Audio Technology

Top 4 Earplugs For Musicians

There’s a key tool that’s often overlooked in the world of music.

Sure Beethoven got by without it, but for the average musician in 2022, the quality of our hearing can directly affect the quality of our music.

In fact, as a musician (whether we are a guitarist, drummer, bassist, or vocalist) our reliance on our ears is profound. From keeping our tune in check, to directing our pitch and helping us hear inspiration in the world around us, ears help us do the thing we love and make our lives as musicians entirely possible. 

It’s normal for our hearing to change as life progresses, but there are many earplugs available in the current market that’ll ensure the health and wellbeing of your ears in the long-term. Being exposed to loud noises (sound is measured in decibels (dB)–the louder the sound, the higher the decibel) can impair hearing, which can happen through many ways.

The eardrum can rupture, the bones in the middle ear can undergo damage or a musician can develop tinnitus, which is a constant ringing or buzzing in the ears or head. Earplug manufacturers will often have the NRR (noise reduction rating) listed on their earplugs. The higher the rating, the more noise the earplugs will cancel. To determine which NNR rating is best for you, use a mobile app to find the dB level of the music you play. Then choose earplugs with an NRR rating that will decrease the sound to the safe level, which is typically 70 dB or lower. You can learn more about how to calculate NRR.

When it comes to purchasing earplugs, there are other primary features to consider. When purchasing the next pair of earplugs, ask yourself: What is the NRR? How will they fit my ears? Are they high fidelity? Good earplugs will usually be labeled ‘high fidelity’, which means they will preserve a good sound quality with minimal noise and distortion.

Below are the top four earplugs for musicians in 2022 that will help you decide on your next pair:

Decibullz High Fidelity Earplugs

The Decibullz High Fidelity earplugs reduce all frequencies by approximately the same level, which is perfect for musicians and their requirement of extreme sound accuracy. 

What’s more, with the plethora of earplugs that come in various shapes and sizes, it can be difficult to find a pair that comfortably fits your ears. Decibullz high fidelity earplugs offer moldable (and remoldable) earplugs with great staying power. Just pop them in warm water and fit them into the exact shape of your ear for easy noise isolation and hearing protection. The earplugs have two parts: a professional filter and a thermoplastic custom earpiece. 

NRR: 31dB

Vic Firth High Fidelity Earplugs

Vic Firth is a well known drum and drum accessories brand so although it may be a given that the Vic Firth High Fidelity earplugs are best used by drummers, then can actually be used by any onstage musician. Made with silicone, the design replicates the natural response of the ear canal so that sound is reproduced exactly as the ear would hear it, only quieter (a 20dB sound reduction across all frequencies), while preserving clarity and richness. 

These earplugs feature a universal fit and come with a carrying case and neck cord so you can take your earplugs out without fear of losing them. 

NRR: 12dB

EarDial HiFi Earplugs

The EarDial HiFi Earplugs are incredibly discreet and perform well by providing sound clarity to all types of musicians. The size may benefit some, but can pose a problem for others so it’s important to bear in mind these earplugs are only 0.57 x 0.57 x 0.95 inches and 0.8 ounces. 

Made with soft hypoallergenic clear silicone, the earplugs are made up of a precise noise filter and a net at the tip to provide earwax protection for maximum clarity. One of the best features of the EarDial HiFi earplugs is the accompanying EarDial app available on iOS and Android. The app will allow you to measure the sound level of your surroundings and also provide feedback on how long you can safely stay in it. The earplugs come with an aluminum case.

NRR: 11dB

Alpine MusicSafe Pro Earplugs

The Alpine MusicSafe Pro Earplugs offer the best of both worlds when it comes to sound quality and fit. The earplugs come with three noise reduction filter sets ranging from 22 dB, 19 dB and 16 dB and have the benefit of acoustic filters to filter out only damaging sounds while making talking with your fellow bandmates or listening to your music as clear as day. 

The earplugs are hypoallergenic and silicone-free and made with the patented AlpineThermoShape™, which gets softer with the accumulation of body heat, making them conform to the shape of your ears. The package includes a cleaning spray, carrying cord, case and spare earplug.

NRR: 11 – 19dB depending on the filter used

The best earplugs for you

Take into account size and comfort level of the earplugs, as well as the sound you produce as a musician. The earplugs should easily bring the sound to a comfortable decibel range, while also maintaining quality and clarity. Besides your ears, earplugs play a crucial role in a musician’s life. They allow us to continue doing what we love in a healthy and protected manner. 

Hear about some proactive steps the Ontario Institute of Audio Recording Technology is taking to protect the ears of their students and future audio engineers.

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