Recommendations for Earplugs That Work – Protect But Allow Music In

Anyone have experience with ear plugs they can recommend that protects hearing, but lets the music in?

Went to a concert last night. Band was too loud for anyone who values their hearing. I immediately put in my ear plugs. Unfortunately, these cushy type do not do a good job of attenuating low frequency, so you are mainly hearing kick drum and low bass (boom, boom, boom). I recorded some of it and it sounded good when played back. So choice was lose your hearing or horrible sound, I chose hearing. Using Decibel X app glanced down and saw and SPL readding of 117dB reading, ouch. So not great even with earplugs.

Today, I cranked the stereo and tried cushy earplugs along with the type that cover your ears and same effect. I understand the solution is for bands to play at reasonable sound pressure levels, but good to be ready for anything. Any recommendations, I have a number of shows scheduled to go to this summer.




There are many easily found on Amazon. I use the Etymotic ones but all change the music in pretty severe ways. Foam ones are the worst. I usually put them in loose and/or remove them for my favorite songs and just that makes a huge difference in ear protection and no ringing.

I think you're going to have trouble finding earplugs with anywhere close to a flat frequency response.  When the band is loud, stay home and enjoy your system.  There are some venues near me that I know not to bother with. they are always too loud.


The best you're gonna do is to go see an audiologist and have custom ear plugs made for you. They should be able to mold them to your ear.

What kgturner said. That is the only way you are going to get what you are looking for. You can not only customize the fit, but also the overall effectiveness. For OTC Decibullz are moldable and overall pretty good.

I went out twice a week for over 20 years, to live music in small music clubs. Sat up front to take photos of the many musicians I became friendly with.. VERY often too loud.

I learned to make my own protection by simply tearing up tissues or paper napkins and pushing some in my ears, you get a sense of how much, and how dense or loose to fold and how loose or firmly to insert them. Sometimes only 1 ear, on the drummer’s side perhaps, would need a bit of protection.

Even if way in the back of a big concert hall, I still try to remember to grab some tissues, cocktail napkins from the bar, good old TP if unprepared will save the day.

Maintain audibility but avoid excess.

All I can say here is that I had to leave an Elton John concert, because even ear plugs didn't have enough protection. I was really bummed, but there is no way that I would sacrifice my hearing for one event.

 What was said about going to an audiologist (that you can trust) makes very good sense to me.

Thanks for the input everyone. I never realized there are so many products readily available for this. Going to purchase a pair or two, experiment at home, and be ready for the next show.    

@georgeab did you have a chance to try out more than one brand since May?  What were your impressions?

I purchased a pair of Loop Experience Pro earplugs ($40) and have been to a half a dozen shows since. One of my challenges is fitment, and these came with four sizes of tips so I was able to get the right fit. Real happy with the performance. Look forward to the Flaming Lips next week.