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The dog is barking. Your partner is snoring. A neighbor is blasting music. Whatever the noise, high-quality earplugs for sleeping can help block it out. In this article, we'll discuss what sleep earplugs are, what to look for when deciding on a pair, then review five of the best earplugs for sleeping on the market.
Drift to Sleep Moldex
Created for comfort and to block out ambient noises that may prevent you from sleeping well, earplugs for sleep are small, cylindrical and moldable. This makes them easy to insert into your ear canal to close out the noises that disturb your sleep.
If you have trouble sleeping, earplugs may be a good solution. Findings from a 2010 study backed this idea by studying individuals exposed to loud, simulated intensive care sounds. The study found that earplugs and eye masks "promote sleep and hormone balance in healthy subjects exposed to simulated ICU noise and light..." (source).
The findings included elevated melatonin and increased REM time in the individuals who used earplugs and eye masks. This shows that a reduction of sound and light can help you sleep better, making the use of earplugs a good idea.
While you've probably used earplugs before, casual insertion doesn't block all the sound that proper use of earplugs for sleeping can. Instead of just stuffing an earplug into your ear, the correct way to insert one is by rolling the cylinder into a much smaller shape and then pulling your ear upward to slide the earplug into your ear canal. Most of the earplug should rest in the ear canal, not outside it. If it does, try the process again.
A common misperception about wearing earplugs while sleeping is that it poses no danger. But there are a few ways earplugs can cause injury, especially when it comes to improper insertion and/or removal of the earplugs. Here are a few tips to ensure no harm is done:
We researched sleep earplugs by looking at four qualities: effectiveness, comfort, durability, and value.
The first quality, effectiveness, is based on the NRR rating, which determines how well the earplugs block out ambient noise. How well they fit and stay in your ear are part of the second quality, comfort. Third, we looked at how well the earplugs last over time using a durability metric. The final quality, value, is based on the price per unit in combination with the other qualities.
The effectiveness of Mighty Plugs is amazing. With a NRR of 34 decibels (dB), slamming doors and loud snoring reduce to whispers.
Made of wax, Mighty Plugs are moldable, soft, and reusable up to 40 times, after which time the wax starts to erode with every insertion and removal. (Note, you can combine two eroded earplugs to make one good earplug for further use). Since the wax is hypoallergenic, it won't cause allergic reactions. Unfortunately, Mighty Plugs do get contaminated fairly easily though.
While they take some practice to learn how to insert and remove, they're easy to use once you've done it a couple times. Once inserted, the earplugs feel almost as if nothing's in your ear canal, in large part because the wax is soft and moldable which replicates the feeling of custom-fit earplugs.
Because they're so comfortable, sleeping is easy in most sleep positions. That said, they may cause too much pressure on the ears if you're a side-sleeper.
Mighty Plugs are also very economic and affordable.
Made of hypoallergenic silicone, Woowexx has three different earplugs to choose from: black (with a NRR of 20 dB), white (28 dB), and blue (30 dB). For sleeping purposes, you're likely going to want the blue pair, which will quieten loud and harsh sounds enough for you to easily ignore.
These earplugs are great for small ears, while people with large hands and ears may find them harder to insert and remove.
Woowexx only sells in packs of two pairs, regardless of whether you want the extra pair. But this silicone material is long-lasting and they fit comfortably for hours on end, so the price is probably worth it.
While Drift to Sleep Moldex earplugs taper to fit snugly while conforming to your ear canal's shape, they may have to be taken out sooner than other earplugs because its long length may get uncomfortable after a while.
Easy to use, you simply have to roll them between your fingers to make a tight tube, then insert and you'll feel them expand to fit your ear canal. But they're known to fall out too easily, especially if you toss and turn. So long as they stay in, however, the Drift to Sleep Moldex earplugs reduce loud sounds to soft ones with an NRR of 33 decibels.
Their smooth surface prevents irritation and they seem to be best for small ears.
Overall, the Drift to Sleep Moldex earplugs are good value for the price, plus the company offers a 100% moneyback guarantee if you're not satisfied for any reason.
With a NRR of 26 dB, HearHeed earplugs don't reduce noise as well as the other earplugs reviewed in this roundup. While it blocks out some sound, it may not be enough for a restful night's sleep, especially if your partner or roommate is a heavy snorer.
Made of reusable silicone, these earplugs are hypoallergenic to prevent itching or rashes and are very durable.
Easy to insert and remove, the silicone molds comfortably to your ear canal and its shorter length prevents it from going in too far. Thus, they're a great option for side-sleepers since they don't create excess pressure on the ear canal.
These are the second most expensive earplugs of the five reviewed in this article (after Decibullz). But their comfortability and ease of use make them a good buy. If you're not satisfied, HearHeed offers a one-year satisfaction guarantee.
Available in four different colors made from a custom-moldable plastic, Decibullz earplugs look great. And with an NRR of 31 dBs, they're effective at blocking out many loud sounds, including snoring.
To mold, you simply have to boil water, place the earplugs in the water for five minutes, then let stand for 30 to 40 seconds before inserting them into your ears.
More often than not, you won't get a good fit the first time around, so you may need a few more tries before finding a fit that feels somewhat comfortable. But even then, the hard plastic may still not feel totally right, especially with time. They may also make your ears itch, which can be annoying when trying sleep.
Initially a bit pricey, the value of Decibullz evens out since they last a long time.
Sleep is important for all and earplugs are proven to help people get better sleep in noisy environments. While all the earplugs reviewed in this article are great buys, the best earplugs for sleeping are, by far, the Mighty Plugs.
These earplugs have an NRR of 34 dB, the highest of the earplugs reviewed. These few extra decibels can make all the difference in blocking out noises around you while trying to sleep.
Mighty Plugs also fit so well, you probably won't even notice them. This is especially important since there's nothing quite as annoying as being constantly reminded of uncomfortable plugs in your ears.
Finally, Mighty Plugs aren't very expensive and when combined with its other features and benefits, it's great value. In conclusion, Mighty Plugs are definitely the top earplugs for sleeping on the market today.
What are your thoughts about sleep earplugs? Leave your comments below!