Best Earplugs for Guitarists

Last Updated on February 26, 2023 by Justin

Looking after your hearing is one of the first things musicians and guitar players should be taught and it should be stressed especially if gigging is something you’re looking to get into or already doing.

I say this because using earplugs is something that is overlooked by a lot of musicians. But is so important to the longevity of your musical career and guitar path.

I’ve been playing and performing live music at gigs and concerts for over a decade now and I’ve experienced and seen the need for using the right earplugs for musicians.

There are a few questions and points I’d like to address regarding the use of hearing protection for guitar players as well as review the best earplugs that are suitable for guitarists.

1) Alpine MusicSafe Pro

Alpine MusicSafe Pro High-Fidelity Earplugs

If you’re looking to invest in your musical career and the protection of your hearing then these MusicSafe Earplugs by Alpine are definitely the best choice.

Alpine is one of the leading companies in the world of protecting hearing and They have specifically designed these for musicians (which includes guitar players).

The Alpine pro earplugs come with three filter options for low, medium, and high sound attenuation without losing any of the clarity or quality of the sound and tone whatsoever.

They also happen to be comfortable and soft as well as being very discreet in terms of looks. I currently own these now and I couldn’t be happier. They allow me to adjust the sound level I want in relation to the gig/practice environment I find myself in.

Features of the Alpine Pro Earplugs include:

  • 3 sound attenuation filters (low/medium/high)
  • Minimizes isolation and maintains clarity
  • Soft material that molds to anyone’s ears
  • Carry case with space for everything
  • Comes with a spare earplug in case you lose one
  • Has string connectors so can be worn around the neck when not in use if desired.
  • Color choice: Black or White
  • Decibel cut: between 11 – 22 depending on the filter you choose.

Take a look at the video review of the Alpine Pro earplugs.


2) Eargasms

Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs

It was a very tough choice between these Eargasm plugs and the Alpine Pros above. However, these just slipped into second place due to the fact that it only has 1 sound attenuator filer whilst the Alpine Pro has three.

Something that really impressed me with the eargasms is their ability to provide incredible clarity in terms of sound. While still allowing me to hear my surroundings.

What’s great about these earplugs is that they reduce noise evenly. Thus maintaining a full spectrum of sound. This means that I can still hear the nuances of my guitar playing and the music around me. But, just at a lower volume. Therefore, protecting my hearing without compromising my sound quality.

As someone that has to wear earplugs for long periods of time. I really appreciate the comfortable and hypoallergenic soft silicone material.

Furthermore, the eargasms come with two pairs of different-sized earplugs. This guarantees that you’ll be sure to find a pair that fits your personal ear canal.

And finally, I really love that they’re very discreet and low profile. Which makes them nearly invisible to others.

Pros:

  • Provides incredible clarity in terms of sound while still protecting hearing.
  • Reduces noise evenly. Thus maintaining a full spectrum of sound
  • Comfortable soft silicone material.
  • Two pairs of different-sized earplugs for a personalized fit.
  • Discreet and low-profile design.

Cons:

  • Only has one sound attenuator filter.
  • May not provide enough noise reduction for extremely loud environments.

3) Etymotic ER20XS

Etymotic Research ER20XS High-Fidelity Earplugs

Etymotic is a well-known company in the hearing protection space. And their ER20XS earplugs are a great example of their innovative designs.

What I really like about these plugs is that they come with 3 different types/sizes per set. This means you will definitely achieve the perfect fit. Essentially, Etymotic includes:

  • 1 set with standard fit [3-flange ear tips with removable sound filter]
  • 1 set with large fit [3-flange ear tips with removable sound filter]
  • 1 set of foam tips.

In my opinion, the foam tips are the game changer here. No other earplugs come with foam and it is something that I didn’t realize I needed. Until I tried them. The foam is a lot more comfortable in my opinion. And, they create a better seal. Thus, increasing their hearing protectiveness. I should point out that all of the eartips that come in this set are interchangeable.

The ER20XS earplugs come with a set of standard fit 3-flange eartips with removal tabs, a pair of large fit 3-flange ear tips, and a pair of foam ear-tips. The eartips are interchangeable and replaceable, making them the most cost-effective high-fidelity earplug on the market. Also included are a neck cord and carrying case, making them convenient to carry around.

Pros:

  • Reduce sound by 20 decibels
  • Clear and natural sound
  • Comes with foam tips
  • Low-profile design
  • Carrying case with neck cord

Cons:

  • Only 1 filter option
  • No color options

4) Vater Earplugs

Vater Safe and Sound Earplugs 

I stumbled upon these Vater earplugs by absolute chance. My brother is a drummer, and I saw these sitting on his drum kit one day. I asked him if I could try them out and he agreed. The next thing I knew, I bought them from him after using them for only a day of practice.

