Hearos Ultimate Softness Series earplugs are reported to be highly effective at blocking even very loud sounds and, because they are so comfortable, very good for long-term wear or a full night's sleep. Experts and users consistently rate them as one of their top choices. The only downside is they're disposable, so you'll have to buy a new pair each time.
Great noise reduction. With a high noise reduction rating (NRR) of 32 decibels (dB), Hearos Ultimate Softness Series earplugs are reported to be effective at blocking out most sounds. Ulrich Boser of Slate.com says the earplugs "reduced the pounding sounds of the jackhammer to a pleasant thud." Similarly, one Amazon.com reviewer says that when he was deployed to Iraq, Hearos Ultimate Softness Series helped drown out the sound of F-16 fighter jets and Black Hawk helicopters. This efficacy has a downside though, as some reviewers slept through their alarms.
Soft and comfortable. One thing reviewers concur on is that the Hearos Ultimate Softness Series earplugs live up to their "soft" name. In his review on HubPages.com, "The Best Earplugs for Sleeping," Ethan Green says, "Hearos Ultimate Softness are great earplugs if comfort is your number one criteria." The comfort of these earplugs was often the deciding factor in reviewers' choice of earplug brand. Customers on Amazon.com and EarPlugStore.com found that the earplugs are comfortable enough to allow them to sleep on their sides and wake in the morning without ear pain.
Most owners find Hearos Ultimate Softness Series earplugs easy to use, though some had difficulty inserting them properly. Hearos has an instructional video available on its site, and there are numerous websites detailing the proper way to use foam earplugs. There were a few complaints that the earplugs didn't stay in the ear well, and they may fall out too easily.
Inexpensive but disposable. Hearos Ultimate Softness Series earplugs are made of polyurethane foam and are designed to be disposable. The price is on par with other disposable foam earplugs, but if you're using the earplugs every night, you'll be spending more than $10 a month. However, most reviewers say Hearos Ultimate Softness Earplugs are easy to clean, and they were able to reuse them anywhere from three to six times before they had to dispose of them. SleepLikeTheDead.com rates their reusability as fair to good.
Review Credibility: Very Good In SleepLikeTheDead.com's top-rated earplugs, Hearos Ultimate Softness Series comes in last for owner satisfaction at 84 percent. The main complaints from owners are that they don't block enough noise and are difficult to insert. However, Nick Robinson notes that these are still some of the highest rated earplugs, based upon 780 owner experiences.
Review: Earplugs for Sleep: Reviews and Ratings, Nick Robinson, Nov. 3, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good Hearos Ultimate Softness Series is the number one earplug sold on Amazon.com and has an overall rating of 4.3 stars out 5 based on more than 290 reviews. Reviewers comment on the softness and comfort of these earplugs and applaud their efficacy. Some say the earplugs were too effective, as a number of reviewers slept through their alarms. A few say they found these earplugs painful after a few hours.
Review: Hearos Ultimate Softness, 20-Pair Foam (Pack of 2), Contributors to Amazon.com, As of May 2013
Review Credibility: Very Good EarPlugStore.com is an online retailer dedicated solely to earplugs and hearing protection. Hearos Ultimate Softness Series gets an overall rating 4.4 out of 5 stars based on more 40 reviews spread out over several packaging options. Customers comment that these earplugs are soft, effective, good for sleep and motorcycles, and inexpensive. On the downside, Hearos Ultimate Softness Series has a tendency to fall out and there is a learning curve on inserting them properly.
Review: Hearos Ultimate Softness, Contributors to EarPlugStore.com, As of May 2013
Review Credibility: Very Good In this thorough roundup, Ulrich Boser rates eight different earplugs for effectiveness, comfort, durability and value. His favorite is the Hearos Ultimate Softness Series, which he finds to be just as effective as Howard Leight Max but softer.
Review: The Sound of Silence, Ulrich Boser, May 17, 2005
5. The Wall Street Journal
Review Credibility: Very Good The Wall Street Journal's Cranky Consumer picked Hearos because of their softness. However, they weren't without drawbacks. She says they fell out more than the others, but she was less likely to pull them out because of discomfort. She gives them an average rating for noise reduction.
Review: The Sounds of Silence: Testing Earplugs, Cynthia Crossen, March 9, 2006
Review Credibility: Very Good Motorcycle enthusiast Ian Johnston rates 13 brands of earplugs according to four criteria: packaging, expansion speed, pressure and comfort. He does not take noise reduction into account, noting that they are all well rated for NRR. Comfort and fit are more important, he says, because otherwise you won't be able to use the earplugs. Hearos Ultimate Softness Series garners the highest scores of any for pressure and comfort, but it loses points due to its packaging.
Review: Earplug Survey, Ian Johnston, June 21, 2011
Review Credibility: Very Good For motorcycle enthusiast Cheesebeast, Hearos Ultimate Softness Series (labeled in his review as Hearos Super Soft) come in seventh out of 23. He does find them to be very soft, but he had difficulty getting them in and remarked that "they may not work for people with large ear canals."
Review: Noise: A MO Investigation, "Cheesebeast", Oct. 14, 2006
Review Credibility: Fair A frequent traveler, "Kevin" blogs about gadgets and gear useful for the traveler, and in this posting, he names Hearos foam plugs as a close runner up to his favorite reusable earplug, SilentEar. He says they're not durable as his favorites, but they have the same level of noise reduction at a much lower price.
Review: Best Earplugs On The Market, "Kevin", Jan. 7, 2010
Review Credibility: Fair As a blogger focused on ways to improve sleep, Ethan Green researches and tests various earplugs. He names Hearos Ultimate Softness as the most comfortable foam earplug but notes they have a tendency to pop out of smaller ear canals. For greater noise reduction, he would recommend Hearos Xtreme Protection Series instead.
Review: The Best Earplugs for Sleeping, Ethan Green, Sept. 28, 2012
Review Credibility: Fair Kerry Kubilius, About.com's guide for Eastern Europe travel, lists 10 top earplugs, and Hearos Ultimate Softness Series is her top finisher. There is no mention of testing, and they are not compared to others, even though they are ranked.
Review: Top 10 Travel Earplugs -- Ear Plugs for Travel, Kerry Kubilius, Not Dated