$4 at Walmart
Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Putty Earplugs
Best budget earplugs
$15 at Walmart
Mack’s Slim Fit Foam Earplugs
Best sleep earplugs for small ears
$29 at Walmart
Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs
Best sleep earplugs for travel
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You know it by now: getting a decent night’s sleep is important for your overall health, mental well-being, productivity and more. But getting a restful 8-hour sleep can be difficult. When you have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, blocking out external noise can make a huge difference. If you’re a light sleeper and find you are often disturbed by sounds during the night, investing in the best earplugs for sleeping may help you drift off and feel better the following day.
While there are many options out there, the best sleep earplugs will fit snugly in your ear canals and help cut out ambient noise so you can fall asleep with more ease. There are basic foam earplug and models with different material, like silicone, that filter noise. Below, you’ll find our curated list of the best sleep earplugs.
Best sleep earplugs for 2023 Mack’s
If you’re strictly a side sleeper, Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Putty Earplugs are the best sleep earplugs for the money. They’re made of soft, fully moldable silicone that shapes to your ear opening and forms an airtight seal that blocks out noise.
Aside from the fact that they were able to be shaped for a perfect fit, these earplugs were soft and comfortable and stayed completely flat on my ear opening, so they didn’t hurt to wear. They also stayed in all night — a feat that many standard earplugs haven’t been able to accomplish.
Most importantly, they did an excellent job at blocking out snoring and any other ambient noise (like three large cats play-fighting in the middle of the night).
The six pairs also come neatly packaged in a plastic carrying case, to keep the silicone clean and free from debris in between uses — a small but appreciated touch.
Affordable Effectively seals the ear
Earplugs cover the ear canal instead of fit inside, and failing to use them as directed could lodge them in your ear canal
Price: Under $5Reusable: Up to five uses/nights or until earplugs are no longer sticky Noise reduction rating: 22 decibels NRRComfortable for side sleeping: Yes Ease of use: Don’t fit like “regular” earplugs so may take some getting used to Eargasm
The Eargasm Squishies are another moldable silicone option that are similar to the Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Putty Earplugs. The biggest difference between the two, besides the color, is in the directions. Mack’s silicone earplugs must be used whole — you can’t break them or cut them apart.
However, Eargasm says if the earplugs are too big, you can break off a piece to get that perfect fit. This is helpful if you have small ears and find that using the entire silicone earplug just feels too intrusive.
The comfort level was also similar, although the Eargasm Squishies had the slight advantage since I could break off a piece and make them a little smaller. The Eargasm Squishies also come in a convenient carrying case with eight reusable pairs.
Comfortable for side-sleeping You can cut each earplug/seal for a better fit
More expensive than Mack’s product but similar product
Price: Under $20 Reusable: Yes, but it’s unclear how many uses you’ll get per pair Noise reduction rating: 22 decibels NRRComfortable for side sleeping: Yes Ease of use: Easy to use Mack’s
The Mack’s Slim Fit Foam Earplugs look like any regular old foam earplugs, but if you have small ears, you may feel the difference in quality immediately. They quickly formed an airtight seal and muffled sound instantly. Loud snoring went from a roaring thunderstorm to a minor distraction that was easy to tune out. These particular earplugs have a noise reduction rating of 31 dB. For reference, most earplugs on the market have a rating of 0 to 30 dB and the higher the number, the more effective they are.
Mack’s Slim Fit Foam Earplugs are specifically made for small ear canals. (Finding the right size of ear plug makes a huge difference in effectiveness, so keep that in mind.) If you don’t have small ears, you can still take advantage of Mack’s advanced snore-blocking technology with its Snore Blockers or Original Soft Foam Earplugs. If you go with any of these options from our best sleep earplugs list, make sure you thoroughly read the directions before putting them in your ears. One of the most common reasons these types of earplugs get a bad review is because they’re not inserted properly.
Great for small ear canals Effectively reduce sound
May not work for larger ear canals Not designed for multiple uses
Price: Under $20 Reusable: No Noise reduction rating: 31 decibels NRRComfort: Ease of use: Easy to use Vibes
The Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs are different from some others on this list. They’re actually designed for live music festivals, so rather than blocking out noise, the intent is to lower the decibels of the sound around you to make the noise more manageable. This makes them the ideal choice for traveling, when the noise can get overwhelming but you don’t want to be completely checked out from the world as you take a quick snooze. When tested at a store and coffee shop, they did an excellent job of blocking out voices, reducing pitches and dulling loud music.
You can use them for sleeping at home too, but only if you’re strictly a back sleeper. The earplugs have a stem that sticks out straight from your ear canal, so not only are they uncomfortable when you’re sleeping on your side, it’s possible that they could get pushed too far into your ear and cause problems.
The earplugs come with three different ear tip sizes so you can find the ideal fit for your ear canal and a small carrying case that makes them easier to travel with.
Great for reducing noise when you want to keep the quality of the sound Reusable
Not that comfortable for sleeping, unless you’re a back sleeper
Price: Under $30 Reusable: Yes Sound reduction: Up to 22 decibels (NRR is 15 decibels)Comfortable for sleeping: No Ease of use: Easy to use Loop
Available in mint green and other fun colors, these earplugs from Loop are easy on the eyes. But more importantly, they’re reusable silicon earplugs that come with are fixed with an “loop,” making for easy adjustments once they’re in your ear.
