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Best High Fidelity Earplugs for Concerts, Music Festivals and Events



The first concert I attended in Washington DC was Loud Luxury at Echostage. I got a good spot right up next to the speakers and danced the night away. Afterwards, I couldn't hear very well and my ears were ringing for the next few days, which I didn't realize at the time was a sign of hearing damage.


When attending concerts, music festivals, and other events, you are exposed to sound above the recommended decibel levels of hearing for extended periods. While a single loud concert won't permanently damage your hearing system, repeated exposure to sounds over 85 decibels can cause permanent damage or tinnitus.


What are High-Fidelity Earplugs?

High-fidelity earplugs, also called musician earplugs or flat-frequency response earplugs, are meant to protect your ears without reducing sound quality. They do this using uniform sound reduction: the lows, mids, and high frequencies are reduced as evenly as possible using a specially designed acoustic membrane or filter as well as a soundboard or acoustic channel to keep things sounding natural instead of muffled like foam earplugs.


Best High-Fidelity Earplugs for Concerts, Music Festivals and Events



 

Best Overall High-Fidelity Earplugs


These are my go-to earplugs. It can take a second to get a good seal - for example, my right ear fits perfectly while my left ear needs some adjusting. Once they're in I don't want to take them out, partially because I don't want to go through the whole process again and partially to avoid dropping clear earplugs on a grungy warehouse concert floor or in the grass where I'd probably never find them. However I love the way music sounds with them, I can still converse with others while wearing them, and the case has put up with a lot without getting damaged or lost. I also love that you can take them apart to clean them.





Pros
  • 21db of hearing protection

  • Heavy duty aluminum case is waterproof and has a loop

  • Filter completely separates from the filter for proper cleaning

  • Provides alternate sizes in each order

Cons
  • Can be hard to get a good seal



Most Versatile High-Fidelity Earplugs



Etymotic Research is a pillar in the world of hearing enhancement and protection, so I got what I expected out of these earplugs. They are minimalist and no nonsense, so they're on the cheaper end while still being high quality. They worked great, though I struggled to get a good seal because it was hard for me to get the right size. I have small ears and never fit the standard size for earplugs, but the XS was a bit too small for me. The rubber carrying case was also not very durable, especially the loop, which got torn off of my bag during a road trip.





Pros
  • 20 db of hearing protection

  • Discreet

  • Cheap but good quality

Cons
  • Do not include extra filters or tips. Important to get the right size.

  • Carrying case is not very durable



Easiest to Use High Fidelity Earplugs




These sounded pretty good, though it felt like I was missing out on some of the bass. They also felt comfortable and didn't budge throughout several hours of raving. I noticed that it was difficult to carry a conversation with anyone without taking them out, which I can do with most other plugs without a problem, but they are so easy to handle that it is not too much of an issue. The keychain attachment on the cheap plastic case was also not very durable, and would not hold up very long. Even though these earplugs are not my go to, they are high quality and work great for many people both during live music events and everyday life.






Pros
  • 18db of hearing protection

  • Mute filters for 5 extra db of protection

  • Included extra tips for sizing

  • Design looks unique with several colors to choose from

Cons
  • Large size

  • Case is not very secure



Best Starter High-Fidelity Earplugs



These are the first earplugs I tried after realizing I needed ear protection, and they did a great job. They did not reduce the bass and seemed to amplify the sounds I wanted to hear (the music) over the ones I didn't (drunk people shouting at one another over my head). Unfortunately, I couldn't get a good seal even after switching to a smaller tip. Something about the material felt kind of slippery. Instead of resting in my ears, I had to shove and twist them in to prevent them from slipping back out, making them uncomfortable to wear. The case also doesn't have a loop, and I lost them after only taking them to two concerts.





Pros
  • 22db of hearing protection

  • Discreet

  • Come with extra tips for sizing

Cons
  • Can be hard to get a good seal

  • Case doesn't have a loop (they do sell bundles with a better case)



Best Alternative to High Fidelity Earplugs




Finally! A choice other than earplugs. These are technically industrial ear protection as they are meant for use in high-noise workplaces such as construction and woodworking. But over-the-ear noise protection is helpful for those who don't appreciate the sensation of having plugs in their ears, as experienced by many neurodivergent people. While they're not discreet in any way, at a concert or music festival you wouldn't be shamed for it the way you might in some other settings. You can wear them as they are, or incorporate them into your outfit and decorate them with fur or stickers. These do their job so well that I tend to use Eargasm earplugs during sets and use these in between when I want to give my brain a break from all of the stimulation.





Pros
  • Industrial-level external ear protection

  • Adjustable size

  • Comfortable foam ear liners with replaceable cushions

Cons
  • Bulky

  • Case sold separately



Bonuses

Especially when at a camping festival or rugged environment like Burning Man, sometimes you just want basic earplugs to reduce the stimulation from your environment or help you sleep at night. I always keep disposable earplugs on me in case I lose my reusable ones. Both of these are available in most retail stores or pharmacies.


Macks Silicone Earplugs




I grew up as a swimmer and taught swim lessons in college. I get ear infections very easily, and Macks were the only earplugs that worked to keep water out of my ears without giving me a panic attack. I like that you don't have to shove these into your ear canal - you mold the putty to create a seal against your outer ear. You can also clean them off and use them more than once, basically until the putty loses its elasticity or gets lost.


I always have Macks on me because the need for ear protection can pop up at random times, such as when I was driving for Amazon. I found many of the noises involved with the job to be grating, such as the sound of cardboard boxes sliding around, the whine of the camera, and the slamming of the van door when going in and out. While they technically sell high-fidelity earplugs, I find the silicone ones are the most widely available and versatile.


These are pretty easy to find in person - just go to a nearby pharmacy or department store. But you can also buy them online here.


Foam Earplugs



Tried and true, they are cheap and easy to find. While they are intended to block sound instead of filter it, having a couple of these in your bag could be helpful for you or a friend who is in a pinch. It is important not to wear them too often, as they can push earwax down into your ear and cause buildup. They are especially good at camping festivals, where you may end up camping somewhere loud and need help sleeping.


Like Mack's, they are pretty easy to find in person. If buying online, it might be worth it to buy a big container like this so that you never run out and can share with others.


Tips

  • Put in your earplugs before stepping into the fray, such as in the car or bathroom. This way you don't have to worry about dropping them and you can take your time to make sure you get a good seal.

  • In order to avoid losing them, only remove them from your ears when necessary and keep the case on a keychain or lanyard.

  • Consider staying a safer distance from the speakers (at least 25 ft) to further protect your ears.

  • Take breaks from the area where the music is the loudest to rest your ears. This will decrease the chance of conductive or permanent hearing damage through continuous exposure.


Summary

Once you start using earplugs you'll never go back. It's nice to go to multi-day events without temporarily losing your hearing afterward and to know you are protecting your hearing while enjoying the event. By wearing hearing protection, you are ensuring that you will be able to love music in the future as much as you do today.




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Hi, I'm Koi!

I'm an environmental project manager who decided to make a change from office life to to outdoor projects and small business ownership.

My goal is to help promote forward movement in outdoor spaces and live events towards full accessibility and diversity by giving everyone the inspiration and tools to create their own adventure.

I love self expression, hiking, music festivals, and Burning Man, and want to show that celebrating diversity in the outdoors makes it better for everyone.

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