest.
  • Noise reduction: We evaluated how well the headphones blocked out unwanted and disruptive noise and filtered needed interruptions (alarms, baby cries, etc.).
  • Value: At the end of our test, we compared our experience and the performance to the price tag to see if the financial cost matched the effectiveness.

What to Look for in Earplugs

  • Comfort and fit: When selecting earplugs for sleeping, look for ones that are comfortable to wear and easy to insert and remove. Dr. Harris says they should fit comfortably in the ear canal without causing pain or discomfort.
  • Materials: You may want to select soft, flexible, hypoallergenic earplugs if you have allergies. According to Lee Fletcher, RHAD, BSHAA, principal audiologist at Regain Hearing, these materials are generally non-toxic and less likely to cause an allergic reaction or skin irritation. Dr. Shah suggests ensuring the earplugs do not go too far into your ear canal since plugs that go deep into the canal can lead to wax impaction.
  • Sleeping Position: If you tend to sleep on your back, you may be able to use just about any earplugs you want. Stomach and side sleepers may find some earplugs get dislodged or make noise when they come in contact with the pillow. To prevent this, you’ll need to select earplugs that don’t stick out of your ears and offer a snug fit.

Our Experts

We consulted the following experts throughout research, testing, and writing this article:

  • Erich Voigt, MD, chief of the division of general and sleep otolaryngology at NYU Langone Health and member of NYU Langone’s Sleep Disorders Program
  • Lee Fletcher, RHAD, BSHAA, principal audiologist at Regain Hearing
  • Shelby Harris, PsyD, DBSM, licensed clinical psychologist specializing in behavioral sleep medicine and director of sleep health at Sleepopolis
  • Manan Shah, MD, a board-certified ear nose and throat specialist (ENT) and the founder of Wyndly

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it OK to sleep with earplugs every night?

    It’s safe to sleep with earplugs every night as long as they are used correctly, Dr. Harris says. But you need to be aware of the risk of wax impaction, as well as the impact wearing earplugs may have on allergies. It’s always best to consult with a healthcare provider before wearing them on a regular basis.

  • What are the risks of using earplugs for sleeping?

    The primary risk of wearing earplugs is not hearing signs of an emergency. Because of this, Dr. Shah suggests testing your earplugs while you are awake to ensure that they dampen sounds around you but do not completely block out all noise.It’s also important to routinely clean your non-disposable earplugs to prevent the risk of an ear infection or wax buildup.Also, an incorrect fit can cause pain or discomfort in the ear canal, Dr. Harris says. Look for earplugs specifically designed for sleep since not all earplugs should be used throughout the night.

Why Trust Verywell Health

Sherri Gordon, CLC, has been covering health and social issues for nearly 20 years and has written countless articles with a health focus. Throughout her career, Sherri has interviewed countless healthcare professionals, including those in the sleepcare industry, and was able to draw on that experience with these recommendations. With a combination of careful research and extensive knowledge, Sherri gives readers everything they need to make an informed decision.

We Tested 30 Earplugs for Sleeping—These 7 Pairs Helped Us Doze off Faster (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Mr. See Jast

Last Updated:

Views: 6372

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (75 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Mr. See Jast

Birthday: 1999-07-30

Address: 8409 Megan Mountain, New Mathew, MT 44997-8193

Phone: +5023589614038

Job: Chief Executive

Hobby: Leather crafting, Flag Football, Candle making, Flying, Poi, Gunsmithing, Swimming

Introduction: My name is Mr. See Jast, I am a open, jolly, gorgeous, courageous, inexpensive, friendly, homely person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.