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The Best Earplugs for Travel: Flying, Sleeping and Motion Sickness

best travel earplugs

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When thinking about earplugs for travel, most of us picture ourselves on a flight, blocking out a crying baby or a noisy seatmate so we can attempt to sleep. However, earplugs have many other uses that most travelers forget about.

Did you know that there are special earplugs that regulate air pressure while flying? Or that earplugs can be used as a way to stave off motion sickness?

In this article, we’re going to talk about the many uses of earplugs for travel and the best earplug for each type. Excited? Let’s get to it! 

The Best Earplugs for Travel

earplanes adult pressure reducing earplugs
Best for Flying
Regulates ear pressure changes with CeramX filter.
NRR: 20 dB
Price per pair: $3.90 USD
No. of uses: 2 flights
FlyFit Earplugs
FlyFit Earplugs
Best for Flying
Regulates ear pressure changes with valve-like filter.
NRR:  17 dB
Price per pair:  $15.99
No. of uses: 100x
Mack’s Flightguard
Mack's Flightguard Earplugs
Best for Flying
Regulates ear pressure with AERO Filter technology.
NRR: 26 dB
Price per pair: $11.99
No. of uses: Replace every 2-4 weeks with daily use.
Luiswell Pressure Reducing Earplugs
Luiswell pressure reducing earplugs
Best for Flying
Regulates ear pressure with a tiny pinhole.
NRR: 26 dB
Price per pair: $2.50
No. of uses: 100x
Howard Leight’s MAX-1 Uncorded Earplugs
howard leight earplugs
Best for Sleeping
Bell shape fits into most ears to block noise.
33 dB
Price per pair: $.31
No. of uses: 1x
Ohropax Earplugs
ohropax earplugs
Best for Sleeping
Moldable wax completely blocks the ear canal.
NRR: 23 dB
Price per pair: $1.00
No. of uses: Until they get dirty or too small
Anti-Motion Sickness Earplugs
anti-motion sickness earplugs
Option for Motion Sickness
One earplug to counter-balance inner-ear imbalances.
Includes a single earplug.

The Best Earplugs for Flying

best earplugs for pressure changes while flying

Do you remember your first flight when your ears first popped? Or maybe a time when they very painfully didn’t pop? Some babies even cry during take-off and landing because of this discomfort.

This reaction is due to the change in air pressure. Research tells us that this change can cause ear-drum pain, vertigo, and hearing loss. Scientists estimate that 10% of adults and 22% of children might have discomfort and even damage after flying. 

If you’ve ever flown with a bit of congestion or allergies flaring up, then you’ve probably felt this very real ear pain from cabin pressure changes while flying!

Although most symptoms do resolve on their own, wouldn’t it be great if we could avoid this altogether? Using special earplugs made for flying can alleviate the pain felt during air pressure changes. We’ve come up with a list of the best earplugs for flying so you can travel pain-free.

Note: If you’re just looking for earplugs to block out noise, see the next section for the best earplugs for sleeping.

  • How we chose these earplugs: They should regulate ear pressure changes and, as an added bonus, block out some ambient noise.

Adult Earplanes by Cirrus Healthcare

earplanes adult pressure reducing earplugs

NRR: 20 dB | Price per pair: $3.90 USD | No. of uses: 2 flights

Earplanes use a CeramX filter to regulate the air pressure caused by the flights and therefore relieve pain due to altitude. The special CeramX filter slows the shift of air pressure entering your ear. Because the change is less instantaneous, the eardrum is under less pressure and discomfort is reduced or alleviated completely. 

They are convenient, easy to use and effective. A pack of 10 costs $38.95, which comes out only $3.90 per pair, which is a pretty good deal when you think about the benefits. 

These Earplanes have a 20 dB NRR, which is an added bonus to these earplugs. Not only do they filter out the air pressure, they also block out ambient noise. Each pair of earbuds can last two flights, per manufacturer recommendations. Pretty worth it!

FlyFit Earplugs from Alpine Hearing Protection

FlyFit Earplugs

NRR:  17 dB | Price per pair:  $15.99 | No. of uses: 100x

Flyfit Earplugs are great for flights if you’re not traveling alone because they effectively regulate pressure caused by the change in altitude and also filter ambient noise with a 17 dB NRR. A noise reduction rating in this range means that while the user can block out loud noises during flights, he or she can still communicate with their travel partner.

Flyfit Earplugs’ special filters operate like valves. Like the Earplanes, they ensure a gradual pressure change and will also help maintain the equilibrium between the external environment and the middle ear.

These earplugs are made up of sustainable, hypoallergenic material, too! They’re a bit pricey at $15.99 but the packaging claims that they are 100x reusable and a cleaner comes with them. 

Mack’s Flightguard Airplane Pressure Relief Earplugs

Mack's Flightguard Earplugs

NRR: 26 dB | Price per pair: $11.99 | No. of uses: Replace every 2-4 weeks with daily use.

