Learn how to choose the best earplugs.

If you’re like most people, you didn’t wake up this morning thinking, “I’ve got to buy some earplugs!” I know because that’s what happened to me. How will I find the best ear Plugs for my ears? 

One day I woke up with painful ringing in my ears. I was desperate to do whatever it took to ease my pain, so I began searching for anything that might help.

My journey took me through the depths of the of hearing protection industry where I uncovered all their secrets. I hope that sharing them with you will help you as much as it did for me.

Our Story of how we created the best ear plug.

Through my research, I realized that my hearing was deteriorating. I was also finding it more difficult to hear my family when they spoke to me. Desperate for some answers, I begin searching for information everywhere I could find it.

After a long and frustrating process, I had educated myself on the effects of hearing loss and was on the hunt to find the best earplugs in the market.

The situation looked bleak. Most products on the market were ineffective. So, I decided to make a change and provide the hearing protection industry with the products they so desperately needed.

I began my foray into the hearing protection industry in 2003 to create the Best Ear Plugs.

This was a difficult undertaking because, at that time, it wasn’t “cool” to protect your hearing. Even the industry itself didn’t acknowledge many of the alarming effects of hearing loss.

Over the years, we’ve met and served more than 250,000 customers at over 500 events around the world. During this time, I made a pact with myself that I’d make the process of understanding earplugs and hearing damage easier to understand.

Now in 2018, after 15 years of blood, sweat, and tears, I believe it is time to educate the public about the best earplugs and hearing protection practices.

Below is our guide to the best earplugs for hearing loss prevention.

The Basics of Earplugs

What is an ear plug? Ear plugs are defined by Merriam Webster as a device of pliable material for insertion into the outer opening of the ear (to keep out water or deaden sound). We will help you on the quest to fully inform you on how to get the best ear plugs.

Earplugs have a long and interesting past of innovation and refinement.

Beginning with the legend of Odysseus, using beeswax to protect his men from the sirens’ song to the 1900s when Max Negwer’s company Ohropax created the first wax earplug.

After Max and Cecilia Benner brought early moldable clay and silicone earplugs to the market, the National Research Center (NRC) followed with Ross Gardner Jr.’s EAR (Energy Absorption Resin).

Max and Cecilia Benner along with Ross Gardner Jr. laid the foundation for the current generation of hearing protection earplugs. We now have foam, triple flange, heat molded, two-part mix, and even custom earplugs. But this variety also presented a challenge.

Even military-grade earplugs are not without their problems and limitations. 3M, for example, is currently facing a defective military earplug lawsuit for certain models of its Combat Arms Earplugs. The lawsuit alleges that the earplugs failed to provide adequate protection for service members in combat zones.

The decision on how to chose the best ear plug will be based on urgency, accessibility, and budget.

Urgency: You need to deal with this problem now and quickly resolve the issue.

Accessibility: How easy is it to solve my issue?

Budget: Will it be a one-time issue or one that will incur an ongoing expense? Many cheap solutions may not be the best ear plugs, but are costly when used long term.

There’s more to finding proper hearing protection devices than browsing websites and buying any kind of earplug.

By conducting proper research, you can make an intelligent decision based on suitable choices.

These are all viable options because most current technology is based on earlier concepts. Understanding the evolution of earplugs is essential to determine the best ear plugs that will suit your hearing protection needs.

Most earplug websites typically offer a one-size-fits-all solution that’s not unlike buying a burger at a drive-thru. But in a world where anything can be delivered to your door within two days, how can you blame the typical consumer?

However, in the hearing protection market, it’s far more than how attractive the product looks. In our world, words like NRR (Noise Reduction Rating), dB (Decibel), SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio), and noise canceling is a common language and most companies expect you to know what they’re talking about. This is one of the most challenging problems in our industry.

It’s our goal to remedy this by providing you with straightforward information with no strings attached. It’s our mission to ensure you leave this site knowing which hearing protection is the right choice for you. In the words below, we’ve outlined an easy to follow guide to empower you to make the right choice.

Big Ear Best Ear Plugs

The Different Types of Hearing Protection

There are three basic types of hearing protection available:

Earplugs, Full Stop or Full Block Earplugs

The most popular types of hearing protection are commonly known as fomies, squeezees, triple flange, and many more. They’re traditionally the one-size-fits-most solution.

