Best Earplugs for Concerts

best concert ear plugs

A huge crowd, a large hall, or maybe even an outdoor area with grass everywhere, and a band up on stage that is playing their hearts out, or maybe even a few singers over a machine producing a beat with catchy lyrics to go along with it. There is a lot of fun to be had in concerts, whether you are playing the music yourself or you are out in the audience enjoying the music being played. But, in the long run, you may begin to notice a bit of a downside.

Slowly, your hearing gets a little more dull, and you have to ask people to speak up. From time to time, you experience a strange ringing noise in your ears, even when nothing is going on around you (the medical term for it is ‘tinnitus’). In the end, after years and years of going to shows or playing at them, most people are left with irreparable hearing damage and even the chance of partial hearing loss.

A Comparison of the Best Earplugs for Concerts 2017

Well, not necessarily. Sure, you’re not in front of the amplifier that the artist is directly playing out of, but in most venues that hold more than a few dozen people, you are going to find that the artists are hooked up to a PA system, which pipes the music, amplified, throughout the area. And that means that it will be loud, and the sound being loud means that you, too, can be damaging your hearing over the long term. Thankfully, this can be avoided.

Here is our list of the best earplugs for concerts today, which we often update to reflect on the latest additions to the market.

Product NameNoise Reduction RateLanyard or CordCaseAmazon URL
HearHeed High Fidelity Concert Music Hearing Protection28dbIncluded cordCase included
Rave High Fidelity Earplugs (2 pair)19db/25dbNo cordCase included
Downbeats Reusable High Fidelity Hearing Protection18dbNo cordCase included
ETY High Fidelity Earplugs20dbNo cordNo Case
Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs12-21dbNo cordCase included
LiveMus!c HearSafe Earplugs – 2 Sets23db/29dbNo cordCase included
Dubs Acoustic Filters Advanced Tech Earplugs12db-24dbNo cordNo case
Hearos Ultimate Softness Series Ear Plugs 14 Pair32dbNo cordNo case
V-MODA Faders VIP Tuned Metal Earplugs12dbDetachable cord includedNo case
Earaser Musicians Plugs19dbNo cordNo case

Before we get to an in-depth look at the products we review, I’d like to draw your attention to how the amount of noise reduction is determined. The efficacy of these products is determined by something called the “Noise Reduction Rate” or “NRR”, which basically means how many decibels it lowers the sound by.   It’s a complex mathematical formula, but it does work pretty well at this time. It’s a great way to pick the best ear plugs for noise reduction, too.

Being continuously submitted to loud noises (generally considered to be loud continuous noise over 82-89 decibels) can lead you to having some hearing issues in the long run. It’s not hard to see how this can happen. Anyone who has ever played a guitar on stage can tell you that, even if the only things you can hear are the monitor in front of you and the amplifier behind you, you’re getting well over the tolerable threshold of decibels. Doing that over and over again, habitually, will eventually lead to hearing impairment or partial hearing loss. It’s something that plagues rock musicians in particular (that’s probably the result of living in front of amplifiers cranked up as loud as they can go). But if you’re out there in the audience, you should be okay, right?

If you’re looking to find a quick pair of earplugs using only this information, then go forth, and pick the best concert hearing protection for your concert-going need. Everyone else, let’s take a more in-depth look at these products and how they can help you make sure you hear more than just ringing in your ears as you get older.

1

HearHeed High Fidelity Concert Music Hearing Protection Earplugs – The Quiet Ones

best earplugs for concerts 2016

The first set that we spent some time with were the HearHeed High Fidelity Earplugs. I had literally never heard of the company before, but I went into it with an open mind and open ears.

The first thing that I noticed about this set is the case. If you’ve ever been swimming in a tourist area or ever bought a container for waterproofing something, you’ll recognize the design. It’s just a simple screw-off top, and the earplugs go inside. However, it is made of metal, and it does have some heft, which makes it easy to notice if you have them in your pocket or not.

