5 Best Earplugs For Musicians: Protection Guide (2023)

Have you ever played so loud that your ears scream at you for a few days afterward? Yea, me too. And chances are you are here for that very reason. That high-pitched hum that seems to go on for a while, you just know it’s a bad thing. And you’re right, it is!

But there are ways to protect your hearing, which you should do from now on and really take it seriously! You need earplugs for musicians!

There are many players who now wish they would have worn some. But you still have a chance! How do you protect your hearing so that in time you won’t regret it, like many other musicians who can’t turn back the clock? You must have some ear safety equipment available!

Features Of Good Earplugs

First, let’s explore how good earplugs can benefit a musician. These are features that are important to look for.

Sound Quality

One of the main reasons musicians don’t use hearing protection is that the sound quality is poor!

Most players assume they have to put foam plugs into their ears and as a result lose all clarity in the music! It’s basically a lack of knowing what options are out there for musicians. What you want to look for are high-fidelity earplugs.

These types reduce the volume without degrading the sound quality. They are the best by far. It’s like turning down your volume knob to a level that’s safe for your ears. This way you get to enjoy the music like you want to without hurting your hearing.

Noise Reduction Rating

Noise reduction rating comes before comfort. The NRR rating informs you how much loudness the earplugs block in decibels. You may want to find the average with an app and then select the NRR that will offer you the best protection.

Anything over 30 dB is too much, and will greatly affect your quality of sound. I would recommend making that the limit. Normally anything from 15 to 25 dB will do just fine. They will still offer a great experience, with 20 being the perfect number in most cases.

Base it on how much noise you’re being exposed to regularly and select the one that will best fit your situation.


Every person has different ears. While most plugs will work for a majority of people, some people will not have the same result. Because everyone has a different canal size, you may have to do some extra research on what will work for you.

But you will want to make sure that whatever you choose is a comfortable fit. You are going to be using them for a good amount of time. If they are too big and create discomfort, then you are more than likely going to take them out. In this case, you will be subjected to loud noise.

If they are too small, they may not seal properly and allow noise to get past.  Your earplugs need to be a perfect fit and comfortable as well!

Vibes High Fidelity Earplugs

Vibes High Fidelity Earplugs.

Vibes Hi-fi Earplugs come with 3 different tips. This offers the best comfort depending on your canal size. The tips are quite comfortable and create a good seal for good hearing protection. The Vibes High Fidelity Earplugs are our top choice for musicians.

They have been designed to lower sound levels without affecting quality. They definitely do the trick and still offer great clarity.


EvaluationRating (1-5)
Sound Quality4.4

Sound Quality

Vibes High Fidelity Earplugs are designed to reduce sound levels. They use a patented sound filter technology to reduce noise levels. But they don’t compromise the clarity and detail of sound. So the quality of the sound is not completely muffled or distorted.

The earplugs are designed to attenuate sound evenly across all frequencies. This is perfect for musicians, as dulling any part of the sound ruins the impact. When we can no longer hear the brilliance of our music, the plugs come out.

My guitar tone loses definition if I can’t hear the treble in it. I remove the earplugs as a result, which causes the damage to start. But, those Vibes earplugs didn’t do that. Although they reduced the sound’s loudness, everything remained intact.

They have a Noise Reduction Rating of 22 dB, according to Vibes. This is appropriate for the majority of loud settings, including jam sessions and concerts. The things that matter most to musicians.

My experience with them sound wise was great. I jammed for a whole night with my band as a test, and they performed well. I had a good sound quality and at the end of practice my ears were not ringing. And I play my amp quite loud. There was a slight muffling as no earplug will be perfect, but it was acceptable.


The earplugs come in three sizes to ensure a comfortable and secure fit for different ear canals. For me, I have a pretty standard ear size, and so the medium pair worked well. They were easy to put in and didn’t produce any discomfort.

I had them in for over 2 hours while we practiced. At times, I would accidentally hit them with my hand, but even then they didn’t hurt. Towards the end of the night, I was done with earplugs, as most musicians are. But the comfort level was good.

And clearly they fit well because I did notice they were working. Plus, I didn’t have any ringing in my ears at the end. And we practice quite loudly.


Another important consideration is cleanliness. Can they be easily washed? I found that these plugs were very easy to clean. They are just a round bulb, so cleaning was no problem at all. You could basically just wipe them and you’re good. There were no ribs to try and clean.

Repeated cleaning could result in tearing or wear, but not with these. They are quite tough! They are a great solution across the board. Check out this video to get some great examples and opinions from other musicians!


