Best Earplugs For Sensitive Ears – Hyperacusis

by | Nov 4, 2019

In A Hurry

If you are in a hurry and do not have time to read this entire article, below are the best earplugs for sensitive ears. Some plugs to carry with you at all times for when you need quick relief. Bluetooth headphones for music or “Pink noise” to mask those sounds. Finally heavy-duty earmuffs to block as much sound as possible.

However, I would recommend reading the full article to see why they were chosen and what else you can do for this condition

Introduction – Hyperacusis, sensitive ears

Hyperacusis is a rare sensitive ear condition that occurs in approximately 1 in 50,000 people. The condition means that the sufferer has difficulty coping with everyday sounds as they can lead to pain, stress, and anxiety.

The condition can be brought on by several different things, head trauma, drugs / antibiotics, and neurological disorders. Hyperacusis comes in two forms, cochlear and vestibular

In this article, we shall, of course, be discussing the Best Earplugs for Sensitive Ears, as well as discussing the condition, and what you can do to relieve, and hopefully permanently fix this problem.

Having good earplugs at all times when you have sensitive ears, is obviously a good idea. You can put them in when you are feeling uncomfortable. However, this is not always the best idea. The earplugs should only be worn when it is absolutely necessary – to stop any further deterioration. Read on to find out more!

Best Earplugs For Sensitive Ears - Hyperacusis 1

Earplug effectiveness – NNR

When you are buying earplugs for any reason, you want to know how effective they will be at reducing sounds. This is probably most true when you have Hyperacusis (Sensitive Ears). The sound is not just annoying or distracting. It can cause you physical pain.

Earplug’s effectiveness is measured in NNR (the Noise Reduction Rating). One point in NNR means the ear plugs with effectively block out one decibel (dB) of volume. So if you have a pair of NNR 20 rated plugs, and you are in an environment where the background noise is about 70dB, then you will hear the sound at around 50dB. (Fairly quiet – See the infographic below for an idea of what sound volumes are)

Most earplugs and ear defenders have NNRs of between 10 and 30, with the highest numbers being better at blocking sounds. Because of the way we hear, you will not be able to get ear plug that block all of the sound to your ears

Best Earplugs For Sensitive Ears - Hyperacusis 2

Earplug use with hyperacusis

When you have hyperacusis, earplugs will obviously give you relief as it blocks out a lot of the sounds that are causing you discomfort. However, you should try to carry your plugs more like a “comforter” rather than something you use daily.

A large proportion of people who suffer with hyperacusis overprotect their ears. WHAT? If you suffer from hyperacusis, there will be a tendency to wear some sort of ear protection whenever there is any amount of background noise. This can lead the hearing becoming more hypersensitizadized (is that a word?), as they are never being exposed to natural sound volumes

Whenever the noise level reaches possibly hazardous levels, this is when you should be wearing your hearing protection. Hazardous noise levels start at about 85dB at the lower end of the scale. This is about the volume of city traffic when you are inside the car, or a gas-powered lawnmower.

As a sufferer, you should always carry some good noise-reducing earplugs, for situations when you are in excessive noise, or you are having a terrible day and stressing out. However, they should really be carried for the comforting factor, knowing that should the need arise, you have them and can put them in at a moment’s notice. This alone will help lower your anxiety and stress levels, hopefully serving to keep the problem under control

My Hyperacusis Story

Types of Earplug for hyperacusis

When you have sensitive ears, you will probably want to have multiple sets of ear protection for various situations and how you are feeling on that day. The following are a list of the types of plugs you may want

  • Small Plugs. These are plugs that you can carry around with you all of the time, so that when you really need them they are to hand. They need to be small so that they can fit comfortably in your pocket or bag. These can be solid plugs that block out as much noise as possible. High Fidelity plugs that reduce loud noises to more manageable volumes. Or Noise-canceling headphones that you can connect to your smartphone and play music, or “Pink Noise” to block the outside world
  • Bluetooth Earmuffs. Large ear muffs that cover the whole ear. These are far more obvious than the above ear buds to play music, but have the advantage that they block the outside world better. These can be kept in the home and taken with you when you will be going to a situation that may be louder or more stressful
  • Noise Blocking Earmuffs. These are heavy-duty earmuffs that do not play music. The sole purpose of these is to block sound. Get some with the highest NNR to block out as much noise as possible. Great for when there is something particularly noisy, or you really need some quiet time. You can wear your smaller ear bugs under these for extra quiet or play music
  • White Noise Machine. OK, these are not earplugs – well spotted. White noise machines plays background noise which can really help hyperacusis. A lot of people with hyperacusis also have tinnitus. Playing a white noise machine can help you sleep, and even masks any other sounds that may have caused pain or anxiety. I have tinnitus, and these machines really help you to sleep with this condition
Best Earplugs For Sensitive Ears - Hyperacusis 3

What is Hyperacusis (Sensitive Ears)?

