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Ear Protection for Clubbing: Best Earplugs for Nightclubs

Have you always wondered how to protect your ears in a nightclub?

This guide to ear plugs for nightclubs will help you determine what ear plugs to buy based on your needs. Are you a club-goer who likes to dance? Do you wear earplugs for sleeping?

You want to protect your hearing, enjoy dancing and still have a conversation without being annoying.

Keep reading to learn more about the best ways to protect your ears.

How To Protect Your Ears When Inside a Nightclub

Best Rave Earplugs, or Earplugs for Nightclubs. This article will give in-depth details of what you should look for in earplugs for these situations. Both venues are very similar, so all advice applies to both.

You will look for something that:

  • Protects Hearing
  • Keeps The Sound Quality
  • Discreet, Not Easily Seen
  • Allows You To Talk & Hear

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In A Hurry?
If you require the best hearing protection and do not want to read the entire article, below are my recommended products.

Look Like a Nerd

Well, this is stupid. I don’t want to be a nerd in the club, with plugs in my ears, I don’t care.”

Today, I want to talk about something dear to my heart, or more accurately, more dear to my head, and to be very specific dear to my ears and eardrums, and that’s hearing protection.

When you’re going out to raves and night clubs. The type of earplugs you buy are equally effective at a rave, or a nightclub.

Now I’ve been going out for 15, 16 years with regularity, like twice a week, sometimes in the early days, up to seven days a week. Going out to the bars, nightclubs, loud environments where your ears getting just blasted, just getting blasted, by the music, regularly.

When I was Younger...

Now, when I was younger, I had a very cavalier attitude. I was almost nihilistic, and hearing damage wasn’t something that concerned me, but as I got into my 30s, I saw the cumulative effect of having my ears blasted like this regularly.

And practically what occurs after a boot camp, I would go do the debrief or whatever, go back, maybe I would go back with a girl, whatever, but when it came time for sleepy time and the lights went out, and I’m there in the darkness, and it’s silent, and I’m actually trying to go to sleep. I would hear this persistent little ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, this high-pitched ring in my ears.

And of course, this is what’s clinically referred to as tinnitus, which again is a persistent high-pitched ringing in the ear in fact, indicative of damage being done to the eardrum, being done to the delicate mechanism of your auditory senses.

So, over time, this can become a chronic thing where anytime that it’s silent, you’ll hear this persistent ringing. And for some people, it can get so bad to where it drives them insane.

I’m not sure if there have been any cases of like killing themselves over tinnitus, you know maybe there have been. Again, I don’t know that for sure, but for some people, it becomes like this awful reality of their new life, like this is my life now, it’s always ringing.

I have these episodes Too

So, once I had these episodes, if you will, at the end of the night when I was trying to go to sleep and just hearing this ringing, I became concerned. So, I explored options for hearing protection in the club.

Now, over the years, I’ve used every type of earplug that you can conceive of. So what I want to do right now is give you a breakdown of the options for hearing protection, and the different price points, and you can decide for yourself what hearing protection you want to use.

Now, it’s kind of funny because I’ve seen this come up in forums and stuff like that, and often it’s met with scorn and ridicule from other people.

They’re like, “Well, this is stupid. I don’t want to be a nerd in the club, with plugs in my ears, I don’t care”. And I’m assuming that the people who are posting this are like very young men who can’t even conceive, or they think that they’re immortal, they can’t even possibly imagine that this could be an issue down the line.

Well, I’m here to tell you, it very well can be. And it’s completely preventable, and it has zero quantifiable effect in terms of your game. Like no girl is going to see you have earplugs in and be like, “Ew, you are a nerd! I’m not interested now!”

If she doesn’t want you because of ostensibly because of the earplugs. Let me tell you, she probably wasn’t ever going to, okay. If that’s, you probably have deeper issues at hand, if you will, than the earplugs.

Types Of Rave Earplugs – Earplugs For Nightclubs

So anyway, having said all of that, let me do the breakdown. Now the first most basic type of earplug, like if you find yourself out at the club, and you either forgot your earplugs, or you don’t have any. All of sudden you’re noticing that this music is becoming so oppressive that it's becoming painful to you, you can actually forge and craft earplugs from items that are available on the bar.