Loop Quiet Earplugs come with four sizes of tips you can choose from to fit your ear canal, which is more selection than a lot of brands. However, fixing a new tip size back onto the earplug isn’t the easiest process and requires some focus and finesse — hopefully you’d only have to switch tips once or twice to find your size, and then only when you clean them.
These earplugs seem to work well for some side sleepers, based on outside reviews, but from our review with side sleeping they would require some getting used to for longer or everyday use. But due to their easy movement and sleek look, these earplugs would come in handy when you want to turn down the volume and focus.
Comes with four sizes of adjustable tips Has a loop you can grab and easily adjust in your ear
Not very easy to switch tip sizes
Price: Under $30 Reusable: Yes Sound reduction: Up to 27 decibels (14 decibel NRR) Comfortable for side sleeping: So-soEase of use: Easy to adjust once in your ear Happy Ears
Happy Ears is a Swedish company which is known for its sustainable packaging and recycled material used to make ear plugs. Happy Ears makes earplugs from ocean plastics and recycled plastics, as well as an “original” earplug. But even if you don’t buy the recycled earplugs, Happy Ears says the package it comes in is recyclable, biodegradable and compostable.
We tested the Original Discovery Pack, which means a package of earplugs comes with small, medium and large sizes for you to choose from. The earplugs are small and straight-forward, and they fit inside the canal well. The recycled material earplugs come in a black color and are $8 more expensive than the original package. The earplugs made from ocean plastics are green, reduce two more decibels of sound and are $3 more expensive than the Original Discovery Pack.
Fit well and barely noticeable The company sells eco-friendly earplugs
Not the cheapest on the list
Price: Under $35 Reusable: Yes Sound reduction: Up to 25 decibels (original earplug)Ease of use: Very easy Comfortable for side-sleeping: Mostly How we chose the best sleep earplugs
When selecting the best earplugs for sleeping, we tested them the only way you can — by wearing them to bed. While testing, we noted the fit, comfort and quality of each selection for the best earplugs for sleeping. We also considered how many decibels the earplugs could reduce, or noise reduction ratings (NRR) when they were available. Official noise reduction ratings (NRRs) are usually slightly different (and lower) than the average decibel or sound reduction listed because it takes into account other factors, Vibes says on its website.
Because multiple people tested different products, we could not name a “best overall” earplug for sleeping. We will add to or update this list when possible.
Factors to consider when choosing earplugs for sleep
There’s a lot of variety in earplugs. What works for someone else might not be the best choice for you due to size, shape and material. Here are a few things to look out for.
Safety: It’s important to know whether you’re a good candidate for sleeping in earplugs at all — people who have an ear infection, have a build-up of earwax or another concern over their ear should check with a doctor before wearing a pair of earplugs to sleep. To avoid an infection from wearing your earplugs, you should dispose of disposable earplugs as directed and follow the instructions for your reusable plugs on how to clean them.Material: This will determine the quality and comfort of the earplugs. Typical materials used are silicone, wax, foam and cotton. Foam is typically the most common earplug material because it’s the cheapest. Silicone on the other hand is what you’ll find most reusable options made out of. Wax earplugs give you the benefit of being able to mold them to the shape of your ear. Noise or sound reduction This is an important one. The noise reduction level tells you how many decibels the earplugs block. The rating ranges from 0 to 33 dB. So, earplugs with a higher NRR score block out the noise the best. Whether they’re reusable: Earplugs are available in either single-use or reusable options. There are benefits and drawbacks to each. Single-use earplugs are typically cheaper and suitable for occasional use. If you’re looking to use them regularly, it’s best to invest in reusable options — they’re better for the environment and way more durable. Price: We all know price is one of the most important parts of shopping for the best earplugs for sleep. A pack of disposable earplugs can seem like the obvious choice based on price — most packs average around $10. However, reusable earplugs may be better suited if you’re looking for a long-term option. They cost a bit more, but you only need to buy them once. Best earplugs for sleeping FAQ Is it comfortable to sleep with earplugs?
Your sleeping position may be a determining factor in how long it takes you to get used to sleeping in earplugs or whether you love them. Back sleepers typically experience the least amount of problems. Stomach and side sleepers may find that certain earplugs may backfire and make noise as they come in contact with the pillow. However, selecting earplugs that don’t stick out of your ears will help side sleepers avoid this.
Is it safe to wear earplugs every night?
Usually, yes, as long as you use them as directed. However, there are side effects you should be aware of. Earplugs may cause earwax buildup and cause ear canal damage if used incorrectly. You also shouldn’t use them if you have signs of an ear infection, like drainage or pain.
If you have reusable earplugs, make sure to follow the directions and regularly clean them. Always throw away the disposable earplugs. Using earplugs that have bacteria on them can lead to an infection.
Other products for drowning out sound
Loud or abrupt sounds can be harmful to your sleep quality, but not everyone will benefit from earplugs. Besides sleep earplugs, here are other products you can use to help drown out unwanted or disruptive noise.