The best sleeping earplugs: types and alternatives

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Quality sleep is essential for overall well-being, and one of the common disturbances that can affect your slumber is noise. Whether it's a snoring partner, loud neighbors, or traffic outside, disruptive sounds can prevent you from enjoying a peaceful night's rest. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the benefits of sleeping earplugs, different types of earplugs for sleep, and provide you with insights into choosing the best ones for your personal comfort.

Types of earplugs for sleeping

There are three main types of earplugs designed for sleeping:

1. Wax earplugs

  • Wax earplugs are malleable and need to be warmed in your hands before shaping them to fit your ear canal.
  • They are effective at blocking out noise and provide a secure fit.
  • These earplugs are typically single-use and need to be replaced regularly.

2. Reusable silicone earplugs

  • Reusable silicone earplugs are made from a soft, comfortable material.
  • They are washable and can be used multiple times.
  • While they may not block noise as effectively as wax or foam earplugs, they offer good comfort and reusability.

3. Foam earplugs

  • Foam earplugs are the most affordable option.
  • They are soft and comfortable for sleeping but may need frequent replacement due to their porous nature.
  • Foam earplugs offer a reasonable level of noise reduction.

Benefits of sleeping earplugs

Noise-free sleep

Sleeping earplugs provide a means to block out disruptive noises that can interfere with your sleep quality. Whether you're a light sleeper with a snoring partner or living in a bustling neighborhood, these earplugs offer a significant advantage.

Comfort and customization

Crafted from soft silicone, sleeping earplugs offer an impeccable fit and exceptional comfort. They effectively block high-frequency sounds that can disrupt your sleep. Each pair comes in a protective zip case with ear mold comfort cream and fitting instructions for convenience. Custom-fit options ensure they stay in place throughout the night, regardless of your sleeping position.

Versatile applications

Earplugs designed for sleeping aren't limited to bedtime use. They can serve various purposes, making them suitable for travel, meditation, and more. Whether you're on a noisy plane, camping under the stars, or commuting via a raucous bus or train, these earplugs provide peace of mind. Night shift workers, students needing uninterrupted focus, and meditation practitioners can all benefit from these versatile options.

Professional assistance

For those seeking the perfect fit and noise reduction, professional audiologists can create tailor-made earplugs. These earplugs are molded precisely to your ear canals, ensuring maximum comfort and effectiveness.

Variety of colors

A range of colors is available, allowing you to choose the ones that best suit your preferences and various settings. During a consultation with trained audiologists, you can explore and select the ideal color options.
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Choosing the right earplugs for sleep

Selecting the best earplugs for sleeping is crucial to improving your sleep quality. Consider these essential factors:

1. Price

Earplugs are available at various price points, depending on materials and reusability. If you plan to use earplugs regularly, reusable options may save you money over time. However, disposable earplugs can be more cost-effective for occasional use.

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2. Material

Earplugs come in various materials, including foam, silicone, wax, and latex. Foam is the most common and budget-friendly option.

  • Silicone earplugs are often more comfortable and reusable.
  • Wax earplugs offer exceptional noise reduction but are typically designed for single use.
  • Individuals with latex allergies should be cautious.

3. Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)

The NRR measures how effectively earplugs can block out noise, typically ranging from 22 dB to 33 dB. Select the NRR that aligns with your needs and the noise levels in your environment.

4. Comfort

Comfort is a paramount consideration when selecting earplugs for sleep. Comfort varies depending on materials, size, and shape, making it essential to prioritize comfort for a restful night's sleep.

Who should use sleeping earplugs?

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Sleeping earplugs are suitable for anyone looking to drown out disturbances in situations where one needs to unwind or disconnect from the external environment. They are crafted to diminish background noise and are well-suited for:

  • Sleep
  • Traveling and sleeping on an airplane
  • Camping
  • Meditation
  • Commuters utilizing noisy transportation like buses or trains
  • Individuals with irregular work shifts or night shifts
  • Students seeking to concentrate without interruptions

Best practices for using sleeping earplugs

To make the most of your earplugs for sleeping, consider the following tips:

  1. Insertion: Ensure proper insertion of earplugs. Wax earplugs need to be warmed and molded, while silicone and foam earplugs should be inserted carefully to create a snug fit.
  2. Hygiene: Maintain hygiene by cleaning reusable earplugs regularly. Disposable earplugs should be replaced as recommended by the manufacturer.
  3. Comfort: Prioritize comfort when choosing earplugs, as you'll wear them for an extended period. Uncomfortable earplugs can disrupt your sleep.
  4. Safety: Follow the manufacturer's instructions to use earplugs safely. Incorrect insertion or removal can potentially damage your ear canal.
  5. Alternatives: Consider alternative methods for reducing nighttime noise, such as white noise machines, fans, or room modifications like soundproof curtains.

Are ear plugs safe for sleeping?


Experts generally consider sleeping with earplugs safe when used correctly. However, there are potential risks such as earwax buildup, ear canal damage, and missing important sounds like alarms. It's essential to follow the manufacturer's instructions, maintain cleanliness, and handle earplugs with care.