  • Retains decent clarity.
  • Fits most ears.
  • Comfortable.
  • Good noise protection.
  • Vibes donates to Hear the World Foundation.


  • Doesn’t fit small ears well.

Cost and Value

These earplugs retail for $29.00 and are a great value for the money. They are comfortable and can be worn for many hours. They are easy to maintain and protect your hearing very well. You can’t ask for much more.

Vibes at Sweetwater.

Eargasm High Fidelity Plugs

Eargasm High Fidelity Plugs.

Eargasm Hi-Fi Earplugs come in 2 different shells. They will offer you the best comfort depending on your canal size. The tips are comfortable as they are designed for long-term use.

These earplugs use a patented design to offer the best sound quality. All while maintaining the full spectrum and still protecting your hearing. The Eargasm plugs are a fantastic choice.


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Sound Quality4.1

Sound Quality

Attenuation filter technology is also used in the Eargasm High Fidelity Plugs. They are made to evenly lower the sound level. As a result, none of the frequencies will lose their definition. In other words, the loud music you’re listening to won’t lose its clarity.

These plugs have a sound Reduction Rating of 16 decibels. This means they are capable of reducing sound by up to 16 dB. So I put them to the test! And no better way than a jam practice!

I play my amp pretty loud. We are a 5-piece metal band and so it gets well over 100dB. Without ear protection, my ears ring afterward. These Eargasm plugs were pretty good. A bit of muffling, but nothing crazy. I was still able to hear the definition in my high frequencies and could enjoy the sound.

After the practice, I didn’t have any ringing in my ears. So mission accomplished! They did what they were supposed to and protected my ears while keeping clarity. The video below is a great way to hear some samples. Check it out!


The Eargasm Plugs are made with hypoallergenic soft silicone and come in two different sizes. This is to ensure a comfortable fit for any ear. They have 3 ribs that are tapered and fit the canal quite well. Putting them in is quite easy. They simply slip into your ear. You then give them a slight push, and you’re done.

After a night of playing, I found them to be quite comfortable. My ears can be sensitive to earplugs. So after a couple of hours, they begin to get sore. These Eargasm plugs were good though. I did have a little bit of discomfort after 2 hours, but nothing major.

Taking them out was easy too, just pull o the little tabs and they come out. Otherwise, they are in there pretty good!


They are pretty easy to clean overall. Because they are made of silicone, nothing really sticks to them. But because there are some ribs, cleaning can be a little bit of effort. There is a brush that you can buy to clean them that really gets into the grooves. It’s not needed, but can help.


  • Good Noise Reduction.
  • Easy to wear for long periods.
  • Sound is still clear.


  • Not great for smaller ears.
  • Cleaning is a bit of work.

Etymotic ER20XS High Fidelity

Etymotic Research ER20XS Ear Plugs.

Etymotic plugs offer great clarity at 20dB of sound dampening protection. They have an identical response through 4kHz, making them great for musicians.

These are another perfect choice as the clarity is great, and they are a very comfortable fit. They also fit in smaller ear canals. You will almost forget you are wearing hearing protection.


EvaluationRating (1-5)
Sound Quality3.9

Sound Quality

As a musician, protecting my hearing is a top priority! But I also want to hear the music as clearly as possible while I’m playing. That’s why I decided to also try out the Etymotic ER20XS earplugs for our latest jam practice. I have to say, I’m really impressed with how they performed.

I was really pleased with how the earplugs reduced the volume of the sound without muffling it. The details of the music and the nuances of the other instruments were there. This is obviously crucial when you’re trying to play together as a group!

The claim is that they have the same response of all frequencies up to 4 kHz. And I can confirm, they seem to do just that. I could hear the mix quite well as we jammed. Thumbs up from me!


I loved how low-profile and comfortable they were. I didn’t have to worry about them falling out or feeling bulky in my ears. When you’re playing an instrument and moving around a lot, this is crucial.
Also, they had a tiny tab that made it simple for me to remove them when I needed to.

The noise filter is situated at the plug’s tip. Three ribs are also used, and they can be shaped to fit your ear. I can attest that this approach is comfortable. They don’t expand significantly, which can cause discomfort in the ear canal. I had no problems wearing them throughout our two-hour session.


The ER20XS plugs are decently washable. Wax will build up in the ribs over time and will need to be cleaned out. It wasn’t overly difficult as they are pretty flexible. But the rib design like these will require a few extra minutes to clean properly.

Overall, my opinion is good on the ease of washing these earplugs! They are reusable and will last a long time. This video from a fellow musician will give you the scoop on these earplugs!


