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Best Earplugs for Sleeping in 2024

Block out the noise and get a better night's sleep with the best earplugs for sleeping.

Lindsay Boyers CNET Contributor
Lindsay Boyers is a certified nutritionist and published book author who writes articles and product reviews for CNET's health and wellness section. Her work also appears on mindbodygreen, Healthline, Verywell Health and The Spruce. When she's not actively searching for the best products at the best prices, she's most likely creating new recipes, reading in her hammock or trying to force her cats to love her.
Prakhar Khanna Update Writer / CNET
Prakhar writes and updates all kinds of articles on CNET. When not tinkering with gadgets, he can be found napping. Contact: parkydoesstuff(at)gmail(dot)com Twitter: @ParkyPrakhar
Jessica Rendall Wellness Reporter
Jessica is a writer on the Wellness team with a focus on health technology, eye care, nutrition and finding new approaches to chronic health problems. When she's not reporting on health facts, she makes things up in screenplays and short fiction.
Expertise Public health, new wellness technology and health hacks that don't cost money Credentials
  • Added coconut oil to cheap coffee before keto made it cool.
Lindsay Boyers
Prakhar Khanna
Jessica Rendall
8 min read
$4 at Walmart
Mack's Silicone Ear Plugs
Mack's Pillow Soft Silicone Putty Earplugs
Best budget earplugs for side sleepers
$16 at Amazon
Eargasm Squishies
Eargasm Squishies
Best earplugs for side sleepers
$15 at Amazon
Mack's Slim Fit Ear Plugs
Mack's Slim Fit Foam Earplugs
Best sleep earplugs for small ears
$29 at Amazon
Hi-Fi Earplugs
Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs
Best sleep earplugs for travel
$25 at Loop
Loop earplugs sitting on a ledge
Loop Quiet Earplugs
Easy to adjust in-ear
$37 at Happy Ears
A package of Happy Ears earplugs
Happy Ears Earplugs
Sustainable earplugs with comfortable fit

When you have sensitive ears, even the slightest sound can prevent you from getting a good night's sleep. Even if you don't have sensitive ears, you may struggle to fall asleep if you live in a noisy neighborhood or have a partner that's prone to snoring. Wearing earplugs can block out excessive noise and ultimately help you improve your sleep and overall health. With the best earplugs for sleeping, you'll have plenty of restful nights ahead.

There are a ton of options to choose from while shopping for the best earplugs. You'll want a pair that will fit snugly in your ear canals without irritation and help cut out ambient noise so you can fall asleep with ease. We have a variety of options, including the traditional foam earplugs, as well as models with different materials, like silicone, that filter noise.

At CNET, we have tons of experience testing sleep products. From the best mattresses to sleep trackers, we know what it takes to actually help you sleep better at night. Below you'll find our picks for the best earplugs for sleeping.

Read more: Best Mattress Deals: Save Hundreds on Top Mattresses Brands

Best earplugs for sleeping

If you're strictly a side sleeper, Mack's Pillow Soft Silicone Putty Earplugs are the best sleep earplugs for the money. They're made of soft, fully moldable silicone that conforms to your ear opening and forms an airtight seal that blocks out noise.

Aside from the fact that they were able to be shaped for a perfect fit, these earplugs were soft and comfortable and stayed completely flat on my ear opening, so they didn't hurt to wear. They also stayed in all night; a feat that many standard earplugs haven't been able to accomplish. 

Most importantly, these moldable earplugs did an excellent job at blocking snoring and any other ambient noise (like three large cats play-fighting in the middle of the night).

The six pairs also come neatly packaged in a plastic carrying case, to keep the silicone clean and free from debris in between uses; a small but appreciated touch.

Pros: 

  • Affordable 
  • Effectively seals the ear 

Cons:  

  • Earplugs cover the ear canal instead of fitting inside, and failing to use them as directed could lodge them in your ear canal 

Additional details: 

  • Price: Under $5
  • Reusable: Up to five uses/nights or until earplugs are no longer sticky 
  • Noise reduction rating: 22 decibels NRR
  • Comfortable for side sleeping: Yes  
  • Ease of use: Don't fit like "regular" earplugs so may take some getting used to 

The Eargasm Squishies are another moldable silicone option that is similar to the Mack's Pillow Soft Silicone Putty Earplugs. The biggest difference between the two, besides the color, is in the directions. Mack's silicone earplugs must be used whole; you can't break them or cut them apart. 

Eargasm says if the earplugs are too big, you can break off a piece to get that perfect fit. This is helpful if you have small ears and find that using the entire silicone earplug just feels too intrusive.