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To clean and maintain your sleeping earplugs, follow these steps:

  1. Rinse the earplugs under warm water. This will remove any loose dirt or debris.
  2. Gently scrub the earplugs with mild soap and a soft brush. Be sure to clean all of the surfaces of the earplugs, including the inside and outside.
  3. Rinse the earplugs again under warm water. This will remove any soap residue.
  4. Air dry the earplugs on a clean towel. Avoid placing the earplugs in direct sunlight or near a heat source, as this can damage them.

Here are some additional tips for cleaning and maintaining your sleeping earplugs:

  • If you have silicone or wax earplugs, you can disinfect them by soaking them in a solution of equal parts vinegar and water for 15 minutes. Rinse the earplugs thoroughly with water after disinfecting them.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners to clean your earplugs, as this can damage them.
  • Store your earplugs in a clean, dry place when you are not using them.
  • If you use your sleeping earplugs regularly, you should clean them once a week. If you do not use your earplugs very often, you can clean them every few weeks.
  • It is also important to replace your sleeping earplugs regularly: Foam earplugs should be replaced after each use. Silicone and wax earplugs can be reused, but they should be replaced every few months, or sooner if they become damaged or worn.

By following these tips, you can keep your sleeping earplugs clean and in good condition, so that they can help you to get a good night's sleep.

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How to use earplugs properly

Sleeping earplugs are a popular way to block out noise and get a good night's sleep, but they're not for everyone. Some people find them uncomfortable or even painful to wear, while others find that they don't block out enough noise.

If you're not sure which alternative to sleeping earplugs is right for you, talk to your doctor or a sleep specialist. They can help you to choose the best option for your individual needs.

If you're looking for alternatives to sleeping earplugs, here are a few options to consider:

1. White noise machines

White noise machines for babies produce a continuous, low-frequency sound that can help to mask distracting noises. White noise machines are especially effective at blocking out high-pitched noises, such as traffic noise or barking dogs.

2. Sleep apps

There are many sleep apps available that offer a variety of features, including white noise, nature sounds, and relaxation music. Sleep apps can be a good option if you're looking for a more customizable sleep experience.

3. Noise-canceling headphones or earbuds

Noise-canceling headphones and earbuds use a variety of technologies to block out external noise. Noise-canceling headphones and earbuds can be a good option if you're looking for the best possible noise reduction, but they can be more expensive than other options.

4. Ear muffs

Ear muffs are worn over the ears and can help to block out loud noises. Ear muffs are a good option if you're looking for a comfortable and affordable way to block out noise.

5. Soundproofing your bedroom

Soundproofing your bedroom can help to reduce the amount of noise that enters your room. There are a variety of ways to soundproof your bedroom, such as adding weatherstripping to doors and windows, installing acoustic panels, and using heavy curtains.

Additional tips for getting a good night's sleep

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Here are some additional tips for getting a good night's sleep without sleeping earplugs:

  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine. This could include taking a warm bath, reading a book, or listening to calming music.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed.
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool.
  • Establish a regular sleep schedule and stick to it as much as possible, even on weekends.

If you have trouble sleeping, even after making these changes, talk to your doctor. They may be able to help you to identify any underlying medical conditions that may be affecting your sleep.

FAQs about sleeping with earplugs

Do earplugs block the sound of snoring?

Correctly worn earplugs should block or significantly reduce snoring sounds. However, loud snoring may still be audible depending on the NRR.

What else can I do to reduce nighttime noise?

In addition to earplugs, consider using white noise machines, headphones designed for sleep, meditation apps, and soundproofing your room.

Can sleeping with ear plugs cause vertigo?


Sleeping with earplugs can rarely cause vertigo, especially if they are inserted too deeply or if they cause a buildup of earwax. Vertigo is a sensation of dizziness or spinning, and it can be caused by a variety of factors, including problems with the inner ear.

The inner ear contains the vestibular system, which is responsible for balance. If the vestibular system is damaged or irritated, it can cause vertigo. Earplugs can irritate the inner ear if they are inserted too deeply or if they cause a buildup of earwax.

If you experience vertigo after sleeping with earplugs, stop using them and see a doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

Can I use earplugs if I have earwax issues?

If you have excessive earwax, it's best to consult a healthcare professional before using earplugs. They can advise you on the best course of action.

Can I sleep with ear plugs?

Yes, you can sleep with earplugs. In fact, many people find that sleeping with earplugs helps them to get a better night's sleep. Earplugs can block out distracting noises, such as traffic noise, snoring partners, or barking dogs. This can help you to fall asleep more easily and stay asleep throughout the night.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind when sleeping with earplugs:

  • Choose earplugs that are comfortable and fit well. Earplugs that are too tight or too loose can be uncomfortable and may not block out enough noise.
  • Clean your earplugs regularly. Earplugs can build up dirt and bacteria, which can lead to ear infections.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. If you are sleeping in a noisy environment, make sure that you can still hear important sounds, such as smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors.

If you have any concerns about sleeping with earplugs, be sure to talk to your doctor.

Do earplugs completely eliminate all noise?

While earplugs are highly effective, they may not completely block all sound. However, they significantly reduce noise disturbances, making it easier to sleep.
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