Hyperacusis is a hearing disorder that can be debilitating for the sufferer. People with severe Hyperacusis have difficulty with everyday sounds, and all sufferers have specific frequencies and volumes of sound that they cannot stand. A lot of people with Hyperacusis also suffer from tinnitus.

People who have Hyperacusis have an intolerance to certain sounds. These sounds may cause pain, annoyance, and panic attacks.

Hyperacusis can be caused by several things:

  • Loud sounds
  • Lyme disease
  • Ear infections
  • Psychoactive drugs
  • Antibiotics – ciprofloxacin
  • As well as others

There are treatments available. The most common one is to use retraining therapy using broadband noise (“Pink Noise”). By listening to this noise for periods each day, sufferers can rebuild their tolerance to the sounds which are affecting them.

This treatment can take months and in some cases, even a couple of years. However, most patients who have tried this believe that it is worth the time. A complete recovery is not always made, but most people say they have a significant improvement in their suffering

Custom Earbuds vs Earplugs for Hyperacusis

Pink noise treatment

Pink noise is similar to white noise, the difference being that Pink noise covers the noises that we hear commonly in the everyday world, whereas white noise covers the entire sound spectrum.

When you have hyperacusis, you need to follow the correct procedure in order to retrain your hearing. This section is just a quick overview of what is required. The Hyperacusis Network  can give you the complete details on Pink noise therapy.

It has been reported that over 90% of Hyperacusis have seen improvements in their sound tolerances using this method.

The therapy involves using special hearing aids that play pink noise at almost inaudible volumes, for periods of 2 to 8 hours a day. The treatment is aimed at making the ears desensitized to these sounds.

Visit The Hyperacusis Network for more details

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Recommended Products – Best Earplugs For Sensitive Ears - Hyperacusis

Below are the best earplugs for sufferers of hyperacusis. The products were chosen because they had the best reviews at their given prices. Click on any product to see hundreds of great independent reviews!

