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The best ear plugs for sleeping block noise effectively and are comfortable enough to wear for at least eight hours. Ear plugs can be made from foam or silicone. Both types are effective at blocking noise, so personal comfort should be the deciding factor when choosing ear plugs. Ear plugs are useful for light sleepers and for individuals with spouses who snore.
Foam ear plugs are bullet shaped and come in a variety of colors and sizes. The amount of sound blocked depends on the density of the foam, and the package will state what level of ear protection the plugs provide. Foam ear plugs for snoring are rolled into a tight cylinder and inserted directly into the external part of the ear canal. Once in place, the plugs will slowly expand, blocking out noise. They can be removed by tugging gently on the flat end that protrudes from the ear.
Ear plugs for sleeping that are made from silicone start out as flattened cylinders. The silicone is gently kneaded and fitted over the ear canal opening. Silicone ear plugs are most often used for swimming or preventing water from entering the ear, but can be used for sleeping as well. They should never be inserted into the ear canal; they are designed to cover the opening and provide a tight seal to block water and noise. Silicone ear plugs can be removed by gently slipping a finger under the edge and sliding the plug from the ear.
Foam and silicone ear plugs can be found in the ear-care section of a big-box store or pharmacy. Most ear plugs come in packages with multiple pairs; some brands also include a storage box. Silicone ear plugs are slightly more expensive than foam ones, and may be more difficult for beginners to learn to use. Both types last about a week per pair if used and stored properly.
Both spouses can benefit from using ear plugs for sleeping. The snoring spouse may get a better night's sleep if the non-snorer doesn't have to wake him or her up to stop the noise. The non-snoring spouse will be able to get to sleep and stay asleep despite the noise. Ear plugs may block snoring, but most allow louder, more urgent noises through, so there is no risk of sleeping through an alarm.
@ElizaBennett - My wife and I had the same problem! The disposable ear plugs were of no use to me - they just didn't seem to fit properly. I actually got some custom-fitted ear plugs. They were not as expensive as "custom" makes it sound, and they were so much more comfortable for me!
Anyone who has tried the standard kind without success should try the custom. I use them for shooting now, too. Some of us just seem to have non-standard ears! I can't use the ear buds that come with iPods, either - they fall right out.
Disposable ear plugs were a lifesaver for us during my last pregnancy. For the first time in my life, I started snoring, and I also developed bad head cold. The combination was not exactly musical! To make matters worse, I had serious heartburn. That caused interesting gurgling noises to come from my throat, even if I slept on two pillows.
Enter the earplugs. My husband was so tired that he was thinking of sleeping in our toddler's room, but I suggested he try the earplugs first. They really worked, and we were able to stay together.
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