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In this report

Earplugs: Ratings of Sources

Total of 20 Sources
Efficacy of Commercial Earplugs in Preventing Water Intrusion During Swimming
by H. Mahboubi et al.
Our AssessmentIn this study, nine different earplugs were tested in 10 different individuals to determine which earplugs were most effective at preventing water from entering the ear canal. Three different scenarios were used: splashing and swimming on the surface without submerging the head and submerging the head under three feet of water both with the head upright and with the head tilted 90 degrees to the left and right. All earplugs allowed some amount of water to enter the ear canal, more so when the head was completely submerged, but Mack's Pillow Soft was the most effective.
An Objective Comparison of Leakage between Commonly Used Earplugs
by J.A. Alt and W.O. Collins
Our AssessmentIn this study, the researchers tested the efficacy of four different earplugs at preventing water from entering the ear canal by placing them in an anatomically correct model of the ear then exposing it to water. Mack's Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs was the most effective at preventing water intrusion. The least effective was a custom molded earplug.
3. Amazon.com
As of May 2013
by Contributors to Amazon.com
Our AssessmentConsumer reviews of earplugs are very helpful in determining their performance in real world use. People of all different (ear) shapes and sizes write reviews, helping pinpoint the best earplug by fit for specific ear conditions. User reviews of earplugs on Amazon.com mirror those from professional sources. The top-rated products here, with the highest number of positive reviews, are Hearos Ultimate Softness Series, Hearos Xtreme Protection Series, Howard Leight Max and Howard Leight Laser Lite. Hearos Ultimate Softness is also marked as their best seller in Health & Personal Care. The swimming earplug with the most favorable reviews is Mack's AquaBlock.
4. EarPlugStore.com
As of May 2013
by Contributors to EarPlugStore.com
Our AssessmentEarPlugStore.com is an online retailer dedicated solely to earplugs and hearing protection. There are fewer user reviews here than on Amazon.com, but the users are knowledgeable about earplugs and have often tried multiple types, and the reviews are detailed and very helpful for real-world use and fit. Hearos Ultimate Softness, Hearos Xtreme Protection, Howard Leight Max and Howard Leight Laser Lite all receive favorable reviews. For swimming earplugs, Putty Buddies has the highest number of positive reviews, scoring 5 out of 5 stars with all but one user. Mack's Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs and AquaBlock also receive favorable reviews.
5. Slate.com
May 17, 2005
The Sound of Silence
by Ulrich Boser
Our AssessmentIn this thorough roundup, Ulrich Boser rates eight different earplugs for effectiveness, comfort, durability and value. Only two perform above par: Howard Leight Max, which Boser says do an "excellent job of reducing sound" and are easy to use, and Hearos Ultimate Softness Series, which are just as effective as Max but even softer. The most expensive earplug -- the white-noise-producing Sleep-Eze -- gets low scores for poor design and performance. Despite being seven years old, this review is still relevant because these earplugs are still widely used.
6. The Wall Street Journal
March 9, 2006
The Sounds of Silence: Testing Earplugs
by Cynthia Crossena
Our AssessmentThe Wall Street Journal's Cranky Consumer tries out five brands of earplugs, pitting them against "unmuffled motorcycles, emergency sirens, television at normal volume, barking dogs and a rooster." Her top pick is Hearos, because of their softness. She says, "They fell out more than the others, but I was less likely to pull them out because of discomfort." Mack's Ear Seals are described as "uncomfortably rigid," and Flents Quiet! Please as "scratchy" when inserted.
7. Obairlann.net
June 21, 2011
Earplug Survey
by Ian Johnston
Our AssessmentMotorcycle enthusiast Ian Johnston rates 13 brands of earplugs according to four criteria: packaging, expansion speed, pressure and comfort. He does not rate on noise reduction, noting that if they don't fit, they won't work, regardless of NRR rating. His top-rated brand is Moldex Pura-Fit, followed by three Howard Leight brands: Laser Lite, Max Lite and Max (he complains that Howard Leight plugs are generally too big). Hearos Super Soft loses points for packaging, which may not be a consideration for most people. Johnston calls Aearo/E-A-R Classic "among the worst earplugs I've ever tried." In later updates, Johnston says he has returned to using 3M 1100 earplugs because they fit his ears best, although he still recommends the Howard Leight Max plugs. He also tries Mighty Plugs, which he finds uncomfortable to wear and SilentEar, which he is unable to seat properly.
8. Motorcycle.com
Oct. 14, 2006
Noise: A MO Investigation
by "Cheesebeast"
Our AssessmentMotorcycle enthusiast "Cheesebeast" clearly has tried a lot of earplugs; this article lists the pros and cons of 23 brands. Howard Leight Max is his number one pick for its "transparent comfort, excellent noise attenuation and easy fit," followed by E-A-Rsoft FX and Howard Leight Laser Lite.
9. SleepLikeTheDead.com
Nov. 3, 2012
Earplugs For Sleep: Reviews and Ratings
by Nick Robinson
Our AssessmentSleepLikeTheDead.com is a website dedicated to reviewing sleep products. In their earplugs review, they compile information from 780 different users to create a list of the top six earplugs. Howard Leight Laser Lite, Max and Max Lite are all given top marks, though their reusability is only considered fair. Hearos Xtreme Protection and Ultimate Softness also score well and have greater reusability, but they are two to three times more expensive. 3M E-A-R Classic Earplug rounds out the top six. They do not detail how they obtained the reviews from the owners, and they don't list the earplugs with low ratings.
