ears 1

Just like humans, horses can get ear infections

There is no such thing as quiet on the racecourse.

Horses are domestic animals in the equine family. Relaxed, friendly and known for racing events. They are sensitive to noise and need ear protection when racing.

When you ride a horse, you must have ear protection. These plugs for horses are made from soft foam that fits inside the horse's ears. It keeps the horse calm and at ease.

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

Horse Earplugs - The Ultimate Guide

Do you like horses? If yes, horses are calm. Horses are domestic animals in the equine family. Relaxed, friendly and known for racing events. They are sensitive to noise and need ear protection when racing.

When there are events on the racecourse, the noise from the spectators is very high. Thus distracting the horse from concentrating. In extreme noise, the equine can kill you when riding because of sensitivity.

Use Ear Protection For Horses

For safety, use ear protection for horses. Earplugs should be comfortable on the ears. They filter noise, helping the horse to stay focused. The equine has a high hearing frequency ranging from 1000 hertz to 16000 hertz. Hearing ability deteriorates with the age of the horse.

Though known for ear protection, earplugs are also used to calm the horse when racing. They are of foam material, which is very comfortable and doesn’t slip when running. Even when training, it’s good to try out ear protection to let it get used to them.

Equine ears rotate to where the voice is coming from. So the earplugs should not distract ear movement. Again, they should fit and not be itchy when placed inside the ear. It’s worth noting that earplugs help your horse hear normal noise while reducing loud noises.

Affiliate Disclaimer
As a Amazon Affiliate, we earn from a qualifying purchase   

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

Types of Ear Protection for Horses

There are different types of ear protection devices for horses. They differ with the level of comfort and material.

Foam earplugs are soft and comfortable to fit. They offer comfort to the horse when racing. Providing your horse with ear protection before the race helps it to relax and get used to them.

The other type of ear protection is fleece made. More comfortable for horses with sensitive ears. They are light, washable and fit. Some have straps for holding when fitting and when removing.

Ear bonnets have synthetic wool material. Some are crocheted to form the shape of the horse face and then fitted with foam or fleece on the ears. They fit on the forehead, and the ears tucked inside.

 The ear pockets equipped with foam or fleece material help reduce noise. Besides protection, they keep the horse calm and focused.

Before the real race, horses train in them to help familiarize with them. They are friendly, easy to fit and washable.

Horse rider’s ear protection gears are different. They are earmuffs. They cover the whole ear to keep you warm and away from the harsh wind when racing. You wear them together with the head protector. They can make you uncomfortable if not fitted well. They are flexible to fit in any head size and vary in colors.

Noises When Horse Riding

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

What to Consider when Buying Ear Protection for Horses

Horses have sensitive ears. When buying ear protection, you should put a few things into consideration.


Since the ears are sensitive, comfort comes first in this list. Remember that earplugs not only reserve hearing but also calms the horse. Uncomfortable hearing protection can make equine violent. Choose earplugs with comfortable material and which will fit inside the ear.

Some horses are not used to earplugs. They get trained on how to wear them in noisy places where they will feel more comfortable.


Earplugs for horses are flexible and can fit in different ears. When they are less fitting, they make the horse uncomfortable and let the noise inside. Foam made earplugs are quite flexible and adjust according to the horse's ears.


Different materials are durable than others. Some are washable, while others are not. Fleece material is washable and can last longer. Though the ear protections are not expensive, buying a durable one can save you extra bucks.

Foamed earplugs are not washable though they are long-lasting. Stringed earplugs help in avoiding direct contact when removing. It also makes them more durable.

Noise Reduction Rate

Known as NRR, it’s the level a hearing device can reduce noise. The higher the rate, the better.

When buying earplugs for your horse, it’s good to know the number of decibels it can reduce. Anything with a rate of between 12 – 29 decibels can work well with the horses. Earplugs reduce the noise getting inside the ear. That's why it's essential to consider their NRR before buying.

Material Weight

When choosing earplugs for your horse, consider those with a lightweight. Because the horse is sensitive and cannot bear heavy weight inside its ears. The lighter the weight, the better it is. Horse ears rotate in almost all directions, and so the earplugs should not prevent them.

Why Use Ear Protection for Horses

Ear protection is a rule in horse races because of the loud noise from the spectators. Horses that aren't used to such noise, get distracted and underperform.

There are many benefits of ear protection use in horses. To mention but a few include

  • Earplugs help the horse to stay focused.
  • Prevents sensitivity which can cause accidents.
  • Makes the horse more comfortable when racing.
  • Protects the horse from harsh weather.
  • Earplugs calm the horse besides ear protection.

Disadvantages of Ear Protection for Horses

Though ear protection is necessary for horses, it has some disadvantages.

  • Causes discomfort when not fitted well
  • Horses with sensitive ears can cause damage when fitted with them.
  • Needs prior testing
  • Earplugs are only limited to two materials.

Horses are calm and manageable. Keeping them safe when racing can help improve their loyalty. Ear protection for horses is available. They are easy to replace when lost since they are inexpensive.

You can try several earplugs on your horse until you get the best fit. If not fitted well, the horse becomes uncomfortable and can remove it by shaking the head.

Ear protection at the racing track is necessary for both the rider and the horse. When racing, the winds are strong, and the noise from the spectators is loud.

Exposing your horse to noisy places without ear protection can damage its ears. It happens as the equine gets older. Buy a pair or two for your horse to try out in the next race or training. The equine will thank you later.

Horses and Noise

Horses are very susceptible to the damage caused by loud noises, so protecting them from external noise is a must. While ear protectors intended for horses have been around for years, there’s still a lot of confusion about when and how to use them. In this article we’ll cover different types of ear protectors; their strengths and weaknesses; and what they can be used for.