They also come with a cord, so that you can keep better track of them. It’s a common thing to do, when you’re at a show, or when you’re heading to a show, to use the cord to hang the earplugs from around your neck. It’s the same thing that people working in construction have been doing since first they were told they had to wear earplugs by the companies they worked for. That cord comes in handy.

Now, on to the earplugs themselves. They use a triple-flange system to keep themselves in your ear snugly, as well as to filter out sound. How does that work?  Well, the flanges each filter out a little more sound, and they’re made of a gel that I assume to be silicone which is resilient and powerful enough to hold itself in your ears with ease. All told, they have a Noise Reduction Rating of 28 decibels, which is impressive, especially at the price

If I have any complaint with these ear plugs for concerts, it’s that they’re see-through, which means that if you put them down anywhere except in their carrying case, you may never find them again. When looking for the best earplugs for concert goers, you’re definitely going to want something that you can find if you drop it. But they are low profile, and they do stay in your ears well, and they’re some of the best high fidelity earplugs when it comes to reducing noise with clarity of sound.

PROS
  • Included case is nice and feels durable
  • They reduce the noise level notably
  • The included cord is a nice touch
CONS
  • They’re transparent, making it easy to lose them
  • The high NRR can mean muffling the sound of the concert
2

Rave High Fidelity Earplugs (2 Pair) – The Day and Night Option

best earplugs for concerts

If you look at the name of this product or the picture, you may notice something; there are two sets of earplugs here. That serves a purpose, you see; they both provide different levels of hearing protection.

Yes, two pairs of earplugs, offering differing levels of protection. One will offer you 19 decibels of protection, and the other will offer you 25 decibels in noise reduction. This can be a great thing for a variety of reasons. To begin with, not all concerts are equally loud. Going to some sort of metal show or punk rock show isn’t going to require the same level of hearing protection as you would need at a country show. They can also be good for you if you go to a show and don’t end up as close as you thought you would (or if you end up at a show that is entirely general admission, where how close you are to the stage and/or the amps is determined entirely by when you get there). These earplugs rely on the triple-flange system, as described above.

The case that comes along with these is much like the case that came with the HearHeed earplugs, but there is one notable difference; it has a clip. You can attach your keys to it, or clip it to your belt buckle, or any number of things. All things considered, if you’re looking for a multipurpose set of ear plugs for concert goers, this is a worthwhile product to look at.

PROS
  • 2 pair for multiple purposes
  • Great carrying case with a clip
  • Good amount of noise reduction from both sets
CONS
  • Two sets of plugs means more bulk in your pocket
  • These need to be cleaned regularly. After every use
3

Downbeats Reusable High Fidelity Hearing Protection – The Simple Set

best earplugs for concerts 2017

When it comes to making sure that you have ear protection of any kind, there are few things that are as important as ensuring that you have a set that is easy to use. The Downbeats earplugs are just that. These are concert ear plugs that, when inserted into your ears, will lessen the noise you experience by 18 decibels, which, to me, may be just the right amount to make sure that you can still enjoy the music without having to worry about muffling.

But more than that, they’re a simple affair. Slip them in, and you’re done. Their carrying case is much like that of the other two already reviewed. All told, my only real complaint is that they’re somewhat clear in color (again, it makes them easy to lose) and that they don’t have a cord. They also use a double-flange instead of a triple-flange system, but that’s not a problem to me, it just lessens their Noise Reduction Rating.

PROS
  • Easy to use
  • Carrying case
CONS
  • Need to be cleaned after each use
  • They are transparent and clear so they are easy to lose
  • No lanyard or cord
4

ETY High Fidelity Earplugs – The High Profile and Hi-Fi

best earplugs for concert goers

I know, I know, the image makes them look a little bit odd, but believe it or not, there is a very real reason for this. You may notice that they have a triple-flange design, as is common in the earplugs people are buying these days (indeed, when looking at ear plugs for musicians or for concert goers, you will find that this is the most common design implemented). However, it is that clear part on the end that makes them so unique. It is basically designed in order to imitate the shape of the ear, which will, in theory, allow you to hear the sounds around you with a reduction in loudness, but without losing clarity as so often happens. In practice, it functions quite well.

