As a piccolo player, I need a good set of earplugs. And not just regular earplugs; I need earplugs for musicians. Yes, there is a difference. I've had other musicians move away from me because their ears hurt. No, I'm not offended. I understand. Whether you play a high pitched instrument like the piccolo or a low instrument like the bass, a solid pair of earplugs should be part of every musician's gig bag.
What's the difference between these and regular, drug store earplugs? Good musician-grade earplugs will protect your hearing and allow you to hear the music and activity around you. Earplugs for musicians reduce the decibels of sounds, but they still offer the same sound quality you would hear if you went without earplugs. But before you rush out to buy a pair, you have to know what to look for.
FAQ: Earplugs for Musicians
Whether you play heavy metal or classical music, there will probably come a time when you will need or want earplugs. While there are many earplugs available on the market, earplugs for musicians are unique.
What are earplugs?
Earplugs are small devices that you can use to keep from hearing loud sounds. Typical earplugs will either block the sound completely, or they will dampen the sound considerably. These earplugs also tend to affect the quality of the sound, and that's something that no musician wants.
What do earplugs for musicians do?
Earplugs for musicians lessen the volume and intensity of the sound without affecting the sound quality. Musicians can use these earplugs to block out harsh sounds from their instrument or other instruments around them. Simply, musicians earplugs take the edge off.
How do they work?
Before we can understand how earplugs work, we have to know how the ear works. The ear senses sound waves and turns them into data that the brain can process. We have the outer ear which includes the eardrum, and the eardrum is what first hears those sound waves.
The middle ear has three small bones called the hammer, the anvil, and the stirrup. These bones transmit the sound waves into the inner ear where we find the cochlea. The sound waves activate hair cells of varying lengths that correspond to different frequencies. Those hair cells then cause neurons to fire and tell the brain there's sound.
With all of the stops along the way, it's not unlikely that an issue will occur. Many issues can cause hearing problems and keep sound waves from reaching the brain. For musicians, the most common cause for concern is prolonged exposure to loud sounds.
Earplugs for musicians protect your hearing by blocking some of the harsher frequencies and dampening other frequencies.
What makes them different from other earplugs?
A good set of earplugs for musicians will block the overpowering frequencies but still allow you to hear what's going on around you. You should still be able to hear the music, and you should also be able to hear people speak at normal volumes.
Some "regular" earplugs will plug your ears completely, so you won't be able to hear anything at all. While there are times where you might want that, you need to hear some of what's happening when you play music.
Where can you buy them?
You can buy musicians' earplugs online, in stores, and from an ear doctor. Online and in-store retailers carry a variety of earplugs, but they aren't custom fit to your ear. If you want custom fit earplugs, consult an audiologist or another ear specialist to schedule a fitting.
How much do they cost?
Earplugs for musicians vary in cost depending on the brand, style, and the size of the earplugs. Some earplugs come in different sizes, and some companies have different prices for each size. Custom earplugs usually cost more, because they are custom made for you. In general, standard musicians earplugs cost between $8 and $40, and custom earplugs cost between $15 and $50.
How We Reviewed
To find the best earplugs for musicians, we took to a few music blogs as well as online customer reviews. We compared similar products, and we also drew upon personal experience with earplugs for musicians. There are many great musicians' earplugs out there, but we chose earplugs that had great reviews from customers or music blogs.
The 9 Best Earplugs for Musicians
If you ever play loud music or you play a loud instrument, you should consider a pair of musicians' earplugs. Before you jump down the rabbit hole searching for the best earplugs for musicians, start here.
1. Etymotic Research
- 1 pair Standard Fit ETY Plugs with blue tips, neck cord, and carrying case
- Replicates the natural response of the ear, so sound quality is natural, only quieter. Music and speech are clear, not muffle.
- Reduces risk of hearing damage from loud noise such as concerts, theatres, airshows, parades, athletic and motorsports events.
- Standard size fits the majority of ears. ETY-Plugs are reusable. With heavy use the eartips can weaken and could break. Replace every 3-6 months.
- Not recommended for use with impulse noise, e.g., shooting sports. Not recommended for sleeping.
Etymotic Research has quite the line of earplugs, but the ones we are focusing on are the ER20 High Fidelity earplugs. These earplugs come in a standard and large size, and they come with a blue tip or a white tip. The earplugs also come with a cord so that you can hang the earplugs on your neck when you aren't using them, and you can use the clamshell case or bag for storage.
Etymotic Research claims their earplugs maintain your ear's natural response, so you still have good sound quality. You can still hear music and speech, and all that the earplugs change is the volume. The standard size should fit most ears, and you can reuse the earplugs. Over time, the tips can come off, so you should plan on replacing them regularly.
