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Musicians, sportsmen and airline passengers may need special earplugs

If you want to avoid foam earplugs, Moldex Rockets are reusable and made of silicone. They're designed for easy insertion; you just push them into your ears. However, their noise reduction rating (NRR) of 27 decibels is far below the 32- and 33-decibel ratings you'll get from foam earplugs like the Hearos Ultimate Softness (Est. $7 for 20 pairs) and the Howard Leight Max (Est. $5 for 20 pairs). Users also don't rate the Moldex Rockets as highly for comfort.

Cirrus EarPlanes (Est. $5 for 1 pair) are designed to reduce ear pain from flying by regulating the pressure in your ears during takeoff and landing. They get great reviews from consumers for their effectiveness at easing pain during takeoffs and landings, and are a favorite brand for several airline employees who post their opinions online. Although these earplugs don't get great reviews for comfort, they only need to be worn during takeoff and landing. They also come in a small size for children and adults with small ear canals.

Musicians need earplugs that mute loud sounds but still preserve as complete a range of frequencies as possible. Concert-goers usually enjoy the same type of earplug; it allows them to protect their hearing while still listening to the whole of the music and, as an added bonus, when you have musician's earplugs you can usually converse with others at a normal level instead of shouting over the music.

The Etymotic ER20 Hi-Fidelity earplugs are designed to attenuate equally across all frequencies and are the favorite of bass instructor Bogdan Radovic on GuitarMasterClass.net. They come in two sizes, as do the Hearos High Fidelity musician's earplugs (Est. $12 for 1 pair), a perennial favorite with users that's designed to attenuate equally across frequencies, too. As each musician's needs tend to be different, experts recommend trying a variety of earplugs to see which best suits your type and volume of music, 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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Hearos Ultimate Softness Series Foam Earplugs, 20-Pair
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from Amazon.com
New: $4.43
Average Customer Review:  
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Howard Leight MAX1 Earplugs Uncorded NRR33 Box/200 Count
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from Amazon.com
New: $32.65 $18.50   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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Moldex Rockets Reusable UnCorded Earplugs - 2 Pair
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from Amazon.com
New: $13.78 $1.64   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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Ear Plugs - Children's Ear Protection for Airplane Travel.
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from Amazon.com
New: $6.95 $1.25   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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Hearos Earplugs High Fidelity Series with Free Case, 1-Pair
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from Amazon.com
New: $19.99 $9.59   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  

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