Etymotic Earplugs Review & Buyer’s Guide

I live in an extremely loud city. Day or night, I hear car horns, people’s conversations in the streets, fireworks, dogs barking, and cats meowing.

All this noise makes it extremely difficult to concentrate, whether reading a book, writing emails or working. It’s also taken its toll on my ears, which have become extremely sound sensitive, and I’m worried about hearing loss.

So I decided to search for the best sound-insulating earplugs, and my research and review have led me to Etymotic Research earplugs, designed to protect your ears from the loudest noises.

Therefore, in this Etymotic ear plugs review, I’ll be covering four available models, hoping to find one to suit my lifestyle and the challenges of being exposed to loud noises.

Etymotic Research Earplugs

Etymotic Ear Plugs and Sound Quality

Etymotic Research is a company with over 30 years of history-making high-quality products that protect hearing and improve people’s lives with hearing loss. They also have numerous products that enhance the experience of musicians and music lovers.

We have reviewed four Etymotic earplugs sold online, their success in eliminating noise and sound, and their setbacks. They are comfortable earplugs that have improved high-frequency clarity while offering sound reduction

I expect a good sound insulator that is easy to use and won’t irritate my ears even if I wear them all day. I’m looking for something that is aesthetically appealing too, and I don’t want to pay much for them.

The Etymotic earplugs are marketed as a product that will reduce sound without losing sound quality because some sounds would be muted while others wouldn’t.

They’re specially designed for musicians who need to hear certain sounds better than others. However, they’re also marketed for attending concerts or loud clubs, festivals or performance locales, aircraft personnel, construction, industrial or medical and dental workers.  

As well as workers in places with loud sounds such as concert halls, nightclubs, bars, emergency vehicle personnel, athletes, motorsports participants and truck drivers. If you work as a musician, you can check out our comparison article on DUBS Noise Cancelling Music earplugs vs Etymotic.

Discreet Design

The Etymotic ER20 and ER20XS have a clear stem, which makes them very discreet.

In the picture on the left, you’ll see the Etymotic ER20XS, which has a low-profile design. 

People around will hardly notice that you’re wearing them. In addition, they will fit very well if you have a helmet or hat on your head. 

Below you’ll see a detailed review and description of each product, so you can decide which plugs are right for your ears. When making up your choice, make sure you also read our comparison articles on Etymotic vs Eargasm Earplugs and Earpeace vs Etymotic Earplugs.

The Etymotic High Fidelity Earplugs, ER20 ETY-Plugs, and Standard Fit Blue Tip are definitely a product to consider as they reduce loud noise and a great for sensitive ears.

These high-fidelity earplugs reduce sound levels by approximately 20 dB. So you can still hear human speech and music very clearly, but it will reduce the most common loud noises at concerts, parades, motorsport events, etc., to a safe volume. If you are a music fan, these ear plugs filter high frequencies from music at a concert for the perfect sound.

They come in two sizes: standard and large, where the standard fits the majority of users. These earplugs are reusable and have a clear stem and blue tip. 


  • The Etymotic High Fidelity Earplugs, ER20 ETY-Plugs, and Standard Fit Blue Tip work extremely well, and I could read and work through the city noise pollution.
  • They also come with a neck strap, so I won’t lose them anytime soon.


  • They are not as discreet as the ER20XS model
  • They are not suitable for gun shooting sports, swimming, or sleeping.

Etymotic ER20 vs ER20XS

These two ETY plugs are actually very similar, with the same high-fidelity filter and listening experience. The ER20 has a longer stem, whereas the ER20XS has a Low-profile stem-less design. They both include a carrying case and have 20dB noise reduction.

A vast majority of other earplugs suitable for a concert come with sound filters, but the ETY plugs are an original. Either the ER20 or ER20XS are great for music listening at high volume.

These ear plugs provide universal hearing protection and are suitable for concerts, musicians, motorcycles, machinery, and more. In addition, if you’re looking for discreet earplugs, there is a great choice since they are low-profile. Wear these plugs under other headgear like helmets.

The ETY plugs have a stem-less design that sits snugly in your ears without sticking out from the outer ear. Wearing earplugs for long periods at a concert may be uncomfortable, but these plugs are comfortable to wear for long periods for those who love music without compromising protection.

They reduce sound levels evenly by 20 decibels. However, music and speech are still clear and natural, so you can wear them at a concert without worrying about potential hearing damage. For example, foam earplugs block out volume completely, whereas high-fidelity ETY plugs allow sound through at a reduced volume.

These high-fidelity earplugs also have outstanding sound quality. Because of this, they are the preferred choice for professional and amateur musicians or to wear at a concert. They have an identical response through 4 kHz, and improved clarity at high frequencies above 4 kHz, without compromising protection.

You’ll get 1 pair of earplugs, a neck cord, and a carrying case when you order them. You can choose between standard fit, universal fit, or large fit.


  • These Etymotic High-Fidelity Earplugs Ear plugs have been upgraded so they wouldn’t stick out of your ear and fit inside my ear quite well.

  • Designed for musicians, they allow you to hear sound at a muted level, so you can hear conversations quite well while loud music is reduced significantly.


