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Started by AdonisBlue on Oct 12, 2021 7:36:37 PM
Best foam earplugs for sound reduction.

I've always been a chronic insomniac and particularly sensitive to sounds. When I had kids over 15 years ago I survived by using foam earplugs to block sound at night. I went through many brands and types before finding ones that actually worked. Some are useless for me (silicone/wax/shaped ear plugs with shell like layers) and either don't block sound or actually isolate and enhance sounds.

However I found the pink foam earplugs previously sold by Lloyds chemists worked wonderfully well. The yellow cylindrical ones used by builders etc weren't bad either.

However, something happened to UK earplugs around five years ago. For whatever reason, they started to use less dense foam. Most are useless now. Even the yellow ones which have been shortened and use less dense foam.

angelico - 12 Oct 2021 19:38:25 (#1 of 20)

Foam is crap for noise. Wax is your friend. Boots mufflers were excellent but are hard to find now.

Ginmonkey - 12 Oct 2021 19:38:49 (#2 of 20)

I use cone shaped orange foam ones from Superdrug. They do the job well and come in big boxes.

I can't get on with Boots wax mufflers at all. I find them really uncomfortable and they leave a waxy residue.

AdonisBlue - 12 Oct 2021 19:41:37 (#3 of 20)

The reviews on Amazon etc focus on comfort and even their best earplugs now offer minimal sound reduction. Some mention 'sleep professionals' saying that most foam earplugs are too large and therefore uncomfortable. This may be the reason for the change in shapes and materials to slimmer, low density foam that offers little sound reduction but more comfort.

I have exactly the opposite problem, big earholes I guess, so the older plugs with denser foam and larger diameter work best but have disappeared.

Anyone advise, preferably over the counter, foam earplugs that still work to reduce sound and are readily available in the UK?

AdonisBlue - 12 Oct 2021 19:42:33 (#4 of 20)

Before I go any further. Please no well meaning 'try wax or silicone' I've spent years trying many many types and only foam work for me.

angelico - 12 Oct 2021 19:43:53 (#5 of 20)

How about concrete? Efficient and durable.

Moschops - 12 Oct 2021 19:44:15 (#6 of 20)

I use the Boots green foam ones. They seem to work well enough

Moschops - 12 Oct 2021 19:44:58 (#7 of 20)

Though shooting or motorcycle shops might stock better ones

AdonisBlue - 12 Oct 2021 19:46:31 (#8 of 20)

Sadly the Boots Green ones are examples of the new low density, skinny foam ones that now dominate in UK chemists.

The issue I think is I have huge earholes so none of these now work for me at all.

I'd love to know what changed and therefore how I can source the earplugs that were everywhere five years ago?

Moschops - 12 Oct 2021 19:48:17 (#9 of 20)


dreams99 - 12 Oct 2021 19:52:52 (#10 of 20)

I've been using Flare audio earplugs for several years - a metal centre and a foam exterior (in 3 different sizes) Works well for me.

nemo75 - 12 Oct 2021 19:53:51 (#11 of 20)

Flents, from the US.

AdonisBlue - 12 Oct 2021 19:55:43 (#12 of 20)

#9 Those are the classic yellow noise reduction ones I mentioned. Sadly as I mentioned they've shortened and narrowed them and they also use the less dense foam now. Our binmen at work wear them for work and complain they no longer work as they used to.

#10 They sound interesting, any link?

tasselhoff - 12 Oct 2021 20:07:37 (#13 of 20)

A bit of ambient pink noise might help too.

dreams99 - 12 Oct 2021 20:08:05 (#14 of 20)

No, can't link easily on here. They last for ages, in the end the foam comes away from the centre, but then you replace the foam bit. Looks like they've changed the design, haven't tried the new ones.

AdonisBlue - 12 Oct 2021 20:09:43 (#15 of 20)

Ah no need I looked up the metal ones, tried those, they work OK but the stem is uncomfortable when you lie on your side. The buds are also too small for my massive lugholes.

To try an explain further. Plugs that worked for me had to be rolled before insertion into your ear. They would then slowly expand to fit your ear and cut out sound. Modern foams ones you just push in. They have to be oversize to work properly and form a tight seal with your earholes. Modern ones are built for comfort rather than noise reduction.

Motorbike or shooting shops is a good idea as theirs will be designed for sound reduction rather than comfort.

AdonisBlue - 12 Oct 2021 20:46:29 (#16 of 20)

I guess my needs are very specialist. Just in case anyone else ever needs foam ear plugs that work and has noticed the change in foam I'm whittering about, these are the ones that work:

Notice how you can see air bubbles in the foam. Modern foam plugs that don't work are smooth on the outside.

Trouble is I now need to find a source of these in the UK that sells small packs, not 200s.

dreams99 - 12 Oct 2021 21:18:25 (#17 of 20)

The buds are also too small for my massive lugholes.

There are 3 sizes, large is pretty generous.

TommyDGNR8 - 12 Oct 2021 21:44:12 (#18 of 20)

I used to use the Honeywell ones that look like rhubarb & custard sweets for work. Can't imagine having to use anything like that to get to sleep, my condolences.

bossab2 - 12 Oct 2021 22:09:51 (#19 of 20)

Only £50 !

AdonisBlue - 12 Oct 2021 22:59:51 (#20 of 20)

I know Boss, when I finally found the ones I want they were only in boxes of 200 for 50 squids ex vat. Imported from states.

Something has happened to the British ones. They've gone all soft and lost their mojo. I can relate.

As an aside Boss ear plugs on a hospital ward are very helpful if you find yourself back there soon. Fingers crossed you don't.

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