While the earplugs in question do a great job of making sure that you can enjoy the sounds around you while also providing a Noise Reduction Rating of 20 decibels, there are some downsides. There will be no case coming with it, and there is no lanyard or cord, nor anywhere to attach your own were you to provide one. They’re also clear, which I don’t much care for, but they do work, and they do reduce the  noise that you will experience notably. A good choice for anyone looking for the best ear protection for music concerts.

PROS
  • Decently priced
  • Effective method of ensuring clarity of sound
  • A fair level of noise reduction
CONS
  • They’re clear, making them easy to lose
  • No case
  • High profile when in the ear
5

Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs – The Cool and Comfortable Option

best hearing protection for musicians

If you’re looking for a set of earplugs that look cool and that work well, you’re going to be happy if you pick up the Eargasm Hi-Fi earplugs. They work well, as one would expect from earplugs that are based on the triple-flange design. These may look to you like something that you would see in the ears of the musicians on stage (well, one ear. A lot of musicians will use one earplug, and in the other ear they’ll have a monitor that allows them to hear the music that they or others around them are playing). That being said, when it comes to the Noise Reduction Rating that you can expect from them, you might be surprised to find out that it is on the lower end. The Eargasm earplugs will reduce the noise you experience by 12 to 21 decibels.

Why is there a range instead of a definite number here?  It mostly concerns whether or not you utilize them properly. If you put them in, and they’re not seated just right, then you are going to end up on the 12-decibel end of the spectrum, but if you put them in correctly, you’re get the 21-decibel reduction impact. This means that you can, via the way that you seat the earplugs in your ear, use these ear plugs for music listening and the way that they’re seated in your ears to vary the protection you get.

PROS
  • Comfortable and snug fit
  • Reduces noise by up to 21 decibels
  • Carrying case is a great feature, as always
CONS
  • Clear and easy to lose
6

LiveMus!c HearSafe Ear Plugs (2 Sets) – The Upgraded Set

ear plugs for noise reduction

Another set of triple-flange earplugs, right?  Well, believe it or not, these are a little bit different. Sure, they have a lot of the things that you may see in the earplugs above, but these are a pair of earplugs, not just a single one. If you look closely, you may notice that one of them is white in the middle, and the other is green. This is to denote which is which.

The green ear plugs will provided a Noise Reduction Rate of 23 decibels, while the white earplugs will provide a Noise Reduction Rate of 29 decibels. So, as with the other set from Rare High Fidelity, you will be getting two options, which may be more appropriate for different circumstances. They come with a nice carrying case, which is always a plus, too.

I liked this set a lot. I like the triple-flange design in general, which is no secret if you read this list, but more than that, I like that these are easy to tell the difference between. I also like having two options (indeed, as a general rule, I would argue that you’ll find more options are always a great thing). If you’re looking for ear plugs that will work well for you, especially if you listen to a lot of heavier music in the rock genre, than this is the product that you should be looking to.

PROS
  • Two sets for different needs
  • Carrying case is always nice
  • The white ear plugs are very good at reducing noise
CONS
  • The clear coloration makes it easy to lose
  • Twice the earplugs, twice the bulk, twice as many parts to lose
7

Dubs Acoustic Filters Advanced Tech Ear Plugs – The Modern Model

best concert ear plugs

DUBS brings us one of the very few concert ear plugs (or musician ear plugs, depending on which side you’re on) that isn’t based on a flange design. It’s a lot more interesting, in fact. You can see from the picture that they have basically two parts to them; there’s the bud you put in your ear, and then there is the part that the sound is actually taken in through, which looks like a little miniature microphone.