Ear Plugs

Ear plugs for horses are inserted into the ear canal and are generally made out of silicone. Ear plugs are relatively inexpensive, but because they have a low NRR (Noise Reduction Rating), they’re not really very effective at protecting from loud noises.

However, on the plus side, if you have a horse that doesn’t mind having something in his ears, ear plugs may help prevent him from becoming skittish in loud environments. I would not recommend using earplugs for anything other than very short periods of time – like trail riding or when going through gates at a horse show or any time that your horse will be subjected to moderately loud noises.

Ear Muffs

Similar to ear plugs, these are inserted into the ear and have a higher NRR than ear plugs. They’re also less expensive, but can be heavier and make it more difficult to hear your surroundings. They also tend to be less comfortable for the horse and therefore may need occasional repositioning.

Like ear plugs, they should only be used for short periods of time (less than an hour), but they are more effective at blocking out noise than ear plugs. The other thing that I really like about them is that if my horse gets spooked by something in his ears he shakes his head which often dislodges the ear muffs and keeps him from being affected by noise for a longer period of time.

Ear Muffs with Ear Flaps

Also known as “ear flaps,” these protective devices use a flexible fabric flap that covers the horse’s ears. Some models have ear flaps that are adjustable, some attach to the head band, and others have an elastic band at the back of the head. Being slightly more expensive than ear muffs without ear flaps, they allow for better control of sound levels while increasing user control over noise levels.

I like this type of protection best because they’re easier to fit and function well for all types of horses including those with noise sensitivities. They can also be used in other environments besides horse shows and jumping arenas where regular ear muffs need to be removed.

Ear Muffs with Ear Guards

Ear guards are made to cover the entire ear and are attached to a headband. I don’t really like this type of protector because, regardless of the material, they make it harder for a horse to hear his surroundings and therefore they increase the risk that he might become skittish or react badly in a loud environment.

They also tend to be more expensive than regular ear muffs. I wouldn’t recommend them for use at horse shows where you want your horses to be able to hear everything going on around them (like vet checks).


In conclusion, if you feel that your horse’s hearing is at risk for trauma due to loud noises, then I would recommend using ear plugs to protect him from sound damage. If you have horses that don’t mind having something in their ears and you want them to be able hear some of the noise they’re exposed to, try using ear muffs with ear flaps.

If you have horses that are particularly sensitive to loud noises or want more control over sound levels, try out a pair of ear muffs with ear guards. Before purchasing any of these devices make sure to get a good fit so your horse should be able to move them as needed during activities.

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

Le Mieux Intrepid International Pomms - Horse Ear Plugs 14hh and Taller Black (9508000000)
  • Allow your horse and pony to hear normal tones
  • Greatly reducing distracting or loud noises
  • Discreet, durable and won't fall out
  • Made from soft, comfortable non-irritating material
  • Protects the horse's ears from wind, water and debris
Cashel Horse Ear Plugs with String Medium (Average Horse)
  • Size Medium (Standard Horse)
  • Easy to insert.
  • Soft foam molds to fit safely in your horse's ears.
  • Strings attached for easy extraction.
  • The plugs will muffle scary noises
Petzl NAO 2 Headlamp with Reactive Lighting Technology 575 lumens
  • Compact, powerful and rechargeable headlamp with REACTIVE LIGHTING technology for technical, dynamic activities
  • Headlamp is stable on the head: adjustable headband with top strap for technical activities
  • CONSTANT LIGHTING mode is also available, guaranteeing stable lighting that does not diminish during the entire chosen burn time
  • Optional belt kit for NAO allows the rechargeable battery to be moved to the belt to reduce the weight worn on the head, or to keep it warm in winter
  • Customized lighting with OS by Petzl software, free for download at www.petzl.com/OS

Last update on 2023-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Other Questions

What are the ear covers on a horse for?

Horses' ears are very sensitive and rotate in almost all directions except backward. They face where the eyes are looking. Loud noise distracts horses and especially when they are on a race. They lose focus.

Loud noise can damage their ears and affect performance. They can even kill when sudden sharp noise hits their ears. To protect them from ear damage, noise-canceling devices like earplugs and ear covers will help.

Ear covers look like a fabric designed to fit the ears and part of the top forehead. They have foam to help reduce noise getting in the ears.


Do horse earplugs work?

There are different types of horse earplugs. Some are foam while others are fleece made. These earplugs not only reduce noise. They prevent dust and debris from getting inside the ears.

Before any race, try different types of earplugs on your horse to identify the most comfortable. If uncomfortable, it becomes a distraction and it will eventually remove them. Let your horse wear earplugs before going to the field. Walking around with them will help it get used to them. While some have straps for easier positioning, others plain and simple.


Difference between earplugs and ear covers?

Although they serve the same purpose, they are very different in appearance. Earplugs are small devices put inside the ear to reduce noise.

They are foam or fleece made. Some have straps, while others are freestyle. Besides ear protection, they calm the horse.

Ear covers have the shape of horse ears. They have different types of fabric, including wool which is crocheted and silk. They are very comfortable on the horses as they rest outside the ears. In case your horse refuses earplugs, use ear covers as an alternative.


If you require more information, please check these references

Spinose Ear Tick Otobius Megnini Infestations In Race Horses , article, "www.intechopen.com", retrieved on, Fri 13-November-2020

Owner survey of headshaking in horses , article, "avmajournals.avma.org", retrieved on, Fri 13-November-2020

Horse Behaviour: Evolution, Domestication and Feralisation , article, "link.springer.com", retrieved on, Fri 13-November-2020


Please enter search query below:

Affiliate Disclosure

EarsToday is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program.

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.”

Follow Us!

Click on the links for our Social Media

Amazon Affiliate

EarsToday.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program

An affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.

Designed And Developed By 8r1ght.com
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram