Finding comfortable earplugs for sleeping, whether it's to drown out your partner's snoring or because you live in a noisy place, often means compromise. Most doctors will tell you that the popular, cheap foam versions that squish into the ear canal do great at muffling sound but can cause problems and are rather unsanitary.
Finding plugs that fit various sized ear canals are important and you'll want something that fits into the ear and doesn't feel like it's pushing against the pillow.
Not all earplugs are designed for total sound blocking and you can also look at those with filters built in which help lower the overall volume of sound while still allowing you to hear what's going on.
Ideal if you don't want to risk missing that alarm clock or if you feel it's a safety issue not to be able to hear your surroundings but you just want the noise quieter.
While these aren't the cheapest they're a very simple silicone construction they're recommended by Dr. Breus (aka the sleep Doctor) and are designed by the House Ear Institute.
While they're intended specifically for use in airplanes they work well for blocking out any noise and have filter valves inside to help regulate pressure while still blocking out noise.
These are made of super soft silicone and are reusable twice per pair and there are 5 pairs in a pack. There's also a version which is reusable up to ten times.
- Pressure Filter
- Reusable 1 time
These are perfect if you have sinus issues because they help regulate pressure. These also don't have that “full” feeling that foam gives you. There are four soft barrier rings to prevent sound getting into your ear which is more than enough to muffle most nighttime noises.
These are large, and unless you have a large ear canal you'll want to order the child-sized version or they're very uncomfortable. These aren't designed as sleeping plugs and while they can be used for that they don't really block all noise.
In fact, they only really muffle most louder noises like children crying. As these are not truly reusable you'll also have to keep buying new ones which gets expensive.
Available in four different colors these are reusable earplugs that use impressive technology similar to active noise cancellation that reduces noise volume but still allows some frequencies of sound through.
They're small and minimal with a foam and silicone construction which fits flush into the ear so that even if you're a side sleeper you won't feel them digging into your head. They also come with a carry case and in are reusable so you won't have to keep buying new ones.
Despite having much more advanced technology than foam earplugs they don't cost much more.
- Sound Filter
- Flush design
- Carry Case
Unlike traditional ear plugs these filter noise so that everything is quiet but you can still hear what's going on. This allows you to feel more secure if you're worried that blocking out all noise could be a safety hazard. The flush design means they're perfect even if you're a side sleeper so you won't feel uncomfortable.
They don't filter all noise, while these do make things quieter if you're a light sleeper and want total blockage these will not work for you. Being that they're reusable they're also going to need cleaning for sanitary reasons and with all the nooks and cracks it's impossible to make sure you get everything clean.
The rubber part can also come off and be left behind in the ear since it's only glued on – a serious health risk that means a trip to the doctor to remove it.
These have a simple design that most people will recognize. They come in a bright color with bright ends so you can see them to remove or to put back in when it's semi-dark. There's also a handy matching carry case and they're super cheap.
These have an NRR27 rating and are designed with an air bubble in the tip to help block sound waves. They're washable which is great for sanitation reasons and have three soft silicone flanges to block sound from entering.
- Three flanges/air bubble design
- Two Pairs
- Washable Silicone
These are one of the most sanitary choices since they can be easily washed. The size is pretty large but they've very soft and flexible which adds comfort. There's also two pairs in a pack so even if you happen to lose one you'll always have spares.
You need to twist them to get them to sit into the ear canal properly since they have a hardcore that doesn't expand like foam plugs.
The air bubble tip does not sit flush to the head which means they are impossible for using if you're a side sleeper. The design is also quite big so they can be rather uncomfortable if you have smaller ear canals.
With a selection of goodies in the carry case, you're getting 6 pairs of foam plugs and a second pair of softer silicone without flanges if you have narrower canals as well as a connecting cord on top of the PQ plugs.
These have a similar design to the Moldex rockets but re softer and don't have the hard air bubble core. The connecting cord is useful as it means they won't get lost in the bed and they're calculated to have a noise suppression level of between 75-100% for total quiet.
The case is waterproof and they're clear which makes them hardly noticeable if you want to wear them for other purposes too. The design is made of silicone which is soft and washable for sanitation and comfort.
- 3 different types of earplug
- Washable Silicone
- Waterproof Carry Case
This is more of a variety pack than a simple pair of plugs and it's an ideal choice if you're not sure which design is going to be the most comfortable for you.
The two silicone pairs are washable which is great for sanitary reasons and having the foam option to try out or to travel with is convenient. The softer silicone is great for smaller ear canals too and really comfortable.
The silicone flanges alone aren't enough to block a lot of sounds and they're not very effective if it's especially noisy. The three plug concept is interesting to try but none of these are very effective which means it's ideal for getting an idea of what fit you like but not useful as far as actually blocking out sound to sleep.
These have a design that is similar to the Moldex but without the long hardcore so they sit flush to the ear which is better for sleeping. These have attenuation filters built in like the Dubz so they reduce noise without blocking everything.
The clear silicone is discreet and has a pull tab to make them easy to get out. The Silicone in these is hypoallergenic and nontoxic and they can be washed carefully (without wetting the filters) for sanitation.
There's an aluminum case to protect them which fits easily onto a keychain that is great for travel. The interior of the case is coated with an anti-stick material to stop the plugs getting ripped or damaged.
- Silicone Flanges
- Metal Case
- Sound Filters
- Pull tabs for removal
The design has three flanges so you'll get comfort and a good seal from noise. These reduce volume but maintain clarity so like the Dubz they're ideal if you want to feel safe while still being able to sleep. The aluminum case is sturdy and much more durable than the plastic of others.
They have an NRR of only 12 but this can be increased if they're screwed into the ear properly up to 21dB. Being washable is also convenient and better than foam. These are a similar shape to the PQ plugs but have a much lower profile which is better for side sleeping.
These filters again do not block all sound which means you'll still be able to hear ambient noise. These are not noise canceling and while they deal with attenuation they still let a significant amount of noise in. They're more comfortable than the Moldex but not as effective despite having a similar shape.
Depending on what you want from your earplugs those with filters in may either be ideal or totally unsuited. Getting something that fits comfortably can be tough so a set like the PQ which has several different shapes and designs is ideal if you're not sure what you want exactly.
The best earplugs for sleeping are the Moldex if you want sound blocked out entirely but if you want reduction while still having fidelity the Eargasms are definitely the best and lowest profile.