A lot of people don’t like the feeling of having something stuck in their ears, especially if it’s earplugs. This is because for ear plugs to be effective, they have to ACTUALLY get in there…irritatingly.
For some, this sensation can be uncomfortable or downright irritating. But what are you to do when you hate ear plugs but have to deal with noise from your environment, neighbours, or roommate?
Is all hope lost? NO. IT. IS. NOT.
Read on to find out how to block out noise without earplugs to get a good night’s sleep!
How to Block Out Noise Without Earplugs: 7 DIY Ways for You
Step 1: Use Alternatives to Earplugs
Okay, so you need the functionality of plugs but HATE plugs in particular. Well, maybe you can use another type of device that will block out noise from around your room.
A great recommendation would a sleeping mask with earmuffs.
You hit 2 birds with 1 stone. You can BLOCK out both noise and light.
Now, tell me the disadvantage…
UNFORTUNATELY, it isn’t for active sleepers.
If you’re the type to toss and turn during the night or sleep on your side, this won’t do for you.
So here’s another GREAT EAR PLUGS ALTERNATIVE:
Use wraparound sleep masks, which is similar to our first suggestion. Only it’s COMPLETELY made of soft, cushioned material that WRAPS around your entire head so that it can block your ears and eyes at the same time.
This may be MORE COMFORTABLE for side-sleepers, but it still isn’t ideal if you tend to move around.
What if THOSE TWO didn’t help? Then…
If you’re the kind of person who likes listening to music, nature sounds, or sleep stories while sleeping, noise cancelling headphones might be your cup of tea.
This doubles by helping you block out noise without wearing ear plugs while also letting you listen to the kinds of noises you do prefer.
The benefit of getting noise cancelling headphones is you can also use them during the day!
Step 2: White Noise Machine or Other Kinds of Noise
Recently, many studies have confirmed the powers of listening to white noise. But what is white noise?
Did you know?
White noise is a combination of every frequency humans can hear. These frequencies are played in random order at the same amplitude, resulting in a constant “shhh” sound that YOU’VE HEARD when your TV or radio produces static.
Okay…So How Does White Noise Help Me?
Essentially, true white noise creates a blanket of sound that can mask any sudden changes in consistency, like the sound of something falling or a door slamming. Take note that it doesn’t actually block noise, so you can still hear louder noises if the noise level is high enough
Despite this, many have attested to the benefits of a white noise machine.
When you play white noise, it can help you focus and be more productive while working or studying, so you can use your white noise machine for two purposes! Talk about bang for your buck, RIGHT?
SOME, however, prefer pink noise to white noise.
Fast Fact: Pink noise is a combination of all the frequencies we can hear. The amplitude of pink noise goes down by HALF every time the frequency doubles, resulting in more intense low-frequencies and softer high-frequencies.
In basic terms, this means it creates a MORE PLEASANT sound because it’s more soothing.
Some studies have found that pink noise can reduce your brain wave activity, making it less active and ready for the first part of your sleep cycle.
There are also other kinds of noises like brown noise, red noise, and blue noise. We suggest you apply your favorite essential oils to complete the experience.
In the End, This All Comes Down to Preference
Finding the right kind of noise that works for you GREATLY INCREASES your chances of having better quality sleep without the issue of having to block out noise without earplugs from your roommate or other things.
If you decide to use these solutions, focus on getting white noise machines within your budget and has all the features you need.
For example, Hatch Restore DOUBLES as a reading light and has functions like a timer, sleep routine, and more. You can even subscribe to their library for stories and more!
But if this cost is too high, you can get a more basic white noise machine like this one from Magicteam. It can play all kinds of noise, including pink, brown, etc.
Step 3: Play Music or a Podcast to Fall Asleep
If white noise doesn’t work for you, YOU’RE DOOMED.
Just kidding. Maybe you need something interesting for your brain to focus on before falling asleep.
However, make sure it isn’t so interesting that you avoid sleeping just to find out what else happens. It has to be boring enough, as well.
You can use music, podcasts, or sleep stories to block out noise without earplugs around your room. And you can use your sleep headphones to listen to them to lull you into a good night’s sleep.
