Is your partner’s snoring driving you crazy? Is wearing earplugs for snoring a viable solution?
Too many of us struggle to sleep well – often thanks to a snoring partner. Snoring doesn’t even need to be particularly loud for it to be annoying and disruptive.
For most people, deep, quality sleep requires a quiet, peaceful environment, with very little background noise. As such, even gentle snoring (or just loud breathing) can be annoying, especially when it’s right beside your pillow, and especially if you are a light sleeper.
What are Earplugs for Snoring?
Easy to use and affordable, earplugs can be an effective way to help block out sounds that disrupt sleep – including a partner’s light snoring, traffic noise, a barking neighbourhood dog, and other ambient sounds. Some earplugs sit in the outer ear canal, while others compress for insertion deeper into the ear canal and then expand for a more customised fit once in place. From very cheap and disposable to more expensive, reusable options, there is a wide variety of products from which to choose, made from different materials. These include:
- Wax – waterproof, easy to mould, good for swimming and sleeping
- Foam – affordable, soft, and reasonably comfortable, but require frequent replacement and can encourage bacteria growth
- Silicone – reusable, washable, but can be uncomfortable for some people
The quest for the perfect anti-snoring earplugs is often in vain – though some can be quite effective.
How Effective are Earplugs for Snoring?
Depending on numerous factors, sleeping earplugs can be very effective for some people.
You need to consider the material from which the earplugs are made. While foam earplugs can be comfortable and soft, they are made of a porous material. This means that bacteria can thrive and breed on (and in) them, potentially resulting in ear infections. As such, foam earplugs are a disposable option.
It’s also important to understand that not all earplugs are designed for use during sleep. Some are targeted to being worn while awake – like for eardrum protection in a noisy work environment or at a music concert. Others are designed to block sound during travel. Some are designed for protecting the ears from water while swimming. For example, disposable foam earplugs can be good for in-flight noise reduction while travelling, but are a temporary fix only and are not adequate or particularly recommended for ongoing nightly use – nor are they particularly effective against loud snoring.
Ear plugs can also push ear wax further into the canal – potentially leading to hearing issues. This must be considered.
What are the Best Sleep Earplugs Available?
According to HearSafe Australia (which is committed to the prevention of hearing loss) silicone ear plugs are the best option for blocking out the noise of a snoring partner. While they are initially more expensive than foam plugs, silicone is ideal as it:
- Moulds easily to fit the ear canal contour
- Is comfortable
- Can be custom-made
- Is cleanable and reusable
- Is impervious to bacteria
HearSafe Australia recommends and distributes Elacin Relax silicone ear plugs and Pluggerz Side Sleeper silicone ear plugs. The former completely seals off the ear canals, but does not have an acoustical filter, while the latter does have a filter. Both enable essential sounds like alarms to still be heard.
A more affordable alternative that HearSafe recommends is the Pluggerz Sleep “budget” ear plugs – made from flexible hypoallergenic silicone that is mouldable and retains its shape.
The Sleep Foundation (USA) recommends a variety of sleep earplugs for different purposes; these include the SoundOff Noise Masking Ear Plugs, which are rated as “best for snoring”.
Treating Snoring – Why it’s More Important than Blocking it Out
- Blocking out snoring has limited effectiveness:
For moderate snoring of no more than 77 decibels, using foam earplugs, a white noise app played through noise-isolating sleep earbuds, or foam earplugs with a nightstand white noise machine can be adequate.
For loud snoring of no more than 83 decibels, snore-blocking foam earplugs worn with white noise played through sleep headband sleep headphones are required to block snoring sounds.
For very loud snoring, silicone earplugs with white noise played through noise-cancelling headphones are required.
- Sound is conducted not just via the ear canals, but also through the skull.
While earplugs can be great for muffling ambient noise, loud snoring cannot be blocked by even the best earplugs alone. Part of the reason why it can be so difficult to block out snoring sounds is that the highest-rated sleep earplugs can only block out 33 decibels of sound. Most snorers are more than twice as loud as this.
- Earplugs must be deeply inserted to be effective, and they can be uncomfortable for some users – especially when worn night after night. They may also be unsuitable for people who are very light sleepers, or who need to be able to easily hear babies, small children, or quiet alarms.
- Snoring has significant health implications for the snorer, too. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to address snoring itself, rather than just using a “band-aid” approach for the benefit of the snorer’s sleep partner (and other household members).
By addressing the causes of snoring, making healthy lifestyle and sleep hygiene changes, and focusing on the snoring itself, you will reap far better results – both immediately and in the longer term.
Help Prevent Snoring with SnoreMD
Correctly used, the right ear plugs for snoring can significantly reduce the snoring sound – but they will not completely block it out. Nor do they benefit the snorer – and the implications of snoring on his or her sleep quality and health.
Preventing snoring is important – so while you may benefit from using ear plugs for snoring, addressing snoring at its cause is also highly recommended.
SnoreMD is an effective option for helping to prevent snoring that arises from the mouth and the back of the throat – by far the most common contributors to snoring.
An anti-snoring device, SnoreMD is a simple remedy that gently alters the position of the lower jaw during sleep. Its unique, fully adjustable design allows the user to micro-adjust the device in 1mm increments, in-turn, moving the lower jaw slightly forward, opening the airway for smoother breathing addressing the snoring sound.
- Fully adjustable
- Safe for all adults
- Compatible for use with CPAP