Keenhealth Reusable Silicone Ear Plugs - Perfect for...
270 Reviews
Keenhealth Reusable Silicone Ear Plugs - Perfect for...
  • REUSABLE EAR PLUGS TO REDUCE THE NOISE WHILE YOU’RE SLEEPING PEACEFULLY - Reduce sound and noise up to 29dB NRR. While the city lives on outside your bedroom, you can dream soundly with Keenhealth’s ear plugs for sleeping.
Ear Plugs, High Fidelity Earplugs for Concerts, Musicians...
175 Reviews
Ear Plugs, High Fidelity Earplugs for Concerts, Musicians...
  • 🌟[EAR PROTECTION]: High decibel loud external noises can have devastating short and long term effects on your hearing. Filter outside noises and reduce inner ear damage with our ear plugs noise reduction for men and women. The high fidelity ear plugs still let the outside sounds you need in, while filtering out sharp acoustic sounds that can cause tinnitus & hearing loss.
  • 🌟[MUTIPLE FUNCTION]: The high fidelity earplugs for concerts keep you comfortable whether you’re making music or dancing to it, which are absolutely safe for your ears and health. Suitable for concerts, musicians, drummer, percussion, DJs or parties.
  • 🌟[PREMIUM VALUE]: The high fidelity airplane ear plugs are supplied in an aluminum case with carabiner to keep your musician ear plugs safe and clean, it's also convenient for you to carry wherever you go. Extra 1 pairs Airplan earplugs are included, giving you more options on ear protection.
Bluetooth Headphones, Best Wireless Sports Earphones HD...
2 Reviews
Bluetooth Headphones, Best Wireless Sports Earphones HD...
  • Superd sound quality: featuring latest Bluetooth 4. 1 CSR technology and state of the art acoustic components that produce incredible sound quality with deep bass and crystal clear treble.
  • Light weight engineering plastic and memory soft steel wire: light weightless feeling, free from the shackles of wired headphones, ergonomic design allows for ultimate Wearing Comfort to Match your active lifestyle, running with the music.
  • COMFORTABLE AND SECURE FIT: ActivBuds feature Ergonomically designed flexible ear hooks with gel flex silicone earbuds to ensure your headphones stay comfortably firm in place to fatigue free ears and tangle free comfort.
  • Longest battery life - the new and improved lithium polymer battery allows seamless enjoyment of music for up to 8 hours and 240 hours stand-by with a quick charge of only 1. 5 hours.
  • With Bluetooth 4. 1 Audio technology: the earbud can connect seamlessly with all enabled devices up to 10m away, compatible with all Bluetooth enabled devices to connect with two smart phones at once.
Bluetooth Headphones Over Ear, YAMAY Wireless Headphones...
393 Reviews
Bluetooth Headphones Over Ear, YAMAY Wireless Headphones...
  • ★【Bluetooth Headphones with Impressive Sound Quality 】- Yamay H7 adopts the professional chip and large-aperture drivers to deliver you the Hi-Fi sound. H7 also has a good performance in deep bass response and extended frequency range.Combined with over-ear cushion and closed-back design,H7 can block much noise from the surroundings and provide you with clean and quite music enjoyment.
  • ★【 Comfortable Over-Ear Wireless Headphones 】- Yamay H7 adopts the professional Protein earpad,90° swiveling large earcups and large range flexible headband,making it adjustable enough for you to find perfect comfort position and bring much less burden to your ears.
  • ★【 Headphones with Microphone 】- H7 has built-in microphone to support you for hands free phone calls.You can also handle calls and music easily With 3 buttons on it (Answer/refuse phone calls,volume +/-,pre/next/pause/play song).With a single full charge,H7's battery can last up to 20 hours.
  • ★【 BT 5.0 Quick Stable Connection & Wired Mode】- Yamay H7 bluetooth headset adopts the latest bluetooth 5.0 technology.The transmission is fast,efficient and very stable with a large range (up to 30 feet) between H7 with your paired device,like cellphone or tablet.H7 also comes with a 3.5mm audio cable,which enable you to use it with wired mode or for non-bluetooth device too ( In wired mode,H7 can't control music and calls via its buttons)
  • ★【 Solid Built & Satisfied Service】-H7 bluetooth earphones are very durable for daily use with solid build quality.If you have any questions about this product or your order,you can contact us at anytime.We reply most buyer messages in less than 12 hours.Buy with confidence.
Mpow [Upgraded] Noise Reduction Safety Ear Muffs, SNR 36dB...
1,276 Reviews
Mpow [Upgraded] Noise Reduction Safety Ear Muffs, SNR 36dB...
  • ADJUSTABLE HEADBAND DESIGN: High quality adjustable headband design ensures that it fits firmly and comfortably around your head it can be flexibly adjusted to suit various sizes. Great Deal for Shooting Hunting Season!
  • SOFT AND COMFORTABLE: The earmuffs can bring lightweight and extremely comfortable adventure for you. Ergonomically designed double-deck headband stays close to your head without causing pressure.
  • NRR SOUND TECHNOLOGY, ANSI S3.19 & CE EN352-1 CERTIFIED: Designed with 2 layers of professional noise dampening foam, high sealing solid cup and the unique double-shell, the ear muff offers a SNR 36dB / NRR 29dB (Noise Reduction Rating) for the ear protection. Lab tested and certified to US and European standards.
  • REDUCE THE NOISE AROUND YOU: The safety ear muffs can be used as a great ear protection for shooting, hunting, indoor gun range, racing, reading, concert, studying and operating machinery to protect hearing, especially suitable for work in construction and landscaping work.
  • LIGHT WEIGHT AND EASY TO STORE: The Mpow shooting safety earmuff comes with a carrying pouch, you just need to fold it up and put it in your suitcase, backpack, ammo box, drawer, or wherever you keep your ear muffs.
White Noise Machine, MOICO Sleep Sound Machines for Sleeping...
348 Reviews
White Noise Machine, MOICO Sleep Sound Machines for Sleeping...
  • 【30 SOOTHING SOUNDS】: MOICO white noise sound machine has a total 30 sounds in 6 different categories (5 options each) - including 5 white noise, 5 fan sounds, Birds, Forest Sound, Cuckoo, Babbling Brook, Summer Night, Ocean Waves, Gentle Waves, Waves on the Beach, Distant Waves, Seagulls, Heavy Rain, Moderate Rain, Light Rain, Thunder, Thunderstorm, 4 types of Heartbeat, Clock Ticking. Mask outside noise and internal distractions, help you and the baby get a good night's rest.
  • 【35 VOLUME SETTINGS】: To ensure that you can hear your baby noise machine in all conditions, the machine is equipped with adaptive volume control that you can raise or lower the decibels according to the ambient noise surround. Efficiently block out background noise, allowing for better sleep, soothing the babies, protecting office privacy and calming the sound-sensitive dogs.
  • 【OPTIONAL TIMER & MEMORY FUNCTION】: The sleep sound machine can play all night, or shut off automatically after 30/60 minutes. It remembers the sound, volume you set last time. There's also a built-in 3.5mm headphone jack, so if your partner finds it disruptive, you can experience it on you own without bothering them. Great for uses when taking nap, relaxation, meditation, studying or working.
  • 【COMPACT & TRAVEL FRIENDLY】: The portable noise machine weights only 12 oz, easily fits into your handbag or backpack. It comes with a standard USB cable (USB wall charger included), so if you lost the cable by mistake, you can easily find another one on the market. And it is compatible with dual voltage 100~240V, this makes it great for travel.
  • 【FANCY GIFT CHOICE FOR BABY AND YOUR LOVED ONE】: What you will get: MOICO White Noise Sound Machine, USB Wall Charger, USB Cable, User Manual, 45-Day Money Back Assurance and 24-Month Product Assurance. Please do not hesitate to send us a message with any problems, we will serve you within 12 hours. Zero-risk purchase, "Add to Cart" now!