These earplugs cost between $ and $$, and they have an average Amazon rating of 4 out of 5 stars. One customer, an audiologist, said that these earplugs do a great job of lowering the sound volume without distorting it. Another customer mentioned the earplugs are so good they would give 10 stars. A third customer said they didn't experience much sound reduction at all, and the packaging they received didn't quite match the product description online.
In my personal experience, these earplugs are great for rehearsals and concerts. As a piccolo player, my right ear has to take a lot of abuse, and these earplugs help. I have had these earplugs for about four years, and I've only had to replace them once due to the tips breaking off.
2. Eargasm High Fidelity
- PROTECT YOUR HEARING from harmful noise levels at loud events. Cut out excess sound from everyday life and your favorite activities.
- PRESERVES SOUND QUALITY with our patent pending innovative attenuation filters. Reduces noise evenly to maintain the full spectrum of sound while protecting hearing. Won’t muffle music or voices as foam plugs do.
- GET THE PERFECT FIT with two pairs of different sized earplug shells included with every order. Fits most normal to large ear sizes. Insert the included pair of attenuation filters into preferred shell size and earplugs are ready for immediate use!
- HYPOALLERGENIC PLUSH SILICONE earplug shells are non-toxic and comfortable for prolonged wear. Won’t cause itching or pressure pain. Ideal for all-day wear at festivals and long band practices.
- ERGONOMIC ALUMINUM CASE is over 35% shorter than competing brands for easy storage on your keychain. An anti-stick interior guarantees earplugs will always be easily removable. Waterproof rubber seal ensures their protection from moisture, dust and debris. Threading is uniquely placed on exterior of canister to prevent damage to earplugs when opening and closing.
Another popular set of earplugs for musicians is the Eargasm High Fidelity earplugs. You can use these earplugs for a variety of tasks including playing music. The earplugs evenly reduce noise, but it won't muffle the sound like some earplugs. Every package comes with two sets of earplugs so you can choose the best size for you.
These earplugs have a nice tab so you can easily remove them from your ears. They're made of non-toxic hypoallergenic silicone, and they won't cause itching or pain. You can wear these earplugs all day, and then you can store them in the included aluminum case.
You will have to shell out about $$ to $$ for these earplugs, but they have an average Amazon rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars. One customer said they received great customer service throughout the ordering and shipping process, and the earplugs were perfect for a Metallica concert. Another customer said they could still hear everything from music playing to people talking. A third customer said that the silicone in the earplugs caused them to get slippery and that they would fall out.
3. Eargasm Activewear
- PROTECT YOUR HEARING from harmful noise levels at loud events. Cut out excess sound from everyday life and your favorite activities.
- PRESERVES SOUND QUALITY with our patent pending innovative attenuation filters. Reduces noise evenly to maintain the full spectrum of sound while protecting hearing. Won't muffle music or voices as foam plugs do.
- DISCREET, THIN PROFILE DESIGN works great for small and normal ear canal sizes. clear silicone provides for subtle use. Easy removal with a tug on the stem or neckcord.
- HYPOALLERGENIC SOFT SILICONE is a non-toxic and comfortable for prolonged wear. Won't cause itching or pressure pain. Ideal for all-day wear such as at festivals and long band practices.
- ERGONOMIC ALUMINUM CASE is 35% shoter than competing brand for easy storage on your keychain. An anti-stick interior guarantees earplugs will always be easily removable. Waterproof rubber seal ensures their protections from moisture, dust and debris.
The Eargasm Activewear earplugs are a great alternative to the high fidelity pair. Instead of the tabs, these earplugs have stems and a neck cord to connect them. Other than that, they're the same as the Eargasm High Fidelity earplugs.
At $ to $$, these earplugs are also the more affordable choice from Eargasm, but they only have an average Amazon rating of 3.8 out of 5 stars. Multiple customers reported that the earplugs didn't change the volume at all, and one negative review only focused on the difficulty of removing the earplugs from your ears. Another customer said they thought the earplugs weren't in correctly because they could still hear the quality of the sound. Fortunately, the earplugs did the job.
4. Alpine MusicSafe Pro
- Special filters prevent hearing loss while preserving sound quality
- Specifically developed for musicians
- Three exchangeable acoustic filter sets for optimal protection
- Alpine Thermo Shape material adapts to the shape of the auditory duct
- Comfortable and barely visible in the ear
Unlike the other earplugs we've mentioned, the Alpine MusicSafe Pro earplugs were designed especially for musicians. They have special filters that maintain your hearing without sacrificing sound quality. You can even switch between three different filters to get the best protection for you. The Thermo Shape material conforms to your ear canal so that you get a comfortable fit.
With a price of $$ to $$ and an average Amazon rating of 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon, these earplugs are sure to please. One musician said these earplugs are comfortable, and they come with a helpful tool for placing the earplugs in your ears. While they're small, they don't do the best job in maintaining the sound quality when listening to music. Other reviews said the earplugs were great at reducing decibels.
