The Best Earplugs for Musicians & Concerts – Complete Guide 2016
You shun the idea of wearing earplugs – or at least used to. As a musician, you want the full live experience of playing for yourself and your audience. Whether you’re playing your favorite rock song during practice or performing as part of an orchestra, you want to hear the music – to feel it and experience it. Part of the playing experience is to hear what you’ve created – to move your body to the beat and let the music take over.
Or if you’re part of the audience, you still want the full live experience without sacrificing your health. You want to dance and move to the music without having to experience any damage to your ears. You want to move your head to the loud and hard bass without have to stand right beside deafening speakers.
You used to hate the idea of wearing ear plugs – until you realized the importance of wearing one.
You can feel the difference; you know the toll exposing yourself to loud noises takes. When you started playing years ago or attending festivals and concerts, you didn’t mind the loud music – you loved it – until you started to experience slight hearing loss. This isn’t only a common occurrence to musicians but to everyone one as well. According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, around 48 million Americans (that’s around 20% of the population) report some degree of hearing loss, and at age 65, one out of three people experiences hearing loss.
The good news is that advances in technology have provided hearing accessories that are engineered to give you more benefits rather than diminish the playing experience. In this article, we’ve rounded up the 10 best earplugs for musicians, but before we get into that, it’s best to determine what makes a great pair of earplugs.
Here are 3 key features of a great pair of earplugs for concerts & musicians:
- They lower the audio volume
Whether you’re a musician or are part of the audience, we’re sure you love to drown yourself in the music. A great pair of earplugs lowers the sound but do not mute it completely. You’re definitely not a stranger to the ‘decibel’ – the measurement of sound intensity. A dB of zero is one of near complete silence. A safe decibel range is in the level of 85dB and below. A normal conversation produces 60 dB, while the average drum set produces about 100 dB while a full-on rock concert is at about 120dB. Sleeping earplugs decreases the dB level by 32 dB; that’s a significant number and you’re bound to shun rather than appreciate your earplugs with that. Earplugs specifically designed for music decrease the dB level by only 12 to 15 dB. It’s not such a significant drop, so you still get to drown yourself in the music without damaging your ears. When you’re shopping for earplugs, it’s important to look for a pair that lowers the dB level by about 12 to 15 dB.Safe dB levels are that in the 85 and below range.
- They maintain great sound quality
A great set of earplugs do not sacrifice the sound quality. Being in a rock concert or a three-day festival, you get boosts of energy when the music is pumping and blasting, regardless if you’re the one playing the music or you’re part of the audience. That aside, every musician knows that playing music is not just an activity; it’s an experience both for you and the audience, so you want the best experience, and that means moving to the music and letting it move you and take over. With that, it’s important to look for earplugs that decrease the noise but maintain the sound quality. You don’t want earplugs that muffle the sound; you want earplugs that are designed to preserve the audio quality. What’s the use of playing if you don’t get the full experience of it? So when shopping for earplugs, it’s important to look for a pair that decreases the volume but retains the audio quality.
- They provide custom fit
Last but definitely not the least, you want earplugs that feel like they have been designed just for you. Especially for touring musicians, you want quality and comfort. If you’re a fan or are just watching, you want a pair of earplugs that will last you for hours of non-stop music and dancing. You want a pair of earplugs that provide quality and are not a nuisance to your ears. With the technology today, earplugs have been equipped with materials that are meant to provide the best listening experience. When it comes to comfort, there are earplugs made to follow the shape of your ear lobe. This way you get quality sound and comfort. This is especially important if you play and listen to music for hours on end.
Now you know what factors make a great pair of earplugs, we’ve rounded up the 10 best earplugs for you. This way you’re ready, while staying safe at the same time, for your next concert or festival. We decided on the winners by using the 3 factors above (a decrease in volume, maintenance of sound quality, and a comfortable fit).
Without further ado, here are the 10 best earplugs for concerts and musicians:
Results (1/10) – The best earplugs for musicians & Musicians in 2016
Etymotic Research ER20 Earplugs
Last but definitely not the least is the Etymotic ear plugs. For the price you pay, you get a pair of ear plugs that will you give the fullest sound experience (or as close as you can get). The ear plugs do an effective job of bringing down the volume while preserving the sound quality. You won’t experience any muffling with these plugs as you would foam-based ones. The Etymotic ear plugs do the job of preserving sound quality without having to opt for custom-molded ear plugs. The ear plugs have been designed to produce a flat sound response, so you’ll be able to hear all layers of sound frequencies just at a reduced volume. Whether you’re playing to an audience or you are part of the audience, the Etymotic ear plugs actually give you more value than what you paid for.