  • While Etymotic High-Fidelity Earplugs, ER20XS Standard Fit do fit quite snuggly in my ears, they might not be too comfortable to wear for a long period of time
  • They are not recommended for: sleeping, swimming or gunfire

Here you’re actually getting 3 pairs of Etymotic Research ER20XS High Fidelity Earplugs.

This product includes 1 pair of standard fit earplugs with 3 flange ear tips, 1 pair of large fit 3-flange ear tips, 1 pair of foam plugs, a neck cord and a key chain carrying case.

With foam earplugs, if your outer ear becomes uncomfortable from the silicone tips, you can switch to foam ones for the rest of the night or vice versa. The large size also fits larger ear canals.

This means that you’ll have three pairs ready to use when needed. They have a discreet, stem-less design, so people around you won’t notice that you’re wearing them. They are suitable for concerts, sporting events, motorcycle riding, etc. and should fit under the best helmet for wind noise, ensuring added protection.


  • These Etymotic High-Fidelity Earplugs, ER20XS Universal Fit Ear Protection, fit quite well and sits snugly in my ears, and they also have a cord, making it less likely that I would lose them.

  • They cancelled out a lot of noise, and I was able to function well with my city’s noise pollution. The key chain case is so attractive-looking too.


The Etymotic GunsportPRO Ear plugs, Electronic Hearing Protection Designed for Hunters, Shooters and Gun Enthusiasts. There are many great electronic earplugs on the market.

While some gun sport enthusiasts prefer to use earmuffs when shooting, you have a great alternative – earplugs.

This product will shield your ears from loud noise, such as gun and firearm blasts or repeated gunfire from other nearby shooters. In addition, it provides 15dB of automatic noise reduction.

If the sound levels around you are at a safe volume, you’ll be able to hear naturally, as if nothing is in your ear canal. In addition, you can amplify sounds around you and improve distance detection, creating enhanced awareness.

You may purchase a hearing device dryer box to clean your Gunsports. They come with a neck cord, carrying case, batteries and cleaning kit. Read our Etymotic GunSport Pro earplug review to learn more about them.


  • The Etymotic GunsportPRO Earplugs are designed specifically for hunters, shooters and gun enthusiasts.

  • These are heavy–duty earplugs designed for people who are into gun sports, as the name suggests: GunSportPRO Electronic Earplugs.

  • The main technology used in these earplugs is called adaptive attenuation. This means the earplugs will adjust to protect your ears from loud noises and allow you to hear safer noise levels, such as conversations.

  • They also provide up to 15dB of hearing protection when noise levels exceed safe modes, such as blasts and fireworks.

  • Come with a 1-year warranty (if purchased from an authorized reseller).


  • ​Unfortunately, the fact that I have to use new batteries every time I use them is a bit inconvenient.

  • The Etymotic GunsportPRO Earplugs can be easy to lose if you’re not careful, as they’re very small. It’s best to use them with the neck cord.

Etymotic Research MP9-15 MusicPRO High-Fidelity Electronic Earplugs, 1 pair

These are In-ear monitors, which are high-end electronic ear plugs designed by an audio engineer for music professionals. The Etymotic MusicPro has an identical response and clear attenuation across the frequency spectrum. You can easily adjust the volume and gain reduction with the controls.

These are great for playing music to hear clearly at sound check, with clear high frequencies like a snare drum, but muted with crisp sound.

Check out our review of Etymotic EVO in-ear monitors, an upgrade to the Music Pro model.

How Do Etymotic Earplugs work?

A special mechanical filter provides improved high-frequency clarity while the sound is muted. It works by blocking sound waves over a certain pressure. Other headgear like earbuds or foam headgear don’t provide the attenuation the ETY plugs do.

Will Ety Plugs stop my ears ringing after loud music?

Yes, they reduce sounds to a safe level. When you attend concerts without hearing protection, you may experience hearing damage, which causes ringing in your ear. Etymotic hearing protection products shield your inner ear from damage at rock concerts or music festivals.

What’s the best Etymotic Hearing Protection?

The best ETY plugs for you will depend on what you need them for. For concerts, the ER20XS or ER20, and for musicians, the best is the MusicPro. Those who like shooting the best are the GunSport Pro. Read our reviews for each of the ETY plugs above.


Etymotic makes quality products designed to protect a person’s hearing. Their earplugs can be used for many situations, especially at events with loud music.

The Etymotic High Fidelity Earplugs, ER20 ETY-Plugs, will allow you to clearly hear human speech and still hear music without losing sound quality. They yield 20dB sound reduction and are suitable for concerts, motorcycles, traveling, power tools, and more. 

2 thoughts on “Etymotic Earplugs Review & Buyer’s Guide”

  1. If they are slipping out all of the time, you likely need to go down to a smaller size which is available for the Ety plugs. Also, sound quality is not discussed. You will muffle most sounds if you want to block the sound of fireworks.

  2. Just FYI. My husband has tried all of earbuds in both ears, and after an hour he has to take them out because they hurt. It has been 45 days and was told they cannot be returned.


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