  • Cuts down harmful noise.
  • Comes with case.
  • Lightweight.


  • Can be a bit tough to clean.

Cost and Value

The Etymotic ER-20XS earplugs are also a good value. Many players use them and like the level of ear safety they offer. They are $20.00 for the pair, making them very affordable and an investment well worth the price.

Etymotic at Sweetwater.

Westone WM16 Earplugs

Westone WM16 Earplugs.

Westone plugs come with a 16 dB noise filter that still allows great sound quality. They are comfortable and trusted by many musicians.

Another great choice of earplugs for musicians, as the clarity is perfect. Plus, they are a very comfortable fit. This ensures that you hear a natural frequency balance!


EvaluationRating (1-5)
Sound Quality4

Sound Quality

I chose to give the Westone’s a try after looking for the best earplugs for our loud basement practices. This one was chosen based on the advice of another musician. I was pleasantly surprised by how well they performed!

Even with our loud drummer, the attenuation was just enough to reduce the volume. And without losing the higher frequencies. I was able to still hear all the details of the music.

The audio was of the finest quality! The Westone earplugs are unquestionably among the best I’ve used. The Etymotic ER20xs, however, came in a close second in my opinion. But not quite as good as the Vibes earplugs.


Companies like to use this design. It’s what I call ribbed design. I could be wrong. But that’s what I call it. I find that some can be stiff and uncomfortable. But these are soft earplugs and mold to the canal quite well. I found them to be very comfortable for more than 2 hours.

Not only do you get good sound quality, but comfort as well. Not all earplugs are created equal. But these are quite nice.


The only issue I had with them was washing. They wash easy, don’t get me wrong. But I am comparing the ease of washing with the Etymotic and Vibes plugs here. And I found these took me extra time to get the ear wax out when compared to the others. But this is a minor thing when compared to how comfortable and great sounding they are. Take it with a grain of salt!


  • Good sound reduction.
  • Clarity is good for musicians.
  • Comfortable


  • Some people have complained that they are too small.

Eardial Hi-fi Plugs

Eardial Hi-Fi Plugs.

Eardial plugs have a Hi-Fi noise filter with a 20 dB flat attenuation for a great experience. There is little to no distortion while they protect your hearing!

They are a great choice for musicians as the sound clarity is good, and they are super comfortable! Not only that, they come with an app that will measure noise levels with your smartphone and a warranty! Let’s check them out!


EvaluationRating (1-5)
Sound Quality4

Sound Quality

The Eardial Hi-fi Plugs are an excellent option too. They didn’t compromise the sound quality at all. They boast a 20 dB decrease, and I can confirm they did protect my hearing. I measured over 105 dB of noise when jamming. My drummer hits hard and those cymbals ring!

The attenuation seems well-calibrated across the entire frequency spectrum. They retained clarity and richness, even when the volume was reduced. So throw away those foam earplugs! With this many options, you need to upgrade your hearing protection!


The Eardial plugs have a rather large rib towards the back. It fits tin the canal well, but it does seem to want to press out too much. I found this to be a bit uncomfortable after a couple of hours wearing them. I can see these being great for people who have large ears. They are comfortable, but not like the Vibes or Eargasm plugs.


I did find them to be very easy to clean, however. They seem to be made of silicone that is quite flexible. As such, I was able to clean them pretty quickly. They look like they might have hard to reach areas. But because of the flexibility, they bend easily, allowing you to clean them well. If you’re looking for more details, check out this video!


  • Increase to sound quality.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Storage container included.


  • Won’t fit all ear sizes.


Are earplugs good for musicians?

Earplugs are not only good, they are essential for some musicians. If you play in a band or any other group where the sound is loud, you should consider earplugs. This will protect your hearing and provide a better quality of life down the road.

What is the disadvantage of foam plugs?

The problem with foam earplugs is that they muffle the sound. As a musician, you need a high quality sound. At least in order to properly perform music. And because foam earplugs don’t offer a quality sound, most musicians go without any at all. And so proper earplugs for musicians is important.

Do musicians wear earplugs on stage?

Yes, many musicians wear earplugs on stage. This is the best time to wear them as sound is at its loudest. And so to provide an exceptional experience to your fans, you need the right earplugs.

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Don East

My name is Don East, I'm the editor for Killer Rig. I've been playing guitar for over 20 years and have designed and manufactured products like guitar amps, effects pedals, and more. Over the years I have played in many bands and have a deep love for quality gear. I am an electrical engineer and have a passion for music gear, and now want to share what I know with the community!