Alternatives to Earplugs

7 Silent Alternatives to Earplugs for Sleeping (2023 Updated)

For some people, earplugs are a way to get a good night’s sleep. They dampen the sounds from outside and help you relax into slumber. But they come with flaws. Many people can’t sleep with earplugs because they can feel claustrophobic or because the pressure makes their ears hurt.

Even if you get used to earplugs, you’ll still feel them inside your ears. Some people won’t care, but others prefer to keep their ears free and unblocked. Is there a way to get the benefits of earplugs without using them?

But what if you’re not looking for silence? What if, instead of blocking out sound, you want something that will let in all the noise but still allow you to fall asleep? If this is the case, there are a few alternatives to ear plugs for sleeping!

If you’re looking for a way to block out noise without using earplugs, this article is for you.

What’s Wrong with Earplugs?

Earplugs are a great way to get some peace, but they’re not for everyone. Here are some of the most common complaints about earplugs:

  • They can feel claustrophobic or enclosed. This is because they block off your ear canals, which is a natural way to keep out debris and protect your ears.
  • They can cause pressure in the ears. This happens when the air pressure inside and outside of the eardrum is different. When this happens, it can be painful or cause dizziness.
  • They can muffle high-frequency sounds. If you’re a light sleeper, this can be dangerous because it means that you may not hear something important, like an intruder or your smoke alarm. Or—less dangerously—missing your alarm.
  • They make earwax build up more quickly and cause infections in the ears. This is especially true if they aren’t cleaned after each use.
  • They’re not always effective at blocking out sound. This is because they depend on how well they fit in your ears and how tight you make them. But the tighter they are, the worse they feel in your ear.

If you’ve tried earplugs and dreaded them, you’re in good company. Luckily, brilliant entrepreneurs figured out alternative solutions for you.

Also Read: Is Sleeping With Earplugs Bad?

Alternative to Earplugs for Sleeping

People use earplugs to block out noise and sleep in noisy areas. If you live close to a train track, work in a noisy office, or have children who like to wake up early, earplugs can be a life saver.

But if the sole thought of wearing earplugs makes you cringe, here are some useful alternatives.

Before starting: Different solutions work for different people. Every situation is unique. Not everyone can install soundproof panels. But also, not everyone needs soundproof panels. If your biggest sleep impediment is a snoring partner, sleep headphones will suffice.

White Noise Machines

White noise machines are a great way to get all the benefits of earplugs with none of the drawbacks. They work by emitting a continuous sound that masks other noises.

White noise is a combination of all the frequencies of sound, so it can drown out high-frequency sounds like baby cries and alarm clocks. This is why many people who work in noisy offices choose white noise machines as an alternative to earplugs.

It sounds like TV static. Here’s a demonstrative video:

White noise is especially effective at blocking out high-frequency sounds, which is why it’s perfect for people who are light sleepers.

White noise machines come in all shapes and sizes. You can get small travel-sized machines, or you can buy a machine that plugs into your wall.

Editor’s note: You don’t necessarily need to buy anything to diffuse white noise in your room. You can use a phone app, or your PC’s speakers to play the linked video. Spotify has also a playlist with white noise, as well as other major audio distributors.

Also Read: Pink Noise Vs. White Noise Vs. Brown Noise : Which is Best for Sleeping?

Sleep Headphones

If you want something a bit more portable, sleep headphones are an excellent choice. They work similarly to earplugs by blocking out sound, but they don’t block your ears completely.

This is good for people who live near loud areas like busy streets or airports because it means that you can still hear important sounds while you sleep. This makes them great choices for parents of newborns and pet owners.

But they aren’t as good if you live in a very noisy environment.

The best part? You can wear them with earplugs or without. If you don’t want to block out sound completely, but still wish to drown it out a bit, sleep headphones are a superb choice for you!

Noise-Canceling Headphones

If you’re looking for something that will block noise before it gets to your ears, look into noise-canceling headphones.

Noise canceling headphones work by emitting sound waves that cancel out the surrounding noise. Therefore, they’re perfect for traveling, because they can drown out engine noises and other sounds on an airplane.

They come in all shapes and sizes, but be prepared to pay for the privilege. The best noise-canceling headphones can be quite expensive, but if you’re a light sleeper, they’re worth the investment.

Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones

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03/23/2023 02:03 am GMT

Ear Muffs

If you don’t want to shell out for noise canceling headphones, ear muffs are a great alternative. They work in the same way as noise canceling headphones by blocking out sound, but they’re more affordable and portable.

Ear muffs are made from a thick piece of foam or plastic that blocks off your ears entirely. They come in different shapes and sizes (some look like over-sized headphones while others look like earmuffs for children) so choose one that works with your head size.

They’re perfect for people who want the benefits of noise canceling headphones without the high price tag. Plus, they’re great for cold weather!

