The best earplugs for sleeping:
Most of us are living in busy cities with around-the-clock transportation and increasing noise pollution which is keeping us awake. It could be your noisy neighbours watching TV at full volume preventing you from sleeping or perhaps the roar from your partner as they snore. Whatever the noise, it can result in poor sleep and poor sleep can have an impact on quality of life and daily performance, particularly for light sleepers.
Why do we need sleep?
Sleep is the time our body goes into reset mode ready to tackle the next day. This means that you have enough energy, better concentration and mood to carry on. During sleep, our bodies go through different processes; during deep sleep, your breathing slows as does your heart rate, your muscles relax and there is a reduction in brain activity. Our hormones are also regulated during sleep. An average of seven to nine hours of sleep is crucial to provide your body with the rest that it needs in order to promote better physical and mental performance. With a lack of sleep, you are losing the restorative benefits of sleep.
What can you do to aid better sleep?
One way to overcome sleepless nights and improve physical and mental health due to noise is to use earplugs for sleeping. Earplugs work by blocking out noise such a partner snoring or traffic noise. You have different earplugs for sleeping and for a relatively low cost you can improve your sleep significantly.
What type of earplugs for sleeping are available?
You can get standard over-the-counter foam earplugs that you first squeeze and roll before placing into your ear canals. These then expand to fill the space, however, due to them protruding out of the bowl (or concha) of the ear, there is a risk of them falling out in the night. Due to the material that they are made of it is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and therefore, these should not be reused as you run the risk of ear infections. Foam disposable earplugs are cheap to buy.
You can also get over-the-counter wax ones that you soften in your hands with your body heat before filling the ear canal space. Having seen patients with remnants of these stuck in their ears, most likely through re-use I would suggest using with caution. These are also cheap to buy but similar to foam earplugs they can fall out of your ears.
You can also use universal silicone earplugs like the ER21 series that come in different sizes or ACS Pacato 16 or 19. These would be the choice for over-the-counter ones as they are relatively cheap, can also be wiped clean reducing the risk of ear infection and are usually light enough to feel comfortable in your ears.
Ultimately, the best earplugs for sleeping will always be custom made moulds like the Total Blocks or Snore Plugs. These require impressions to be taken of the shape of your ears which means the moulds are custom made to you and will stay in your ears throughout the night. They don’t necessarily reduce noise any more than over the counter ones but will last longer and are therefore better for the environment. They are also easier to keep clean because they can be washed, reducing the risk of ear infections.
Are there any risks with using earplugs for sleeping?
The risks are low but using earplugs does carry some risks. If you are prone to allergic reactions, then you may react to the material of whichever earplug option you choose. This may result in an ear infection. If this occurs, leave the earplugs out to let some natural air in and contact your GP for treatment. You also need to ensure that you are not reusing disposable ones for a prolonged period of time as this may also result in an ear infection. Keep on top of cleaning any earplugs according to the accompanying instructions.
If you suffer from earwax build-up you may end up pushing any earwax further down your ear canal resulting in a blocked sensation and/or tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Click here to learn about tinnitus. With incorrect use or insertion of earplugs, there is the possibility of the material getting stuck inside your ears, in which case your audiologist may be able to help with foreign body removal.
Are you in need of a good night’s sleep? We can help with custom earplugs for better sleep?