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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you normally sleep on your side you will probably find ear plugs more comfortable to sleep in. Read our roundup of the best ear plugs for sleeping here.
Another alternative is to use white noise to mask other sounds that might keep you awake. You could use a white noise machine or listen to an MP3 of white noise through pillow speakers.