The Best Earplugs for Babies – Complete Guide
There’s a reason why earplugs for babies are becoming very popular these days. Parents are more aware of the importance of protecting their child from hearing loss or other auditory complications; and with that, demand for baby earplugs has surged.
Up until a few years ago, there were few options for infants. Today, parents can rest easy knowing that there are a variety of ear protection devices that are easily available on the market.
There are earplugs used specifically for blocking out water in order to prevent swimmer’s ear and ear infections for the times baby is in the pool, shower or bath. Some of the best earplugs for babies are designed to help reduce ear pressure during flight, preventing the ears from popping so that baby can rest easy and not feel uncomfortable during take-off or landing.
There are also others that provide hearing protection from loud noises. If a baby is exposed to loud volumes of noise such as those at a music festival, sporting event or family gathering, there’s no telling how it will affect their tender hearing. Noise-induced hearing loss can start at any age, so it’s never too early to start protecting your little ones with hearing protection.
Earplugs are useful as they can mold easily to a baby’s growing ears and provide good protection against water and noise. They are also more affordable than earmuffs, can be easily disposed of and are handy to carry around. Most are made of material gentle enough on their sensitive skin.
Parents should look out for these features:
What are the plugs going to be used for? If they are to help the baby sleep through the night undisturbed, then you’ll want to consider how good they are at blocking noise. If you’re looking for plugs to keep water out while showering or bathing, then you can’t be using the same type of plugs as the ones you used for sleeping. There are also ones tailored especially for air travel to help reduce the pressure felt in a baby’s sensitive ears, but which will not block sounds as effectively. Choosing the type most suited to your child’s needs will save not just money and time but also ensure that they get adequate protection.
Noise Reduction Rating
The noise reduction rating (NRR) is a lab-tested measure of how effective the ear plugs will be at cancelling noise, which makes it an important point to consider when buying sleeping ear plugs for your infant. The higher the number, the less noise will get through. Currently, the highest rating stands at NRR33, which equals to cancelling out 33dB of noise in a lab setting. However, in real world applications, the best way to calculate the amount of noise protection your child will be getting is to divide that number by half, and subtract it from the expected volume they’ll be exposed to.
Comfort, Material and Fit
No matter how much noise they block out, it won’t make a difference if your infant finds the plugs uncomfortable in the ears. Toddlers might even yank them out if they’re not happy wearing them. Choose soft materials such as moldable silicone or wax, which will not poke against a baby’s sensitive ears. They should also be hypoallergenic to avoid pain and irritation. Foam plugs are generally more suitable for adults, as the expanding material rarely fits small ears. However, some can be torn into smaller pieces for infants.
Compared to ear muffs, plugs are easier to carry around and dispose of. There are also types that can be washed and reused many times. Consider if you’re using them for a one-off trip or if it’s something baby will be wearing regularly.
Now that we’ve taken a look at some features to look out for, here are our top picks for baby ear plugs:
Top 10 Earplugs for Babies – Comparison Table
|1. Alpine Pluggies Kids Ear Plugs||Acoustic Filters||$$||4.6|
|2. Mack’s Moldable Silicone Plugs for Kids||Prevent Swimmer’s Ear||$$||4.6|
|3. Putty Buddies Floating Formula Soft Silicone Ear Plugs||World’s Only Floating Soft Moldable Silicone Earplugs||$||4.6|
|4. EarPlanes Kids / Baby Ear Plugs||Hypoallergenic Silicone||$||4.3|
|5. Hearos Multi-Use Silicone Plugs, Child Size||NRR 21||$||4.3|
|6. Mack’s Flightguard for Kids: Airplane Pressure Relief Ear Plugs||Relieves ear pressure discomfort while flying||$$||4.3|
|7. Otifleks My First Ear Plugs||It has anti-bacterial properties prevent the spread of germs||$$||4.0|
|8. Flents Seal-Rite Kids Silicone Ear Plugs||NRR 21||$||4.0|
|9. Anti-Bacterial Soft Moldable Silicone Plugs from North Safety||Reduces the likelihood of infection||$$||3.8|
|10. The E-A-R Plugs for Kids by Noise Busters Direct||Soft polymer material for a snug, comfortable fit||$$||3.8|
You want a pair of ear plugs for your baby that can help to reduce air pressure in the ears during a flight. You also want them to be able to reduce loud noises. It would be perfect if the same pair of plugs could repel water from the ears.