They also come in different sizes from very small to extra-large and vary enormously in comfort. The attenuation (sound blocking number) is also not consistent.

They’re extremely difficult to insert correctly, therefore, it’s almost impossible to get the correct NRR on the package without a lot of trial and error. This is why there are so many different shapes, colors, styles, and size options.

If you’re like most people, you probably have a hard time with these earplugs. They don’t fit your ear correctly, they get dirty and unsanitary quickly, and must be replaced after a few times of use. We have found that usually, one size fits all solution does not work and usually not the best ear plugs.

If this sounds like you, you would benefit from a custom hearing protection device that fits perfectly, protects your hearing, and will be usable for many years, We have found that custom hearing protection is usually the best Ear Plugs.

Read on to find out more information about custom hearing protection solutions.

Filtered Earplugs

These are more specialized products for people with more specific hearing, communication, and sound reduction requirements.

They’re the same product in the earplug category with all the different shapes, sizes, and functionality. They’re used to hear the sound, communication, and music at reduced levels.

But there are still the typical issues — they don’t fit, they aren’t comfortable, and usually, they’re ineffective. This is because the NRR on the package is often misleading. Filtered earplugs typically don’t reach the recommended dB reduction levels. So even if you are wearing them, your hearing is still at risk.

To sum it up, the main issue for wearers is that their hearing is still at risk even when wearing the earplug. It’s money spent on a product that is neither comfortable or effective hearing protection.

Here is a Custom filter hearing protection unit and we have found that this is the best ear Plugs.

Communication Ear plugs

Communication ear plugs are primarily for communication devices that use Bluetooth and other transmitting methods. They also encompass sound blocking earplugs and devices used by military and law enforcement units.

There are several different sizes, shapes, ear tip configurations, and use applications. Consider the size and shape of your ear canal and how much irritation and hearing loss you want to suffer. We have found them not to be the best ear plugs.

Custom ear plugs that are made perfectly to your ear is an exact model of your ear canal that is wearable all day and in all weather conditions. it gives you precise sound reduction with all-day comfort.

Now that you know the differences, let’s explore what’s available.

Know Yourself

We now turn from a history lesson to self-analysis.

Today, most educated customers understand there are hundreds, if not thousands, of hearing protection products on the market.

You, as an educated consumer, need to understand your own needs and what product might best suit those needs.

Ask yourself what situation do you find yourself in? Are you a musician that needs to protect your hearing? Are you a swimmer that needs to keep your ears dry?

A soldier that needs to protect his hearing from gunfire? Or maybe an average joe that enjoys the best quality sound from an earpiece. Only you can know for sure.

In our experience, people do the best with a custom hearing protection solution as it is the Best Ear Plugs solution that gives you the best quality protection with the most comfort. Each time you use it the sound reduction is exactly the same and this is a safety issue not found with a generic ear plug. It will last for years and you’ll even forget it’s in your ear!

Now that you know the differences between the different types of hearing protection devices, let’s explore what’s available today.

The Foamies, Waxies, and Putties

We’ll begin with the most well-known product in the personal hearing protection market — the roll and stick plug.

Generic Earplugs

If you need a more in-depth analysis, click on this link (the earplug guide), a great page that provides specs and reviews of the best foam wax and putty earplugs on the market.

Foam, wax, and putty earplugs are the solution for many people as they provide an easy-to-use, disposable material that you roll, stick in your ear, and get on with your day.

But what about those of us who have ears that are too small or experience irritation with roll and forget earplugs? Or those of us who need more efficient hearing protection or frequency reductions?

Roll and forget earplugs have their uses, although they are far from the best ear plug solution. This leads us to the next primary market for personal hearing protection.


The Generic Tech Earplugs

The generic tech earplugs like to sound cutting edge with their buzzwords and marketing. However, once you understand the truth, the iron curtain comes crashing down.

Tec earplugs 1

Often sold in the TV, camera, and camcorder markets, these hearing protection devices use phrases such as high definition, high fidelity, or noise canceling to get your attention.

