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25th March, 2019
What Are The Best Earplugs For Concerts? (2021 Guide)

If you have ever wondered whether you should be wearing ear plugs, the short answer is yes.

If you have ever wondered what the best earplugs for concerts are? That’s going to depend on your ears and your choice in concerts… 
Those who identify as a music lover & a dancefloor warrior don’t get the just get the title.

The title is earned. The stripes are earnt though frequently attending concerts, going clubbing, hunting down underground warehouse raves or block parties, then dominating dusty doofs (for many days… many days = repeat exposure), & day parties all summer, & then when winter comes around… Oh yeah, music!

Almost all instruments are capable of producing damaging sound levels, and then you add in the amplifier and advanced sound systems (lookin’ at you, Funktion-One) which can increase the volume even further and virtually all dancefloor warriors are at an increased risk of developing hearing disorders.

A Dancefloor warriors armor is in a pair of high-fidelity earplugs – invest!

Most live concerts clock in at 100 decibels or so towards the back of the space, often where the sound desk is. If you like to be closer to the action, it gets louder — where you’ll also find all of those fans screaming at the top of their lungs directly into your ear. So yeah, earplugs.

The humble earplug will save your hearing, after years of enjoying the music and for the years to come.

But which earplugs won’t ruin the vibe?

You’ve been scorned by & muffled underwater sounds from vibe killing foam plugs… resulting in never wearing earplugs (submitting to hearing damage… you are literally sending yourself deaf)

The foam plugs above are standard noise-reduction earplugs. While they will help you keep your hearing they will degrade the quality of the music, some to the point of killing the experience completely.

High fidelity earplugs, on the other hand, are capable of letting in the good (precise tonal quality) and keeping out the bad (the high volume).

Hi-fi plugs take into the account the resonant frequency of the ear so that attenuation of the sound is even across the frequency spectrum, preserving the original musical quality, only quieter.

 The music is clear & turned down, none of this.                                 

This makes hi-fi plugs the best earplugs for concerts… What you’re looking for is more precisely known as Musician Earplugs, they cover the audio lover spectrum with a low enough profile to be worn on stage. 


Musicians, DJ’s, lighting & sound, security, bar staff, all music lovers, and dancefloor warriors. You need musician earplugs. 

If you can’t handle the free foam plug feel?                  ☞ You need musician earplugs.

Wan to communicate with your mates at a gig?                        Musician earplugs.

Hoping to fall asleep after the  concert?                                                                   You need musician earplugs.

Is everything too loud in life?                                                                               Musician earplugs.

Stress-free environments, work, home or the gym (lookin’ at you, spin instructors!)?           ☞ ☞   Musician earplugs.

They allow you to hear every day sounds like voices while cutting out loud, intrusive sounds.

>>>>>   Turn the volume down on life   <<<<<

The best earplugs for concerts come in 3 reusable types.

Custom  $$$$

Consist of a filter and a custom earplug that is molded to the shape of the ear. The filter is typically a 9, 15, or 25 dB attenuation filter. The ER-15 filter is appropriate for most musicians. The ER-25 filter may be necessary for drummers or amplified bands. The ER-9 filter is appropriate for solo or acoustic performers. Custom earplugs offer just that, customization. These can be purchased from a hearing healthcare professional who will first take an earmold impression of your ear to customize the earplug.

Non-custom – reusable earplugs. $$

An inexpensive alternative for musicians, students, and concert attendees. They still take into account the resonance of the ear to preserve the musical quality, while reducing overall sound volume. Many people are unaware that there are non-custom musicians earplugs. When purchasing a pair of musician earplugs, you want to look for the term “high-fidelity”. These are a great inexpensive solution that can save the hearing of students, music instructors, and musicians who are consistently exposed to damaging music levels.

Adaptive Electronic musicians earplugs. $$$$$$

Adaptive earplugs that can adjust to changing sound levels. For example, a band instructor may need to hear the student’s questions during band practice, but also get protection from the music when the band begins playing. Adaptive earplugs will let low-level sounds (the student speaking) come through naturally, while automatically kicking in to provide sound attenuation of either 9 or 15 dB during the loud sound (when the band begins playing).

Single-use acoustic foam earplugs do exist!  $ 

Cheaper, foam style, will do the job, kinda.

Cheap and disposable, provide better sound than the “blocked-up-ear feeling” foam plug cousin that gets given out for free at events, & is most likely responsible for you being here!

