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Musicians, sportsmen, air passengers may need special earplugs

Moldex Rockets (*Est. $63 for 50 pairs) are reusable earplugs made of silicone. Their design means there is no multistep process to insert them properly; you just push them into your ears. However, they have a lower noise reduction rating (NRR) at 27 decibels (dB); far below the 32 and 33 dB ratings of some foam earplugs. Users also don't rate them as highly for comfort.

Cirrus EarPlanes ($5 for 1 pair) are designed to reduce ear pain from flying. They accomplish this by regulating air pressure in the ears when changing altitudes. They get great reviews from consumers for their effectiveness at easing pain during takeoffs and landings, and at least one flight attendant blogs about how crucial they are for her and about how she often recommends them to parents for their children. Although, they don't get great reviews for comfort, they only need to be worn about 30 minutes at a time.

Musicians need earplugs that mute loud sounds without blocking entire frequencies. The Etymotic Er-20 Hi-Fidelity earplugs (*Est. $14 per pair) are designed to attenuate equally across all frequencies and are the favorite of bass instructor Bogday Radovic on GuitarMasterClass.net. The Etymotic Er-20 Hi-Fidelity earplugs are the best selling earplugs in the U.S., but there are a number of earplugs available for musicians. As each musician's needs may be different, experts recommend trying a variety or investing in custom-made earplugs.

Avid hunters and shooters may find they are more comfortable with higher-end earplugs that allow them to hear normal sounds safely, while protecting their hearing from a sudden blast of gunfire. Ranging in price from $10 to $150, these earplugs are available at most sports stores and other retailers.

Those who simply can't find the right fit for their ears with standard earplugs may find custom-molded earplugs to be a better option. This is especially true for those with very small or very large ears, or those with ear canals that are two different sizes. Kits are available, or an audiologist can help.

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Moldex Rockets Reusable UnCorded Earplugs - 2 Pair
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New: $13.78 $0.91   
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Etymotic Research ER20 ETY-Plugs Hearing Protection Earplugs, Standard Fit, Clear Stem with Blue Tip (Light Blue)
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New: $12.95 $7.96   
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