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The 5 best earplugs for musicians and concertgoers in 2024

Often, people to start protecting their ears once some damage has already been done. So, here’s a list of the best earplugs which work great whether you’re a musician or simply want to enjoy a concert at a lower volume.

Quick recommendations

The D’Addario dBuds strike the best balance between protection, sound quality, and budget, offering adjustable noise reduction levels of up to -24 dB without muffling the sound. They’re comfortable during extended use and effectively protect against sound levels over 110 dB.

For those on a budget, the Fender Musician Ear Plugs are durable, washable, and perform magnificently for the money. They’re a practical option for long-lasting ear protection and one of the most beloved earplugs among musicians who care about their hearing.

Contents

Use these jump links to navigate to the desired section of the review.

Why you should trust me

I’m a musician, sound engineer, and record label owner. As a result, I’ve tried all sorts of earplugs over the years, from the ones worth a couple of bucks to the high-end, $100-plus options.

Marco Sebastiano Alessi, author and contributor at Higher Hz

As someone who’s constantly either on, behind, or in front of the stage, trust me when I say that you need to take care of your ears if you want to enjoy music for as long as possible!

There are many things we tend to ignore when we’re young, so now that I’m not so young anymore, I feel I should recommend the best gear available to preserve musicians’ hearing and enhance every music-related experience.

It all starts with very subtle symptoms: an annoying ringing in your ear after a three-day festival, muffled sounds after a rehearsal or concert, or simply the feeling that some frequencies are not as clear as they used to be. It’s a terrible feeling (and I speak for experience), and often, there’s no turning back.

Whether on stage, behind the deck, or simply while watching a concert, you do need to protect your ears if you want to enjoy music for years to come.

How I chose and tested

I know how important it is for earplugs to be comfortable and fit snugly, so I’ve made sure to choose models that offer a variety of sizing options and are made from materials that offer both flexibility and stability.

Sound fidelity is absolutely crucial, especially for musicians who need to hear instruments accurately while protecting their hearing. That’s why I’ve selected high-fidelity earplugs that provide a balanced frequency response, reducing volume without muffling the music’s clarity.

Regardless of their price tag, earplugs should be durable, so I’ve recommended products that can withstand the wear and tear of touring and regular gigging. I’ve also considered the cost of earplugs, making sure that the price aligns with their expected quality and lifespan.

Regardless of your budget, or whether you use earplugs to perform or simply enjoy live concerts, I’m sure here you’ll find the perfect earplugs for your needs.

Here’s a list of all the earplugs I recommend for musicians and concertgoers:

Best overall: D’Addario dBud Earplugs

man wearing D'Addario dBud Earplugs
Image: D’Addario

My favorite earplugs for gigs, the dBud Earplugs offer the perfect balance of protection, convenience, and adaptability.

These earplugs come with a switchable filter system that can provide -12 dB attenuation or -24 dB when you need maximum protection in louder environments, all this while providing a balanced frequency response.

The dBuds have a 100% passive design, which means they don’t require batteries or charging and offer no-nonsense noise reduction you can rely on, protecting your hearing from SPL levels exceeding 110 dB.

These are earplugs designed for versatility and ease of use: you can wear them for hours without any kind of discomfort.

They come with a plethora of gadgets: embedded magnets and a detachable leash, five sizes of eartips to ensure a snug fit, crucial for both noise isolation and comfort, and a compact carry case, making them perfect for a rock tour as well as a quiet rehearsal back home.

What I like

  • High-fidelity sound.
  • Comfortable fit.

What I don’t like

  • Nothing to note.
Buy D’Addario dBud Earplugs at: SweetwaterAmazon

Best budget: Fender Musician Ear Plugs

Fender Musician Ear Plugs
Image: Fender

The Fender Musician Ear Plugs are the best choice for music enthusiasts on a budget. With a noise reduction rating of 27 decibels, these earplugs work magnificently whether you’re jamming or at a rave party.

While they significantly reduce noise, the Fender earplugs do a great job at maintaining the music’s sound and nuances perfectly audible, only at a safer volume.

They’re washable and reusable, and can easily last for years: most likely, you’ll lose them before they wear out! Finally, they’re latex-free, making them an excellent choice for people with allergies.

All in all, the Fender Musician Ear Plugs are a budget-friendly option for musicians and concertgoers who can’t spend on more performing earplugs.

The only downside is that they muffle higher frequencies, which is a common issue with many entry-level earplugs. If you’re an audio engineer, stay away from them, but for all the others, these earplugs offer great value for money.

What I like

  • Good sound clarity.
  • Affordable.
  • Washable and reusable.
  • Latex-free.

