The best earplugs for musicians are
- Earos One
- Vic Firth High Fidelity
- Vibes Concert
- Rave HiFi
Professional musicians have been dealing with the consequences of loud music, for a long time. Whether you're experiencing Tinnitus, or losing your high frequency perception, hearing loss is a very prominent issue in the world of professional music.
To protect your hearing, you need professional earplugs for musicians.
A good set of earplugs, that are comfortable, discreet, and provide a natural sound quality, are essential, whether you're playing or listening to live music.
If you want to protect your hearing (you do), you'll need a great, quality pair of high fidelity earplugs for musicians.
So before you pull out those crusty foam boys out of your drawer, make sure to read our list on what we think are the best earplugs for musicians.
Designed and manufactured by a company that makes hearing aids and electronic hearing protection, Earasers offer a different experience when it comes to attenuating volume.
As a pair of earplugs, designed specifically for musicians, the main goal of Earasers is transparent attenuation. This is due to the specialized filters that ensure a flat frequency response similar to using studio monitors.
The benefit of this is that every frequency you're supposed to hear is accurately represented through the earbuds, yet overall noise volume is also reduced accordingly.
The design of the Earasers is unconventional, with an antennae coming out of each ear. They also don't resemble any of the conical three layered ear plugs, that we're all familiar with.
Because of the design and material, you will barely notice them when worn. The silicone ear tips are also malleable enough to provide a good, tight seal, provided you choose the appropriate size for your ears.
The comfort and natural sound, makes these one of the most popular ear plugs on the market today.
Earos One, when properly inserted in your ear canal, offers 17dB+ (NRR rated) noise protection without muffling the frequency response. This allows you to hear the world around you as you normally would, just at a lower intensity.
While the sound and attenuation of these ear plugs are quite similar to other brands aimed at musicians, the Earos One has a trick up it's sleeve. The Earos ear plugs come with a couple sizes of flanges, that attach to the body of the ear plugs, and helps them get a better seat inside your ear.
This means in turn that you will never have to deal with a loosening seal, or worry about them falling out when you're rocking too hard.
Earos also claims that approximately 90% of people’s ears will be properly fit with one of the two sizes of inserts. This universal sizing makes these even better for the money, since you're less likely to end up with the wrong size of ear plugs.
For attending live concerts or being on stage, the Earos One provide all the peace of mind, that you need, when you want to immerse yourself in the music.
While the best kind of ear plugs will always be properly molded IEM's or In Ear Monitors, the price and hassle of custom IEM's is out of the question for most people.
That's where Decibullz comes in. Their three flange tips are encased in a thermoplastic housing, which can become malleable when heated.
If these ear plugs are heated up in warm water, they'll then become pliable enough, so that when you insert them into your ear, they'll form around your exact ear shape. When cooled, they will remain in this new form, essentially giving you the best possible seal, on the cheap.
Additionally, they have a central plug, which can be taken out, so that you can use your own in ear monitors or earphones, together with the Decibullz. This makes them a great option for cheap on-stage monitoring.
While the Decibullz earplugs are also designed for musicians and provide a flat frequency response, there can be too much attenuation. They're rated for 31dB of noise reduction, which is a lot. While they can be a little too quiet at times, these are still undoubtedly an incredibly good pair of earplugs.
Ideal for comfort, and with a 31db protection rating, they'll keep your ears snug and secure.
Vic Firth High Fidelity Ear Plugs
Vic Firth are one of, if not the most well known brand of drum sticks and accessories. Drums have one of the highest SPL levels of any unamplified instrument. Due to this, proper hearing protection when drumming is essential to preventing hearing loss.
The Vic Firth High Fidelity Earplugs are designed with drummers in mind. Most ear protection solutions made for musicians strive for the flattest attenuation curve. The Vic Firth earplugs are designed to let in more kick and crash cymbal frequencies, to retain the actual sound of the drum kit.
When listening to loud music, instead of playing it, we noticed a definite difference in bass perception, when compared to other sets of earplugs.
Bass reproduction is an incredibly important thing, not only for drummers, but for every performer on-stage. Having that little extra bass perception helps with singing in tune as well as performing on time to the beat.
The improved bass reproduction, along with a standard 20dB of volume reduction makes these a great pair of ear plugs for any musician.
Vibes High Fidelity Concert Earplug
The Vibes high fidelity earplugs are an outlier on this list. While we've been mostly focused on earplugs that provide the most natural frequency response, these are different.
As the name suggests, this set of earplugs is designed with live music in mind. Anyone, who has used the dreadful cheap foam earplugs that we all know and despise, can attest to their muffled and unclear sound.
The Vibes earplugs use their patented filtering system, that very effectively lower the volume by up to 22 decibels without sacrificing the overall sound. That being said, the sound of the Vibes earplugs is colored and might not be what an engineer is looking for.
While Vibes claim these earplugs are “hi-fidelity,” they do end up coloring the sound a bit. The most noticeable change in tonal balance is that the highs end up being rolled off a little, while accentuating the bass frequencies
The only major drawback to these would be the lack of a neck cord. The transparent silicone of the Vibes, means that they can get lost quite easily.
It also needs to be mentioned, that the Vibes are the most discreet earplugs on this list. Their clear build makes sure that noticing these in somebody's ear is difficult. Additionally, they're also very comfortable, even for extended periods of listening.
