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No Contest: Custom-molded Earplugs vs. Generic Plugs

sleep ear plugs

If you have a noisy occupation, hobby, or lifestyle, you may have considered using molded earplugs to protect your hearing. This is a great idea, and whether you want earplugs for sleeping, noise-cancellation or underwater protection, custom-molded earplugs are the more comfortable, safer, and cheaper option than the disposable, generic earplugs you can find online or at the grocery store or pharmacy.  

Common Types of Earplugs  

Many things can act as earplugs either inside the ear (i.e. foam, wax, cotton balls) or over the ear (i.e. ear covers, cloth, padded bands). The most effective earplugs on the market, however, are made from medical-grade silicone and create an effective seal when inserted inside the ear canal. All earplugs are created and fit differently according to their purpose. The most common molded earplugs are: 

Sleep plugs 

Perhaps the most requested non-work-related earplugs are sleep plugs. When made and cared for properly, custom earplugs for sleeping can last for years and provide you with the best-fitting, most comfortable, soundproofing plugs for sleeping. They are a perfect choice for: 

  • sleeping partners of people who snore 
  • people who sleep during the day 
  • people who travel on trains, buses, or planes 
  • people living on a busy street, or near an airport or train station 
  • students or office workers who want to concentrate without being bothered by the noise around them 

Swim plugs 

Swim plugs are chosen by frequent swimmers, drivers, and water-sport enthusiasts like paddlers to keep their ears dry and free from bacteria. Swim plugs are excellent for people with ear tubes or who have had ear surgery. These molded earplugs can also help block out noise while you’re at the pool. 

Musician molds 

Quality, custom earplugs allow musicians and their crew to hear what they need to while blocking out sounds that exceed 85 decibels. Musician molds can be a good choice for frequent concertgoers and professional athletes as well, for the molds block out the damaging roar from crowds and extremely loud music.  

Pilot & communication molds 

These molded earplugs are custom-made to fit the ears of pilots and other individuals who need to wear communication earpieces and/or headpieces for their job in: 

  • law enforcement or military 
  • broadcasting or television/film production 
  • retail or hospitality 
  • security or emergency services 

If required, these molds can be vented to allow the wearer to hear ambient sounds as well as communications from their headsets.  

Solid earplugs 

Also known as ear defenders, these plugs offer the highest level of safety and comfort for high-noise environments. They are ideal for industrial workers, recreational hunters, and people who use power tools and machinery. 

High-frequency molds
High-frequencies are sounds registering above 2000 Hz. While some high-frequency sounds like bird chirps are pleasant, some others like wailing sirens and fast-spinning industrial fans can be damaging to your hearing when exposed to frequently. High-frequency molds are made with medical grade silicone and contain an acoustical chamber and filter that dampen those sounds to a safe level, making them ideal for industrial workers.  

Racing receivers
Communication while on the track is paramount, but so is protecting your hearing. Made with high-quality materials, racer molds help reduce noises from your own car engines and other cars on the track while allowing you to hear communication from your team.  

Hunting mold
While hunting is a typically quiet activity, there is no denying that firearms are loud and in close proximity to your ears, which can be damaging. Hunting molds contain percussive filters that reduce soundwaves from weapons while still allowing you to be perfectly aware of your surroundings. These molds are ideal for hunting or trips to the shooting range. Some products available also allow for Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to stay connected with people close to you and at home at the same time. 


Custom-molded Earplugs vs. Generic Plugs  

Now that we have examined the many types of earplugs, let’s compare the advantages of custom-made earplugs over the generic alternatives based on three prime criteria: 


Whether you’re wearing earplugs for work, leisure or sleeping, comfort is essential. That’s why custom-molded earplugs are a better option than generic foam, silicone, or wax earplugs. Custom earplugs are shaped specifically to your ears, so they fit perfectly where you need and want them to sit for comfort and protection from the noise, wind, or water around you. When prepared for you by a professional audiologist or practitioner, custom earplugs for sleeping, swimming, or working will not fall out or bother you.  


Once again, because custom-molded earplugs are made to fit your ears, they sit perfectly inside your ears and create a comfortable barrier that is more effective than any online or over-the-counter alternative possibly can. Custom earplugs are also more hygienic than their generic counterparts for two main reasons: 

  • they maintain their shape, so you don’t need to touch the part that goes inside your ear 
  • their specially formulated medical-grade silicone is easy to clean and does not spawn pathogenic bacteria like foam earplugs 


While generic earplugs seem like a cost-effective alternative to custom earplugs for sleeping, working, or playing, they: 

  • do not last as long 
  • tend to get lost 
  • require replacement for hygienic and performance-related reasons 

Therefore, in the long run, custom-molded earplugs are far more economical. Many professionally molded earplugs will be guaranteed to last for a set number of years and will be replaced if there happens to be a defect or issue.  


Where to Find Custom-molded Earplugs in Alberta 

Whether you are looking for custom earplugs for sleeping, working, or playing, contact Soundwave Hearing Care in Calgary and various locations throughout Alberta. Our team of caring audiologists and hearing aid practitioners will help you find the perfect custom earplug solution for you. 

All the blogs are reviewed and edited by our clinic's lead audiologist, Dr. Anne Wooliams. Dr. Woolliams is an experienced audiologist specialized in pediatric audiology, auditory processing, and tinnitus/sound sensitivity therapy. She is dedicated to providing top-notch hearing care and helping her clients improve their language and communication abilities. Dr. Woolliams' expertise in literature and linguistics, combined with her passion for helping people improve their language and communication, make her an incredibly valuable asset in the field of audiology. Learn more about Dr. Woolliams.