Are Custom Earplugs Effective?

a pair of orange foam ear plugs

The goal of any earplug is obvious; it is all about reducing the volume of sound. Even though this is something that can be achieved with any earplugs, it actually doesn’t work out that straightforward. For instance, not all sound is equal. Sounds like speech can be quite different from sounds like background noise. With earplugs, you may want to suppress more background noise than music or speech, for example. Sound is also something that is quite dynamic, meaning that some specific frequencies can be handled differently, and the volume of sound shouldn’t decrease too much, or at the same time, by too little. 

For an earplug to be at its most effective, it has to be able to limit the sound, but do so by not limiting the sound too, but also not by too little. An effective earplug should also deal with sounds and frequencies in different ways. ‘One size fits all’ isn’t necessarily something that works well for earplugs, which makes custom earplugs a better alternative. Custom earplugs can accomplish these things better than a lot of standard foam earplugs. Plus, custom earplugs for hearing protection are likely to have the advantage in some areas, like sound quality, cost, and comfort. 

But are they going to be the most effective? Here are some of the things that can make custom earplugs effective and why they could be a better option compared to disposable options. 

Sound quality

Foam earplugs can block out a lot of sounds, as well as blocking out all frequencies. This can create an occlusion effect for the person that is using the earplugs. This means that when they hear their own voice, for example, it can sound a bit like an echo, which isn’t ideal. Foam earplugs also reduce the sound quality all around, and they can produce a feeling of being confined, which some users can find uncomfortable. Custom earplugs, on the other hand, do have some filters, so that there is an even level in the reduction of the noise. Custom hearing protection can also be programmed to reduce volume, but only by the necessary amount. It can also filter out some sounds more than other sounds, and help to keep things like speech and things like music, at a much more desirable level and quality level. 


In order for foam earplugs to be the most effective, they do have to form a seal that is deep within the ear canal. This can occur but can leave a bit of a feeling of pressure that is constantly there when they are being worn. However, for custom earplugs, they are made to fit you precisely by working with an audiologist and are molded to the exact shape of your ear canal. So, there is much less of a ‘plugged’ feeling, meaning more comfort overall. Custom earplugs are also going to be made with soft materials that are medical grade so that the earplugs don’t change shape or shrink. The varying shapes and sizes of ears and ear canals aren’t an issue with custom plugs, but they can be with foam ones.


If you are someone that regularly uses foam plugs, you may be wasting money and time purchasing these one-time-use varieties. You may pay more upfront for custom plugs, but then they are yours for their lifespan. If you get a top-quality pair of custom earplugs, they can last for quite a while, around five years, depending on how much use they get. You will also get better comfort and hearing protection, as well as saving money, and the reduction in waste earplugs. 

Custom-molded earplugs can be effective, and in fact, more effective than disposables, just because they are molded specifically to you. Custom plugs can reduce volume, as well as protect your hearing. Custom earplugs will also have better sound quality, will be more comfortable, and cost you (and the environment), less in the long-term. 

If you are interested in finding out more about custom earplugs, then get in contact with us today on 954-994-4143. At Active Life Hearing, we are hearing experts and want to make all things related to hearing easy and straightforward for our customers. With years in the industry, we can definitely help you with your hearing needs and anything related to earplugs.