The 6 Best Earplugs for Musicians – 2020
As a Musician, your hearing is your most important asset. Earplugs for musicians are very useful to safely reduce the volume of your environment while keeping the sound clear.
The human ears are not designed to withstand the levels of noise that we throw at them every day. The two most common problems people that are around a lot of the loud environments (not just musicians) have are hearing loss and tinnitus (chronic ringing in your ears), which are a lot more common than you might assume.
About two years ago we published a piece entitled “The Shocking Dangers of Our Everyday Listening Habits“, one of the most important lines from that article is as follows:
The high-pitched sound that I am hearing is known as tinnitus. My symptoms are a result of over-exposure to noise and there is no cure for it. It’s something that robs you of your silence forever.
If you want to learn more about being careful of your noise exposure as a musician, then be sure to read our article linked above. You might be quite alarmed after reading it.
Universal or Custom Earplugs?
If you have the budget, then definitely go for custom-fitted earplugs. They generally have better protection and are custom molded to your ears. You often need to get an impression done of your ears before getting these (this can be either a 3D scan of your ears, or more traditionally through a silicone impression of your ears).
If you can’t afford custom earplugs, then universal fitting earplugs are the next best thing, which is what we are mostly talking about in this article (apart from the Westone ES49s which are custom-fitted).
The 6 Best Earplugs for Musicians
1. Alpine MusicSafe Pro Hearing Protection System
I have used these earplugs a lot over the last few years while attending concerts and playing music. I always keep a set on me so I can put them on whenever the noise around me is too much.
I actually have purchased 4 sets of these. 2 for myself (one set as a backup), and 2 as gifts for friends.
Alpine MusicSafe Pro earplugs are a great option for those looking for a relatively affordable set, while still offering good protection. These earplugs are made out of specific Alpine Thermo Shape material, which adjusts to the shape of your earlobe and allows for maximum comfort while wearing these earplugs.
They also come with three different sets of noise reduction filters, allowing you to adjust the level of sound blocking you want to have when you wear them. Alpine MusicSafe Pro are very compact and barely visible. They also come with a plastic box in which you can store them and take them with you.
2. Westone ES49 Musicians Earplugs (Custom Fitted)
These are a very good set of custom fitted earplugs from a reputable manufacturer. Westone are very well known for custom fitted earplugs and custom in-ear monitors.
Before ordering these, please make sure that you’ve gotten an ear impression from a professional audiologist.
These are not the only types of custom earplugs available. Check your local area to see what options are available (3D scans are a great non-invasive option compared to silicone impressions, which to be honest, can feel quite weird, because they syringe it into your ears and you need to wait a few minutes for them to harden)!
3. Etymotic Research ER20 High-Fidelity Earplugs
Etymotic ER20 earplugs are a perfect example of the low-end, cheaper earplugs that will do their job pretty well. They are made out of silicone with stylish light blue tips and transparent handles. They are easily washable and used again. Together with the earplugs, you will get a plastic casing in which you can store them.
ER20 was designed with musicians in mind and as such. This means that you will get an even noise reduction, allowing you to hear everything being played and enjoy in the music accordingly. As for the price, they are very affordable, so there is no need to not get them if there is some doubt in your mind.
4. EargasmHigh Fidelity Earplugs
One of the most popular earplugs on the market today for musicians. Eargasm High Fidelity is a true example of the quality earplugs for musicians. In the package, you will get two pairs of earplugs with different filters which you can then swap. You will also get multiple sets of different sizes for your earplugs, so you don’t have to worry about them not fitting. Great thing is that you can get them in different colors, with rainbow color striking out of the competition.
Together with them, you’ll get an aluminum casing in which you can store them and protect them. They are sturdy, quality and have an NRR rating of 16, providing you with a good amount of the ear protection you might need at a concert or while playing.
5. EarDialHiFi Earplugs
These earplugs are made out of silicone and will provide you with high-quality hearing protection. They are made out of transparent hypoallergenic silicone and as such are very low profile, with the design that won’t stick out of your ear and won’t irritate you at all.
They are graded as 11 on NRR (Noise reduction ratio) and as such will provide you with the nice cover but still allow you to hear sounds from all over the spectrum. In this package, you also get compact aluminum casing which you can wear on a keyring and always be sure that you have your earplugs with you.
6. Hearprotek Noise Reduction Music Earplugs
We finish off this list with another affordable set. Hearprotek earplugs are good silicone earplugs. In the packaging you will get two sets of earplugs of different sizes, so you’re covered no matter what size your ears are. Also, there are two sets of different noise filters, allowing you to adjust the level of filtering you wish to have with your earplugs.
Together with the earplugs, you will get a nice, aluminum casing in which you can store them and take them everywhere you need. For this price, you won’t find a better offer and there are no reasons to skip this buy. They have great sound protection and are durable.
Difference Between Musicians Earplugs and Foam Earplugs
Foam earplugs block out and dull the noise around you. Earplugs for musician contain filters that can help retain the clarity of the sound while bringing the overall volume to safe levels.
Earplugs and Hearing Protection
In general, if you’re exposed to loud noises over a long period of time, your hearing will get damaged over time. However, if you are exposed to extremely loud noise, the long-term damage can be almost instant.
Tinnitus might sound trivial at first, but if you think about it in the long run, it can have a very impact on your life. Tinnitus is basically ringing in your ears – the whining, high-pitch noise everybody heard at some point. Now imagine that going on in your ears for the rest of your life. There is no cure for most forms of noise-induced tinnitus. If you’re not careful, you might have to live with this noise in your ears for the rest of your life.
As you can see, the protection of your hearing is vital to keep your life quality at high levels. Whether you’re a musician or work in a loud environment (such as a construction site or factory, etc.) you should be aware that your hearing has a level beyond which you can’t really go. And science has developed different ways of blocking sounds such as noise-isolating headphones and earplugs (blocking outside noises through noise isolation is a LOT more important than noise canceling headphones for hearing protection. Noise cancelling headphones cancel out relatively low level noise, which is not useful for musicians that are in very loud environments).
Today there are several different types of earplugs such as foam, silicone, wax or custom molded.
We hope that his article has helped you with choosing the right pair of earplugs for yourself.
Also, we hope that you learned something about hearing problems that evolve from loud noises and that you will take into consideration everything that you have read here. Even though people think that these problems only happen to others and not to them, if you’re exposed to loud noises constantly you do need to think about ear protection, for your own good and safety.