While these terms are not misleading in themselves, they are when associated with most earplugs and hearing protection devices.

What the companies mean (And what they don’t tell you) is that these “technologies” reduce the sound by a certain level if you can get them incorrectly, and allow the rest of the music to enter through the thin earplug material.y. 

However, these products seek to reduce unwanted sound externally and allow the user to listen to their headphones or headset at a lower, more isolated environment. Or to reduce noise in a specific loud environment and still be able to hear certain levels of sound. Again we have found that this is not the best ear plug.

The secret is that It blocks all frequencies equally!

So getting high fidelity while blocking out sound is impossible.

Bottom line is that reducing sound is not High Fidelity.

Not even close.

The Best Ear Plugs in Custom: The Workhorses

Big Ear's Best Ear Plugs

These are the filtered and non-filtered earplugs that allow employees in large-scale industrial facilities and manufacturing plants to protect their hearing but still be connected to their environment.

In this market, you’ll find products ranging from the universal  3m foamy plug to perforated (earplugs with holes), and filtered earplugs with holes that can be plugged to protect one’s hearing in loud environments.

These products are for hardworking individuals who work in extremely loud and uncomfortable working conditions. These men and women know their hearing is one of their greatest assets and helps them complete the job.

These products also work very well for musicians and those who become sound sensitive. Who would have thought that a factory worker and a world-class musician would use the similar equipment?

We did. And that’s why we developed a separate line of hearing protection products specifically for musicians. This leads us to our next category.

Musician Earplugs

Big Ear The One Premium

In the world of musicians, the choice of hearing protection is as important as the choice of the instrument.

Products range from vented earplugs to high fidelity earplugs and musician transducers with prices varying across the board. The key is to choose an option that provides protection while also superior sound and clarity while playing.

The choice of a product varies from musician to musician. In our world, a general rule of thumb is to narrow your choice of protection based on your interest in music. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a dedicated musician planning a world tour, this will determine which product you purchase.

Another factor that contributes to your choice of hearing protection is your budget. This is one of the reasons why we recommend custom-fit solutions that offer a balance of affordability, longevity, and effectiveness. This is what makes them the Best Ear Plugs.

Transducers and Speakers

Custom Bluetooth Motorcycle Headset {convertible to wired instantly}

In the world of custom hearing protection (earplugs), and musician hearing protection, the transducer is the big dog.

The transducer is the power behind our products and literally the music to our ears. However, in the world of generic headphones, speakers rock the block and can provide you with what you need.

The keyword here is application and intended use. If you haven’t caught on yet, the common trend of this article is that hearing protection is subjective and what works wonders for some may be wrong for others.

With transducers vs. speakers, subjectivity is the same. However, what I can guarantee is both will give you music out of the hole and into your ear. The difference is the way the sound is moved.

A speaker uses air to move sound, and a transducer can be sealed and moves sound through electromechanical mechanisms. This applies directly to hearing conservation and why companies like us use transducers rather than speakers to ensure that users of our products are effectively protecting their hearing.

However, if you’re interested in simply using headphones and don’t wish to protect your ears, speakers will be sufficient.

Custom Hearing Protection

All Big Ear Earplugs

We finally step into our wheelhouse.   In the custom hearing protection market, innovation occurs at light speed. The market lines up directly with the tech market and products and services innovate and change on a daily basis.

Many enter, but few remain in this world as the best ear plug as the ear impression process is cumbersome and non-direct. However, what you do receive when choosing custom hearing protection is unmatched on the market. When crafted correctly, every product creates a dynamic fit for the user’s ear that can’t be replicated by the squish and forget style ear plugs.

With custom ear plugs, you have a personal, handcrafted model that delivers unmatched quality and protection. Where other custom earplugs dominate in the market is in the market of in-ear custom stereo earplugs for music or communication purposes.

Custom Intra ear products create a seal and provide hearing protection all while more efficiently delivering your music fusing transducers.

The final product is unmatched on the market and something that we as unattached motorcycle riders, adventurers, and world travelers choose to use, and this is what make this the best ear plug stereo product on the market.

But DON’T take my word for it.

What I provided for you is a list of all the products available on the market.

