As musicians, we know that nothing beats the feeling of playing live on stage, jamming with your band, or rocking out at a concert. But prolonged exposure to loud music can permanently damage our hearing if the proper precautions aren’t taken. That’s why having a good pair of musician earplugs is so important for performers and music lovers alike.
When selecting earplugs, musicians need to look for options that don’t muffle the sound but simply turn down the volume. The key is finding high-fidelity or acoustically transparent earplugs that provide protection without sacrificing sound quality. In this blog, we’ll review the top 5 earplugs on the market for musicians and concert-goers and provide some helpful FAQs for choosing the right pair for your needs and budget.
High-fidelity earplugs use special acoustic filters to lower the decibel level evenly across frequencies. This allows you to hear everything clearly – just at safer volumes. Look for noise reduction ratings between 15-25db. Comfort and fit are also critical, as you need earplugs that will stay in place during long periods of wear. Reusable earplugs are cost effective as well, though it’s good to have cheap disposable pairs as backups.
Etymotic ER20XS High-Fidelity Earplugs
As pioneers in high-fidelity hearing protection, Etymotic Research knows how to make earplugs optimized for music. The ER20XS are designed for the extended wear needed for concerts and practice sessions, providing protection without sacrificing sound quality.
The ER20XS utilize a precision tuned acoustic filter that attenuates audio evenly by 20dB across frequencies. This means you’ll experience the full range of sound just at lower volumes that prevent hearing damage. The low profile eartips are super comfortable for long term wear as well, made from hypoallergenic silicone.
- Provide very natural sound while protecting hearing
- Reusable and long lasting if cared for
- Comfortable for extended wear sessions
- Great noise reduction of 12dB
- Low profile and transparent fit
- More expensive than some basic earplugs
- Tips can loosen over time with heavy use
- Need to be inserted deeply for optimal sound
With an MSRP of around $13 per pair, the ER20XS deliver exceptional performance and protection at a reasonable price point. They include a storage case and medium and large eartips for a customized fit.
Loop Experience Pro High Fidelity Hearing Protection
Up next are the Loop Experience Pro earplugs which utilize a unique attenuation filter technology to maintain sound quality while protecting your hearing.
Loop’s patent pending FitCheck technology allows you to self-test the fit prior to use unlike any other brand. To reduce noise exposure, the Loop Pros utilize a specially designed polycarbonate attenuation filter that provides uniform reduction across sound frequencies.
- Very comfortable, great for small ears
- Excellent noise isolation
- Natural sound with clarity
- Carrying case included
- Less noise reduction than some plugs
- Can be tricky to properly insert for ideal fit
The Loop Pros have an MSRP around $32 and come in small, medium, and large sizes to provide a personalized and secure fit. The ergonomic low profile shape offers extended wear comfort as well.
SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders Plus Earplugs
If you’re looking for maximum hearing protection, check out the SureFire EP4 earplugs which have an exceptionally high noise reduction rating of 24dB.
The EP4 utilizes SureFire’s ER-15 ultra soft filters which attenuate noise while allowing speech and music to still be heard clearly. The triple flange design inserts deeply to block sound and is available in small, medium, and large sizes.
- Extremely effective at reducing loud noise
- Filters allow vocals and instruments through
- Comfortable for all-day wear
- Carrying case included
- Can muffle nuances of music at max setting
- No cord to keep plugs paired
With an MSRP around $15, the EP4s provide unparalleled hearing protection in a low profile design perfect for musicians. The included hard carry case keeps them protected as well.
DownBeats Reusable High Fidelity Hearing Protection
For an affordable and reusable option, DownBeats high fidelity earplugs are a crowd favorite.
DownBeats utilize acoustic filters that reduce noise while maintaining clean audio quality across all frequencies. With a noise reduction rating of 10db, they lower dangerous volume levels to protect your hearing during concerts and jam sessions.
- Great price point around $12
- Preserve sound quality
- Comfortable and effective for concerts
- Reusable earplugs
- Includes carrying case
- Less noise blocking than some
- Tips wear out over time
- Can come loose if not fitted correctly
DownBeats provide great high fidelity hearing protection on a budget. The soft hypoallergenic silicone tips come in 3 sizes for a customized fit.
Earos One High Fidelity Ear Plugs
And finally, we have the Earos One earplugs which offer an incredibly discreet, low profile design.
Despite their small size, Earos One use a unique sound membrane technology to effectively block noise while maintaining audio accuracy. They have a noise reduction rating of 12db.
- Extremely comfortable and nearly invisible
- Preserve sound quality with membrane
- Soft low profile construction
- Includes plastic carrying case
- Less durable due to size
- Can be tricky to remove
- Fewer size options
With an MSRP of $35, the Earos One provide hi-fi hearing protection in a tiny, lightweight package. The minimalist style is perfect for stage performers or those with small ear canals.
FAQs About Musician Earplugs
If you’re wondering if musician earplugs are right for you, here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
- How much do they reduce sound? Typically between 15-25db, with some lighter options closer to 9db. This safely brings loud music to safe listening levels.
- Do they change how music sounds? High-fidelity options aim to lower volume evenly across sound frequencies so music maintains clarity – just quieter.
- Are they reusable? Yes most can be used many times if cleaned and stored properly. Disposable pairs are available as well.
- How long can they be worn comfortably? High-fidelity earplugs designed for concerts and practice are made to be worn for many hours without discomfort.
- Will they stay in while performing? A proper fit is important, with deeper insertion and ear tips in the right size. Some earplugs come with cords to keep pairs together as well.
Hopefully this breakdown gives musicians and music lovers a better understanding of the top earplug options to protect your hearing while still enjoying your favorite tunes. Look for high-fidelity or acoustically transparent models that attenuate sound evenly across frequencies.
Key features to look for include good noise reduction ratings (15db+), comfort for extended wear, quality construction, and retainment cords or cases. Investing in great ear protection now will allow you to enjoy playing and listening to music safely for many years to come.