Super easy ways to block out noise without earplugs
Yes you’ve read that right, you can block out noise without earplugs.
Although ear plugs are a nifty accessory to drown out noise, they are only a temporary solution when it comes to noise reduction.
Moreover, they may actually cause more damage to your ear drums in the long run.
If you’re a side sleeper like me, ear plugs are not a very viable option given how uncomfortable they are when you toss and turn in bed.
You might find yourself constantly readjusting them as you try to doze off.
All these reasons might make you think twice about wearing ear plugs the next time you fall asleep.
I’ve got you covered with a list of tried and true methods with products that are readily available to Amazon to block out noise without earplugs.
Continue reading to find out which method suits your budget and lifestyle the best.
I am an Amazon Affiliate, which means I will make a commission if you purchase something through the links here. There are NO extra cost to you at all.
Related: Best Earplugs for Shooting
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Do you need to drown out noise?
This article is for those who have trouble falling asleep at night due to incessant traffic noises or even from interior noises, such as your partner’s habit of snoring.
Research has shown a link between nighttime environmental noise exposure and cardiovascular disease, suggesting that even low-level noises may impact health due to sleep disturbance.
Significant research has also suggested that noise disturbance such as traffic-related noise can actually cause people to lose years of their life.
You could also be working in an office environment where you’re constantly surrounded by the chatter of your coworkers around you.
This low-frequency background noise can gradually become a source of fatigue and additional stress.
Students who wish to block out noise while studying can also benefit from investing in a tool to help them focus and drown out any distracting noises.
While all these factors are a source of annoyance for many, some among us even suffer from a medical condition called misophonia, or a hypersensitivity to sound.
This condition can be debilitating for those who suffer from it, and “trigger sounds” can even cause them to respond with stress, anger and irritation.
Whatever the reason is, the list of benefits of both working and living in a quiet space goes on and blocking out unwanted noises is something that we can all benefit from.
Related: How to make a soundproof box
What can you do about it?
A white noise machine can be the answer to your sleepless nights.
Judging by its name, you might think that a noise-making machine might be counterintuitive to the problem you are trying to solve.
However, white noise is not any regular noise.
It is a sound that is played at the same frequency repeatedly.
You may have seen YouTube videos of relaxing ambient sounds such as thunderstorms or chirping birds.
White noise, on the other hand, is played at a consistent frequency, creating a masking effect that blocks out the sudden changes in noise outside.
If you’ve ruled out other potential contributing factors such as underlying medical issues, it is worth giving the white noise machine a shot.
A study conducted about the effects of white noise found that patients in a hospital who had white noise broadcast in their rooms experienced better quality sleep that those who didn’t.
If you’re a side sleeper like me, wearing ear plugs will be too uncomfortable.
With the Avantek white noise machine, you will no longer have that problem of having your ear plugs fall out as you toss and turn around in bed.
Related: Best White Noise Machines
Alternatives you can consider
Still not totally convinced by this white noise producing contraption?
There are other ways you can block out noise even without the use of ear plugs.
These products that have earned a place on my list of recommendations are readily available on Amazon.
Related: Noise Blocking Window Film: How do they work?
Wrap a Nap Sleep Pillow
If getting your beauty sleep with the discomfort of wearing ear plus is not up your alley, try out this travel pillow that wraps around your entire head.
It is designed to cover your ears the way that ear muffs do, minus the discomfort.
Designed as a travel pillow, it is soft enough for you to sleep on any surface comfortably.
Even if you are not planning on travelling anytime soon, you can still use this pillow to block out noise from outside traffic or noisy neighbours.
As it is not bulky, you can still use it while sleeping on a traditional pillow.
Bluetooth Sleep Headphones
Although this headband equipped with Bluetooth speakers can allow you to enjoy your favourite tunes in bed, it can also be used on its own as a noise-cancelling headband.
It’s made from a breathable, stretchy mesh that helps to prevent heat build-up in the night.
One major advantage of wearing these headphones is that it does not get in the way of your rest on a pillow.
The ultra-thin flat headphone speakers won’t exert any pressure on your ears, making it very comfortable for side sleepers in particular.
The headphones will block out ambient noises so you don’t have to use ill-fitting earplugs that are painful and prone to falling out with any slight movement.
Another benefit of wearing external headphones for a prolonged period of time, especially during your sleep, is that it reduces the risk of ear infections compared to the traditional ear plugs.
AcousticSheep Wireless Bluetooth Sleep Headphones
These sleep-friendly headphones were created by a family physician to help patients fall asleep without relying on medication.
This is a great option in terms of comfort and sound if you prefer to block out noises with your favourite soothing playlist.
The ultra thin, flat speakers are comfortable enough to wear while you lie down even if you are a side-sleeper.
It even comes with a battery that lasts up to 10 hours when fully charged, so you don’t have to worry about its battery life.
The AcousticSheep headphones come in a range of sizes so you are sure to find one that provides the most amount of comfort for you.