A lot of people have curated playlists on Apple Music, Spotify, or Youtube for this very purpose. There are even some channels SPECIFICALLY MADE to help you have peaceful sleep.
Here’s one of our favorites:
This is a great pick if you want something FREE (if you’re already subscribed to these services) or inexpensive (since you can also use it to listen to your music throughout the day).
You can also have more control because you can even go as far as making your custom playlist!
You can also listen to audiobooks, meditation tracks, or random podcasts.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT is the narrator of the podcast or audio track has a calm, soothing, and droning voice.
You can just play this with your phone, computer speakers, noise cancelling headphones, or whatever speakers or earphones you already have.
Step 4: Use Soundproof Curtains Around Your Bed
Now, we’re heading into home improvement territory.
All our initial suggestions focused on finding a way to easily block out noise WITHOUT having to change anything in your room.
But What If Those Aren’t Enough to Put You to Sleep?
Perhaps you’re the kind of person who needs absolute silence when you’re trying to sleep, and you need a way to do that WITHOUT ADDING even more noise for you to deal with.
Well, One of the First Solutions You Can Try Is To…
Use soundproof curtains in your room and around your bed to block out noise from your roommate or any work being done outside your home.
Since these sound proof curtains are made of thicker and heavier material than regular curtains, they’re MUCH BETTER at blocking out noise.
BUT Before You Splurge on Soundproofing Curtains, Remember:
Using soundproof curtains isn’t an option IF you need to wake up to bright sunlight since these curtains can make your bedroom too dark. Worst-case scenario is you end up fumbling around creating more noise BECAUSE it’s too dark.
So, you can either build a bed canopy in your bedroom yourself or purchase one.
Either way, you can hang curtains on them so you can fall asleep faster by keeping all those sounds outside your cocoon.
You can also make a bed canopy using old, thick curtains and thick blankets.
The benefit of these methods is they’re cost-effective and pretty effective at blocking out any sound coming from outside the bedroom, like noisy roommates playing games in the living room.
This won’t work if the source of the sounds is in your bedroom beside you, though (like your snoring husband).
Step 5: Surround Your Bed with Soundproof Room Divider Curtains
This method is particularly made for those who share their room with a roommate. You can choose to set up room divider curtains with MLV sewn inside.
You can set this up using curtain rods to section off your room and hanging the curtains from the ceiling to the floor.
Try not to leave any gaps. Seriously, DON’T.
Otherwise, these methods won’t be very effective because they won’t block out all the noise, and some sound will still seep into your side.
Whenever you want privacy or are trying to sleep, it’s as easy pulling the curtains closed!
Step 6: Cover the Doors and Windows
If the source of the sound keeping you from falling asleep in your own home is coming from the outside or another room, try the following ways of soundproofing your door and window:
For your door, most of the things you hear come in through the gaps or material of your door.
One way you can solve this is by replacing your door with ones made of THICKER MATERIALS.
If you can’t afford to make such a major change, a method you can try is weatherstripping, a door sweep, or sealant for all those gaps.
A door sweep is cheap and easy to apply and remove, and the same goes for weatherstripping. Green Glue Compound is a good sealant you can try. These products DOUBLE as an adhesive and soundproof product.
You can also use soundproof blankets if you don’t mind attaching a curtain rod above your door or going through curtains whenever you enter and exit your bedroom.
All these products and methods can be used for your window frames, too!
Additionally, you can use acoustic caulk for any gaps in your window. Make sure to check for gaps or any damage to your window frames, as well.
You can even use blackout curtains to keep both noise and light out if that’s your goal. These are also great for keeping the hot sun from reaching your bed!
Don’t think that you’re limited to just one of these methods. Choose what you want to try out and combine so you can fall asleep faster!
Step 7: Soundproof Your Walls
If you had all the time and money in the world, you could TEAR DOWN your drywall and add MLV or additional drywall to make your walls more soundproof.
However, these methods won’t work for everyone, especially if you’re only renting out an apartment.
For the apartment-dwellers out there, soundproof blankets are the next best thing for you. If you live somewhere with VERY THIN walls, you can thicken them up by putting these blankets on shared walls.
Fast Fact: Layering is key whenever you are using blankets or curtains!
