“Earplugs … for a concert? What, am I 85 years old?” you wonder as you contemplate whether you really need to pick up a pair of earplugs to survive this festival season.
Well, we have zero hate for all of our octogenarian concertgoers out there, but listen up: Earplugs are for concertgoers of any age! Because, while concerts and music festivals are super fun, they can also hurt your ears — seriously.
According to the CDC, any noise above 70 decibels (or dB) might damage your hearing after prolonged exposure, but outdoor music festivals, indoor shows and stadium concerts can reach levels of 100 to 125dB, with the latter potentially causing irreparable harm to your hearing in a matter of seconds. So, you’re going to want an earplug that will bring those noise levels down at least 15dB, but something with a sound reduction of 20dB or more would be ideal so you can stay entertained and comfortable at the same time.
Foam Earplugs Are Not Enough
Those squishy foam earplugs you might use to drown out sound while traveling or sleeping will not be your best bet during festival season. Sure, they’ll do the trick to protect your hearing — but they’ll also totally ruin your entire festival experience by muffling the music you’ve spent your hard-earned money to hear. They’re a cheap “solution” you can use in a pinch, but there are plenty of legitimate earplugs you can get for about the same price if budget is of the utmost concern (especially considering you should throw out foam earplugs after each individual use).
Concert Earplugs Are a Must for Music Festivals
Still not convinced? These are a few more reasons you need earplugs this festival season:
- A great pair of concert earplugs can help you avoid that annoying buzzing and ringing inside your head — and temporary loss of hearing — that you can often experience post-show, after hours of rocking out to your favorite songs blaring over the screams of thousands of other fans.
- Your favorite artists are up on stage wearing earplugs to protect their hearing, too, so don’t worry about looking silly. You can also find plenty of styles that are basically invisible while wearing them, without encroaching on your festival style.
- The best earplugs allow you tohear and enjoy the music — unmuffled — and keep your ears feeling comfortable, even with all-day use.
That said, we’ve rounded up our top picks for earplugs that protect your ears by lowering the decibel level while still preserving both sound quality and clarity (and we’ve got ‘em for every budget, too).
Best Concert Earplugs on a Budget
1. Fender Musician Series Earplugs
Why We Love It: These inexpensive earplugs offer a budget-friendly choice for concertgoers, from a brand beloved and highly trusted by musicians everywhere. The pair comes in a convenient Fender-branded carrying case, and they provide an impressive 27dB noise-reduction rating — which means you can be pretty close to all the action and still listen quite comfortably. They’re also easy to wash, so you can reuse them endlessly without worrying about any hygiene issues (even if your music festival of choice kicks up a lot of dust).
Things To Consider: They’re solid black, so they’ll be pretty noticeable in your ear.
The Cost: $9.99 at Adorama.com
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2. Lucid Audio Saf-T-Ear Noise-Reduction Earplugs
Why We Love It: If you’re worried that you’ll lose an earplug (hi, it’s me!) while rocking out in the crowd, opt for this pair attached by a sturdy string. They can reduce noise up to 20dB, and they’re relatively discreet thanks to their mostly transparent construction. Plus, the tips are soft and comfortable and come in a standard size that should be suitable for most ears.
Things To Consider: They don’t offer quite as much noise reduction as some other options, but they’re still very effective.
The Cost: $12.95 at BestBuy.com
Deal Alert: To beat the shipping cost, you can order these online and pick them up in-store. Or, if they’re not available at your local Best Buy, they are shipped there for free.
3. DownBeats Reusable High Fidelity Earplugs
Why We Love It: Made from comfortable, translucent silicon with a low-profile design, these budget-friendly earplugs will be nearly undetectable in your ear — both in terms of what you feel and what people around you can see. They can provide a respectable 18dB of noise reduction without sacrificing audio quality. Best of all, they come in a rugged aluminum case that you can easily clip on your keychain, belt, bag — wherever — so you always have them at your side.
Things To Consider: They may muffle the sound just a bit more than their competitors.
