Best Ear Plugs

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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The best ear plugs aren't necessarily the most expensive. Some specialty earplugs can cost nearly 200 dollars, but may not be the most effective at eliminating sound. Luckily, there are a wide variety of comfortable ear plugs available, with specialty designs ranging from scuba divers ear plugs to noise protection devices.

For industrial uses, the best ear plugs should be able to block out as much sound as possible. In the United States, manufacturers of hearing protection devices are required to rate each device's noise reduction capabilities according to standards outlined by the EPA. This rating is called an NNR rating.

The numerical value of the NNR rating corresponds to the approximate reduction of noise measured in decibels. For example, if the sound at a construction site is measured as being 110 decibels (an A-weighted environmental noise level), then an earplug with an NNR rating of 34 will bring the number of decibels entering the ear back down to safe 76 decibels.

The Best Ear Plugs for Every Purpose

For general usage, across the board, ear plugs should be comfortable, effective, and fit securely in the ear. Wearing any kind of earplug can take some getting used to, but a lifetime of audio clarity is well worth that short period of adaptation. If you do work in a noisy environment, make sure to get your hearing checked regularly as well.

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"World's Finest" Ear Plugs

The best ones I've found are the beeswax ones that call themselves the "World's Finest" ear plugs from They're apparently the highest rated of any ear plug with an NRR 34, but I like them because they're way more comfortable than any other ear plugs I've ever used and I can wear them for hours at a time without a problem. They're fairly inexpensive and each pair lasts me a couple of months too. I highly recommend them.