The Vater earplugs have great advantages. Firstly, they come with two sound attenuators. That can cater to different levels of hearing protection.
Furthermore, the detachable necklace and keyring storage also make them a practical choice for musicians who are always on the go.

However, the Vater earplugs do have some drawbacks. They’re not quite as comfortable as some of the other earplugs I have reviewed on this list. Additionally, they are less discreet than some of the competition. So keep that in mind when considering your options.

With all that said, these are a great choice for guitar players and drummers alike who are looking for a quality set of plugs that won’t break the bank.

Pros:

  • 2 sound attenuators
  • detachable necklace
  • Keyring storage

Cons:

  • No spare earplug
  • Could be more comfortable
  • Not as discreet as  some competition

5) Decibullz – Custom Molded Professional

Decibullz – Custom Molded Professional

I had been hearing the name “Decibullz” come up quite a lot lately at different rehearsal spaces around town. So I did some digging around and decided to buy myself a pair.

I was quite excited to try the Decibullz earplugs because they claim to have a lot of features that most other brands do not provide. This includes a thermoplastic that can be molded to your ear after soaking in boiling water. This is meant to mold perfectly to your ears.

Furthermore, Decibullz claims that their earplugs provide the clearest and purest sound out there. Considering their high price, I thought it might be justified if that claim were to be true. So I decided to see if these earplugs by Decibullz were worth all the hype.

After 2 hours of practice, I can safely say that I don’t like this product at all. I think it is simply a gimmick. The thermoplastic that is moldable is a nice idea in theory. But in practice, they’re super hard to mold. And, they hurt my ears quite a lot. With other plugs on this list, I barely notice they are in my ears after a while.

However, with the Decibullz, I can definitely tell they are in my ears. Also, Decibullz claims to provide the clearest and purest sound compared to its competitors. But I think other earplugs I have already reviewed provide better clarity. I think they’re extremely overpriced. And other earplugs do a better job at less than half the price.


Why Do You Need Ear Plugs?

Simply put, the need for earplugs is to prevent losing one’s hearing and/or getting tinnitus. if you don’t know what Tinnitus is, it’s basically permanent damage to the eardrum that causes and unwanted ringing sound in your ears.

This is caused by exposing one’s ears to consistent loud noises. Have you ever played a gig or been to a gig and come out with ringing ears?

That’s small damage. But if continuously exposed over a long period of time, can cause permanent hearing damage. Luckily, this can easily and comfortably be prevented by using earplugs specifically designed for musicians and guitarists.

Why Musicians Need Earplugs

As musicians, we are exposed to loud noises on a regular basis. Whether it’s from practicing, playing gigs, or attending concerts. Long-term exposure to loud noises can cause hearing damage over time. And in severe cases, can even lead to hearing loss.

Luckily, it is never too late to protect your ears. And there are plenty of options available to take preventative measures.

Earplugs designed for musicians are a great way to protect your hearing without sacrificing sound quality. These earplugs are designed to reduce the volume of loud noises while maintaining the clarity of your sound.

Will Using An Ear Plug Cause Frequency Loss & Isolation?

By using the correct earplugs, you can easily avoid frequency loss. Which, is often experienced by using very cheap earplugs that weren’t meant for music/guitar purposes. An example of this would be the foam type of plugs you get on an airplane.

The earplugs that I’ll be reviewing below will allow any guitar player to hear themselves in the safest way possible. Another side effect of using the wrong earplugs is isolation.

What does this mean exactly? Well, putting in the wrong earplugs can block off too much sound and make you feel distant from the world. This is not something anyone wants when playing guitar. Especially when playing with a band. Once again, my options below, allow you to enjoy your beloved music with absolute comfort and sound quality.

How Do Earplugs for Guitarists Work?

Some earplugs will differ slightly in the way that they work but for the most part, work very much the same as each other. The earplugs for guitar players work by using different filters which you can change and replace.

The filters determine how much noise you let in as well as the decibel level. Basically, earplugs for guitarists will allow you to hear all the necessary frequencies of your instrument and band around you but at a lower volume. I recommend looking for a pair that has at least 20 decibels of noise reduction.

What To Look For When Buying Earplugs

When choosing earplugs there are important features to look out for. Firstly, they should be designed specifically for musicians. Why do I say this? Well, to ensure that they protect your ears without affecting your quality of sound. Also because as guitar players, we want to hear the most accurate version of our guitar tone.

Another feature is that they should be comfortable to wear for long periods of time. For me, this was most important I had had long 2-3 hour practice sessions that would require me to wear these for all that time.

Most earplugs are made with silicone. Silicone is a soft and flexible material that molds to the shape of your ear. A feature to look for when it comes to silicone earplugs is that they have airflow filters. Which helps to attenuate the sound.


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