The Best Earplugs
for Concerts and Festivals
The Best Earplugs for Live Music
Why use ear protection for live music?
Sure, we all want to be a freaker by the speaker, hanging in the front row, getting down to the band in the loudest possible way. But there is no question about it – hearing loss from exposure to loud music is real and irreversible.
The average rock concert can fall between 100 and 120 dB (decibels), which is just below the noise level of a jet engine on takeoff. Do you see those massive headsets the guys on the tarmac are wearing? There’s a good reason for that!
Hearing damage at this level can occur in a matter of minutes. This hearing damage is irreversible, and can and will affect your hearing for the rest of your life.
How to protect against hearing loss at concerts and festivals:
Luckily, we live in a modern world where just about every problem has a solution. In this case, the solution is pretty simple: ear protection.
There are far too many options of hearing protection available to be contained within one article – a good problem, in our book.
There are 3 main categories of earplugs for live music: disposable earplugs, reusable earplugs and custom earplugs.
Disposable earplugs are typically made of some type of foam. They are universally fitting and meant to be used once. These are very inexpensive, and often free (you may have received a pair on an airplane, or at a hotel.) They provide a decent level of protection when properly inserted, but lower all sounds and greatly reduce the quality of the music. They typically are quite visible in the wearer’s ear, and not very discreet.
Custom earplugs are the top of the line. They can cost hundreds of dollars. They are fitted individually to each user’s unique ear shape and size, ensuring that they will always provide the maximum protection. They are designed to reduce decibel levels without sacrificing sound quality.
Reusable earplugs typically fall somewhere between disposable and custom earplugs. They are designed in a way to offer maximum protection without the loss of quality but are shaped to universally fit most ears, therefore coming with a much lower price-tag than custom earplugs. Many reusable earplugs offer different sizing options, as well as different levels of noise reduction, ensuring that most concert goers should have no trouble finding a fit and level that is right for them.
We have based this article on the best reusable earplugs for live music.
Factors in rating The Best Reusable earplugs for live music:
There are many factors to consider when rating the best ear protection for live music. We’ve looked at several while comparing a range of available products.
NRR – Noise Reduction Rating: All ear protection devices are given a Noise Reduction Rating, or NRR. This rating is a level, in decibels (dB), representing a devices maximum ability to block out sound. For example, a product with a NRR of 12 can block out a maximum of 12 decibels of sound. This is an official rating provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The highest available NRR for earplugs is 33.
Decibel (dB) Reduction: All of the tested earplugs are also rated by their Decibel Reduction. This number illustrates the number of decibels (dB) the sound will be reduced by when the earplugs are properly used. The dB Reduction number is not officially regulated and is often supplied by the earplug producer based on their independent testing.
Cost: Pretty self-explanatory. All prices are based on Amazon.com prices at the time of publishing of this article.
Sizing: We’ve looked at the available sizing options for the earplugs, if any. Some earplugs offer several options, some are one-size. Some even include different sizes so that you can experiment and find the best fitting earplug for your ear!
Case: The majority of earplugs come with some sort of carrying case, which is important for using earplugs at live music events. Having a convenient way to carry and store your earplugs is definitely a factor worth considering.
Sound: The level of dB Reduction provided by the earplugs and the overall quality of the music.
Fit: How easy are the earplugs to use, and how comfortable are they?
Based on these factors, we have tested the following earplugs. They are not ranked (the list is alphabetical). We have merely tried and tested each earplug, examining all of the features and providing our findings. All of the listed earplugs are a good quality ear protection product. Some excel in areas where others fall short. Some have different features than the rest.
Our hope is that we have provided enough information to aid you in your decision.
Whichever ear protection product you decide to try, the important thing is that you do choose to protect yourself when attending concerts and festivals!
The Best Earplugs for Live Music:
Alpine Party Plug
Earplugs for Loud Music Environments
“The high-quality acoustic filters in PartyPlugs hearing protection reduce the volume of music to a safe level. Your music experience, as well as the sound quality of the music, remains very good”
NRR: 16.5 – 21.5
DB Reduction: 19
Sizing: One size
Case: Comes in small plastic box and includes a very compact keychain holder
- Party Plugs are one of the most affordable earplugs on the market.
