Neighbors playing chess with their furniture (how else do you explain that racket?), a partner’s snoring, a loud nearby party or late-night construction—nothing comes between you and your Z’s like nagging, nasty noise. A white noise machine (or app!), the right temperature, and sublimely soft sheets go a long way, but if silence is what you crave, the solution is within you—in your ears, to be precise. Doctor of Audiology Peter Fan says that the best earplugs are the custom-made ones: Ear impressions are taken, and it takes about two weeks to manufacture them. Here, your guide to the best cacophony-calmers so you can slumber in perceived silence.
Westone Custom Sleep Plugs
Fan uses a company called Westone and says that many musicians use these for maximum sound reduction. Side sleepers, rejoice: “They can also make custom plugs that are recessed so that they fit more comfortably in the ear canals to allow comfortable sleep,” Fan notes. “Credited with saving many relationships” is in the product description, so that’s a good start.
This Swedish-designed brand makes earplugs with an FDA-approved clear thermo-plastic that reduces noise by 25 decibels on average—enough to transform normal conversation to a quiet whisper. They come in three sizes so they’re great for side sleepers, as well, since they won’t push against the pillow. Fun fact: These earplugs were even deemed chic enough to be sold at Paris cult-favorite store Colette. No small feat indeed.
Honeywell Laser Lites
Foam earplugs work by rolling them up and squeezing them into the ear canal, where they’ll expand to cover the entire opening and reduce all noise. Honeywell’s iteration are tiny and super comfortable. Plus, they’re uber bright so no one will wonder why you haven’t answered their question.
These plugs were designed by the House Ear Institute, a leading ear surgery and research center in California, and were rigorously tested by U.S. Navy pilots before they became available to civilians. Yes, the bright blue silicone ear plugs were originally intended for air travel, but they’ve got four rings to block out all kinds of sounds while keeping you as comfy as can be during changes in cabin pressure.
Drift To Sleep Earplugs
Available in show-stopping violet, these foam earplugs are shaped to fit even the tiniest ear canals. They come with a handy case so you can store your plugs most hygienically. Tote them to work, and accomplish what you need to in utter silence—open workspace be damned.