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From sleeping to staying focused at work, these silicone earplugs changed my life

Finally, comfortable earplugs that don't cause me pain.
Split image of someone using Loop Earplugs and the earplugs in a black case
Courtesy Shannon Garlin

We all know how vital a good night's rest is for long-term health. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults ages 18-64 should be getting seven to nine hours of sleep per night, and experts say that a lack of zzzs can lead to early signs of aging and even affect daily functioning.

I'm a light sleeper and sensitive to loud noises. Unfortunately, I have the unpleasure of living below a noisy neighbor whose footsteps sound like they're clogging at all hours of the night. (They also sometimes like to vacuum before sunrise.) And until just recently, my first-floor apartment was in earshot of the building's loud entrance buzzer. So, what do you do if you live in an environment that keeps you from getting your proper beauty rest?

I've tried every drugstore earplug out there. They're either too big and fall out in the middle of the night or feel so uncomfortable that they cause pressure pain and scabbing. After doing some research, I came across the Loop Quiet earplugs, Amazon's No. 1 bestselling earplugs that promise to reduce noise and not hurt my ears. After seeing it has nearly 40,000 five-star ratings, I decided it was worth a shot — and after one night, I was hooked!

Loop Quiet Earplugs

Do Loop Quiet Earplugs work?

Reusable and washable: The Loop Quiet earplugs are made of silicone, so I found the material to be much gentler on the delicate skin in my ear canal.

Customizable: The plugs come with four interchangeable size caps (XS - L), so I was able to pick a size that felt the most comfortable on me. I was relieved to finally find something that didn't feel too large in my ears or fall out in the night. (Though, according to the brand, if the earplugs don't reduce enough sound, you should try a larger size.)

Sleek and stylish: The earplugs come in six different colors. I chose "calm pink," so that they wouldn't get lost in my white bedding whenever I removed them. They also look like just another pair of wireless earbuds. So, if you're just wanting to mute the noises during the day — whether you're riding the subway or sitting in a noisy office — people might just think you're listening to some tunes. Plus, it comes with its own carrying case.

What I love most about Loop Quiet is how easy and comfortable they are to wear. With foam earplugs, I have to roll them, insert them into the ear canal and then wait for them to expand. To wear these, you simply pop them into your ear canal, making sure the entire silicone tip is inserted, then twist the loop handle up to create the seal.

The packaging includes a QR code that links to helpful video tutorials, ensuring there's no confusion on how to properly insert them. After a couple of uses, I noticed they were consistently comfortable to wear throughout the night while staying put! Plus, they're side-sleeper approved — I didn't experience any discomfort while laying on my side or stomach.

I asked Dr. Michelle Kraskin, Assistant Director of Hearing and Speech Center at Weill Cornell Medicine, if one type of earplug (foam versus silicone) was better than the other. She says that it's up to personal preference, but to make sure you are using them correctly. "I think the issue with foam is that people don’t actually insert them appropriately, so I think if you’re not using them appropriately, they are a waste."

Side view of Loop Earplugs in someones ears
Courtesy Shannon Garlin

Are earplugs safe to wear overnight?

I've been wearing my Loop Quiet earplugs every night for the last year and not only have they remained durable but they've also allowed my sensitive ears to fully recover from the effects of my last foam earplugs. I’ve recently bought the replaceable tips, which come in a pack of three, so I’m set for years. Plus, my sleep has felt restored, and I am finally getting a full night's rest again.

In terms of ear safety, Kraskin says wearing plugs overnight is absolutely fine, but to just keep a few things in mind. "I would caution you don’t want to have any active ear infections, [and] you don’t want to have draining ears if you are using them. If you develop a rash, obviously immediately discontinue use," she says. She also advises to not forget to allow your ears to breathe in general throughout the day. "You don’t want to create a moist environment that will be breeding bacteria and germs."

Who can benefit from earplugs?

According to Kraskin: Everyone — from people who sleep with noisy partners to those (like myself) living in noisy spaces. She mentioned there are many other different benefits for ear and noise protection, not just for sleeping.

"I think, in general, [for] anyone who is exposed to loud noises on a consistent basis. Someone who’s always riding the subway, somebody who’s outside their apartment building and they’re doing construction for the next six months and they’re walking past that every day," said Kraskin. "I’m big on ear protection for anyone who goes to a concert." Luckily, Loop has an earplug designed exactly for those kinds of high-volume situations:

Loop Experience Ear Plugs for Concerts

Loop Engage

Loop recently sent me its latest launch: Loop Switch. According to the brand, this latest addition is a 3-in-1 product and features all three types of the brand's options. It has a switch to toggle between Quiet for focus, Experience for concerts and travel, and Engage for social settings. While this version won't be comfortable to sleep in like the Quiet, I love wearing the Switch in the office when I need to stay focused; they've reduced background chatter just enough to help me stay in the zone. And since I can adjust the noise level, they still allow me to hear if someone calls my name or talk to anyone who approaches my desk. I've found myself working more productively, and not feeling too distracted.

Loop Switch

Kraskin mentions, as regulated by Occupational Safety and Health Administration Standards, that exposing yourself to over 85 decibels in an eight-hour workday can be harmful to hearing. To put that into perspective, the Hearing Health Foundation says average office noise comes to about 70 decibels. The brand says the Loop Quiet earplugs reduce noise by 27 decibels, which can ultimately help with focus, calmer traveling and, of course, sleep. And even though I could still hear some outside noises while wearing them, these plugs lowered the noise level enough to where it no longer jolted me out of my sleep.

After trying these firsthand, I can say I'm a big fan — and I may just have turned Dr. Kraskin onto something. Although she has yet to try them, she says they could be a great alternative to more expensive custom options she normally suggests. "[Loop Quiet earplugs] are way cheaper, way easier and if it works great, you don't need to spend the $200," she says. I'm happy I found Loop first!