Worried that the material might make it hard for you to get a good night’s sleep?
Not to worry, these headphones are available in two types of fabric: warm, soft fleece fabric or lightweight and moisture wicking fabric.
Alternatively, you can choose to soundproof your entire bedroom to solve the noise issue once and for all.
To do so, there are multiple ways you can start your DIY soundproofing projects.
Start by hanging heavy curtains or drapes on windows and even on your walls to benefit from their noise-absorbing properties in your home.
By soundproofing your room, you can begin to address the source of the noise.
If the noise is coming primarily from outside traffic, you can seal the gaps and cracks in your windows or install soundproofing curtains.
Make sure that your windows and doors aren’t drafty to create any gaps that would allow noise to come in.
Similarly, these thick and dense curtains will do the trick if you drape them over your door.
You an even use the soundproof curtains as a bed canopy if you have the right tools and bed frame for it.
Sounds like a good alternative?
You can even combine the installation of sound proof curtains with the rearrangement of furniture in your room.
By adding a carpet or cushions, you will be surprised at the difference it makes.
Additionally, adding a bookshelf or cupboards filled with personal items will also help reduce the noise level while absorbing some sound.
Related: How to soundproof a room with blankets
Noise cancelling headphones
This is a product for those who work in a hectic office and are looking to invest in some noise cancelling headphones to drown out coworkers’ conversations.
I highly recommend the Bose Quiet Comfort 35.
These headphones come with three levels of world-class noise cancelling for both an enhanced listening experience in any environment while serving its noise-cancelling purpose.
It would surely not be practical to install noise-absorbing curtains around your cubicle as much as you’re tempted to on certain Mondays.
Noise-cancelling headphones will be your best friend to block out office chatter.
The Bose Quiet Comfort features the unique Acoustic Noise Cancelling technology that is similar to the sophisticated noise-cancelling headphones that pilots use.
You can be rest assured that if the technology is used by pilots, it will certainly help reduce noise whether in your own bedroom or at the office.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Are there actually any ear plugs that can block out all noise?
Unfortunately soundproof earplugs that completely block out noise do not exist.
Although ear plugs reduce the air conduction of sound by creating a barrier to sound waves travelling through the air to your ears, you will still hear louder noises as the cranial bone also transmits vibrations to your ear drum.
If you decide to go with earplugs, you will can buy customized ear plugs to maximize their noise-blocking properties.
However, note that they are usually more expensive than universal earplugs.
I suffer from tinnitus, is it still safe to sleep with white noise?
There are no drawbacks to sleeping with a white noise machine every night.
However, if you suffer from tinnitus, you are understandably worried that sleeping with a white noise machine might aggravate your symptoms.
Studies have not shown the direct link between tinnitus and constant exposure to low frequency white noises.
Although it is safe to sleep with a white noise machine, there has not been any proven benefit for people with tinnitus.
Is it bad to sleep with earplugs every night?
It is not advisable to sleep with ear plugs every night.
If you have the habit of wearing it every night, you might want to think twice.
Wearing ear plugs frequently can actually impact your ear’s ability to drain its earwax properly.
This happens when earplugs push earwax back into your ear, leading to a buildup over time.
If left untreated, the buildup can lead to decreased hearing, ear pain, itching and even ringing in your ear.
If not changed frequently, ear plugs can also increase your chances of an ear infection as bacteria can grow on foam ear plugs.
In the worst case scenario, prolonged use of ear plugs will even damage your ear canal and result in permanent hearing damage.
Given these risks, you might want to consider the alternatives that we’ve listed down for you.
How do I block out my neighbour’s noise?
If your neighbour’s constant noise and conversation have begun to have a negative impact on your sleep, you may want to consider soundproofing your room.
As we’ve suggested, you can soundproof your walls, doors and windows to stop the sources of noise from travelling into your room.
You can also soundproof the floor or ceiling if you really need to with some acoustic foams or foam mats.
Or else, you can go next door and tell them nicely how it is bothering you, and make a new friend.
What is a budget-friendly alternative to purchasing a white noise machine?
If you are interested in playing white noise in the background for a better night’s sleep but are hesitant to spend on a white noise machine, you can consider getting a white noise app called Noisli that is available on the App Store.
This app is a more portable option especially if you are an avid traveler.
Instead of constantly carrying a white noise machine with you, you can block out external noises wherever you go.
Moreover, this application even offers offline sounds, the ability to create and save your own combos, and features a timer with an unobtrusive fade-out function.
Related: How to soundproof an apartment door
Block out noise without earplugs: Conclusion
As ear plugs are not a sustainable option to block noise, we’ve compiled the list for you to decide which option works best for your lifestyle.
Gone are the sleepless nights when you wished you could stop your partner’s incessant snoring, or dealing with the loud mouth colleague.
With these products, you won’t have to worry about knocking on your neighbour’s doors to make them tone down their late night conversations.