Best earplugs for musicians 2024: guitarist-friendly plugs to suit every budget

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1. Product guide
2. Buying advice
3. How we choose products

As musicians, we love anything that will help us sound our absolute best. From new guitars to random (but absolutely necessary) pedals, we continuously explore different avenues in pursuit of tonal excellence. However, there’s a critical aspect we overlook – the very tools that allow us to savour our music, our ears. So, with that in mind, we’ve rounded up some of the best earplugs for musicians to help you protect your most valuable assets.

Earplugs may not be the most exciting or cool things a musician or guitarist can invest in, but they’re undeniably one of the most vital. Consider it an insurance policy for your auditory well-being. Your ears are worth protecting, after all. So, whether you’re looking for a pair of plugs to keep the ringing at bay during a band rehearsal in a tiny room, or when you’re playing or attending a gig; or maybe you want a set to help you sleep more soundly or to help tame the noise of your motorbike, you should find something in this guide to suit.

If you'd rather get straight to our top picks, you'll find those in the next section. For more guidance on the right musician's earplugs for you, head to the buying advice section at the bottom of the page.

Chris Corfield author image
Chris Corfied

Chris Corfield is a journalist with over 12 years of experience writing for some of the music world's biggest brands including Guitar World, Orange Amplification, MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Dawsons Music. Chris loves getting nerdy about everything from guitar gear and synths, to microphones and music production hardware.

Best earplugs for musicians: Product guide

Best earplugs for musicians: Buying advice

Everything Everything guitarist live on stage bathed in orange light

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How to choose best musicians earplugs for you

If you find yourself considering earplugs, it's likely you've reached a stage in your music journey where you deeply value your hearing. You should do it anyway, but being good at something that requires good hearing will certainly help sharpen the focus. Whether you're a professional musician whose livelihood relies on your ears or a passionate hobbyist who turns to music as an escape from the routine of everyday life, the importance of being able to hear clearly cannot be overstated. Without the ability to hear accurately, the tasks at hand – playing, recording, or simply listening to music – become significantly more challenging. Fortunately, there are simple, inexpensive steps you can take to safeguard your hearing and ensure a long-lasting enjoyment of your musical pursuits.

Traditionally associated with professions involving high noise levels, such as construction or engineering, the practice of using ear protection has been around for a while. However, it's only relatively recently that musicians have begun to take this seriously. Musicians face a unique challenge in that they require ear protection that doesn't just block out all sound but allows them to hear with a certain degree of clarity and precision.

Thankfully, the technology behind musician-friendly earplugs has evolved far beyond the basic fluorescent foam plugs you might be familiar with. Modern earplugs designed for musicians offer significant noise reduction while still permitting essential frequencies to pass through at reduced levels. This way, musicians can still discern the high and low notes of their fellow bandmates and never miss a beat from the drummer. These earplugs achieve this by employing filters that block out overall pressure while permitting specific frequencies to pass through. These filters can be either active, using internal processing powered by batteries to manage the process, or passive, utilizing specific shapes within the earplug to filter sound.

In the higher-end market, serious musicians often opt for custom-fit earplugs. These are crafted by creating a mold of the user's ear canal and then producing earplugs tailored precisely to that unique shape. Understandably, this advanced technology comes at a premium price, so it may not be suitable for everyone. However, there are plenty of excellent off-the-shelf alternatives available to meet your needs.

How we choose the best earplugs for musicians

Here at Guitar World, we are experts in our field, with many years of playing and product testing between us. We live and breathe everything guitar related, and we draw on this knowledge and experience of using products in live, recording and rehearsal scenarios when selecting the products for our guides.

When choosing what we believe to be the best earplugs for musicians available right now, we combine our hands-on experience, user reviews and testimonies and engage in lengthy discussions with our editorial colleagues to reach a consensus about the top products in any given category.

First and foremost, we are guitarists, and we want other players to find the right product for them. So we take into careful consideration everything from budget to feature set, ease of use and durability to come up with a list of what we can safely say are the best earplugs for musicians on the market right now.

Read more about our rating system, how we choose the gear we feature, and exactly how we test each product.

You can trust Guitar World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing guitar products so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

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