10. webBikeWorld
Not dated
Disposable Ear Plugs
by "Rick K."
Our AssessmentMotorcycle enthusiast "Rick K." tries out six different brands of earplugs and reports his impressions. His top choice is Moldex Pura-Fit, which do "a great job of attenuating noise" and only cost about 10 cents per pair. E-A-R EarSoft Grippers are the only earplug that he likes as much if not more than the Moldex Pura-Fit. The Howard Leight plugs he tested are dismissed as uncomfortable and ineffective.
11. webBikeWorld
Not dated
by Lucy Dell Ear Plug Assortment "Rick K."
Our AssessmentIn this second write-up, "Rick K." tests 20 different earplugs and details the pros and cons of each. He evaluates the earplugs based on effectiveness, size, comfort and ease of insertion. His earplugs of choice are the Moldex Pura-Fit because they are comfortable, easy to insert and "do an excellent job of controlling noise." Most of the earplugs he reviews perform well, but he notes that their efficacy will vary depending upon the shape of your ear and how well the earplugs fit in them.
12. Verrill.com
Nov. 12, 1999
Earplugs … Sorry, could you repeat that?
by Ted Verrill
Our AssessmentDespite the age of this review, the earplugs he compares have changed very little. A motorcycle enthusiast, Ted Verrill is lukewarm about Howard Leight Max, saying they're on the large side, and Hearos, because of their lower NRR rating. He top-rates Howard Leight Laser Lite, because they are narrower than the Max and expand to fill the ear canal.
13. Motorcycle Paradise
Dec. 4, 2006
Ear Plug Shootout
by Iron Chef
Our Assessment"Iron Chef," an Australian motorcyclist, takes eight brands of earplugs for a test drive. He doesn't explicitly recommend any of these plugs; like other reviewers, he highly rates Howard Leight Max, but he says they're too big to insert comfortably.
14. USA Today
Not dated
The Best Ear Plugs for Flying
by Joe Fletcher
Our AssessmentJoe Fletcher examines existing reviews from various sources, including the EarPlugStore.com, and he details the three most commonly recommended for flying: Cirrus EarPlane, FliteMate Earplugs and Alpine FlyFit. Unlike other earplug reviewers, he places emphasis on regulation of airflow, as the main purpose of these earplugs is to help regulate air pressure.
15. PracticalHacks.com
Jan. 7, 2010
Best Earplugs On The Market?
by "Kevin"
Our AssessmentA frequent traveler, "Kevin" blogs about gadgets and gear useful for the traveler, and in this posting, he describes the success he has had with SilentEar earplugs. He likes that they come in multiple sizes and are reusable, in addition to being comfortable and effective. For disposable earplugs, he suggests Hearos foam plugs.
16. HubPages.com
Sept. 28, 2012
The Best Earplugs for Sleeping
by Ethan Green
Our AssessmentAs a blogger focused on ways to improve sleep, Ethan Green researches and tests various earplugs. He names Ohropax as the best wax earplug, Hearos Ultimate Softness as the most comfortable foam earplug and Hearos Xtreme Protection as the best foam earplug for noise reduction. While he does offer helpful information on what to look for and tips for using earplugs, Green doesn't detail what other earplugs he tested or his criteria for naming these earplugs as his top three.
17. Bestcovery.com
June 25, 2012
Best Earplugs For Swimming
by Arthur Thares
Our AssessmentBestcovery.com uses experts to recommend the best products. For earplugs, the expert is Arthur Thares, a personal trainer with many years experience as a lifeguard. Thares lists his top pick as Mack's AquaBlock Earplugs for their ease of fit, comfort and effectiveness at blocking out water. Zoggs Aqua Plugz, Insta-Putty Moldable Silicone Putty Ear Plugs, Aqua Sphere Ear Plugs and TYR Silicone Molded Ear Plugs complete the top five. These top choices are picked solely on the author's experience, and it is unclear if he has tested each product himself or is relying on other data.
18. About.com
Not dated
Top 10 Earplugs for Travel
by Kerry Kubilius
Our AssessmentKerry Kubilius, About.com's Eastern Europe travel guide, lists 10 top earplugs. However, there's no indication that she actually tried out all of the plugs, and she chooses the top finisher -- Hearos Ultimate Softness Series -- based on a review by Slate.com (listed above).
19. KK.org
Nov. 11, 2003
Best Inexpensive Noise Blockers: Max Earplugs
by Edward J. Murphy
Our AssessmentEdward J. Murphy says, "I've tried every kind of earplug, from balls of silicone to wax and cotton, and these [Howard Leight Max] work best for me." He does not list what other earplugs he has tried or what exactly he found lacking in them.
20. GuitarMasterClass.net
Dec. 6, 2007
Er-20 Hi-fi Ear Plugs Review
by Bogdan Radovic
Our AssessmentGuitarMasterClass is a Swedish-based website dedicated to teaching guitar. In this single-product review, bass instructor Bogdan Radovic stresses how important it is for musicians to use ear protection when playing or attending concerts to prevent tinnitus and future hearing loss. He recommends the Etymotic Research ER20 Hi-Fidelity earplugs, which cut sound levels by 20 dB while retaining tones in most frequencies, including the high frequencies. Radovic found the earplugs to be comfortable, but he wishes that there was a brand that could lower the sound level even more while still retaining all the frequencies of the music.
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