Things to consider;

High-fidelity: Clear, quality sound! (in your ears)

*******Fidelity; the accuracy of sound reproduction. 

The number one reason people don’t like using earplugs is that blocked-up-ear feeling. Your voice is super loud, there are no highs and the bass is coming from underwater…

They can ruin the experience if you’re wearing the wrong ones.

going to concert armed with a pair of average foam plugs will make a potentially inspiring and amazing experience, pretty damn miserable.

Say goodbye to making out any vocals, they’ll be replaced with muddy thumps and muffled yells.

You want plugs that turn down the volume of the world around you, the same way you would turn down the volume in a car.

To get this we need a flat response from the plugs or one maintains the quality of the original sound.

All frequencies are treated equally & none of the quality is lost, but your ears are safe.

That’s the main point of these things, right? To live submerged in the music you love, and, not go deaf?

Dancefloors & beyond…… 

Do they  lower enough volume

Each pair are different and will lower volume around you in different amounts. How much you reduction you want will depend on your needs.

If you’re playing in a metal band or DJing at a club, you might want as much as possible.

Front left at a festival – max protection required. Back dancefloor dwellers could do with a little less.

If you’re playing acoustic instruments with some friends in a small room, then you’d want less.

The average range of sound reduction for earplugs is between 15-30dB’s.

Fit; are they snug, like, soooooooo snug?

**** Earplugs must fit properly and be worn correctly in order to do the job. Even the best earplugs for concerts won’t be good for you if they don’t fit. 

Everyone’s ears are different.

Some large, others very small. Some have a straight shot to their eardrum, and others have deep curves.

No one has a one-size-fits-all ear.

Make sure you find a pair of earplugs that are both comfortable and fully fills up your ear canal. You don’t want it to be too large or too thin.

A good sea is what you are looking for. Without it the sound will leak in around the plug, making it much less effective.

You may have to try a few pairs to find one that fits your ears best.

Making sure there is no sound leakage in your ear protection is crucial to make sure that the sounds pass through the plug and don’t go around the plug.

How comfy are they to wear?

The off-the-shelf options available now tend to mimic the shape of the ear canals with a tight fit using a flanged design and are made from silicone. The Soft silicone won’t shrink or change size & it is malleable to your ear, making them work almost as well as the pricey custom option! The affordability & quality means the best earplugs for concerts are available to all of us, it may take trying a  couple of different pairs to find your fit. The days of sacrificing your hearing are over tho!

Here are the best earplugs for concerts we could find.


  • $59, -19 Db, flat response, Soft silicone

Deliver natural sound hearing at its finest, with a flat frequency response for clear hearing. When you just need to turn the volume down a little bit, but you still need to be able to hear clearly and without distortion, EARasers Hi-Fi Musician’s Ear Plugs are one of the best hearing protection solutions available. With NRR 5 hearing protection, EARasers flat response earplugs are just enough to take the edge off of loud sounds. Absolutely ideal for singers, who typically need only a small amount of protection from sound. Also great for clubs, concerts, musicians, and music students and educators.

  • Flat response hearing protection provides no-distortion hearing
  • Practically disappears into your ears — nearly invisible!
  • SmartSeal™ design ensures a near-custom fit
  • Soft silicone material is comfortable and reusable
  • No “plugged up” or muffled feeling
  • Free round storage case
  • These guys are virtually invisible. The plugs themselves are made of soft, transparent, medical grade silicone, and unlike most other earplugs for musicians, they have no central stem that sticks out of your ear canals once the earplugs are inserted. EARasers practically disappear into your ears! For anyone who feels self-conscious about wearing earplugs, try these out.

Etymotic ER20 & Etymotic ER20XS Earplugs

  • Etymotic ER20XS -$39, -20Db, washable, Flat Response
  • Etymotic ER20 – $25, -20 Db, Flat Response

Etymotic ER20XS are the next gen Etymotic ER20’s, they quite common (they do a good job…) and are reusable, they aren’t the toughest plugs, but they also aren’t the most expensive.

Etymotic is a renowned audio company known for making high-quality earplugs. The ER20xs’s are no exception.

They have a close to a flat response, these, wearing these will feel like you’ve just turned the world’s volume knob, rather than putting in earplugs.

They block out 20dB’s of volume, a pretty good amount for a concert or a band rehearsal.

You can also choose between two sizes, regular and large. If you have smaller ear canals, your out of luck.

They have a low profile, so hats & DJ headphones can be worn with them.

ER20XS plugs are discreet and have a response of Eh 4 kHz. Above 4 kHz they have improved high-frequency clarity Etymotic ER20 without compromising protection.