The whole thing works via something called ‘dynamic attenuation’, which basically means that you’re losing the volume by a bit (in this case, with a Noise Reduction Rating of 12 decibels to 24 decibels), but you’re not going to be losing out on the sound that you are there to get. This is another way to get around the idea of ‘muffling’ the sounds of the concert, which is what you can get with a lot of ear plugs, where all they really do is prevent as much sound from entering the auditory canal. And it does work, but the downside is that it looks a bit unusual, to say the least (not unlike many ear plugs musicians wear, though).

Indeed, these are, in my opinion, the strangest looking of the options. However, their results cannot be argued against, and they are well worth the price. My only real gripes, besides them being somewhat high profile and noticeable, is that they don’t have a lanyard or a case to hold them. As with anything that you put in your ear, but especially ‘bud’ designs, you’re going to need to clean this after every use.

PROS
  • They work well and don’t muffle the sound
  • They’re not hard to see when you put them down
CONS
  • They do look a little goofy
  • The lack of a case or cord
8

Hearos Ultimate Softness Series Earplugs (14 Pair) – The Cheap And Plentiful Option

ear plugs for concerts

All of the other options that are in here are things that you have to take care, of that you have to watch, that you have to ensure that you clean after every use, things like that. But when it comes to the Hearos earplugs, you don’t have to deal with any of that. They’re completely disposable, they come with 28 in the container, and they work well; in fact, they may be some of the best hearing protection for concerts in this list.

To insert them into your ear is a simple task. You take one, you roll it tightly between your fingers, compressing it into a smaller earplug, and then you insert it, and it expands in your ear. Now you’re good to go, and your ears will be better protected. Believe it or not, these cheap, disposable plugs for hearing protection for musicians and concert goers provide the best ear protection of anything reviewed, coming in at a Noise Reduction Rate of 32 decibels.

Of course, when you go with such a low-tech option, you don’t get any of the technology in most of the other earplugs. The big downside here is that you are going to find that without that technology, you are not going to have any clarity of sound, but rather will end up with kind of a muffling effect (to see what I mean, turn on your television and cover both your ears tightly with your hands). But as they say, you get what you pay for. This is a budget option, and it shows, but when it comes to noise reduction, they are the best concert earplugs.

PROS
  • Low price per concert of ear protection
  • Very simple to use
  • No need for cleaning
CONS
  • Muffling effect
  • No case and no cord
9

V-MODA Faders VIP Tuned Metal Earplugs – The Metal Option

concert hearing protection

Back to more of an ‘ear bud’ technology with this entrant. V-MODA put together a fashionable option that consists of something that they call the ‘Bliss 3.0 Hybrid Silicone’ ear bud, added to a metal body that focuses the sound into the hole. It provides you with a lot more of the clarity of the music that you’re there to see, without muffling the sound that you are going to hear.

These earplugs are well designed, even if they look a little bit more like they belong in a Sci-Fi novel, or if they look like they’re supposed to be headphones hooked up to an MP3 player. The metal tuned body does help, too, to cut down on that muffling effect that can be common in earplugs. Of course, there is a downside; metal vibrates a lot more than silicone or rubber, and that means that the Noise Reduction Rating is not going to be as great as with other options. In this case, you can count on getting about 12 decibels worth of noise reduction.

I do like that they’re metal, which will make them easier to find, although I don’t much care for the way that they don’t come with a case. Call me crazy, but my pockets hold change, and change is not the cleanest thing in the world, and I don’t want my earplugs getting filthy. I do, however, like the fact that they include a cord with them, one that screws into the earplugs and is held securely in place. I would highly recommend these for anyone going to a lot of shows that are on the quieter side, because they are not best equipped for a loud show.

PROS
  • Comfortable silicone design
  • Works well to ensure clarity
  • Cord included
CONS
  • Needs to be cleaned every day
  • No case included
10

Earaser Musician’s Plugs – The Odd Man Out

custom fit hearing protection

When I saw the design of these, I was a bit puzzled, to say the least. They don’t have the ‘triple-flange’ system, nor do they have the earbud system. Indeed, of all the earplugs that we took a look at, these ear plugs for musicians were the ones that were most complex. Looking at the website for the Earaser Musician’s Hi-Fi Earplugs shows that you have to put them into your ear exactly right. If you don’t insert them correctly, you end up with them being less than effective, but these are some of the best ear plugs for musicians.

