Alternatives to Ear Plugs - a guide

No doubt about it, good quality ear plugs are awesome for reducing noise!

But if ear plugs aren't the best option for you, perhaps due to infection or discomfort, then what are the best alternatives?

Clearly, external ear muffs are an alternative option which you can use instead of ear plugs. They can be worn in nearly any situation, and are widely used by most professionals in dangerously noisy situations.

Of course earmuffs are often worn for recreational use too, for example when you're using power-tools, your lawnmower or shooting.


Alternatives to Ear Plugs - a guide


When ear plugs are used with ear muffs the resultant reduction in noise is almost scary!

One thing to note though is that even when you wear ear plugs, or ear muffs, or both together, sound can still travel through to your ears through what's known as bone conduction.

Ear plugs and ear muffs reduce air conduction of sound by creating an effective barrier to sound waves travelling through the air to your ears.

But sound waves still penetrate your skull and make their way through your skin, bones and other tissue to the fine inner ear bones (Hammer, Anvil and Stirrup), effectively by-passing hearing protection altogether! 

That's why people still often complain about the effectiveness of hearing protection devices.

The main situation where ear muffs aren't so useful is sleeping, as they're typically hard and designed for waking hours, not when you're lying down and trying to sleep. 

That's, of course, the main reason we at Hibermate created the Hibermate ear muffs for sleeping and while it's not as effective at reducing noise as ear plugs, it's an alternative worth giving a try.

How Do You Block Out Noise Without Earplugs?

We are all for sleeping in silence, but some of us are unwilling to do so using earplugs. Luckily, there are tons of ear plug alternatives that can give you that quiet night’s rest.

You should be able to sleep well and without noise disruptions using the following methods:

1. Find an Alternative

No, you don’t have to lie on one of your hands the entire night just to block the noise away. In fact, there’s a bevy of options that can grant you that peaceful night’s sleep without any bodily discomfort.

A great pair of earmuffs, like the Hibermate ear muffs for sleeping, should work wonders for your sleep cycle.

You might also find your own personal sandman in these products too:

Ear buds that sit tight in your ear but not deep

Earbuds for Sleeping

We recommend ear buds that sit tight in your ear but not too deep in like earplugs. They are super comfortable to sleep with. They are also ultra-silent and great at blocking out the noise coming from the outside and inside of your bedroom.

Headphones that play audio tracks

While not designed to provide silence for sleeping, these products do let you pick the kinds of sounds to fall asleep to. You can choose anything from your preferred music to white noise or a meditation audio track.


Your favorite tunes playing from speakers can help drown out all that sleep-preventing noise. The drawback to this solution, though, is that it may require you to keep the volume down low enough or install soundproof walls to keep from waking the entire household.

2. Block Out Outside Noise

Do you know what’s a good substitute for earplugs? Soundproof walls. This allows you to block out the sound coming from outside of your bedroom.

The best soundproof systems have the ability to turn your room into a dark, quiet, and properly ventilated sanctuary. The elements of a great soundproof system include:

Soundproof Door

Sometimes, even a shut door isn’t enough to keep noise from entering. The fact is it’s still a hole that sounds can get through.

To soundproof your door, you can add mass to it by installing a soundproof blanket or a fiberglass panel. Or, you can replace it with a solid core door.

Your door should also be gapless, so make sure to get some weatherstripping along its perimeters. Finally, a door sweep should be used at the bottom.

Soundproof Windows

Like your door, your windows also require weatherstripping. That’s because the sounds from outside could easily enter through its tiny spaces. You might also want to install a thick curtain, since it not only absorbs sounds but keeps the light out, too.

With the door and windows soundproofed, your room is now more conducive to sleep than it’s ever been.

Soundproof Ceiling and Floor

You don’t want to hear the sounds of anyone’s footsteps as you prepare to drift off to dreamland. Well, that doesn’t have to be the case if you use acoustic foam on your ceiling.

This noise-canceling tool is good enough to fade all the loud noises your neighbors are making. On the other hand, thick carpets and rugs should minimize noise transmissions through the floor effectively.

Soundproof Walls

Thin walls are a light sleeper’s worst nightmare. You have the option to either overhaul your walls or use non-invasive solutions to make them soundproof.

Installing acoustic foams and soundproof blankets should do the trick. You can even paint or draw on these items, so they match the theme of your room.

Reinforcing the wall’s thickness by placing huge furniture against it can also work. We suggest using a wide bookshelf or closet.

White Noise Machine

If you are busy, then you might have no time to soundproof. In this case, consider using a white noise machine to drown out sounds you don’t want to hear.

You can play anything on these devices, from the sounds of waves slamming against the shore to the pitter-patter of raindrops falling through the trees.


3. Play Music

A good ear plug substitute for those who don’t mind hearing their own noise is to play background music. This is something you can do even without a white noise machine, too.

Your phone, laptop, or personal computer can play any of the soothing playlists you have on Spotify or YouTube. The choices are almost limitless.

Alternatively, if you’re in the mood for something more educational as you drift off to sleep, try listening to a podcast. This should not only help you fall asleep easily but also let you absorb some useful information. Talk about hitting two birds with one stone!

As far as music and podcast choices go, you can experiment as much as you want. Change things up so that you can see which helps get you to sleep faster.

Here’s one suggestion: Listen to a lecture in a monotone since it’s something that has been proven to put listeners to sleep in no time.

4. Learn to Sleep in Noisy Environments

For many of us, certain elements have to fall into place before sleep comes. Sometimes, however, life puts you in an environment that doesn’t meet your requirements for sleeping and asks you to sleep for your health. That’s why it’s important to train yourself to sleep in any scenario.

The trick is to get yourself into a sleepy state. You can try having a warm glass of milk before bedtime. This should get your mind and body to relax.

Breathing exercises also help you get sleepy by slowing down your heartbeat and putting your body in a relaxed state. Do this by completing five rounds of inhaling and exhaling.

Lastly, let go of all your worries. You’ll have plenty of time to dwell on them in the morning.

How Can I Train Myself to Sleep Without Earplugs?

The best way to train yourself to sleep without earplugs is to use an alternative to earplugs for sleeping. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a tool that covers your ears; it can be a system for blocking off sound or a device that drowns out the noise that isn’t used to put you to sleep.