What I don’t like

  • May slightly muffle higher frequencies.
Buy Fender Musician Ear Plugs at: AmazonGuitar Center

Best high-end: Minuendo Lossless Earplugs

Minuendo Earplugs replacement tips
Image: Higher Hz

The Minuendo Lossless Earplugs have a stepless attenuation system that ranges from -7 dB to -25 dB, giving listeners precise control over environmental sound levels, which is a fantastic feature that makes them stand out among the non-custom-made earplugs.

Another great aspect of these earplugs is their transparent frequency response, delivering a natural listening experience ideal for audio engineers and serious music aficionados alike.

Furthermore, they’re lightweight and discreet and come with a variety of tips to ensure a comfortable fit. The earplugs also feature a convenient magnetic locking system for quick and easy use.

While the stepless system for adjusting attenuation levels might take some time to get used to, the Minuendo earplugs offer an excellent balance between the affordability of generic earplugs and the personalized fit of custom molds.

Professional and adjustable ear protection comes at a price, but if you’re serious about protecting your ear protection and listening experience, give the Minuendo Earplugs a try.

Read my full Minuendo Lossless Earplugs review to find out more.

What I like

  • Stepless attenuation adjustment.
  • Balanced frequency response.
  • Great comfort.

What I don’t like

  • Price.
  • Stepless attenuation system is not very intuitive.
Buy Minuendo Lossless Earplugs at: Amazon

Best design: Loop Experience Plus

Loop Experience Plus earplugs
Image: Loop Earplugs

The Loop Experience Plus earplugs look great and also deliver excellent noise-reduction performance, so they’re the best choice for the fashion-conscious audiophile.

With a noise reduction rating of 18 or 23 decibels, depending on the filters you use, these high-fidelity earplugs offer versatility in all environments, from concerts to rehearsals and noisy libraries.

Loop’s iconic design is not just visually striking, the resonator within the loop fine-tunes the reduction of sound frequencies around 2-3 kHz, which is where ears are most sensitive.

This is crucial for both concertgoers and music professionals, as it dampens the volume without losing the live music’s essence and provides a balanced frequency response.

Switching to the supplied foam eartips adds approximately 10 dB of sound attenuation, offering a quieter experience while still preserving the quality sound profile Loop is renowned for.

Finally, the “Mute” inserts work extremely well with frequencies above 5 kHz, reducing the high-frequency sizzle that can disturb during live performances.

Reasonably priced, performing admirably, and aesthetically pleasant, the Loop Experience Plus is a good-quality and fashionable option if you want to spend less than $50.

What I like

  • Aesthetically beautiful.
  • Good-quality frequency reproduction.

What I don’t like

  • You can get better-performing earplugs at this price point.
Buy Loop Experience Plus at: Amazon

Best under $50: Earos One

Earos One high fidelity earplugs
Image: Earos

Similarly priced, but perhaps less visually striking than the Loop Experience Plus, the Earos One provide a high-fidelity listening experience, allowing you to appreciate the full spectrum of music while maintaining sound clarity.

Professional performance at a reasonable price is hard to find in the non-custom-made market of earplugs, but the Earos One earplugs undoubtedly deliver great results without breaking the bank, which makes them my favorite choice under $50.

These earplugs have a patented sound bore that mimics the inner ear’s resonance, which gives you full sonic clarity without muffling the sound like foam plugs often do. Furthermore, the twist’n’lock mechanism ensures a secure and comfortable fit, not unlike noise-cancelling headphones.

The result is 17 dB of high-quality, high-fidelity noise cancellation, in which the most harmful frequencies are kept at bay while providing a natural frequency response that works well in all environments.

The Earos One earplugs come with multiple eartip sizes and foam options, offering a comfortable fit for various ear shapes and sizes.

All in all, these earplugs provide an excellent sound experience, so if you can’t spend more than $50, definitely go for the Earos One. If you can spend a tiny bit more, I’d recommend investing in the dBud Earplugs.

What I like

  • Great value for money.
  • Professional frequency response.

What I don’t like

  • Spend a little bit more, and you get the great dBuds.
Buy Earos One at: AmazonGuitar Center

Recent updates

  • March 16, 2024: I’ve updated the text for clarity and accuracy. No changes in recommendations.
  • November 15, 2023: I’ve compiled and published the original list of recommendations based on my experience with the tested earplugs.
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Discussions

2 comments
    • Hi Lisa! As of today, there are no studies suggesting that the magnets and their minuscule magnetic fields in headphones have a negative impact on your brain. In general, it’s impossible to avoid magnetic fields as they exist everywhere. The Earth is a massive magnet, and humans have created artificial magnetic fields through power lines, transport systems, electrical appliances, and medical equipment for decades. If the magnets in earplugs were actually harmful, an MRI would probably be deadly. I’m not sure you can remove the magnet from the dBuds without compromising them. If you do want to remove them anyway, I’d first contact the producer to double-check if it can be done.