The comfort level was also similar, although the Eargasm Squishies had a slight advantage since I could break off a piece and make it a little smaller. The Eargasm Squishies also comes in a convenient carrying case with eight reusable pairs.

Pros: 

  • Comfortable for side-sleeping 
  • You can cut each earplug/seal for a better fit 

Cons: 

  • More expensive than Mack's product but a similar product

Additional details: 

  • Price: Under $20 
  • Reusable: Yes, but it's unclear how many uses you'll get per pair 
  • Noise reduction rating: 22 decibels NRR
  • Comfortable for side sleeping: Yes 
  • Ease of use: Easy to use 

The Mack's Slim Fit Foam Earplugs look like any regular old foam earplugs, but if you have small ears, you may feel the difference in quality immediately. They quickly formed an airtight seal and muffled sound instantly. Loud snoring went from a roaring thunderstorm to a minor distraction that was easy to tune out. These particular earplugs have a noise reduction rating of 31 dB. For reference, most earplugs on the market have a rating of 0 to 30 dB and the higher the number, the more effective they are. 

Mack's Slim Fit Foam Earplugs are specifically made for small ear canals. (Finding the right size of earplug makes a huge difference in effectiveness, so keep that in mind.) If you don't have small ears, you can still take advantage of Mack's advanced snore-blocking technology with its Snore Blockers or Original Soft Foam Earplugs. If you go with any of these options from our best sleep earplugs list, make sure you thoroughly read the directions before putting them in your ears. One of the most common reasons these types of earplugs get a bad review is because they're not inserted properly.

Pros: 

  • Great for small ear canals 
  • Effectively reduce sound 

Cons: 

  • May not work for larger ear canals 
  • Not designed for multiple uses 

Additional details: 

  • Price: Under $20 
  • Reusable: No 
  • Noise reduction rating: 31 decibels NRR
  • Comfort: 
  • Ease of use: Easy to use 

The Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs are different from some others on this list. They're actually designed for live music festivals, so rather than blocking out noise, the intent is to lower the decibels of the sound around you to make the noise more manageable. This makes them the ideal choice for traveling when the noise can get overwhelming but you don't want to be completely checked out from the world as you take a quick snooze. When tested at a store and coffee shop, they did an excellent job of blocking out voices, reducing pitches and dulling loud music.

You can use them for sleeping at home too, but only if you're strictly a back sleeper. The earplugs have a stem that sticks out straight from your ear canal, so not only are they uncomfortable when you're sleeping on your side, it's possible that they could get pushed too far into your ear and cause problems. 

The earplugs come with three different ear tip sizes so you can find the ideal fit for your ear canal and a small carrying case that makes them easier to travel with. 

Pros: 

  • Great for reducing noise when you want to keep the quality of the sound 
  • Reusable 

Cons: 

  • Not that comfortable for sleeping, unless you're a back sleeper 

Additional details: 

  • Price: Under $30 
  • Reusable: Yes 
  • Sound reduction: Up to 22 decibels (NRR is 15 decibels)
  • Comfortable for sleeping: No 
  • Ease of use: Easy to use 

Available in mint green and other fun colors, these earplugs from Loop are easy on the eyes. More importantly, they're reusable silicon earplugs that come fixed with a "loop," making for easy adjustments once they're in your ear. 

Loop Quiet Earplugs come with four sizes of tips you can choose from to fit your ear canal, which is more selection than a lot of brands. Fixing a new tip size back onto the earplug isn't the easiest process and requires some focus and finesse. Hopefully, you'd only have to switch tips once or twice to find your size, and then only when you clean them.   

These Loop earplugs seem to work well for some side sleepers, based on outside reviews, but from our review with side sleeping they would require some getting used to for longer or everyday use. Due to their easy movement and sleek look, these earplugs would come in handy when you want to turn down the volume and focus. 

Pros: 

  • Comes with four sizes of adjustable tips 
  • Has a loop you can grab and easily adjust in your ear 

Cons: 

  • Not very easy to switch tip sizes 

Additional details: 

  • Price: Under $30 
  • Reusable: Yes 
  • Sound reduction: Up to 27 decibels (14 decibel NRR) 
  • Comfortable for side sleeping: So-so
  • Ease of use: Easy to adjust once in your ear

Happy Ears is a Swedish company which is known for its sustainable packaging and recycled material used to make earplugs. Happy Ears makes earplugs from ocean plastics and recycled plastics. There is also an "original" earplug that isn't made from recycled plastics. Even if you don't buy the recycled earplugs, Happy Ears says the package it comes in is recyclable, biodegradable and compostable. 