Mack’s Flightguard Airplane Pressure Relief Earplugs have AERO Filter technology to regulate air pressure and to relieve the pain felt during the altitude changes. These earplugs also reduce airplane engine and cabin noise with a high Noise Reduction Rating of 26 dB, making it easier for passengers to relax. 

Mack’s Earplugs are mostly reusable and come with cleaning instructions, though they need to be replaced every 3-4 weeks if you’re using them daily. 

Pressure Reducing Earplugs by Luiswell

Luiswell pressure reducing earplugs

NRR: 26 dB | Price per pair: $2.50 | No. of uses: 100x

The cheapest in the entire list, Luiswell’s Pressure Reducing Earplugs cost $9.99 for a set of 4. 

They boast a Noise Reduction Rating of 26 dB. They are made up of silicone material, making them washable and reusable, and also sweat and humidity-resistant. These earplugs last a while before the user needs to replace them. 

These particular earplugs do not use a special filter like many of the others, but they regulate pressure with a tiny hole instead. While some might argue this isn’t as effective as a filter, a number of users say they solve their ear pain and love how reusable they are- especially for the low price!

They also come with a case, which makes them extra travel-friendly.

The Best Earplugs for Sleeping

best earplugs for sleeping

Fellow traveler Jade Johnston mentioned that earplugs are her one little thing she can’t travel without because of how easy they are to pack and how much they help her sleep during flights… and anywhere. She says:

“If you are travelling on a budget then you will inevitably find yourself staying in dorm rooms. And it just takes one snorer to ruin your entire night. Or perhaps you want to have an early night because you need to catch an early flight or bus, but some chatty Kathy’s in your room just won’t stop talking? Instead of getting angry at the people disturbing you, it is better for everyone involved to just whip out a pair of earplugs.”

Jade Johnston,

Traveling can get quite uncomfortable given different circumstances. It may be due to the time zone transitions or a change in the overall environment. All that walking around and sightseeing can get quite exhausting. Dorm rooms in hostels can become quite noisy with excited roommates coming and going.

Getting a great amount of sleep is always key to having a better travel experience – and having a better quality of life in general. Here’s a list of noise-canceling earplugs we found that best fit the traveler who wants to protect her sleep. 

  • How we chose these earplugs: They must block out high levels of noise and be soft and comfortable for wearing during sleep.

Howard Leight’s MAX-1 Uncorded Foam Earplugs

howard leight earplugs

NRR: 33 dB | Price per pair: $.31 | No. of uses: 1x

Howard Leight is a company with 40 years of experience in hearing protection. The brand was originally developed for shooting and hunting ear-wear, but these earplugs are such a quality product that people began using them for other needs, including travel. 

The MAX-1 Uncorded Earplugs are made of foam polyurethane in a bell shape designed specially to fit almost any ear canal comfortably for long periods of wear. These are great for sleeping since they are perfect for noise-canceling with an NRR of 33 and the bell shape also helps securely block noise.

These earplugs are only good for single-use but are conveniently sold in multiples at a great price.

Ohropax Wax Ear Plugs

ohropax earplugs

NRR: 23 dB | Price per pair: $1.00 | No. of uses: Until they get dirty or too small

Material can be a factor when choosing the best earplugs on the market. Wax earplugs, although in the pricier category, are known to be best for noise-cancellation because they are easily moldable and the wax completely blocks the ear canal.

Ohropax Wax Earplugs cost $17.95 for a pack of 3 and have an NRR of 23 dB. They can be reused but only last for about 3-5 uses since they do get a bit small after a while.

These might be the best earplugs for many travelers due to their versatility. While great for sleeping, they could also be convenient for other activities such as swimming or hiking in a windy or dusty climate. Reviewers love them for their comfort.

It’s worth noting that while noise-dampening, they’re still in the NRR range where you can communicate. 

The Best Earplugs for Motion Sickness

how to prevent motion sickness

Using earplugs can actually alleviate nausea and discomfort due to motion sickness!

We get motion sickness when our inner ear experiences a disturbance caused by the repeated motion of a car, boat, plane, or other movements. Because of the imbalance in the inner ear, the brain is confused while trying to coordinate spatial orientation.

An old wives tale suggests countering seasickness by putting in only one earplug, and some people swear by it for motion sickness as well

Usually, a normal earplug can do the trick but a company called Lapponia Ltd has developed Anti-Motion Sickness Earplugs. These earplugs brag about the drug-free nausea relief it gives users. It costs $24.90 for one earplug. 

Some users say the brand is amazing and they didn’t feel nauseous on their trips, while others claim the relief is from simply wearing one earplug. If you get motion-sickness easily but like to travel, it might be worth trying out.

Overall Take

Overall, earplugs are definitely a must-have during traveling. They’re easy to pack, and they help with sleep, motion sickness and of course, muting our noisy (and sometimes nosy!) seatmates during flights. 

About the Author: Gaelle Ansaldo is a Radiologic Technologist turned blogger from the Philippines. Her blog, Daily Gaelley, is a lifestyle blog about events, tips, and activities in her hometown, Davao. When she doesn’t have her nose stuck in a book, she spends her days binge-watching Netflix series or learning new things like calligraphy and painting.

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