Conclusions - Best Earplugs For Sensitive Ears - Hyperacusis

If you suffer from hyperacusis then you should try to wear earplugs as little as possible, to get used to real-world sounds again. However, always carry a good pair of plugs for the times when the noise becomes dangerously loud, or you are is a stressful situation!

Hyperacusis Tips

People Also Ask

Can hyperacusis go away on its own?

There are several reasons that you can get hyperacusis, and depending on the cause, it is possible that the problem will go away of its own accord. If hyperacusis was caused by trauma to the ears or brain there is a chance that the sensitivity to sound will lessen over time.

When the cause of your sensitive ears is not known, there is less chance that the situation is going to improve without any treatment

One of the most effective ways to get rid of this condition is to listen to “Pink Noise” though a good set of headphones

Is hyperacusis a mental illness?

There are many reasons that a person can get hyperacusis. These are both physical – for example, damaging hearing by listening to something too loud, or head trauma. Sensitive hearing can also be brought about by drugs and antibiotics. Both of these cases would not be considered a mental illness.

The final cause of hyperacusis are neurological disorders, which some may class as a form of mental illness

Does hyperacusis get worse?

The answer is – It depends.

What causes the hyperacusis is one factor. If it was brought on by loud noises, and you keep exposing yourself to the same sounds, then it will likely get worse. If it was brought about by head trauma, this will hopefully not keep reoccurring, so it should remain constant.

Any treatment and your lifestyle may also influence whether it gets worse. As mentioned before, if you are always wearing earplugs to block sound, then this may lead to a worsening condition.

If you suffer from this condition, you should carry earplugs or headphones with you in case you really need them. But only wear them when it is absolutely necessary to prevent the condition worsening

Is hyperacusis a disability?

If you know someone with hyperacusis, then you will know that it really is a disability as it totally affects the suffers life. However, some countries do not recognize it as a disability.

I am not an expert, not an American (I am British), so I do not feel it is my place to answer this question. I will take the answer from another paper on the subject

“Yes, people with auditory disorders have sensory impairments that meet the legal standard of having disabilities.”

Read the full paper here 


If you require more information, please check these references , article, “Hyperacusis”, retrieved on, Mon 04-November-2019 , article, “Sound Sensitivity Hyperacusis”, retrieved on, Mon 04-November-2019 , article, “Hyperacusis”, retrieved on, Mon 04-November-2019 , article, “The Relationship of Tinnitus, Hyperacusis, and Hearing Loss”, retrieved on, Mon 04-November-2019

Nick Le Page Profile

About the author

Nick is a Computer programmer with 25 years experience working in the Industry. Past clients include The BBC, Natwest, British Rail.and Torbay Council.

Nick has suffered with Tinnitus for over 25 years

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