5. EarPeace HD
- PROFESSIONAL GRADE HIGH FIDELITY EAR PLUGS: Hearing protection ear plugs that deliver crisp, clear sound at a safe volume. Medium, High and Max filters provide in-ear protection for noise reduction making them festival essentials, musicians, construction sites, sporting events, drummers, guitarists, fitness classes and anywhere that noise reducing earplugs are needed.
- REUSABLE, HYPOALLERGENIC, ALL NIGHT COMFORT: Our premium silicone ear plugs have a dual flange design that gently seals the ear with no hard edges. The soft, hypoallergenic reusable ear plugs for concerts keep you comfortable whether you’re making music or dancing to it.
- INVISIBLE EAR PLUGS: These musician ear plugs provide in ear hearing protection that seems to disappear in your ear, just like custom molded ear plugs. The professional ear plugs are small and low profile, making them discreet noise reducers. The small tab makes your concert earplugs easy to remove.
- PREMIUM VALUE & PORTABLE: The high quality noise cancelling earplugs come with a milled aluminum case that contains two chambers and a keychain clip so you can easily transport your musician grade earplugs while keeping them safe and clean. Precision engineered, you also get 3 filter sets that deliver 17-26dB noise reduction for all your music event and sound reduction needs.
- INDUSTRY LEADING: Metallica, RedBull and Lollapallooza carry EarPeace as their concert ear protection as they know we make the best ear plugs for concerts and are the most trusted musicians ear plugs. Our sound reducing ear plugs are serious music equipment for every drummer, guitar case and DJ kit.
The earplugs from EarPeace are an excellent choice for musicians. They're professional grade and great for blocking loud noises. You can clearly hear what's going on around you, and they're comfortable enough to wear all day. There are three different filter settings that you can choose from, and it even comes with an extra earplug in case you lose one.
If you want the storage case, these earplugs cost $ to $$, but you can save a bit of money and go without the case for $ to $$. These earplugs have an average Amazon rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. Many customers said these earplugs are great for protecting your hearing, and one customer said the earplugs are a necessity for every musician regardless of genre.
6. LiveMus!c HearSafe
- 𝐏𝐑𝐎𝐓𝐄𝐂𝐓 𝐘𝐎𝐔𝐑 𝐇𝐄𝐀𝐑𝐈𝐍𝐆: Tired of not being able to enjoy a live concert because of your increased hearing sensitivity? Would you like to make sure your loud working environment doesn’t cause long term damage to your ears? The LIVEMUS!C protective ear plugs are the perfect solution!
- 𝐂𝐎𝐌𝐅𝐎𝐑𝐓𝐀𝐁𝐋𝐄 & 𝐒𝐀𝐅𝐄: These noise cancelling ear plugs are made with finest quality soft silicone, being 100% hypoallergenic and safe. The triple flange design and cone shaped tip have your comfort in mind, fitting perfectly your ear canal and allowing for prolonged, all-day wear.
- 𝐃𝐎𝐍’𝐓 𝐂𝐎𝐌𝐏𝐑𝐎𝐌𝐈𝐒𝐄 𝐎𝐍 𝐒𝐎𝐔𝐍𝐃 𝐐𝐔𝐀𝐋𝐈𝐓𝐘: Unlike similar products on the market, these silicone ear plugs contain a precision filter with varied strength levels, reducing high frequency background noise while retaining music and voice clarity.
- 𝐏𝐎𝐑𝐓𝐀𝐁𝐋𝐄 & 𝐔𝐒𝐄𝐑-𝐅𝐑𝐈𝐄𝐍𝐃𝐋𝐘: Order these ear protection buds and you’ll receive two sets of earplugs with different noise reduction ratios, plus an ergonomic and practical aluminum carrying case with cord, ideal for travel and safe storage!
- 𝐈𝐃𝐄𝐀𝐋 𝐅𝐎𝐑 𝐄𝐕𝐄𝐑𝐘𝐎𝐍𝐄: These reusable ear plugs are highly versatile, being perfect for a wide variety of contexts. Whether you’re a musician, you enjoy clubbing, festivals or live concerts or you simply work in a loud environment like construction site or dentist office, these plugs will protect your hearing from permanent damage and lessen your discomfort!
LiveMus!c's HearSafe earplugs protect your ears from lasting damage due to loud sounds, but you can still hear music and conversation. You get two sets of earplugs, so you can choose the best ones for you. The earplugs are comfortable, and they can fit most ears.
The LiveMus!ic HearSafe earplugs cost $ to $$, and they have an average Amazon rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars. One customer said the earplugs are perfect for their daily life from working as an airline pilot to walking down the street. Another customer said the earplugs work for more than just concerts, but the plugs can be hard to take out of your ears.