We tested the Original Discovery Pack, which means a package of earplugs comes in small, medium and large sizes for you to choose from. The earplugs are small and straightforward, and they fit inside the canal well. The recycled material earplugs come in black. The earplugs made from ocean plastics are green and reduce two more decibels of sound.

 Pros: 

  • Fit well and barely noticeable 
  • The company sells eco-friendly earplugs

Cons: 

  • Not the cheapest on the list

Additional details: 

  • Price: Under $40 
  • Reusable: Yes 
  • Sound reduction: Up to 25 decibels (original earplug)
  • Ease of use: Very easy 
  • Comfortable for side-sleeping: Mostly 

How we chose the best earplugs for sleeping

When selecting the best earplugs for sleeping, we tested them the only way you can: by wearing them to bed. While testing, we noted the fit, comfort and quality of each selection for the best earplugs for sleeping. We also considered how many decibels the earplugs could reduce, or noise reduction ratings when they were available. Official noise reduction ratings are usually slightly different (and lower) than the average decibel or sound reduction listed because they take into account other factors, Vibes says on its website

Factors to consider when choosing earplugs for sleep 

There's a lot of variety in earplugs. What works for someone else might not be the best choice for you due to size, shape and material. Here are a few things to look out for. 

  • Safety: It's important to know whether you're a good candidate for sleeping in earplugs. People who have an ear infection, have a build-up of earwax or another concern over their ear should check with a doctor before wearing a pair of earplugs to sleep. To avoid an infection from wearing your earplugs, you should dispose of disposable earplugs as directed and follow the instructions for your reusable plugs on how to clean them.
  • Material: This will determine the quality and comfort of the earplugs. Typical materials used are silicone, wax, foam and cotton. Foam is typically the most common earplug material because it's the cheapest. Silicone on the other hand is what you'll find most reusable options made out of. Wax earplugs give you the benefit of being able to mold them to the shape of your ear. 
  • Noise or sound reduction This is an important one. The noise reduction rating tells you how many decibels the earplugs block. The rating ranges from 0 to 33 dB. So, earplugs with a higher NRR score block out the noise the best. 
  • Whether they're reusable: Earplugs are available in either single-use or reusable options. There are benefits and drawbacks to each. Single-use earplugs are typically cheaper and suitable for occasional use. If you're looking to use them regularly, it's best to invest in reusable options; they're better for the environment and way more durable. 
  • Price: We all know price is one of the most important parts of shopping for the best earplugs for sleep. A pack of disposable earplugs can seem like the obvious choice based on price, as most packs average around $10. Reusable earplugs may be better suited if you're looking for a long-term option. They cost a bit more, but you only need to buy them once. 

Best earplugs for sleeping FAQ

What kind of earplugs are best for sleeping?

The best kind of earplug for sleeping will depend on preference, although the good options will fit snugly in your ear canal without causing discomfort. During our testing, we found the best earplugs for sleeping to be: 

  • Mack’s Pillow Sock Silicone Putty Earplugs
  • Eargasm Squishies
  • Mack’s Slim Fit Foam Earplugs
  • Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs
  • Loops Quiet Earplugs 
  • Happy Ears Earplugs

What earplugs block the most sound?

No earplugs block completely block out sound. When testing, we found that Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Putty Earplugs did a great job blocking snoring and other ambient noise. 

Earplugs that you can cut or mold to your ear canal will have an edge on those that can’t when blocking sound. 

Is it comfortable to sleep with earplugs?

Your sleeping position may be a determining factor in how long it takes you to get used to sleeping in earplugs or whether you love them. Back sleepers typically experience the least amount of problems. Stomach and side sleepers may find that certain earplugs may backfire and make noise as they come in contact with the pillow. Selecting earplugs that don't stick out of your ears will help side sleepers avoid this. 

Is it safe to wear earplugs every night?

Usually, yes, as long as you use them as directed. There are side effects you should be aware of. Earplugs may cause earwax buildup and cause ear canal damage if used incorrectly. You also shouldn't use them if you have signs of an ear infection, like drainage or pain. 

If you have reusable earplugs, make sure to follow the directions and regularly clean them. Always throw away the disposable earplugs. Using earplugs that have bacteria on them can lead to an infection. 

Other products for drowning out sound

Loud or abrupt sounds can be harmful to your sleep quality, but not everyone will benefit from earplugs. Besides sleep earplugs, here are other products you can use to help drown out unwanted or disruptive noise and get a good night's sleep. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.