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Best Earplugs for Concerts

Updated May 2023
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Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs for Concerts
Eargasm
High Fidelity Earplugs for Concerts
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Most Comprehensive
Bottom Line

These earplugs offer supreme protection from loud music at a concert while allowing users to be a part of conversation and enjoy the show. Our medical expert highly recommends them to any concert goer looking for ear protection.

Pros

Set comes with case and 2 pairs of earplugs to ensure the best fit. Comfortable enough to wear for hours at a time without slipping out. Effective in minimizing loudness of music, still allowing for easy conversation. Convenient pull-tab for removal.

Cons

Shape of the case is a bit awkward.

Best Bang for the Buck
Rave High Fidelity Ear Plugs
Rave
High Fidelity Ear Plugs
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Bargain Choice
Bottom Line

These quality earplugs come at a great value, as buyers receive 2 sets as well as a case for under $20, though they only come in one size.

Pros

Comes with 2 pairs with different levels of hearing protection and a convenient carrying case. Provide impressive sound quality by lowering volume to comfortable level, but not muffling. Easy to put in and take out.

Cons

Takes some trial and error to learn how to properly insert them into the ear.

Etymotic Research ETY-Plugs High Fidelity Earplugs
Etymotic Research
ETY-Plugs High Fidelity Earplugs
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Comfortable Design
Bottom Line

These are an impressive set of earplugs that naturally lower the volume of music while remaining comfortable, even for extended wear. Our medical expert appreciates the neck cord that prevents losing an earplug.

Pros

Available in different colors and sizes. These plugs do an impressive job naturally lowering the volume at a concert to a comfortable listening level. Comes with convenient carrying case for earplugs. Fit well in wide variety of ear sizes.

Cons

Plastic handles on plugs are a bit long and may stick noticeably out of ears.

Vibes High Fidelity Concert Earplugs
Vibes
High Fidelity Concert Earplugs
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Discreet Option
Bottom Line

These earplugs really shine for their design that allows for extreme comfort and are perfect for anyone looking to wear earplugs discreetly.

Pros

Minimalist design makes these earplugs discreet and virtually invisible. Comfortable and flexible build that comes in different sizes. Specially designed to create a seal within the ear rather than resting close to ear canal like other models. These offer supreme comfort.

Cons

These don’t come with cord, which makes it easier to misplace plugs.

Audiomate High-Fidelity Earplugs
Audiomate
High-Fidelity Earplugs
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More stores

Simple Yet Solid
Bottom Line

These are a comfortable and convenient pair of basic earplugs to make loud concerts more enjoyable for those sensitive to loud sounds.

Pros

These earplugs offer a comfortable fit for a variety of ear shapes and sizes. Effective in blocking out unnecessary noises and minimizing volume without completely blocking out conversations and music. Comes with two sets in differing sizes and case.

Cons

Case is difficult to open and close.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 
HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best earplugs for concerts

Attending a concert is all about living in the moment. For a few short hours, you’re able to savor a performance that exists solely for you and the people around you, and these carnivals of noise are best enjoyed loud. That can certainly do a number on your ears, though. If you want to jam out to concerts for years to come, you need to protect yourself. That’s where earplugs for concerts come in.

Ear protection has progressed significantly since the invention of polyurethane foam, with myriad options available, ranging from basic silicone plugs to forward-thinking models with high-fidelity filtration and companion mobile apps. That said, musicians and concertgoers often go without them because of misconceptions about low audial clarity, gaudiness, or physical discomfort.

While cheap earplugs will do in a pinch for blaring shows, but you only have one set of ears, so you don’t need to settle for a drugstore impulse buy. Our shopping guide features the best of the best earplugs for concerts that are sure to preserve your hearing without hampering your musical experience. Read on — your ears will thank you later.

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Monitor the noise level in your surroundings. Anything beyond 80 to 85 decibels can be dangerous with prolonged exposure.
Expert tip
When thinking about how important reducing exposure is, keep in mind that an increase in one decibel is exponential. That means each decibel increases in loudness 10 times the previous decibel.
BestReviews Medical Expert

Key considerations

Materials

Earplugs are typically made from either polyurethane foam, wax, or silicone. The types we’ll be covering here are silicone-based, as foam earplugs block sound indiscriminately instead of filtering out certain frequencies. Wax earplugs, on the other hand, are most commonly used to keep water out of the ear canal while swimming or bathing.

