Crappy earplugs I definitely do not recommend
I live with a man who snores. And OH GOD DOES HE SNORE. When it first started bugging me a few years ago it was hard to keep sight of the fact at 4am, with murderous intent in my heart, that he wasn't doing it on purpose. As he peacefully - and extremely noisily - slumbered while I watched another dawn break with rage building and fists clenched, I knew I had to do something about it.
You know, like trade him in for a younger model, or get some earplugs.
I'm kind of fond of him as it happens, so earplugs it was.
That sounds easy, except it's not, because fragrant readers, the vast majority of earplugs on the market are quite frankly shite. You may as well be stuffing packing peanuts or thin air into your ears for all the noise-reduction they'll give. In the course of a lengthy and sleep-deprived investigation, I'd say I'm pretty well qualified now to say what are the best out there.
And I've tried a lot. Here's what I don't recommend for blocking out snoring - these might be fine for other noise reduction, like preventing you from hearing the sound of kittens gamboling and ladybugs whispering, but I didn't find them any good at all for getting a daycent night's kip.
- Superdrug Foam Ear Plugs - I prefer this type of plug, which you can compress and place right into the ear canal, where it expands and fills the gap entirely, but these just don't block out enough sound. Or, er, any sound
- Bio Ears - Firstly, TERRIFYING name. Bio Ears! Jesus Christ, I thought these feckers were going to clone me. Now, first problem with these is that you don't push these into the ear canal and I think that's vital for optimum noise reduction. They are just meant to be used to seal off the opening into the ear. This means they don't really reduce enough sound, as it enters from more than just the ears - the facial bones, for example let in sound. In addition, as you're sleeping, because they're not inside the ear and protected from movement, you're constantly aware of them and knocking them out of place. Pain in the ass - much better for something like swimming or for protecting the ear canal from infection
- Mack's Silicone Earplugs - these come in a few different varieties but they're basically Bio Ears US style. I ordered them off Amazon after reading breathy testimonials about their marriage-saving capabilities. Crap. Save your money
- Other crap plugs include the yellow round ones with flat tops - don't bother with these, they're not powerful enough to block out snoring
And here's what I do rate. Quies. These mothers are the bomb.
Love U. Love U oh so very much
- Quies Foam Earplugs are the Rolls Royce of earplugs if you ask me. They block out the very most sound of any over-the-counter plugs I've ever been able to find both home and abroad (35db), they're very comfortable to insert and wear, they adapt to the precise shape of your ears so block out the maximum amount of sound, they're reusable, you can wash them a couple of times and they're not expensive. A pack of three pairs is about €5 or €6 usually and I'd get about a three weeks to a month's usage out of each pair. And oh god it's so well worth it. I have to point out that you can still hear sound - but it is sufficiently muffled that it's not taking over your life, dreams and sanity. You will still hear the sound of the snoring, but so far down the register that you'll be able to drop off no bother. They really did save my sleep. I love them - but these particular ones are hard to find. I just bought two packs at Hickey's Chemist on Grafton Street, where they keep them behind the counter, like some sort of crack us earplug junkies have to be in the know about. Tell them I sent you!
- Quies Pure Wax Earplugs are my second choice and a good pick if you don't like or are allergic to silicone. They can be moulded and inserted into the ears and they block out about 27db of sound, so a good bit less than the silicone foam ones. Also, they don't automatically adjust as they're wax, they kind of move a bit which is annoying and they look like horrid scary slugs under your pillow, which is not so nice. But they do work, and I am happy to use them if I can't get the foam ones. Again, they're about €5 and you get seven pairs in the box
Lovely squishy foamy colourdey sound-blocking Quies
Tips on placement
Lots of people complain that they find earplugs uncomfortable to wear, but they won't be if you're using the right ones and placing them in the ear correctly.
- If they're very hard they will hurt so try rolling them between the fingers, squashing them up and down a few times to soften them up
- The trick with silicone and foam earplugs is to roll and compress them into a thin 'cigar' shape before insertion - they won't go in in their puffed up state or provide any noise-reduction, so roll each plug up nice and tight, then immediately place it into the ear canal
- Place it all the way in, and then hold your finger against the opening of ear so it can't pop back out. That gives the plug a chance to stay in place and expand back to its full size, which keeps it in place and blocks out the noise
- If it's a bit uncomfortable at that point pull it out a little - a couple of millimetres ought to do it
- Don't have them sticking out past the opening of the ear canal - they'll catch when you turn and drive you mad
So - that's my earplug experience. Anyone got anything to add?