To ensure maximum fit and comfort the Etymotic ear plugs come in different sizes – and this is one of their key advantages.
LiveMus!c Reusable Ear Plugs
Taking the second spot in our list of the ‘Top 10 Best Ear Plugs for Musicians’ is the reusable LiveMus!c ear plugs . Designed to provide superior quality, the package comes with 2 sets of ear plugs offering variable protection filters from multiple attenuation levels. This way, you’re ensured sound quality sans the muffling usually experienced with foam ear plugs. Even more, there’s no need to worry about not being able to carry a conversation while wearing the ear plugs because while the LiveMus!c plugs do reduce the overall volume, they have been designed to filter background noises while preserving sound clarity and sharpness. Aside from reducing audio volume and preserving the sound quality, the ear plugs are made of a hypoallergenic and non-toxic silicone material that provides comfort from prolonged usage without the risk of experiencing itching or allergic reactions.
While the LiveMus!c ear plugs effectively block out background noises and provide a comfortable fit, the plugs may take some time to remove. The stems on these plugs are too short so, unless you have a strong grasp, you may need tweezers or some other device to be able to pull them out.
DUBS Acoustic Filters Advanced Tech Earplugs
If you want both volume reduction and sound clarity at the same time, the DUBS ear plugs are just for you. Whether you’re banging on your drum set or attending a concert and standing right beside the sound system, these ear plugs reduce the audio volume to manageable levels, and even better, you won’t have to worry about the pain of your ear ringing later on. This is because the ear plugs have adapted advance technology by using dynamic attenuation that reduces the overall volume while retaining sound fidelity. Even better, the ear plugs, with its design, provide protection from mid-range frequencies where hearing sensitivity is most at risk of damage. Even better, the aesthetics of the plugs are designed to look inconspicuous. There’s no need to feel awkward in concerts and other events when you’re supposed to let the music take over you without damaging your ears.
While the ear plugs do a great job of reducing sound volume and preserving audio quality, they have a hard time staying put unless you remain still. For those with narrow ear canals, the DUBS ear plugs may prove to be inconvenient, and you’d be better off going for plugs which are available in smaller sizes.
Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs
The Eargasm High Fidelity ear plugs come highly suggested especially for musicians. There’s no need to keep removing and inserting the plugs in between playing and talking to your band mates. The Eagasm preserves sound quality clearly and sharply. Even better, you’ll be able to hear different sound frequencies and talk to people without having to worry of muffling. The feeling you have when wearing these ear plugs is that everything is turned down, so you get to hear the original sound layers just at a lower volume. For drum players, this is especially important because the usual tendency is you hear your drum kit much, much more than the other instruments. With the Eargasm High Fidelity ear plugs, the impact of the drum kit is brought down so you hear all other instruments and your own evenly. In addition, the plugs are made of a clear silicone material which provides inconspicuousness during use. The Eargasms are also easy to remove with its built-in pull tab, which is important for small insertion accessories.
While the Eargasms are easy to insert, they may prove to be uncomfortable for some. The plugs may be too large in some ears and may squeeze back out, so they may not fully protect your ears from loud noises.
DownBeats Reusable High Fidelity Hearing Protection Ear Plugs
The DownBeats ear plugs reduce audio volume while preserving sound quality and fidelity. The DownBeatsplugs have a more even attenuation curve, so you get to experience the different layers of instrumentation with reduced pressure. In addition, the DownBeats are effective in blocking heavy baselines which protect your ear from the louder and more hard-hitting beats. With this, the ear plugs tend to reduce the highs a little more than the lows. Aside from the sound quality, the plugs come in a durable aluminum case which clips easily to belts and bags. This way, there’s no need to worry about losing your plugs, and even better, the plugs don’t make a rattling sound when inside because the case is lined with plastic. It’s easy to see why the DownBeats ear plugs are highly advisable when attending music festivals, concerts, nightclubs, air shows, and other loud events. The best part? You’ll have the peace of mind that you won’t have to go home with ringing in your ears. The DownBeats make you immune to any ringing or after-effects of attending loud shows. The only effect you’ll experience is bringing your DownBeats to the next show you have lined up.
The DownBeats’ stems are less inconspicuous than other ear plugs out on the market. While they are short, and thus less noticeable from the front, the DownBeats’ stems are in a white color rather than clear, so they are still slightly noticeable. As with other ear plugs on this list, Downbeats ear plugs are more suitable for those with mid- to large-sized ears, as the plugs can be uncomfortable for those with smaller ears.
Alpine Hearing Protection Music Safe Classic Ear Plugs
Deemed as Europe’s number 1 hearing protection accessory for musicians, the Alpine Classic ear plugs provide both sound protection and sound quality. The plugs come with 2 adjustable filters, so you can interchangeably use the filters according to your preference. With the filters, you get to retain the sound quality, experiencing both high and low attenuation. For drum players, these ear plugs provide the full experience (at a reduced volume), and you’ll be able to hear all the high notes and how hard the crash is hitting. Aside from preserving sound quality while offering hearing protection, the plugs are made of a soft material that collapses inward thus providing one, a snug fit in your ear, and two,a comfortable listening experience.
There’s a reason these plugs come with an insertion device. You need the device to be able to hold the plugs as you fit them into your ear canal. Even more, removing the plugs after using them will be difficult without the insertion device. While the Alpine Classic ear plugs provide a spectacular job of providing hearing protection, there’s a reason it does. It fits into you canal snugly, so be sure you always have the insertion device with you every time you use the ear plugs.
Hearos Earplugs High Fidelity Series
These Hearos plugs provide up to 20dB of protection which ensures that your ears are protected while you’re exposed to loud music. With these plugs, you get to experience the different layers of sounds, from the highs to the lows, so you can party the night away, whether you’re part of the audience or you’re the one playing the music. Now there’s no need to worry about having a dull experience. These plugs reduce the volume without sacrificing quality.
The only caveat with the Hearos is the minimum muffling produced. For the audience, these plugs come highly recommended since they effectively reduce the volume; however, for musicians, the minimum muffling may affect the playing dynamics, especially if you are part of a band. While the plugs filter out different levels of sound, they tend to significantly attenuate specific layers of sound.
EarPeace High Fidelity Hearing Protection Ear Plugs
The EarPeace High Fidelity ear plugs have been designed to filter different layers of instruments and reduce sound pressure in 2 levels, the 1st filter attenuates the sound by 14dB while the 2nd filter reduces the amplification by 10dB. With the double protection, you’re ensured hearing protection, but the best part is that you’ll be able to experience unobstructed sound quality. You will be able to hear all sound layers at a reduced volume. For those particular with aesthetics and design, the EarPeace plugs are available in three different colors to match your skin tone and become inconspicuous. This way, the plugs will seem almost invisible in the ear.
For those with smaller ears, the EarPeace High Fidelity ear plugs may be bothersome to insert and may not give you the full protection you desire. You will need to keep pushing them back in because they tend to prod out occasionally.
Earasers Musicians Ear Plugs
Designed and developed by a musician who’s been in the industry for over 20 years, the Earasers ear plugs will provide you the protection you need when exposed to music at extremely high levels. These earplugs offer up to 19dB of protection and filter loud noises while still preserving the audio quality. Since musicians need to hear different layers of instruments, the Earasers is designed to let you hear at safe and comfortable levels by reducing sound volume but not sound quality. The result? These plugs are the world’s first flat frequency response ear plugs. This means that hard-hitting sounds or the pressure is reduced while allowing you to hear the different sounds around you. Aside from reducing audio volume while retaining sound quality, the plugs are also made with a soft silicone design and Smart Seal technology. This way, the ear plugs conform to the shape of your ear canal for a comfortable fit. This is especially important if you tend to perform and play for long hours.
The Earasers ear plugs may be hard to insert at first try because of the unique shape and its material. The ear plugs are made of silicone, instead of memory foam, and are molded in an unusual shape, so you may find difficulty inserting it at first try. Be sure to read the instructions, and once you do, it should be hassle-free to reuse these plugs.
Vater Percussion Musicians Ear Plugs
The Vater Percussion earplugs come with interchangeable filters that make them easier to clean. Unlike other plugs wherein the filters are sealed, with the Vater, you can remove the filters and run hot water all the way through. More than that and because of the interchangeable filters, the Vater ear plugs offer two levels of sound protection. Built for musicians, the plugs reduce sound volume by cutting the treble and bass frequency range; however, the sound quality is preserved, and you’ll be able to hear yourself and all other instruments without any muffled noises. This creates a better and balanced sound dynamics, so you don’t need to keep asking yourself if you’re playing too loudly or softly.
The only main issue with the Vater ear plugs is that the plugs are slightly large. For females or for those with smaller ears, the Vater could feel uncomfortable after prolonged use.