The Alpine Pluggies Kids ear plugs are perfect for parents who crave convenience and quality, as these all-in-one plugs can be used for many different applications. Winners of the Red Dot Awards 2015 for innovative design, the plugs have been extensively tested by professionals. They provide higher noise reduction capabilities than most of the other plugs on this list, with a noise reduction rating of 30dB. This provides adequate hearing protection, so parents can bring the little ones to events or festivals, whilst ensuring that they are not exposed to loud noises.
Unlike some plugs which seal off the auditory canal, blocking out all noise and creating an uncomfortable sense of isolation, the unique Alpine Acoustic Filters on the Pluggies allow for ‘natural’ ambient noise such as conversations to come through. The Alpine Thermo Shape material is comfortable to be worn for long periods, and the ergo dynamic shape fits right into smaller ears. We found that they stayed in place even better than some silicone ear plugs. As they are silicone free, parents need not worry of allergic reactions.
For flying, the Pluggies are designed to improve pressure regulation in the ears, preventing ear aches. The filters act like valves by slowly allowing the ears to gradually reach an equilibrium between the external environment and middle ear. In this way, the Eustachian tube will have enough time to adjust to changes in pressure. The plugs’ sound attenuation also mutes noises in the cabin, helping baby to sleep.
The Pluggies are also suitable for bathing and swimming as they keep water out of the ears. Wash with warm water and soap to reuse. Their lifespan can be extended by keeping the plugs clean and dry. Each pack comes with two thermoplastic plugs, two acoustic filters, stickers for decoration, a carrying case and insertion sleeve.
Made in America, Mack’s is a trusted brand for ear products, which has earned them the title of official ear plugs and ear care supplier for USA Swimming. One of the ranges they offer is the Mack’s Moldable Silicone Plugs for Kids, specially designed for children below six years of age. They are highly recommended by doctors for water protection against swimmers ear, or for babies and kids who have existing ear conditions or just had ear surgery.
Beyond keeping water out from the ears, the plugs are also able to effectively reduce loud noises, with an NRR of 22dB. Made from hypoallergenic, waterproof non-toxic silicone, they soften to body temperature and are very pliable, enabling parents to mold them comfortably to their child’s ears. Individually, the plug ‘portions’ are big enough even for adults, but as babies have very tiny ears, each plug can be cut or torn into smaller pieces and fitted accordingly. One parent recommended using half for his three-month old son.
We also found the plugs easy to insert and remove, and they don’t leave as much residue on the fingers as some other brands. Their bright and cheerful orange color is easy to spot anywhere, and is useful for parents keeping an eye on their child putting unsavoury things into their mouths. The plugs can last for about three uses, but should be discarded once they lose their tacky texture. For their price point, these plugs are good for value and durable.
It is especially hard to find ear plugs small enough to fit infants, so one great thing about silicone-based ones is that they are able to mold accordingly to the shape of the ear, eliminating the worry of the plugs being too large or too small. The Putty Buddies were designed with young children in mind, and are primarily used for keeping water out while the little ones are swimming or bathing. Not only are they soft and comfortable, they are also easy to use and can be applied to the outer canal of a baby’s ear in a matter of seconds.
Developed by an ear, nose and throat physician, they help to prevent swimmer’s ears and are helpful for those with existing hearing conditions. If you have a child with ear tubes, the Putty Buddies reduces the risk of infections by sealing the auditory canal against water. They are often recommended by doctors and audiologists.
They have a putty-like texture so the plugs can sit firmly in the ear. As babies have very small ears, one piece of Putty Buddy can be torn into two and molded to each ear. Due to their sticky texture, pollen or dirt might stick to the plugs but with proper care and storage, they can be reusable for up to two weeks. Patented Flo-Tek formula allows the material to float in water, making them easy to find in a pool. Available in colorful shades of red, white and blue.
Pressure in the ears is unavoidable when on a flight. Unlike adults who can get rid of this feeling by swallowing or moving their jaws, infants and kids might not know how to and will cry from discomfort. In fact, it is one of the most common reasons why babies and young children cry on a plane.
If you’ve been looking for quality ear plugs to prevent this from happening, chances are you’ve heard of the Ear Planes brand. Recommended by professionals and even flight attendants, the Ear Planes for Kids and Baby ear plugs are specially designed for air travel. They work by preventing the ears from swelling or popping. Because they are used mainly for reducing the feeling of ear pressure on a flight, they are not suitable for swimming. If your child or infant feels anxious or discomfited from loud noises or the roar of the engines during takeoff, the plugs can help as they reduce noise by about 20dB.
Developed with a hypoallergenic, latex-free silicone, the cushiony plugs are suitable for those as young as one years old. A set of four circumferential rings provide an airtight seal, while the unique Ceram X ceramic filter regulates ear pressure naturally. As they are short and very soft, they are gentle on an infant’s shallow ear canal.
Parents are advised to insert the EarPlanes an hour before landing, or before takeoff. They can be removed during the flight, once pressure has stabilized, and reinserted later. Recommended for single use only, as the plugs might pick up dust or moisture. Unfortunately, they do not come with a cord, and will be difficult to find if dropped, especially on the floor of a flight cabin.
<<Latest customer reviews and prices of EarPlanes Kids / Baby Ear Plugs>>Ear Plugs – Children’s Ear Protection for Airplane Travel
Made in the USA, the child-sized Hearos Multi-Use Silicone Plugs are recommended by physicians for quality hearing protection against loud noises, which babies might be exposed to at events, parties, or even on the street. They have an NRR of 21dB when applied correctly.
Super soft and convenient to use, the patented silicone material is gently molded to the outside of the ear canal. They not only seal out noise, but can also be used for keeping water out while bathing your baby. They float in water, but their light blue color may make it difficult to find if lost in a pool.
Although non-toxic when ingested, the plugs’ small size means that they pose a choking hazard to toddlers. Parents should keep an eye on their children at all times when the ear plugs are worn.
Due to their sticky texture, the plugs may leave a residue when coming into contact with hair. As with other silicone or wax-based products, parents should remember not to spread them too thin or push the plugs inside the ear canal. Reusable until no longer tacky.
We’ve stared our fair share of daggers at parents travelling with crying children, especially on a plane where everyone is tired and cranky from being in a cramped space. It’s not so fun when the tables are turned. Sometimes flying with infants is unavoidable, and they tend to cry from the air pressure change in their ears during lift off or when landing.
The Mack’s best earplugs for babies provides much-needed relief for airplane pressure. Designed to regulate pressure in the ear canals, they are recommended for children below six years old. The soft silicone mold is comfortable and sticky, so that they sit snugly against the outer opening of the ear canal. The plugs are one-size-fits-all and create a good seal, since they are able to mold easily to the shape of smaller ears. They have been laboratory and flight tested to comply to safety standards.
Besides reducing the feeling of air pressure, the plugs also act to reduce loud noises such as the roaring of plane engines, with an NRR of 22dB. The putty-like texture makes it quick and easy to use and remove. Parents can store them in a portable carry case in between use. Each pack has six pairs of plugs, and comes with two fun tattoos to keep your child occupied during the flight. They can even be used for swimming. All in all, these are handy to have around while on a vacation – for peace of mind for the whole family, not just the babies.
<<Latest customer reviews and prices of Mack’s Flightguard for Kids: Airplane Pressure Relief Ear Plugs>>
Another bath time favorite, My First Ear Plugs by Otifleks is specially made to be soft and safe enough for infants. As a baby’s ears are very sensitive, being in contact with water and substances like shampoo in the bath or shower can cause infection. What’s more, our hands and their surroundings may be coated with bacteria, which can be transmitted to the little ones without us even knowing it.
With strong anti-bacterial properties, the plugs not only stop water from entering the ears, but also help prevent the spread of germs. While most ear plugs use synthetic material such as silicone and polymer, these are made from natural materials. The outside is coated with a strong cotton fibre which holds the natural beeswax on the inside together, keeping the material from breaking or splitting inside the ear.