- Alpine Thermo Shape material allows a perfect fit.
Very comfortable, soft plastic. Easy to get in and out with the hard plastic stick. Unlike some earplugs for concerts, the hard stick fits inside the ear so it is not seen, and there’s little chance of having people bump into them and damaging your ear. Decibel rating seems a bit off the mark. They do a great job of minimizing the noise, but at 25 you would think they would block out everything, when in actuality it provides a really nice level noise level reduction.
Sound: Decent quality with good reduction.
Fit: Very comfortable. Applicator stick makes for easy insertion deep in the ear, but not very practical for use in a real live-music environment.
Case: Very compact and easy to open.
One of the most affordable earplugs for live music you will find, with nice decibel reduction and a very comfortable fit. Discreet and with a small case, you won’t be disappointed with these earplugs.
Musician’s Hi-Fi Earplugs
According to the Earasers website, their “Smart Seal” technology, using a soft medical grade silicone. provides a comfortable fit, unique to each individual’s ear. Earasers also claim to be “the World’s first flat frequency response earplug.”
DB Reduction: 19
Sizing: Extra Small (very rare, 2% of the population), Small (75% of women), Medium (75% of men), Large (very rare, 2% of the population)
Case: Earasers provide a plastic container case, but it is a bit large for a pocket. Aluminum “Stash Can” case sold separately ($5.95)
Earasershave left and right plugs, and are color coded so you know the difference.
- Smart Seal approximates the fit of a custom earplug, without the custom cost.
The unique design of Earasers made for a bit of a learning curve when inserting them in the ear, and there was an initial moment of not being able to immediately remove the earplug! Something to get used to, but once they were properly inserted, they offered good sound quality and were very comfortable and discreet- possibly the most discreet looking of all the earplugs tested.
Sound: Good quality, very clear. Nice reduction in lows and highs without compromising the overall quality.
Fit: Very comfortable once inserted correctly.
Case: Not included, $5.95 case has a key loop but no clip.
Invisible Smart Earplugs for Live Music
EarDial has a high fidelity (Hi-Fi) noise filter, that will block the harmful decibels without sacrificing sound quality. “Our exclusive earwax protection will protect the precision filter so you will have your earplugs clean and with a clear sound for longer.”
DB Reduction: 20
Sizing: One Size
Case: Very compact aluminum slip-on case. Optional luminescent sticker to find in the dark included. EarDial likes to point out that their case is half the size of other earplug cases, and easy to open “even if you had a few drinks”!
Eardialcomes with the option of a mobile App which measures the sound around you and lets you know safe levels and exposure times.
Transparent design makes them “almost invisible when you put them in your ears, no matter your skin color.”
5% of profits go to charities on a mission against tinnitus and NIHL (Noise Induced Hearing Loss).
Very comfortable earplugs, easy to get in and out of the ear. Very discreet earplugs for concerts -not very visible once in the ear. Not as much of a sound reduction as some others, but easy to have conversations.
Sound: The music maintained its clarity, but not a hugely noticeable decibel reduction.
Fit: Very comfortable and easy to use.
Case: The smallest and easiest case we tested with a clip.
A very discreet and comfortable earplug for live music. The included app is a bonus feature, but not a huge selling point. With a portion of proceeds going to charity and the
XO High-Fidelity Earplugs
Created by a musician and DJ who experienced hearing loss and decided to create a product to educate and protect fellow musicians and concert-goers. ”By reducing the decibel level equally across the spectrum of hearing, EARLOVE-XO delivers superior sound and unparalleled hearing protection compared to other non-custom earplugs.”
DB Reduction: 20
Sizing: Standard, Small and Large
Case: Aluminum clip-on case
Optional neck-cord allows
temporaryremoval of the earplugs without having to store them away.
- EarLove are created with Etymotic Research, a leader in hearing technology.
The neck cord makes for easy removal without fear of dropping an earplug at a concert, which was a nice feature. The earplugs are a bit larger than some of the others we tested. This initially makes for a little difficulty in inserting, and they protrude from the ears a bit, so aren’t very discreet. Once you get the hang of inserting into the ear comfortably, they seem to work great. Conversations were easy to understand.