Along with being hypoallergenic and reusable, silicone earplugs have the benefit of being moldable to more securely seal around the ear. This allows them to feature multiple filters that reduce harmful noise while preserving the full spectrum of sound, which is essential if you want to hear the natural tones of a musical performance.

Size

This is a bit of an obvious one, but the size of your earplug is essential to both how well it blocks sound and how well it preserves it. Ideally, you want to find a pair with a snug but comfortable fit; some also include interchangeable filters for different volume levels. Always make sure to rotate and adjust the plugs in your ears, too, because if the seal isn’t flush, they won’t be much help.

Noise Reduction Rating

The Noise Reduction Rating is perhaps the most important element to consider when purchasing earplugs for concerts. Noise Reduction Ratings assess how many decibels are filtered out by the plug and depending on how loud the venue is and how close you are to the speakers, the rating can make the difference between no ear trauma and permanent hearing damage. 

Noise Reduction Ratings vary, but most silicone concert earplugs offer somewhere between an 11-decibel reduction and a 27-decibel reduction. Foam and wax earplugs block more sound in general, but the quality is muffled as a consequence.

Features

Storage case

If you think phones, keys, or headphones are hard to keep track of, try keeping tabs on loose earplugs. They may not have the annoyance of a cord getting tangled up — not all of them, anyway — but when you can only find one earplug before a concert or band practice session, you might wish they did. Thankfully, many earplugs for concerts offer convenient storage pouches or sealable carrying cases that attach to your keychain.

Companion app

It’s important to know just how loud a concert is, because different decibel levels have different effects over different periods of time. You don’t technically need the accompanying earbuds to use these apps, but they can be extremely helpful when calculating how long you can stay in a particular area safely. An app can measure ambient sound in decibels and even calculate how many hours you can stay there unharmed, both with or without hearing protection.

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Caution
Earplugs for concerts are not suitable protection for shooting or other activities that produce powerful shock waves. For those ventures, we recommend a sturdy set of shooting earmuffs.
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Earplugs for concerts prices

Inexpensive

Due to their small size and relatively basic architecture, earplugs are normally inexpensive. You can purchase entry-level concert earplugs for less than $10 that will still give you high-fidelity filtration that doesn’t hamper normal conversation.

Mid-range

Moving into the $20 range, you’ll encounter earplugs with higher Noise Reduction Ratings, carrying pouches, and multiple sets per package.

Expensive

Finally, with high-end earplugs, you’ll see items offering even higher Noise Reduction Ratings, keychain cases, ergonomic discreet designs, and multiple sizing options.

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Expert tip
Make sure the earplug has a snug fit, but do not try to push it too deep into the ear as this can cause physical damage to the eardrum. 
BestReviews Medical Expert

Tips

  • Use a decibel meter app. As we mentioned above, some earplug manufacturers have created companion mobile apps to measure sound and calculate how long a person can stay near it without risking hearing damage. You don’t need a specific earplug app, though; there are plenty of free decibel meter applications available for all mobile devices. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposing yourself to a noise measuring 100 decibels will reach a person’s “daily noise dose” in just 15 minutes. Any longer than that could potentially cause hearing loss. 
  • Store them safely. Unless your earplugs come with a carrying cord, you’ll soon find out they’re extremely easy to misplace. That’s why we advocate buying a set with a carrying case or perhaps making one yourself out of an old prescription bottle, glasses case, or coin holder.
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Prevention is important. Ears are extremely sensitive and fragile, and cumulative damage is nearly impossible to reverse.

FAQ

Q. What is tinnitus?

A. Tinnitus is the term for a ringing noise in your ears that persists when no external sound is present. While it’s not a condition itself, it is a sign that you may be suffering from age-related hearing loss, a circulatory system disorder, or, most likely, you just got out of a really loud concert.

While hearing a ringing in your ears from time to time isn’t the end of the world, repeated occurrences of tinnitus could point to long-lasting hearing damage and are a clear sign that you should consider preventative measures.

Expert tip
If you choose reusable earplugs, wash them after every use.
BestReviews Medical Expert

Q. How loud is too loud?

A. While it may seem like a simple question, the answer is slightly more complicated than you might think. That’s because the decibel rating of a particular noise is only half the equation; exposure time is critical. There are apps available to help calculate your risk on the fly, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has outlined some basic guidelines as well.

According to them, a person’s daily noise dose is reached when they’ve been exposed to 85 decibels for eight hours or 100 decibels for just 15 minutes. For reference, 85 decibels is the equivalent to a garbage disposal being used or a tractor idling, while 100 decibels is about as loud as a jet flyover at 1,000 feet.

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