They have a patented filter, and they are made of one fairly solid piece, with the filter inside. The whole thing is patented, and it manages to reduce the noise by 19 decibels, but you have to know exactly what you’re doing with them. Heck, these are the only earplugs on this list that you actually have to know your ear size for (I have no idea how you even calculate that). You can absolutely get these and use them if you are a concertgoer, but believe me when I say that these are designed for professional musicians. That’s probably why they cost what they do, and it is likely also a big part of why they sound as good as they do, why so much work went into getting the clarity of sound that they can provide.

When you buy these plugs, you’re getting just the plugs, with nothing else included. But that is more than enough, and the value is real.

PROS
  • Very little loss of clarity of sound
  • Fits very well if you know your size
CONS
  • You have to know your size
  • No carrying case

Best Earplugs for Concerts - Buyer's Guide

When you are looking to pick out the best hearing protection for your concert needs, you will be making some big decisions that may have a lot of impact on your hearing in the long run. Here are just a few things that you should consider when picking those earplugs:

What Is The Noise Reduction Rating?

It is the best measure currently available for telling you how much noise is being blocked from reaching your ears. A Noise Reduction Rating, or ‘NRR’ of 1, for example, means that in your surroundings, you’d experience one less decibel with the use of your earplugs than you would without them. So, if the concert was clocking in at a volume of 100 decibels, you’d experience 99 decibels. The formula for figuring out the NRR is a very complex bit of math, but if you’re selling the products in the US with a stated NRR, it has likely been repeatedly tested in laboratories and confirmed by scientists at various departments concerned with safety certification.

What Is The Best Design For Earplugs?

Is there a best design?  That’s kind of a debatable question, but I think that it all depends on what we’re looking for. As we saw in the table at the beginning of article, the earplugs that best protect your hearing are the ones that are the cheapest and that are made of foam. When you put them in your ear properly, they expand to fill the ear. Of course, the problem is that with that amazing NRR of 32 decibels, you also get a muffled sound. On the other hand, when you work with earplugs that are designed to imitate the shape of the ear, you will find that you get a much better clarity of sound, but that the NRR is lessened. There’s a tradeoff to be made, and you have to decide what’s more important to you; clear, crisp sound, or having the most powerful hearing protection you can get.

Soft Or Solid Earplugs; Which Are Better?

This is another one of those questions that can be at least a bit of an opinion piece. In general, the best earplug is the one that will fit your ear properly, whatever it is made out of. If this means that you’re getting one made of silicone gel, or if it means you’re getting one that has a metal body with rubber tips that insert into your ear, that all depends on the shape of your ear.

 This article is here to help you to navigate through the sea of ear plugs offered to concertgoers and musicians to protect their hearing. I’ve picked the top ten, and I’ve laid out the positives and negatives of them. That being said, here are just a few definitive proclamations that I am willing to make about the products.

The best one, overall, when you consider price and quality and clarity of sound, is the Earaser Musician’s Plugs. It’s literally made for musicians so that they can hear their music, while also protecting their hearing. The problem with them is that you have to know your ear size, and that you have to make sure you put them in just right each time or they don’t work so well. These obviously offer the best hearing protection for musicians.

The best value is the Hearos Ultimate Softness Series, for the obvious reason that it is so cheap per concert and it really doesn’t matter if you lose them or not.

And, finally, the LiveMus!c HearSafe Earplugs (2 sets) are a great option for those who need the middle ground, allowing you to have multiple options and to preserve a fair amount of clarity.

Conclusion


In this comprehensive buying guide of the best earplugs for concerts, you learned about some of the best earplugs out there today that you should buy before going to a concert. Your health is more important than being rumbled by loud music.

We hope that this guide was helpful to you and let us know in the comments below if you have questions or additions.

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