The Cost: $14.95 at Amazon.com
Best Mid Range Earplugs for Festivals
4. Alpine MusicSafe Pro Earplugs
Why We Love It: From a brand well trusted by musicians, this set of earplugs boasts three color-coded, interchangeable filters to deliver different levels of noise protection — low, medium and high — to suit your particular scenario. Plus, they come with a convenient carrying case that can easily hook onto a keychain; a strap to keep the two earplugs connected; and a spare earplug (just in case you lose one anyway).
Things To Consider: Their black color and connecting strap make these concert earplugs the least discreet option on this list.
The Cost: $29.99 at SamAsh.com
Deal Alert: Score 1% cash back on your purchase when you shop Sam Ash through RetailMeNot.
5. Loop Experience Pro Noise Reduction Earplugs
Why We Love It: These ultracool earplugs are easy to wear — just insert and give ’em a little twist to enjoy 18dB of noise-canceling comfort (or 23dB with the included Mute add-on). Not only does their loop design look pretty stylish when it’s in your ear, but it also makes it quick and easy to pull them out (while also reducing the chance the earplug will go flying out of your hands in the process). They come in a convenient keychain carrying case and are available in multiple colors. Plus, they include ear tips in four different silicone sizes and three foam sizes, so you can find your perfect fit.
Things To Consider: They’re not discreet (but actually look cool).
The Cost: $34.95 at Amazon.com
6. EarPeace Music Pro
Why We Love It: With this set of concert earplugs, you get your choice of filter for noise reduction. We’d suggest picking either the High (20dB) or Max (24dB) option for the most comfortable festival listening experience. Either way, they’re transparent so they won’t cramp your style, and they come with a sleek carrying case that can easily hook onto belt loops or bags for easy access.
Things To Consider: It includes two sets of earplugs — in small and standard sizes — but just one set of filters, which is what actually provides noise reduction.
The Cost: $39.95 at EarPeace.com
Deal Alert: If you order two or more from EarPeace, you’ll get free shipping.
Best Earplugs To Splurge On
7. Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs
Why We Love It: You can get this fan-favorite brand of earplugs a little cheaper in a transparent style, but if you’re looking to sport some extra festival-worthy flair, these golden earplugs are absolutely it. (You can also nab a rainbow-splashed Pride edition!) But aside from their cool factor, they also provide up to 21dB of noise reduction without loss of clarity. It also comes with two size-types of hypoallergenic silicone earplugs and a waterproof aluminum case (gold, of course) with an attached key ring.
Things To Consider: Folks with smaller ear canals should opt for the Smaller Ears model, which unfortunately does not come in cool colors.
The Cost: $46.88 at Amazon.com
8. Decibullz Custom Molded Professional High-Fidelity Earplugs
Why We Love It: These thermo-fit molded earpieces provide 17dB of passive noise reduction while maintaining incredible sound accuracy. You mold them yourself with some warm water and a few minutes of your time and, once set, you’ll have the perfect fit for your particular ears. This will provide both optimal noise reduction and, perhaps, the most comfortable experience of any earplug on our list.
Things To Consider: The noise reduction is good and will suit you well for outdoor music festivals, but it may not be as effective for a stadium concert.
The Cost: $79.99 at Decibullz.com
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9. Etymotic Research MP 9-15 Music Pro Electronic Earplugs
Why We Love It: These electronic earplugs offer selectable noise reduction of either 9dB or 15dB via a simple switch on the earplug itself. They have active attenuation, which means that they don’t start reducing sound until noise levels reach above 70dB. This allows you the freedom to leave them in even when you’re in low-noise settings, where they’ll actually boost sound about 6dB to help you hear conversations more clearly. These earplugs are really ideal for people who will be moving through settings with varying levels of noise and don’t want to deal with taking their earplugs out and putting them back in a million times.
Things To Consider: Noise reduction of 15dB is OK (but not the best) for super-loud concerts, and the batteries will need to be replaced after roughly 300 hours of use.
The Cost: $299.95 at Sweetwater.com
Deal Alert: These are currently on sale at Sweetwater for about $50 to $60 cheaper than other retailers.
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