ER20XS ear tips are interchangeable. ER20XS earplugs can also be used with foam ear tips.
  • New, discreet design
  • Interchangeable tips
    • Pair of Standard 3-Flange Eartips
    • Pair of Large 3-Flange Eartips
    • Pair of Foam Eartips
  • Performance matches Etymotic’s original high-fidelity earplugs developed for musicians
  • Unsurpassed clarity
  • 20-dB equal sound reduction across the spectrum of hearing
  • The richness of music is preserved; speech remains clear, just quieter
  • Reusable


  • $ 59 -31Db, custom mold, thermoplastic material, malleable but dries harder than silicone.

The DeciBullz have an impressive volume reduction of 31dB. That’ll make any Metal concert feel like an Americana jam at a gazebo in the park.

The trick is that they’re made to be customized to your ears.

By pouring boiling water on them, they become flexible for a few minutes. After cooling them off, stick them in your ears and mold them to your particular ear canal.

You’ll have a pair of earplugs that covers all the crevasses.

They’re pretty firm once they’ve cooled down, so they’re not the most comfortable earplugs in the world.

They also don’t give the best sound quality. Though it’s for sure better than your average foam earplug, it’s still a little uneven.

But if you’re going for sheer noise reduction power, the DeciBullz are the best pair of earplugs around.

Other DIY custom mold plugs need a putty to work, you make it by hand form 2 components; then quickly mold the shape of your ears before the putty sets; you use those ear molds “as-is” & voila DIY plugs. Its a pain, and stressful. Decibullz uses new tech, so no putty or race against the clock, and you can try again if needed.

Foam plugs! use these if you can…

Mack’s Acoustic Foam Ear Plug

  • $12.95 7 pack – cheapcheap, urethane foam, single-use, very soft

Mack’s Acoustic Foam plugs are helpful when you want to hear the music & people speaking to you, they aren’t as good as the silicone plugs but if you want an inexpensive soft plug.

Mack’s Acoustic Foam earplugs shape is what makes them waaaaaaaaaaay better.  Simple innovation makes Mack’s some of the only foam earplugs you can use at a concert or club,
and, not suffer that blocked-up-ear feeling.


  • Ideal for any music-lover who prefers ultra soft foam earplugs
  • Innovative sculpted design reduces sound blocking
  • Tapered plug and flared end means they fit virtually everyone
  • Neutral colour – perfect for subtle wear at the club
  • NRR 20 protection from noise

Custom Earplugs

  • $200 upwards, custom mold silicone, reusable, 4 filter levels for different exposure levels.

Tight fit?! These are the answer…

If you’re really concerned about hearing, comfort, and quality then you then look into custom earplugs, made for you.

These are earplugs that are made from molds of your ear canal. That means they create a perfect seal, letting no sound leak in.

It also means that the sound is extremely high-definition and the tone of the music won’t change. 

They come with customisable filters, meaning you can reduce the volume however much you want. 

They’re entirely fit to your needs, the perfect plugs!

A bit of a hassle to get. A visit to your local ear/eyes/nose guy to get a mold of your ear canal.

The appointment plus the plugs usually cost between $250-350. Not cheap but worth it…  so worth it.

Google “Custom Mold Musicians Earplugs + Audiology” and the options in your area will pop up.

One last plug…

Earjobs Musicmate Hi-Fi Plugs

$25, -23Db, flat response, Soft silicone (no itch!), reusable, Australian Made

Earjobs; projecting the ears of Aussie music lovers. At a good price point, and comfortable to be worn for hours.

Earjob’s specially developed membrane filters reduce volume without the sacrifice of quality or depth. No more headaches and ringing ears; only healthy ears and good times without the harmful noises for Aussie music lovers, festival goers and musicians.

  • Reduces volume evenly so you can still hear music clearly just at a reduced level
  • Blocks out harmful noises while maintaining full spectrum of sound; doesn’t muffle sound like foam earplugs
  • Super soft and comfortable design; no itching or pressure pain
  • Suitable for wear over long periods
  • Virtually invisible while worn
  • Comes with an aluminum carry case with keychain
  • Reusable and washable
  • One size fits most

Perfect for music festivals, concerts, clubs, DJs, band practice and other noisy environments. Also great for, work, travel, and sleep.


There are earplugs for any budget, I’d recommend starting cheaper and working your way to custom molds, when your ears are happy, you’ll know what the best earplugs for concerts are!





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