7. Decibullz Custom
- CUSTOM MOLDED EARPLUGS: Easily and quickly fitted to the exact shape of your ear. This creates a perfect fitting earplug that will never hurt, never fall out and provide superior noise isolation.
- EASY SHAPE SYSTEM: Simply heat the Decibullz thermoplastic molds in boiling water, let them cool for a bit, and shape them to your ears. That's it, and If you don't get the perfect fit the first time Decibullz are the only custom earplugs that are re-moldable.
- PERFECT FOR ANY SITUATION: Decibullz are perfect for shooting, traveling, working, loud concerts, and safety.
- INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE: Two Decibullz Thermoplastic Custom Molds, Three Sets of Triple Flange Tips S, M, L, One Set of Max Protect MEDIUM Foam Tips, Earplug Carrying Pouch with Decibullz Logo
- OUR STORY: Kyle Kirkpatrick is a Olympic level gymnastics coach, extreme athlete and a tech nerd. But he was fed up with headphones because they wouldn't stay in, sounded awful or hurt his ears. Kyle consulted audio engineers, material specialists and high-level athletes to develop and test hundreds of designs, formulas and prototypes in order to create an easy and affordable custom molded earphone. In February 2012 Kyle created the worlds first thermo-fit custom earphone and Decibullz was born.
The Decibullz Custom earplugs aren't custom, but you can mold them to fit your ears. To fit them, you have to boil the molds, let them cool, and then mold the earplugs to your ears. If they don't fit the first time, you can reshape them. With the earplugs, you get two molds, three sets of triple tips, one set of medium foam tips, and a carrying pouch.
These earplugs cost $20 to $30, and their average Amazon customer review is only 3.5 out of 5 stars. Despite this, multiple blogs recommended these earplugs. One blog post said they are great at reducing the sound. Many customers love the earplugs, too, but you have to get the perfect mold for the earplugs to work well.
8. Earasers Plugs
- Musicians Plugs Medium
- Whether you are a musician, attend concerts or are regularly exposed to music played at high levels, Earasers don't plug up your ears and muffle sound like more conventional earplugs
- Manufactured by a 45+ year hearing aid company, and developed by their lead engineer - a musician for over 20 years - Earasers filter out loud noise while still allowing you to hear at a safe, comfortable level
- Musicians have to be able to focus on the different layers of instrumentation
- Earasers utilize a unique attenuation "V filter" to provide an overall 5dB EPA rating of protection
If you're looking for earplugs specifically for musicians, look no further than Earasers. A musician designed these earplugs, and they're great for anyone who is regularly exposed to loud music. These earplugs filter out loud noise, but they still let you hear. The plugs also allow you to hear the individual musical instruments in your group.
You can buy these earplugs for $ to $$, and they have an average Amazon rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars. One customer said they hated how these earplugs ruined other earplugs because these are so good. Another customer mentioned there was little to no sound distortion, and the earplugs are also very comfortable. One customer reported that the earplugs didn't sufficiently dampen lower frequencies, and the customer ended up with ear fatigue.
9. DownBeats High Fidelity
- DownBeats: High Fidelity Hearing Protection for Concerts
- Reduces sound moderately and evenly for a better concert experience. Speech, high notes, and music comes through crisp and clear.
- Clear ear plugs have low in-ear profile for subtle use. Try our Long Stem version for larger fit.
- Durable aluminum case with clip attaches easily to keys, belts, or bags.
- Great for use at concerts, music festivals, nightclubs, and other loud live events like airshows or motorcycles.
These earplugs from DownBeats provide great hearing protection for concerts. They reduce the sound ever so slightly, but you can still clearly hear speech and all frequencies in music. The plugs come with an aluminum case that you can hook onto your keys or bag.
These earplugs cost $10 to $16, and they have an average Amazon customer rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars. One customer prefers the comfort and sound of these earplugs over the Etymotic Research plugs we mentioned. Another customer said the opposite because the DownBeats plugs muffle rather than reduce the sound. A third customer didn't believe that these earplugs could be that good, but they do live up to the hype.
Your Hearing Is Eareplaceable
Whether you're a musician or a fan of music, you need to be able to hear to enjoy it. Earplugs can be a nuisance, but many earplugs are small and comfortable to wear. While some earplugs for musicians cost more than others, they're all worth it. No amount of money saved is worth risking your hearing.
We think that all of the earplugs on our list are great choices, but the best earplugs for musicians are the Earasers earplugs. They cost more than some other options, but they last for a while, and they're built just for musicians. The Etymotic Research earplugs came in second, and we recommend them for anyone on a strict budget.
If you lose your hearing, it probably won't come back. The sooner you invest in a good set of earplugs, the sooner you can get back to the music.
Featured image source: Pexels