Developed by consulting physicians and medical professionals, they comply with Australian and European Union regulations. Each pair of plugs is packaged in individual plastic spheres for hygiene and they come in a carrying case.
To use, remove the earplugs from their protective casing and flatten them between one’s fingertips before placing over the outer part of the child’s ear canal. They are quick and easy to apply. As with wax and silicone-based products, remember not to push the substance inside the ear as it will be hard to remove. The plugs are good for up to five uses before discarding.
Aside from water protection, they also offer some degree of noise reduction, in case the parents decide to bring their little ones for an event.
Bath time should be a fun way for babies and their parents to bond, so introducing them to water at an early stage is encouraged. Not only that, water exercise is low impact and healthy for the development of joints and muscles. However, there are risks to bringing babies to the pool, as water can easily slip into the ears and cause an infection if not cleared quickly.
Flents Seal-Rite Kids Silicone best Earplugs for babies are a good choice for water protection. They keep the ears dry while effectively sealing the inside from water. Users have commented that they are good even for infants or children with tubes in their ears.
The soft material makes them comfortable to wear, even for small ears. As they can be molded to fit the shape of the ears, parents need not worry about their kids ‘outgrowing’ a newly bought set of ear plugs. The Flents are convenient to use and place: simply warm the material by rolling them up in the hands for one minute to make them soft and pliable, before sealing tightly against the ear opening.
They also double as noise-reducing ear plugs, with a moderate NRR of 21dB. For extra protection against loud noises, parents can use them with an ear muff.
The plugs are reusable up to three times, but are cheap enough to be discarded after single use. They come in bright and noticeable colors to help parents keep track of the plugs and make sure the little one isn’t going to accidentally swallow one.
Ear infections can be nasty – you don’t want to risk that with an infant or toddler, who hasn’t built up a strong resistance against bacteria or harmful agents. These moldable silicone plugs from North Safety are specially formulated with an anti-bacterial agent, making it safe to wear by reducing the likelihood of ear infections from repeated usage.
Soft and pliable, the plugs serve a dual function. They are excellent at keeping water out from the ear canal, so baby can wear it in the pool or while bathing. If you’re thinking of taking them for a day out in the park or to a place where they might be exposed to potentially loud noises, these plugs provide moderate noise reduction. They come in a variety of fun and bright colors such as pink, green and orange which make them easy to spot and keep track of. These are packed into a handy plastic carry case which parents can easily slip into a pocket or bag, to be used when needed.
The drawback is that while they seem to function as advertised for most users, some have commented that the material is not as soft or moldable as other silicone-based brands in the market. Even so, most users have found the plugs to be a good fit for their toddlers and small children, including those with ear tubes in. They are relatively cheap. Recommended for single use. Parents should discard of them when the plugs become dirty or lose their tackiness.
<<Latest customer reviews and prices of Anti-Bacterial Soft Moldable Silicone Plugs from North Safety>>
Most ear plugs for young children are disposable or good for only a few uses. Purchasing them over an extended period of time can rack up a considerable sum, especially if you’re constantly getting ear plugs to protect your baby in the shower, or for frequent use at the public pool. For those looking for something more long lasting, the E-A-R Plugs by Noise Busters Direct offers adequate protection against water and is intended for regular wear.
Made from safe, hypoallergenic polymer material, they sit firmly in the ear canal but are soft enough to be comfortable for young ears. Unlike foam plugs which have to be squished into the ear before expanding in the ear canal, these have a flexible, triple flanged design and a rubbery texture which molds better to the ear. Stems on each end ensure ease of insertion and removal. The plugs also float on water so they’ll be easy to locate if they fall out of your child’s ears at the pool.
Each set comes in a small, transparent plastic case with a chain to easily attach to bags or key rings. Cleaning is easy as users just need to wash with warm water and mild soap before rinsing.
Some reviewers have found the plugs more suitable for quick baths, rather than swimming, as they claim the plugs tend to fall out if used for longer periods of time. It might simply be because they are a wrong fit. There is rarely a ‘universal’ size for all, so it’s important to try out the plugs to see if they are the best fit for your child.
The E-A-R plugs help to block out noises at a moderate level. They are priced slightly higher than regular disposable types, but might be worth it if you’re looking at the long run.