Metog Unisex Foldable Ear Warmers Polar Fleece/kints Winter EarMuffs …

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03/23/2023 01:43 am GMT

Install Soundproof Panels

If you’re looking for a long-term solution to noise pollution, consider investing in soundproofing panels.

Soundproofing panels are made from materials like foam or cork that absorb and block sound waves. They can be installed on your walls or ceilings to help reduce noise levels.

They’re expensive, and they don’t exactly look good. They may ruin your interior’s aesthetics.

However, they solve noise pollution. And they’re easily the best solution if you’re looking for something that will block out sound for good.

DEKIRU 12 Pack Acoustic Panels Sound Proof Padding

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03/23/2023 10:18 am GMT

Install Soundproof Windows

If you want to invest in noise-blocking windows, it’s important that you do your research first. There are many types of window treatments on the market and not all of them are effective at blocking sound.

To make sure they work, look for triple-glazed windows that have a foam filling. This will help keep out the sound and cut down on outside noise pollution, which is perfect if you live in an area where there’s a lot of traffic or construction going on.

Soundproof windows can be very energy efficient too, so they’re great for people who want to save money on their heating bills.

Make Your Doors Soundproof

One of the easiest ways to block out sound is by making your exterior door more soundproof.

This is a fun and easy DIY project that will drastically improve your house’s sound insulation.

There are many ways to go about doing this. But the easiest and fastest way is by adding a door sweep to your door. A door sweep is a piece of rubber or plastic that fits on the bottom of your door and creates a seal when it’s closed.

Suptikes 2 Pack Door Draft Stopper

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03/23/2023 11:19 am GMT

This will help keep out noise from outside and improve the sound insulation in your home.

If you want to go one step further, consider adding soundproof rubber around the door. This will work with every door, even those in tiny spaces.

Weatherproof, Weatherproof Door and Window soundproof Seals
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03/23/2023 10:18 am GMT

If all else fails, adding a rug to your room is always an option.

Rugs help absorb sound and reduce noise levels in the room. They also add some much-needed warmth in the colder months.

There are many types of rugs to choose from, so find one that suits your style.

If you’re looking for more advanced soundproofing options, here’s an excellent video of them:

Other Sleep Aids that Don’t Involve Noise

Maybe noise isn’t your biggest enemy when trying to fall asleep. Perhaps you’re just stressed out, which makes sleeping harder. When we aren’t relaxed, our brain picks up sounds and amplifies them. It’s basically looking for excuses to not sleep. And outside noise is a perfect one.

Here, you might need to try a different sleep aid. Here are a few ideas:

  • Aromatherapy: lavender is known for its calming properties and can help lull you to sleep. You can diffuse the oil or put it on your pillow before bed.
  • Yoga or meditation: these practices help focus the mind and relax the body. If you’re feeling stressed about sleeping, these are good options for your nighttime routine.
  • Breathing exercises: these exercises are a great way to calm the mind and body. They’re simple, can be done anywhere, and don’t require any special equipment.
  • Essential oils: try applying a few drops of peppermint oil to your temples or forehead before bedtime. This will help increase blood circulation in that region and calm you down so you can sleep better at night.
  • Sleeping pills: if you’ve tried all the above and are still struggling to sleep, it might be time to talk to your doctor about sleeping pills. Just make sure you’re taking them as prescribed and aren’t abusing them. Also, don’t use them every night. You risk getting too used to them, which will make it impossible to sleep without them.
  • Other sleep aids: these are a step before sleep aids. Things like Melatonin, Valerian, and doxylamine can help you relax and drift off to sleep.

Warning: these sleep aids come with negative side effects. Always inform yourself before taking them.

Sleeping well is essential for our health and wellbeing. If noise pollution is keeping you from getting the rest you need, consider trying some of these alternatives.

These days, it’s more important than ever to make sure you can sleep without interruption from outside noise or other factors that keep you up at night.

Everyone knows that sleeping well is crucial for our health and general wellbeing. What many don’t know however, is how harmful noise pollution can be to our sleep.

We’re constantly surrounded by noise, whether it’s from traffic, construction, or just general chatter in a busy city. And all that noise takes its toll on our ability to get a good night’s sleep.

In fact, according to the World Health Organization, “noise is one of the most pervasive and damaging environmental pollutants.”


If you’re tired of dealing with loud neighbors, there are plenty of solutions to help you sleep soundly through the night without earplugs. From noise canceling headphones and machines to high-quality windows and insulation panels, it’s easy to reduce outside sounds.

If you live in a noisy area, noise canceling headphones or earmuffs are perfect because they can drown out sounds while still allowing important noises through.

For long-term solutions to sound pollution, look into installing soundproof panels and windows that will keep outside noise from disturbing your sleep.

It’s important to analyze what is actually stopping you from sleeping. After you’ve pinpointed the issue, you can look for the best solution.

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