While many people find sleeping in ear defenders uncomfortable, if you sleep on your back or in a chair you might find ear defenders comfortable enough to sleep in. Lots of people find ear defenders help block out snoring and other noises that would otherwise keep them awake.
This article looks at some of the comfiest and most effective ear defenders for sleeping currently available in the UK. We’ll review 5 of the top ear muffs for sleeping on the market, starting with what we consider to be the best choice. We hope this article helps you get a good night’s sleep!
1. 3M Peltor Optime II Ear Muffs
Made by 3M, one of the leading names in hearing protection, the 3M Peltor Optime II Ear Muffs offer a great combination of affordability and durability. Despite being designed primarily for wearing in the workplace, many people find these ear defenders to be a good choice for sleeping in.
Since they’re designed to be worn for long hours at work, the 3M Peltor Optime II Ear Muffs are quite comfortable and have a good amount of padding. This makes them more comfortable for sleeping in than many other ear defenders.
These ear defenders have a Single Number Rating (SNR) of 31 dB, which means they can reduce very loud sounds by roughly 31 decibels. They won’t fully block out snoring and other mid-volume sounds, but they do help dampen them considerably.
One good thing about this product is that you can buy replacements for the cushions and inserts online so unless the ear defenders break you can keep using them for years without them getting dirty.
2. Mpow Ear Defenders
These inexpensive ear defenders from Mpow are one of the most popular hearing protection products on the market right now. Despite being very affordable, these ear defenders are well made and should last you a long time. They’re a good choice for light sleepers as they offer a high level of noise reduction (34 dB).
These ear muffs are comfortable enough to sleep in for most people, and are a good choice if you’re trying to sleep in a noisy place.
The Mpow Ear Defenders have a smart black design, with a stripe running around each ear cup. You can buy them with a black stripe or a coloured stripe in yellow, blue, purple or red.
In addition to sleeping, you can use these ear defenders for all kinds of things including attending fireworks shows, studying or using loud machinery. The ear cups can be folded up making them easy to carry around, and you even get a drawstring bag included to keep them in.
3. Fnova 34 dB Ear Defenders
The Fnova 34 dB Ear Defenders are an affordable pair of ear defenders that can be used for a variety of purposes including sleeping. They have a noise reduction rating (NRR) of 34 decibels, which means they’re quite effective at reducing the volume of the sounds around you.
The cups are lined with soft foam cushions, and they’re generally comfy for sleeping in if you sleep on your back. The shape of these ear defenders makes them uncomfortable if you sleep on your side—try some ear plugs instead if you’re a side-sleeper.
If you’re design-conscious you’ll appreciate the fact that these ear defenders are available with a large choice of cup colours.
4. Silverline 633816 Folding Ear Defenders
The Silverline 633816 Folding Ear Defenders have a thin headband which can be adjusted to fit the size of your head, making them relatively comfy for sleeping in. If you sleep on your back they should be quite comfortable, but the design will prevent you from rolling over onto your side.
These ear defenders have an SNR of 30 dB, which means they’re reasonably effective at reducing the volume of loud noises. They won’t block out snoring completely, but they should dull it to a more comfortable level.
5. Hibermate Sleep Mask with Ear Muffs
These “ear muffs” aren’t exactly ear defenders in the traditional sense. However, they are designed specifically for sleeping, hence their inclusion in this list. This product combines a sleep mask with ear muffs to block out both light and sound. This combination makes them potentially a good choice for sleeping on planes or taking an afternoon nap while it’s still light.
The ear muffs have an estimated NRR of 15dB – 20dB. This is lower than the average pair of regular ear defenders, so you can’t expect the Hibermate to offer the same level of noise reduction as regular ear defenders.
The main advantage of these ear muffs compared to the other products reviewed here is that they’re quite comfy to wear even if you sleep on your side. They’re not bulky and don’t have a hard headband like most regular ear defenders.
Alternatives to Ear Muffs
White noise machines
A white noise machine emits a sound that helps to drown out other noises. For example, you can buy white noise machines that produce the sounds of waterfalls or storms. These noises are supposed to be calming and actually help you fall asleep. So, much of what a white noise machine does is to help you calm down and get your brain ready for sleep.
White noise machines do not typically actually emit white noise. For some odd reason, white noise machines are given this name even though most of them emit something called pink noise. White noise is a very harsh sound that many of us would struggle to sleep to. Pink noise is things like waterfalls, storms, bird noises, waves and campfires, for example.
There are some white noise machines that do actually emit white noise, but these can be quite a lot for some people to bare. We would recommend true white noise machines for anyone suffering from tinnitus. These machines produce a noise that seems to be the perfect frequency to drown out tinnitus. For anyone who just wants a good nights sleep and to drown out noisy neighbours, other white noise machines with different noise options are probably better for you.
Most white noise machines come with a timer setting too. This timer setting allows you to set the noise for 30, 60 or 90 minutes, for example. After this, the machine will turn off automatically. Now, for some, this timer function may work great, if you just need a bit of calm noise as you drift off to sleep. However, for others, you may need to look for a white noise machine that can keep going all night. There’s plenty of white noise machines out there that can go all night and provide you with a deep sleep.
An excellent use for white noise machines is in babies rooms. Babies are quite used to noise from being in the womb, but extremely loud noises can wake them up. Of course, babies aren’t the happiest of sleepers anyway, so finding some sort of solution to your baby crying during the night may help you get a few hours extra in bed. A white noise machine with calming noises playing as your baby sleeps can keep them in a deep sleep for hours! Give it a go, you might be surprised!
Young children can also benefit from white noise machines too. A white noise machine works particularly well for young kids during a storm or after a bad dream. White noise machines work well with children for the same reason they work great on us, they provide a familiar, calming noise that drowns out the scary, uncomfortable noise.
Speaking of scary noises, they also work great for pets whenever there are fireworks or storms. Every dog and cat has a place in the home that they feel safe when there is a storm or fireworks (my dog likes the bath in these cases) sticking a white noise machine in their safe place with them can help to drown out some of the noise.
Of course, our pets have far better hearing than us so a white noise machine may not drown all the noise from the storm or fireworks out, but it may produce enough to calm them down a little bit and help them sleep through the noise.
Ear plugs are most people’s preferred method of drowning out noise at night. However, many people find ear plugs uncomfortable and experience them falling out throughout the night. Well, here’s a quick tip about ear plugs that may help you get a better nights sleep:
If you do like ear plugs and do not fancy trying ear muffs or white noise machines, try using silicon ear plugs rather than the foam ones. Silicon moulds to the ear far better than foam, which means that the ear plugs should stay in throughout the night. Also, silicon blocks out more noise than foam ear plugs making them the perfect companion for anyone who sleeps next to a snorer.