Do as all great explorers, scientists, and adventurers do. Try them all. Get a feel for what works for you and decide to purchase whatever product makes your life a little easier.  I hope this article has given you a solid base of knowledge that you’ll use in your earplug purchasing endeavors. And then you will find the best ear plugs that work for you.

Since you’re here,  check out our products.

Big Ear represents the best ear plugs and is a premium solution. Our ear plugs are customized to fit the shape of your ear for maximum comfort and protection. The upfront cost is higher, but longevity, perfect sound attenuation, fit, and comfort are unmatched. They’re also more economical in the long-term because the average lifespan is ten years of constant use. You’ll never have to worry about hearing damage ever again.

Let me know how we can help you get the best product to solve your needs as you navigate through the Buying Cycle.

I’m here to help!


big ear personal image


5 replies
  1. Albert Vut
    Albert Vut says:

    I had no idea that there are so many different kinds of earplugs available. I thought that you just bought a set or got them free at work and jammed them in. There are so many options and some that wont even hurt to use, and they may even work and not fall out.
    I will make the investment and get a set. Send me a kit.

  2. Tiffany Locke
    Tiffany Locke says:

    I like that you explain the different types of hearing protection, such as full stop or block earplugs. It’s also great that you mention how getting custom hearing protection devices will have them fit perfectly and last for years.

  3. Eric
    Eric says:

    Ive become very sound sensitive to the extent that I have started wearing earplugs in stores to cancel the loud piped in music. The noise on the city street bothers me. Regular ear plugs work okay for that.

    But I live one block from the huge concrete Seattle Viaduct, a two layer 4 lane elevated highway, which is being demolished over the next year (projected time, in reality will be two) 8 am – 5.39 pm, 6 days a week. I live alone, don’t watch tv, and don’t need to hear any conversation. Because the site is in the middle of the city, they can’t use wrecking balls of explosive, and are using a creative array of devises the emit sounds which range from almost constant very high pitched safety beeps, to battering cranes, jackhammers, bulldozers,m everything in the book. At any level, all of it is irritating. All the earplugs I see for sale, specialize in cancelling certain frequencies.

    Are there earplugs that block sound completely? Cost is a factor.

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

    • ghood
      ghood says:


      I will answer here Below and try and address your concerns.

      Ive become very sound sensitive to the extent that I have started wearing earplugs in stores to cancel the loud piped in music. The noise on the city street bothers me. Regular ear plugs work okay for that.

      But I live one block from the huge concrete Seattle Viaduct, a two layer 4 lane elevated highway, which is being demolished over the next year (projected time, in reality will be two) 8 am – 5.39 pm, 6 days a week. I live alone, don’t watch tv, and don’t need to hear any conversation. Because the site is in the middle of the city, they can’t use wrecking balls of explosive, and are using a creative array of devises the emit sounds which range from almost constant very high pitched safety beeps, to battering cranes, jackhammers, bulldozers,m everything in the book. At any level, all of it is irritating. All the earplugs I see for sale, specialize in cancelling certain frequencies.

      So yes, depending on the material that earplugs are made from you can have from 0-37+ dB reduction and there are a few factors that contribute to this. The material and depth of the earplug in the ear canal.

      Are there earplugs that block sound completely?

      This is a misnomer. dB’s are measured on an algorithmic scale and every 3dB is double sound pressure. If you at a concert and it is 110 dB and you have an earplug that blocks out 30dB then you still hear it at 80db.

      If you’re in your house, get a sound level meter, turn it on. Measure the sound when your annoyed and see what it is. Then take your 2 fingers and push on the outside of your ears to plug them, take a deep breath and sit there for a minute and listen and look at the sound level meter. This is what you can expect from a set of earplugs, generic or custom will be similar.

      Cost is a factor.

      After your test,

      Cost, if you go with a generic set they are a few dollars and over time this really adds up and you never get a similar result, each time you use them it’s different.

      If you go with custom then we have different units, but you would need a basic set that is $109.95 or a more advanced set, but we can really narrow in on what you want. If life is just getting too loud, we have a unit for this that you can wear all the time and you can hear perfectly and it really reduces all the sound’s around you and it is adjustable depending on what is going on around you.

      Let me know how we can help you get your life back.


      Thanks in advance for any advice!


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