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12 Sleep-Expert-Approved Earplugs That You Can Wear All Night Long

If you love a snorer, you know the struggle.

By Sara Coughlin

12 Best Earplugs for Sleeping in 2021 Mack's Bose Howard Leight
ELENA SHASHKINA

Ideally, we wouldn’t need earplugs to fall asleep, but that doesn’t account for neighbors, construction, and traffic. In reality, many of us must search for the best earplugs for sleeping instead, in the hopes of quieter nights to come. Luckily, there’s a wide array of earplugs out there, from ones made of soft foam to noise-canceling earbuds to custom molded earplugs you can get from an audiologist. We talked to sleep experts to figure out how to choose the right ones for you.

“The type of earplug [you use] comes down to personal preference,” Kimberly Nelson, M.D., otolaryngologist at Rocky Mountain ENT Associates, tells SELF. She adds that your sleeping position and ear size can influence your ultimate choice, but it could still require a bit of trial and error to find a pair that you really like (and that actually help you get the rest you deserve). And don’t be afraid to embrace that process—the inexpensive disposable earplugs from your local drugstore could be exactly what you’re looking for: “Often patients report the simple foam ear plugs are the most comfortable and cheapest,” Dr. Nelson explains.

So it’s really up to you where your earplug test drive begins, but there are a few things to keep in mind. For one thing, be careful with plugs made of putty or silicone, as these can degrade or move farther into the ear canal than is safe. “I have removed a great deal of putty earplugs that were inserted too far into the ear canal or fell apart in the canal,” Dr. Nelson says, adding that it’s fine to use these kinds of earplugs as long as you replace them frequently and insert them carefully. 

Srikant Kondapaneni, M.D., chief of pulmonary medicine at Englewood Health, tells SELF that he recommends cleaning or changing out your sleeping earplugs every few days in order to avoid getting an infection (or a pimple). Dr. Kondapaneni also points to wax earplugs as an especially good option for sleeping, since they’re effective at noise-blocking yet still comfy. 

Whether you catch the most z’s with high-end smart earbuds or low-tech foam plugs, rest assured that there is a pair of earplugs that will work for your napping needs and turn the ruckus that keeps you up at night into a murmur. Below, with Dr. Nelson’s and Dr. Kondapaneni’s general guidance in mind, we selected some of the most highly rated, enthusiastically reviewed, and simply the best earplugs for sleeping that are suitable from a material, comfort, and, most important, sound-blocking standpoint. And when you’re done browsing here, don’t forget to complete your bedtime ensemble with a light-blocking sleep mask

All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

    Amazon1Mack’s Snoozers Silicone Putty EarplugsIt’s little wonder why Mack’s earplugs are a go-to brand for SELF editors and light sleepers alike (or anyone who needs to fall asleep ASAP): This type of moldable putty plug is the variety that you need to replace often and insert extra carefully, but its hundreds of five-star Amazon reviews, with customers praising their effectiveness, reliability, and ease of use, indicate that, when you use them safely, you’re in for a great night’s sleep.$9 AT AMAZON
    Target2Up & Up Sleeping Foam EarplugsThese lavender earplugs are designed specifically for bedtime use, so you can trust they’ll be even softer and more malleable than your average foam earplug. $4 AT TARGETADVERTISEMENT
    Amazon3Ohropax Wax EarplugsMade of wax with a soft cotton wool covering, these comfortable earplugs effectively seal off your ear opening from loud noises. Plus, they come in their own storage case, making them a great choice for travel.$7 AT AMAZON

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    Amazon4Loop Quiet Noise Reduction EarplugsIf you want to make sure your earplugs fit just right, consider these popular silicone plugs, which are super flexible and come with ear tips in four different sizes. While you can reuse the main body of the plug, you should regularly clean or buy replacements for the ear tips.$20 AT AMAZON
    Happy Ears5Happy Ears Discovery PackSwedish brand Happy Ears makes earplugs that are washable, reusable, and short-stemmed (so even side sleepers should find them easy to wear). Its Discovery Pack features every size of Happy Ears available and comes with a money-back guarantee, making it the perfect purchase for new users. $41 $30 AT HAPPY EARS
    Target6Bose Sleepbuds II Wireless Noise Masking EarbudsFor those who want to block out unpleasant background noise and replace it with something more soothing, try these Bose earbuds. They certainly cost more than a bag of foam earplugs, but in exchange for the higher price, you’ll get access to a library of relaxing sleep sounds through the Bose Sleep app.$250 AT TARGET
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    Amazon7Hearos Xtreme Protection Series Ear PlugsIf it sounds like your neighbors are simultaneously rearranging furniture, staging a metal show, and in the middle of an argument every night, you need a pair of no-nonsense earplugs, such as these foam plugs from Hearos, which are designed to block as much noise as possible (up to 32 decibels) by expanding to form a seal once inserted. $16 AT AMAZON

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    Amazon8PQ Wax Ear Plugs for SleepAnother wax option, these earplugs are about as customizable as you can get. Just break apart the individual pillows until they’re the size that you want them to be, then put them in and hit the hay.$18 AT AMAZON
    Walmart9Flents Protechs Earplugs for SleepingWith a contoured, moldable shape that can compress for easy insertion, these supersoft foam earplugs are as comfy as they come. The dreamy blue print is just a cute bonus. $15 AT WALMART
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    Amazon10Gumdrop EarplugsNoise-dampening with the ability to block up to 22 decibels, Gumdrop’s moldable silicone earplugs are great for noise that’s more annoying than overwhelmingly loud—think a snoring partner, rather than a jackhammer. One reviewer noted they were able to sleep through their partner snoring but could still get up at the sound of their alarm.$20 AT AMAZON
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    Amazon11Howard Leight Max Lite Low Pressure Disposable Foam EarplugsHearing protection brand Howard Leight makes earplugs for just about everyone, but these in particular are made to fit smaller ears. People with narrower ear canals can have a hard time finding plugs that fit them, especially for longer periods of time (like when they’re trying to sleep), but these low-density earplugs expand gently and exert less pressure than other varieties when in use, which make them far more comfortable for the smaller-eared set. $30 $20 AT AMAZON

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    Amazon12Amazfit Zenbuds Smart Sleep EarbudsSleek, smart, and streamlined, Amazfit’s Zenbuds are a relatively affordable option when it comes to noise-masking earbuds. Not only do they block out unwanted racket, but they offer a wide range of relaxing sounds like nature-scapes and white noise too. You can also use them to track your sleep quality through Amazfit’s accompanying app.$150 $120 AT AMAZON

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Sara Coughlin is a writer living in Brooklyn, NY, interested in skin care, health, and wellness.

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