There’s no doubt that Loop Ear Plugs have made a big impact on the hearing protection market in recent years. They’re fun to look at and they’ve got some neat marketing. But how do they actually rate as ear plugs? In our experience, they failed to live up to the promise of their slick appearance. They rate pretty poorly for sound clarity, which is a big issue for live music use. As a ‘relaxation’ style ear plug they lack the cutting edge design and comfort factor of other plugs
on this list. If looks alone are your priority, grab yourself some Loop Ear Plugs. But if performance and comfort matter to you, we suggest one of our four Loop alternatives.


The ring style design of the Loop is great for adding a splash of colour to your ear plugs but it comes at a significant cost for listening to live music. The filter on the Loop is packed within the silicone body of the ear plug. This means there’s a chunky layer of silicone that sound must pass through before even getting to the ear plugs filter. This muffles the sound, similar to wearing foam ear plugs, which means a loss of clarity and sound quality.

The Earjobs Musicmate Pro on the other hand has its mesh acoustic filter clearly exposed, allowing sound to enter the ear plug directly through the filter. The acoustic membrane filter then performs its magic, lowering the volume of the music to a safe level while retaining that sound clarity that is so vital to a great listening experience. We also find the flanged design of the Musicmate Pro much comfier and more suitable for longer listening sessions. After all, there’s no point bringing ear plugs to a concert, club or festival if you end up taking them out shortly after you put them in.


Earjobs Silicone Putty ($14.99-$34.99)

When it comes to relaxation, comfort is key. We recommend the Earjobs Silicone Putty over any reusable ear plug. The reason for this is that Silicone Putty ear plugs function by forming a seal over the ear canal rather than in it. A semi hard bodied reusable ear plug like the Loop is always going to cause some irritation after longer periods of wear. Why not avoid that stress all together with the squishy delight that is the Earjobs Silicone Putty? When washed with warm soapy
water you can even get multiple wears out of Silicone Putty making it an economical option to boot. It’s the ideal solution for chilling out at home, the office, meditating or even sleeping (though you’ll want to check out our suggestion below if you’re dealing with louder noises).

Sound Sensitivity 
While we often see the Loop advertised as a solution for those with sound sensitivity (including conditions such as Misophonia, Hyperacusis, Tinnitus and Autism Spectrum Disorder), for us nothing compares to the downright revelatory impact of the Flare Calmer on many sound sensitive individuals. A quick look at the reviews section of the Calmer demonstrates just how powerful the unassuming Calmer can be.

The secret? Unlike regular ear plugs such as the Loop which simply lower the volume of sound, Flare Calmer changes the way sound enters the ear altogether. In effect, the sharp or ‘pointy’ bits are rounded off, making otherwise stressful, trigger or distracting sounds much more manageable.

While from a scientific perspective it’s unclear how the Calmer achieves it, we’ve also received dozens of reports that the Calmer has helped individuals suffering from Tinnitus.

On the fence? Check out this review of the Calmer from Liam.


I have never ever been able to fully relax in a restaurant, bar, shopping centre or other assorted busy public space (while sober) ever in my life. Then I got a pair of these and they have genuinely changed my life. I can still hear all the loud sounds that would previously have overwhelmed me, but they now just sound like they've been wrapped in a blanket. All the sharp painful noises that would have made me wince in pain are just background noise. I am able to focus on the conversation I am having with the person in front of me.”


We mentioned earlier the Earjobs Silicone Putty ear plug for sleep. This is a great solution if you’re dealing with mild distractions at night, but for everything else, you’re going to want the Alpine SleepDeep. Not only does the SleepDeep rock a considerably higher NRR than the Silicone Putty (or Loop ear plugs for that matter), its breakthrough gel-infused design makes it the most comfortable reusable ear plug for sleep ever invented. It’s perfect if you’ve got snoring sleep partner in your life, noisy neighbours or live near a busy street. For the longest
time we were reluctant to recommend reusable ear plugs for sleeping because the comfort  levels simply didn’t stack up, however that all changed with the Alpine SleepDeep.
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