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What are the best earplugs for sleeping?

Words: LAUREN SCHWARTZBERG with a new forward from Happy Ears
Photography: BOBBY DOHERTY

The enclosed article from NY Magazine, and The Cut in 2016, recognized Happy Ears as the “Best earplugs for sleep” and really changed the trajectory of our small Swedish company. What we didn’t know is that Happy Ears would go on to receive similar recognition in the years ahead from GQ Magazine, Women’s Health (twice 2018 & 2022), The Strategist and even Vogue…Yes, Vogue.

Having now been in the sleep space for more than a decade, we’ve learned a lot. As earplug geeks we knew and understood the complexity of ears. It’s taken ten years to learn the complexities of sleep. The combined intricacies of ears and sleep is challenging and we continue to learn.

So what are the best earplugs for sleep? Quite simply the best earplug for sleep is one that is comfortable and effective. Of course it helps if that earplug is not easily lost in the sheets. Even if comfortable and effective, the “best” earplug for sleep cannot be a single use foam or wax earplug. The products are not hygienic and the waste is immense. Aside from being reusable it is important the earplug is simple in its design and construction. An earplug with extra parts and filters can be difficult to clean/maintain and will not hold up night after night for many months of sleep. It may just be an earplug, but we believe the design should be excellent so the customer recognizes the value of their purchase.

To meet the demands of the “best earplugs for sleep” Happy Ears continue to be made in Sweden. We could off shore production to the cheapest bidder, but to be the best it starts with ensuring quality. Happy Ears are offered in three sizes with a unique oval shape and short soft stem (great earplugs for side sleeping). Happy Ears do not expand to your ear they fit your ear making Happy Ears an extremely comfortable earplug for sleep. If Happy Ears fit we know they work and are extremely effective. We know this having served nearly 2mil customers and because our earplugs, unlike many sold online, are CE Certified. A CE Certification is a government stamp of approval after being tested/measured by 30 users in a controlled environment. Along with being made in Sweden, the simple Scandinavian design of the earplug ensures it’s durability. To ensure the earplugs are easily found day or night, we’ve introduced Happy Ears Color. For all these reasons, Happy Ears are consistently recognized as the best earplugs for sleep.

The Goal Find the best earplug for sleeping comfortably through your partner’s snoring and the neighbor’s late-night “redecorating.” Sleep doctors, who warn against drugstore foam (effective for muffling but too big for the average canal), point toward wax and silicone options that sit comfortably in the ear while still allowing you to hear the alarm go off in the morning.

The Verdict The Swedish-designed Happy Ears are formed from an FDA-approved clear thermo-plastic that reduces all noise by 25 decibels on average, enough to turn normal conversation into a muted whisper. The tiny round tip comes in three sizes and gently disappears into the ear, so, for side sleepers, it won’t push against the pillow. Style-conscious quiet-seekers might also delight in knowing these are the first earplugs attractive enough to be sold at the cult Paris boutique Colette.


Originally published in New York Magazine September 7, 2016