Putting Tissue In Your Ear At A Nightclub

My assistant does this, what he’ll do is he will get a bar napkin, like so, and he will rip it up, and he’ll like to wad it into a little thing like this, and he will want to shove it in his ear, like so. And again, this is like the most ghetto, I guess would be the word, the most ghetto option.

I think that it’s ridiculous, to be honest. My assistant does this all the time, but it’s like hey, if you’re a cheap-ass, and, or, and again you forgot yours, in a pinch, this will work, this will provide some protection. You can do it anywhere, right? You can grab a little bar napkin, wad it up, and put it in there.

Foam Earplugs At A Rave

At least that’s going to provide some protection. Now, the next level up is the cheap foam earplugs. And these little ones, these, a lot of times at clubs you’ll see they’ll have, especially at EDM clubs, or dance clubs, where they play loud music, they’ll have a little bowl for these or a small container where you can grab some of these.

They’re usually individually packaged in a little sterile unit. But again, these are going to be minimally effective, and they look kind of ridiculous coming out, but yet these are better than the bar napkin. But what I find with these, they will prevent the damage, but they also tend to muffle everything, including other people’s voices.

So, yeah, it’s going to protect, but you’re going to have a difficult time understanding other people, and furthermore, you’re also going to have a difficult time gauging the quality of your voice, and how loud you’re speaking. So, again, these better than nothing, but what I actually find these useful for when you’re on an airplane, or if I’m trying to sleep and one of the assistants is like snoring or something.

These are good for that because that way that they compress. Like if I try to use my actual earplugs that I’ll tell you about in a moment, they become uncomfortable over time, like if my head is laying against something. But these will work in a pitch, and they’re incredibly inexpensive. So, number two, second level, the little foam guys here.

second level, the little foam guys here.

Specialist Rave Ear Plugs

The third level is going to be my favorite brand, and they are called EarPeace. And these guys, you can get them, and links are going to be in the description below, for all of these by the way, and these are called EarPeace High Fidelity Hearing Protection, and they get three plugs. And it’s kind of cute. They come with a little case, a small carrying case for your key chain, so they don’t get messed up. And here, you have a variety of different levels of protection that you can swap out the little plug inside of these. So I believe they have 19 and 14, and then 11 decibels protection.

These are a kind of like a little vinyl, flexible vinyl, bell-shaped with a core that is doing the hearing protection. They’re not going to be super noticeable. And they work well, they work better than the little foam guys for sure, and they’re going to provide legit protection, and they’re going to tend to attenuate the sound over the full spectrum.

So you’re not going to get as much of that muffled effect. So these are an excellent choice, and these are going to protect your hearing. You’re not going to get that ringing at the end of the night. And these are about, and if I’m not mistaken, I believe these are under twenty bucks, so these are great. If you want to get serious about your earplugs, but you want to be economical about it, the EarPeace is probably the way to go, to start.

The great thing about these, if you lose them, you don’t care that much, cause they are cheap, whoop-ti-do. And you can get these on Amazon, and these are very good, I like these a lot. I’ve used these for many, many years.

Professional Rave Ear Plugs

Then I decided, you know since this is my profession, this is my job, I owe it to myself to make the investment and get some earplugs that are a little bit more legit if you will. And so, I looked around, and then I found the Etymotic Research Music-PRO plugs. And what these are, this is very interesting, and you can see they come in a cute little case here, you can carry around, and they look like, almost like a hearing aid.

They’re powered by hearing aid battery, and it just flips out a tiny little cell. And cracks right in there, and so now, again these are electronic so that you can turn these on. And I’ve actually swapped out, and they came with a different style of the actual plug that goes in the ear. So I swapped out with these comfort foam plugs. And, let’s see is this left or the right? I don’t think there’s any difference. You know you put them in like this. And what these do, these are interesting because they automatically adjust to sound levels.

What they do is they also enhance the voices. Like there are different settings on this, for varying levels of cancellation. So mainly they work like a white noise cancellation thing. And — yeah, so what it does, is it’s blocking out harmful frequencies electronically, and it’s enhancing the voices of the people that you’re interacting with. So these are pretty awesome.

They’re quite expensive, and these are over two hundred dollars, plus tax. And again, they need to be powered, but when I’ve used these, they’ve protected me very well, like I had no problems, even in the loudest environments, like LIV in Miami, OMNIA in Vegas, like I had zero issues, and you can hear other people quite well.

My only issue with these is that they’re quite bulky, as you can see, and they kind of make you look like you’re an android, perhaps from Star Trek or something like this, or maybe like you’re disabled. Like I’ve have had multiple women ask me, “Oh, are you deaf? Are those hearing aids?” I’m like what, no. I’ve perfect hearing. 

So they look kind of weird, again, that concern about, like I don’t want to look like some dork, these are the only ones where that might be some legitimate concern. You know, because they do look kind dorky, they do look unusual. I love these though.

But I said you know, as cool as these are, I want to switch this up to something a little less inconspicuous, a little more low key, a bit more chill, a little less extra if you will. And that then brings us to the custom earplugs.

Rave Earplugs – Custom Earplugs

Now, I heard about these for quite some time. And then a friend got them, and I saw how they looked. I was like, and those are “awesome dude.” And, he was a musician, he used to play in Death Metal bands, and these are the actual musician earplugs. So you have to go to an audiologist to get these because it requires a custom mold of your ear be made. And it’s straightforward, it’s a 15-minute process, it’s nothing complicated. You just literally google, “Audiologist,” with your zip code or your local postal code, or whatever.

It’s going to come up audiologists. Call them up, say you want to get some custom earplugs made. I’m in loud environments a lot, and I got to the club, they’ll know exactly what you’re talking about. And you go in there, again 15-minute procedure, put a little plug in your ear, and then they inject your ear with this silicone mold, and let it harden for like 10 minutes, they fish it out, send it into the company.

You get to choose what color you want, and so forth. And then you get these back, about a week later, and here they are. And, what this is, this is a mold of my ear canal. This is my left ear canal. And you want to get this bend, so it needs to go around the first bend to get the full attenuation across the spectrum. And you can swap out these little plugs for different levels of hearing protection.

Mine are the nine-decibel ones. And for me, those are sufficient that I don’t get the hearing damage at the end of the night, I don’t get that ringing at the end of the night. But they aren’t so extreme that I can’t understand what other people are saying.

I’ll swap it out for a higher level if I say am going to a rock concert or something like that. But for the most part, I’d say the nine decibels one, is going to be more than sufficient to, you’re not going to get that hearing damage at the end of the night. So, these, as you can see, and I got the rose-colored, the translucent rose, and as I said, you can get these custom. You can get them like sparkle swirl, and all kinds of crazy colors, black if you want to be goth.

But these go in like this, put them in, boom, and boom, there they are. And they sit perfectly in your ear, as they have been custom molded to its shape. These are the best, and in my experience, you can hear better, in fact, you can listen to people’s voices better because they are super effective.

They’ll cancel out the damaging frequencies, but you can hear everything else much more clearly, including other people’s voices. As you can see, they do stick out a little bit, but they’ll virtually unnoticeable. And again they are quite convenient, I carry them in my pocket, pop them out, boom. As soon as I get in the club, and total protection.

I can feel comfortable that I’m not damaging my hearing. It’s funny, when I went in to actually have the molds made, before they actually do it, she conducted, the audiologist, she held a little test where you sit in a booth, you might have had this when you were in elementary school, where they do like hearing tests, or vision tests, hearing tests.

So they would put these headphones over your ears, and you’re in a soundproof room, and then they set off a variety of high pitched and different low pitched tones. And you know, right and left, and every time you hear it you raise your finger, so they can tell what the limits of your hearing are. And when the results came back for me, I had what’s called a notch in my hearing.

It’s a specific frequency where there’s been damage done. And she’s like, it’s not bad, but you made the right decision to come in to protect yourself from further damage. And it’s crazy, and I do have something, it’s called sudden onset tinnitus. Where I’ll be like sitting here, and all of a sudden, I’ll get this ringing in my left ear, and then it will slowly trail away.

It’s harmless apparently, but again, it’s a testament to the fact, that going out after all these years can have lasting effects on your hearing. This is one of those things that when I got it, I was like, why didn’t you get this ten years ago? What were you thinking? You ever have something like that where you get it, and you’re like I should’ve got this five, ten years ago.

Like I would have saved myself so many problems. So if you’re on the fence about these, and if you have the money for these, and by the way, these will run you over two hundred dollars, at least initially. For the test, the molds to be made, and then the actual earplugs themselves.

The plug does not protrude, and it’s flush with the surface of it. So you see here, it’s like this one sticks out, this one is flush its inside. And in here I’ve got the nine-decibel ones, and they’ve got a little alien antenna for you to be able to fish it out. Because once you get these in there, it can be kind of, without this, it would be impossible to get out.

These are mainly, for all intents and purposes, these are entirely invisible. They are comfortable enough to wear all night without any discomfort. The protection, supreme. It’s almost like having an enhanced hearing in the club, and I can hear better in the club. The one thing I would say about these, they do make your voice seem louder in your head when you have them in. So there might be a period of adjustment, like if you’re talking to people the first couple of interactions, you might notice them going like, “What, what?”

Because you think that you’re talking louder a bit louder than you are, so you have to make that adjustment. And purposely, make a conscious decision to speak a little louder, but after that, it is okay. I mean that’s the only complaint that I can have about these. They tend to exaggerate the volume of your voice in your head, but aside from that, these are awesome.

These are worth, this is one of those purchases, again where I feel worth every penny. Worth every penny, and more, because you cannot put a price on your health. Am I right? So, again, check out the profile here, you really can’t see them at all.

If you get that pink translucent rose color, and it’s funny, I was like, shouldn’t I get clear? And the audiologist, she said, “Well, that’s what most people think, but you want to get the rose translucent, because the clear can kind of start to get a little yellow, after a while. It’s gross.” I’ve never had a problem with that. With these, I clean them with some regularity.

But again, these are custom molded to my ear canal and can hear better, hearing protection amazing. As I said, this is probably the most worthwhile thing that I purchased all year.

Best Earplugs For Raves – Conclusions

If you’re younger, you think it can’t happen to you. And you know sound is such an essential thing for communication, your speech, your hearing, how you interpret sound, how you’re producing sound.

So protect your hearing!

Noises When clubbing

The following infographic shows a list of the various noises when you are out and about. Any noise over 70-80db over a long period of time may cause damage to your hearing. A noise of over 120dB may cuase immediate harm to your ears

Please Note: Just because an ear defender is marked, for example, "Gunshot" - it will still cover other things, like "explosions"

Other Questions

Can I go clubbing with tinnitus?

No, you should not. Tinnitus is a condition in which you feel ringing in your ears and it may be a symptom of hearing loss or ear injury. If you are suffering from tinnitus, hearing loss or long term ringing can be caused due to exposure to sounds over 85 decibels (dB), and the music at the clubs is usually at 100 decibels.

So it is not recommended to go clubbing with tinnitus however if you don’t want to miss it you can buy some good quality earplugs that will protect your ears by masking and reducing the decibel level of your surroundings.


Can you get permanent tinnitus from one concert?

Yes, you can get tinnitus from just one concert but it might not be permanent depending on how loud the noise is and for how long are you exposed to it. If you stand too close to the speakers or if the sound there is 115 dB or more which is usually the standard sound decibels at concerts you may hear constant or sporadic ringing or experience hearing loss.

The louder the sound, the less time it will take for a person to suffer from noise-induced hearing loss. It is because the fine hair cells that line our ears are damaged by the loud noise. Along with the intensity of the sound, the duration of it also matters. Meaning if you are exposed to sound louder than 100 dB for more than 15 minutes you are likely to experience tinnitus.


How can I stop tinnitus immediately?

No, tinnitus cannot be stopped immediately. However, there are certain remedies you can use to alleviate the noise in your ears. Mostly, the tinnitus caused by concerts will go away in a few days but some may last longer as well. Taking preventive measures before going to a place with loud noise can reduce the chances of tinnitus. One way is to use earplugs that cancel the noise and reduce the irritating noise in your ears.

Recommended Products From Article

These are the best products available, as mentioned in the main article.
(Budget, Mid-Range, High-End)

ISOtunes Free True Wireless Earplug Earbuds, 22 dB Noise Reduction Rating, 21 Hour Battery, Noise...
  • BLOCK NOISE: heat-activated memory foam eartips expand like earplugs to significantly reduce outside noise. ANSI-certified and OSHA-compliant with a 22 dB Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) and 85 dB SafeMax Volume Limiter. Comes with 3 pairs of foam eartips (S,M,L) and 3 pairs of silicone double-flange eartips.
  • TRUE WIRELESS: ISOtunes FREE introduces a cordless solution for your workshop, jobsite, and home. Remove sweaty cords and muffs for increased versatility and comfort. Utilizes latest Bluetooth 5.0 technology with easy-to-use automatic pairing to your devices.
  • ALL DAY BATTERY: 7+ hour battery life gets you through long days without having to recharge. Minimize recharging hassle with our compact, portable charging case capable of 3 full charges for 21 hours of extra use. Expanding foam eartips and thoughtfully designed earbuds hold comfortably and securely all day.
  • CLEAR CALLS IN LOUD ENVIRONMENTS: Signature noise suppressing microphone with echo cancellation technology help block steady state noise like engines, mowers, fans, vacuums, and saws for clear calls in loud environments. Isolation for you, cancellation for them.
  • BUILT TO LAST: Backed by best-in-class 1-year limited manufacturer’s warranty. Small but mighty, rated IP45 for sweat & water resistance.
ISOtunes Xtra Bluetooth Earplug Headphones, 27 dB Noise Reduction Rating, 8 Hour Battery, Noise...
  • BLOCK NOISE: heat-activated memory foam eartips expand like earplugs to significantly reduce outside noise. ISOtunes XTRA hearing protection headphones are ANSI-certified and OSHA-compliant with a 27 dB Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) and ISOtunes SafeMax Technology. Comes with 4 pairs of foam eartips and 3 pairs of silicone double-flange eartips.
  • WIRELESS MUSIC & CALLS: wirelessly play music and take calls 30+ feet from your device with Bluetooth 4.1 technology.
  • EXTENDED USE: up to 8-hour battery life and 180-hour standby time. Memory wire neckband rests comfortably behind your neck and magnetic earbuds allow for easy removal and resting when not in use.
  • CLEAR CALLS IN LOUD ENVIRONMENTS: Signature noise suppressing microphone with echo cancellation technology help block steady state noise like engines, mowers, fans, vacuums, and saws for clear calls in loud environments. Isolation for you, cancellation for them
  • BUILT TO LAST: ISOtunes Xtra is IP45 sweat, water, and dust resistant and comes with a best-in-class 1-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.
Hearprotek High Fidelity Concert Ear Plugs, Noise Reduction Music Earplugs, Hearing Protection for...
  • 【Preserve High Fidelity Audio】 Hearprotek Music ear plugs do an effective job of bringing down the overall volume, blocking background noises at a comfortable level while preserving the sound clarity and sharpness. You won't experience any muffling with these plugs as you would foam-based ones and you will be able to hear different sound frequencies and talk to people without having to worry of muffling.
  • 【20db Noise Reduction】 Comes with 2 sets of 20db ear plugs in different sizes (small & standard), cutting up an impressive 20db's of sound volume which is a pretty good amount for a concert or band rehearsal, and you can always have your spare plug in case any plugs are fallen out unfortunately or missing.
  • 【Designed For Comfort】 Made of high quality silicone material that provides comfort from prolonged usage. If you have small ear canals, the small size of ear plugs are your best choice, they are designed to have an ergonomic curved body with two flange tip that follows the shape of your ear canal, which provides a snag and comfortable fit.
  • 【Discrete & Portable】Low-profile design with translucent or frosted plug shells which are inconspicuous and a less noticeable appearance on stage, at the concert, at the club or in the office. Include a soft silicone detachable cord and come in a durable aluminum case with carabiner which clips easily to belts and bags to carry wherever you go, this way, there's no need to worry about losing your plugs.
  • 【Warm tips】The earplugs will not block all the noise completely, but they will preserve the quality of the music and make the volume within a safer listening level. So they’re not recommended for sleeping, hunting, shooting, motorcycling etc.

Last update on 2023-06-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


If you require more information, please check these references

www.reddit.com , article, “Earplugs At Raves “, retrieved on, Sat 10-August-2019

blogs.cdc.gov , article, “Hearing Protection “, retrieved on, Sat 10-August-2019

en.wikipedia.org , article, “Ear Protection”, retrieved on, Sat 10-August-2019


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Nick Le Page

Experience : Hi, I am Nick, and I have suffered with ear problems my whole life, mainly tinnitus. I have tried a lot of products to help protect my ears over this period, and several devices to block out the constant ringing

“Are you having problems hearing? If so, those around you already know it. Hearing loss is no laughing matter, so don’t be a punchline.”

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