Sound: Music sounded crisp and clear without being muffled.
Fit: Very comfortable once inserted correctly, but much larger than other earplugs tested.
Case: Medium sized case with key loop, easy to open and close.
A good quality earplug for live music at a nice price-point, although not as discreet looking as some others.
High-Fidelity Hearing Protection
“EarPeace is engineered to deliver the superior sound-quality and
NRR: 11 – 19
DB Reduction: 17 – 26
Sizing: Standard and Petite
Case: Choice of red or black aluminum clip on case
- EarPeace HD provides 3 filter sets, allowing the user to choose between Medium (11 NRR), High (14 NRR) and Maximum (19 NRR) protection.
- Each package comes with 3 Ear Plugs, providing an extra should you lose one.
Easy to insert using the pull tab. (Tab is soft plastic, but a little thicker than some others). Fits in snug, yet soft plastic is comfy inside ear canal. Really well thought out product and packaging. The 3 different filter options were nice, and the dual-chamber case allows you to easily stash the filters separate from the earplugs themselves. All the filters are color-coded, too.
Sound: Good, clear quality with a nice option of different levels of reduction.
Fit: Very comfortable and easy to insert and remove.
Case: Case is a little large for a pocket, but it does come with a small clip.
The most intuitive overall product – with options for different levels of noise reduction, and a 3rd earplug in case you lose one! Good price for a nice overall earplug for live music.
ER-20XS High-Fidelity Earplugs
Etymōtic Research, Inc. created the first insert- earphones in 1984.
DB Reduction: 20
Sizing: Standard, Large, and Universal fit available
Case: Rubber keychain squeeze case. Optional neck-cord allows temporary removal of the ear plugs without having to store them away.
- Low profile design.
- Designed to be comfortable to wear under hats, helmets and other headgear.
The Universal Fit package comes with three sizes to offer a more accurate fit. The plugs are slightly larger than some others, protruding from the ear just a bit, so not the most discreet we tested. However, they were very comfortable and offered a great level of protection without sacrificing sound quality. Conversations were easy to understand over the music.
Sound: These earplugs have a nice NRR of 13, and offer a good level of noise reduction.
Fit: Comfortable fit, albeit a bit larger than some of the other options.
Case: The rubber squeeze-case was easy to use and small.
A good design, great price, and high Noise Reduction Rating, coming from a respected company makes for a quality live music earplug.
High-Fidelity Concert Earplugs
“Using specially designed sound tubes that balance sound waves, and sound-enhancing acoustic filters that reduce decibel levels, Vibes
DB Reduction: 22
Sizing: Vibes comes with 3 different sizes, for maximum comfort and fit.
Case: Included small, hard pocket case
- Vibes lower the volume of all sounds equally, from bass to treble, which allows you to hear
soundclearly, just at a quieter volume.
- Clear outer shell makes Vibes earplugs less visible.
Comfortable fit, very easy to get in and out of the ear. 3-sizes included in the package, which is great for first-time users who don’t yet know their earplug size. Really reduced the sound, maybe a little too much, as some of the
Sound: Great reduction, but possibly a little lost in quality.
Fit: Very comfortable, easy to use.
Case: Small pocket case is easy to access.
Great decibel reduction at a good price, but perhaps a slight drop-off in sound quality when using the earplugs for live music. Included sizing options are a bonus!
Our wish is to continue to enjoy live music concerts and festivals for the rest of our lives. Losing our hearing would be a big detriment to this wish!
That is why we sincerely hope that this article has been useful and informative for you, in regards to choosing an earplug for live music. This is an ongoing project – as we are able to test more earplugs for live music, we will add them to the list! All of the prices listed are based on the Amazon prices at the time of the publishing of this article. We will do our best to update the prices when necessary.
Ear protection is no joke. If you love live music as much as we do, you should begin to take your hearing seriously. Ear protection at concerts is the surest way to ensure that you will continue to hear every note for as long as you have the will to boogie and a desire to be your fest self!
Thanks for reading our list of The Best Earplugs for Live Music!
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