For avid concert goers who want to preserve their hearing as best as they can without missing too much of the show, the Vibes are worth it.
Rave High Fidelity Ear Plugs
Another versatile set to consider is this two pack from Rave, which provide two different sets each with a different decibel reduction level.
The Rave ear plugs feature two sets of color coded tips, one with a shorter stem than the other. The filters and tips can be customized to fit your exact volume reduction needs.
The filters are interchangeable, so that you can use a stronger filter with a more comfortable tip. The clear filter reduces by 19 dB, and the white filter by 25 dB.
The Rave high difelity earplugs are designed to provide a natural sound quality, while attenuating the volume levels.
They're built to be extremely comfortable for long term use, while remaining simple, elegant and discreet. Together with the handy carry case/pouch, we like to keep these on our keychain at all times.
Whether you're wearing these for concerts, or you need some hearing protection when playing music on stage, the Rave earplugs deserve your attention.
While there are amazing options for hearing protection on the market, the best earplugs for musicians will be custom molded IEM's
Most, if not all touring musicians, need to have a custom made earplug for their in ear monitoring.
As close as manufacturers can get, no off the shelf earplug will fit better than ones that are custom made to fit your ears.
While custom molding is the most expensive way to protect your hearing, it's also the best. And even though at first glance, in ear monitoring is another money pit, you can get by with just a couple hundred dollars.
Custom-made earplugs reduce sound levels evenly across the frequencies making music and speech clear and natural. With custom earplugs for musicians, the music is clear, while your hearing is protected.
To get a proper in-ear mold done, you'll have to visit your nearest audiologist, to get a custom molding done. That being said, a lot of hearing loss companies offer ear molding, so it's not as difficult to get done as may seem at first.
A custom molding usually starts from around 100$, while an entry level pair of in-ear-monitors like the Sennheiser IE 40's, cost around the same.
If you're a professional musician, with a little bit of money to spend, it's best to forego getting earplugs, and focus on getting a great IEM setup.
Buying your first pair of earplugs may be confusing especially when you can’t try them before you buy them. Below are some things you might want to keep in mind when selecting a pair.
To start off with, the most important factor of all, size.
Size is the one thing that matters the most, when choosing the perfect set of earplugs. Wearing earplugs should be comfortable, for extended periods of use, while providing the best possible seal.
Too small and they might not seal properly and fall out, too large and they may put too much pressure on your ear canals leading to soreness and inflammation.
Consider the foam earplugs you got for free at a club that one time. They're used mostly because the foam material is the best, when you're going for a one-size-fits-all approach. When you're talking about sound reproduction and volume reduction, all you get is a muffled version of the original audio.
Most manufacturers offer multiple size options for their earplugs. If you're not sure on your ear size, going for something that's more conforming might be a good idea.
Believe it or not, there are different types of earplugs. Earplugs for musicians aren't the only ones around, in fact, construction workers, motorcyclists etc. have their own special needs for hearing protection.
The type of noise reduction is dependent on what type they are. While earplugs for musicians focus on a natural and flat frequency spectrum, earplugs for construction mostly focus on noise reduction.
When purchasing earplugs for musicians, look out for those specifically branded as high-fidelity, or for musicians. Don't confuse this with the ‘M' marking on a lot of earplugs, since this is designated for motorcycle use.
Attenuation is the main criteria, you'll be choosing your earplugs for. If you're not up to speed, attenuation is essentially, the amount of sound reduction. An attenuation of 20dB will mean that the sound is getting quieter by 20dB.
Choosing the perfect attenuation will differ based on what you're going to be using them for.
A typical rock concert is around 106db to 110db. According to research, you can only be exposed to those levels for no more than 5 minutes before hearing damage can occur. Typical musicians' earplugs attenuate 12db to 25db which brings the levels low enough for safe prolonged exposure.
30dB of attenuation is also quite a popular standard, but can be a bit too quiet for some applications.
High fidelity earplugs are generally reusable. However, materials like the silicone used for ear tips degrade over time.
The lifespan of earplugs, seldom appears on product pages, so to be safe, assume that a pair of earplugs have a lifespan of 3 to 6 months before the material starts to degrade.
When the ear tips start to show signs of wear like microtears or a change in pliability or texture, you may need to get new tips, or, depending on the manufacturer, a new set entirely.
Whether you're a touring musician, or an avid concert goer, hearing loss can be a big issue.
To prevent hearing loss and Tinnitus, a great set of ear plugs with interchangeable filters, are vital.
I hope this article has helped you figure out what are the best earplugs for you, and your ear canals.
So pick up a set of musician ear plugs with a nice carrying case, and never leave your house without them.
Toms is a music producer & DJ, born and raised in Post Soviet Latvia. Currently based in Brighton, Toms has had over 6 years of experience with all things production and in that time, he's done a tonne of cool stuff! He's played multiple festivals, had experience in the field with mixing & mastering and even become a freelance journalist in the music industry.
Toms currently creates music under the alias Sovereign. Producing music that's intimate and subtle, while full of edge and energy, the young producer combines the artistic sounds of Trip Hop artists like Massive Attack, with the energy and youthfulness of producers like Flume, Jamie XX and Yaeji. You can check his stuff on Soundcloud.