Also, try to line up heavy furniture along these same shared walls and try to position your bed AS FAR AWAY from the source of noise as possible.
If spending on heavy blankets and curtains is too burdensome, you can also consider acoustic foam panels! Acoustic foam panels are easy to install and are affordable, so you don’t have to worry about the extra cost for this option.
Why Wear Earplugs in the First Place?
For light-sleepers out there, peace can be elusive when the slightest noise KEEPS YOU AWAKE.
Some people are so sensitive to noise that even the sound of their fan or someone breathing beside them can prevent them from slipping off into dreamland.
This can be dangerous if you regularly do not get a good night’s sleep.
Have you ever had a bad night’s rest and woken up cranky, unfocused, and short-tempered at everyone? Imagine someone’s daily existence BECAUSE of their chronic sleep problems.
The Problem of Poor Sleep
Lack of sleep…
- Affects your productivity and focus, so it will be hard to study or work. If you need to memorize or learn new information, GOOD LUCK.
- It also significantly affects your mood, so you are more likely to experience massive mood swings throughout the day.
- It can even lead to anxiety and depression if you suffer from chronic sleep deprivation.
- If you happen to have a very physical occupation, you may find that you don’t have as much strength or energy to do your job.
- You may also experience BALANCE ISSUES and increase your risk for accidents, so watch your step and be careful when you drive!
- Plus, lack of proper sleep can make your immune system PLUMMET, which is difficult, especially during these times.
- It can even increase your risk for chronic illnesses like cardiac problems, diabetes, obesity, and more.
The simple solution is to wear earplugs, right? Well, it’s not that easy.
The Cons of Using Earplugs
We’ve all been on the receiving end of loud snoring, whether it be our parents, partners, or children.
And if you’re the source of the snores, we hope you’re self-aware enough to do something about it!
Now, if you’re a light sleeper and you happen to live with snorers…
What are you to do as a light sleeper?
Well, you might turn to earplugs as a cheap, easy way to shut out the noise and fall asleep faster. BUT you may soon realize that earplugs aren’t for you.
You see, even if they’re soft and squishy, earplugs just don’t feel right in your ears sometimes. It may be uncomfortable or too quiet, or maybe it irritates your ears for one reason or another.
Some people also struggle waking up with earplugs because they can’t hear their alarms. While there are options for alarms that light up or vibrate, these aren’t strong enough to wake some people.
Moreover, wearing earplugs COMPLETELY BLOCK OUT any background noise, including someone who might have not-very-nice intentions. You wouldn’t want to be startled awake with a hand on your mouth.
Besides the alarming mental image we just gave you, earplugs have additional cons that you may not be aware of.
- For one, they can prevent earwax from properly draining from your ears, which can result in ear infections.
- If you don’t clean your earplugs properly, bacteria can fester in them, further increasing your risk of getting some type of ear infection.
- Pushing the ear plugs too far into your ears or using hard earplugs creates abrasions or other injuries to your ear canal, which can lead to either temporary or even permanent hearing damage!
- Finally, if you remove your ear plugs too quickly, you can damage your eardrums. Remember that the correct way to do this is to pull and twist!
How to Avoid These Risks If You Occasionally (DESPERATELY) Need Earplugs
- PRACTICE regular and proper hygiene. This will prevent the buildup of dirt, dust, and nasty bacteria.
- Replace your ear plugs regularly, depending on how much you use them and what it’s made of. Don’t wait till it’s falling apart to do this!
SO THERE YOU HAVE IT! Knowing how to block out noise without earplugs isn’t so hard to do, right?
All of these noise-reduction methods work for a variety of preferences and budgets. These ones can be mixed and matched so they can be tailor-fit to your needs.
There are also options for those on a budget and those who have the time and money to invest in soundproofing. So, whether you’re a tenant or homeowner, THERE’S A SOLUTION for you here.
Don’t be afraid to use a combination of these so you can achieve enough sleep your body and mind have been desperate for.
We hope our guide to how to block out noise without earplugs helped make your life easier and happier!
July 12, 2021 – updated external links, removed affiliate links
June 25, 2021 – added changelog, fixed article format, updated internal linking, optimized content