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Whether you’re on stage, in the crowd or at home trying to sleep, earplugs are an instantaneous, safe and affordable fix for protecting and preserving your hearing, along with quieting down the outside world.
Traditionally with foam or wax plugs, disposable options were reusable for a few nights before starting to get gross and ineffective. But a reusable pair can last a lot longer, and they’re washable, too. Typically, these plugs are made from silicone, a soft and bendable material that contours to any ear and has a low risk of irritating skin. You’ll also be significantly reducing the amount of environmental waste generated from plastic wrappings, containers and disposable plugs.
Many earplugs are designed so that it’s easy to swiftly take them out when needed and so that they don’t get stuck. Similarly, a neck cord is included with some pairs, which makes it easier to pop them out of your ears.
If you’ll be traveling, most include a little case to keep them safe on-the-go, too.
What Can Reusable Earplugs Be (Re)Used for?
Sleeping: This one’s the most obvious, and generally what most people use them for. A comfortable pair might help you fall (and stay) asleep, preventing outside city sounds and any indoor noise of loud family or roommates from waking you up. They also work great for meditation.
Studying and Working: If you have trouble focusing, or are easily distracted, these are a quick way to block out the sounds around you when concentration is key. Also if you work a loud industrial job (or even at a noisy office), the difference is immediately noticeable, cutting way down on machinery droning but still being able to hear your coworkers.
Swimming: A good waterproof pair can keep water out and stay in securely for all your laps. You’ll want a rubber seal on these, too, for an extra barrier against water.
Concerts and Sporting Events: Most earplugs aren’t fully soundproof, and for concerts, that’s a good thing. You’ll still be able to hear the music, just not at deafening levels that could cause damage to your eardrums. This helps in preventing hearing loss, and preserving your ears for the long haul, allowing you to enjoy more concerts in the future.
If you’re getting a pair specifically and only for live music, there are plenty designated just for this, and sometimes have the options for different settings to gauge the ideal amount of sound you hear. These are often made with a multi-tiered design to secure it inside.
1. Vibes High Fidelity Earplugs
Small and minimal, the Vibes get the job done for all types of noise-blocking applications, but really work best for live shows, letting in the right frequencies to still get the most out of the music (while reducing harmful and piercing loud blasts and feedback).
These are ideal for both adults and kids, and they come in three sizes, as well as with a traveling case so you never lose track of them. They’re also pretty discreet, almost invisible, with a clear aesthetic and a cap that doesn’t stick out too much or include hard or rough edges. After the show, you can even sleep with them in your ears.
2. Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs
While a bit bulkier than the Vibes, these earplugs also have sizing options, with two shells to find the right fit. These are a solid choice for musicians, performers or anyone in a loud environment. They also include an aluminum case with a tight waterproof seal to keep out any nasty moisture and dust.
3. Loop Experience Noise Reduction Ear Plugs
The Loop earplugs come with eight different silicone tips, way more than the usual set of reusables, ranging from extra small to large. Once inside your ears, feel free to move around, dance, sing or eat; with a secure and snug fit, they’re not going anywhere. The inner filter can reduce noise up to 20dB, and when properly taken care of, these are built to last years.
4. ANBOW Waterproof Noise Reduction Earplugs
These BPA-free silicone plugs are soft and comfortable, reducing sound up to a nicely high 32dB. They’re also fully waterproof and ready for the pool, and include an attachable string to prevent losing them while either swimming or sleeping. Cleaning is easy with gentle soap and water, and they come with three little cases for storage.