Despite the availability of many devices and procedures that aim to manage the problem, sometimes snoring is incurable. The market for products that prevent snoring and reduce the risk of airway obstructions is large, but results can vary significantly depending on the user. For some, they don’t work at all. This can be frustrating for affected parties, especially non-snorers that may lose sleep because of the noise. If your partner has tried anti-snoring devices, snoring pillows, or even surgery and still has a snoring problem, there are alternate solutions you can try to block snoring.
Methods of Blocking Snoring
If trying to eliminate the source hasn’t worked, try blocking the sound. Some individuals find that using a simple pair of earplugs blocks snoring. However, many others need more creative solutions. If sleeping on the couch doesn’t appeal to you or you can’t escape to a guest room, try listening to music or to mobile apps with prerecorded nature, water, or storm sounds. If you’re willing to invest in more expensive solutions to reduce snoring noise, purchase a pair of isolation or noise-cancelation headphones. White noise machines are another blocking device you can try.
Snoring’s Sound Frequencies
The average frequency range for snoring is approximately 45 to 55 decibels (dB), which is around the same loudness as a normal conversation. For comparison, the sound of a vacuum cleaner averages around 70 dB, and a chainsaw is roughly 100 decibels. Loud snoring is snoring that exceeds the 45 to 55 frequency and reaches levels of 65 dB or more. If your partner’s snoring is around 60 dB, more often than not, you’ll need a capable solution to eliminate the noise of snoring.
Our Testing Methods and Goals
To determine the most effective way to block sounds such as snoring, we used the Sound Meter App for Android and tested various against snoring videos on YouTube. Our goal is to provide readers with the best value solution to block or reduce snoring noises, so we kept parameters the same on each test and had multiple users assess the comfort of each item. We bought the products we examined from Amazon or individual retail sites.
What is the Most Effective Method for Blocking Snoring?
If you want a simple, direct way to eliminate all noises (including snoring), you could always get a pair of $1,000 custom earplugs tailor-made for snoring. Gun enthusiasts often buy these to block noise while shooting. There are also $300 to $400 white noise earplugs available, but there are cheaper and better ways to achieve the same results. While there’s nothing wrong with choosing expensive, high-end products, they don’t always work and many have mixed reviews from users.
At first, we thought we would find a single earplug or product that blocks snoring. However, during our testing trials, we realized that no one product can completely block noises, although some are better than others. After testing items individually, we decided to mix and match products you can wear simultaneously. For example, you could wear sleeping earmuffs and earplugs or use a white noise machine while wearing earplugs. Read on to see the results.
Products We Tested
- Hearos Extreme Protection Earplugs – The Hearos Extreme Protection Earplugs have the highest noise reduction capabilities of most foam earplug products. These plugs are soft, comfortable to wear, inexpensive, and able to reduce sound by as much as 33 decibels.
- Etymotic Research HF5 Portable In-Ear Earphones – Etymotic’s earphones have the highest noise isolation of all in-ear earphones, as measured by an independent laboratory accredited by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Etymotic’s HF5 series earphones are highly rated and deliver clear acoustics for audiophiles as well as excellent noise reduction for users who need to block noise from the outside world.
- SleepPhones – AcousticSheep’s SleepPhones are soft headbands with built-in Bluetooth headphones. With SleepPhones, you can fall asleep while listening to music without worrying about wires tangling or your earphones slipping out of your ears. The headbands are made from a hypoallergenic material, and you can remove their wireless audio system when you need to wash them. SleepPhones are also rechargeable and have an average battery life of 8 to 12 hours. Read my complete SleepPhones Review for more information.
- Decibullz Custom Molded EarPlugs – As the name states, Decibullz earplugs are custom fit to the shape of your ear. These earplugs are well-made and comfortable. Buy these if you don’t like the feeling of standard earplugs or if your foam earplugs tend to fall out while you’re asleep.
- Flare Audio Isolate PRO Titanium – On Facebook, this company advertises that the Flare Audio earplugs will block the growl of snoring, but it does nothing to block any noise at all. This is a truly terrible product. They ship internationally, don’t accept returns once you’ve opened the packaging. Stay away from these earplugs. They’re overpriced, you can’t return them once you try them, and they don’t offer anything you can’t get from using regular foam earplugs.
- Ohro Reusable Wax Earplugs – Ohropax is a German company, and these earplugs have been their primary product for over 100 years. The Ohro wax earplugs protect your ears from harmful noises by forming an insulating seal in your ear. They are made from a soft, pliable hypoallergenic wax compound that fits easily inside the ear. These earplugs are meant to reduce noise over a large frequency spectrum while offering an excellent level of comfort.
|Snoring Distance: 2-3 ft.||Hearos Extreme Protection||Etymotic HF5||SleepPhones Wireless||Decibullz Custom Molded||Flare Audio Isolate PRO Titanium||Ohro Reusable Wax Earplugs|
|45dB – 55dB (average snoring)||Snoring is noticeable, but you can sleep through it||Snoring is noticeable, but you can sleep through it||Must play white noise to block out the snoring. Snoring is still noticeable.||Snoring is still noticeable, but you can sleep through it||Snoring is still bothersome||Snoring is still bothersome|
|55dB – 65dB (loud snoring)||Snoring is still bothersome.||Mutes Snoring sound.||Must play loud white noise to block out the snoring. Snoring is bothersome||Snoring is still bothersome.||Doesn’t help.||Doesn’t help.|
|65dB+ (extreme snoring)||Doesn’t help.||Snoring is still bothersome||Doesn’t help.||Doesn’t help.||Doesn’t help.||Doesn’t help.|
|Comfort||Pass||Fail. It has wires||Pass||Pass||Fail||Pass|
|NRR Rating (higher is better)||General||N/A||N/A||General||N/A||General|
|Price||14 pair for $4.74||[$$-102]102||[$$-100]100||[$$-26]26||[$$-62]62||[$$-12]12|
|Worth Buying?||Yes||No||Maybe||Yes||No||Yes, only to use with other products|
|Notes||Very comfortable, but can fall out. This has the highest sound blocking available.||Not recommended for use while sleeping.||Comfortable but may fall off during sleep. Not effective by itself to prevent snoring.||Very comfortable. Stays in while sleeping. Lower snore blocking rating than foam earplugs.||$62 earplugs do not work any better than cheap foam earplugs. Uncomfortable.||These are old school earplugs that have been around since 1907. Comfortable but greasy.|
After testing them individually, we tried pairing products together to take snore blocking even further. Since the product with the highest snore blocking capabilities was the Hearos with a 33 NRR rating, we decided to use it in conjunction with other sleep-friendly products. The Hearos are cheap and comfortable, but if you don’t like the feel of foam earplugs, the Decibullz molded earplugs are another choice. Ohro’s wax earplugs are also comfortable and won’t leave your ears sore in the morning. We analyzed the effectiveness of the following combinations:
SleepPhones w/Ambient Noise + Earplugs
Although this combination isn’t the most comfortable, it completely blocks average snoring levels. However, you might notice snoring if it’s considerably loud. Buying the SleepPhones and Hearos Earplugs together will be a bit pricey, but they work better than the white noise machine or the app.
Sleep Earmuffs + Earplugs
The Sleep Earmuffs and Hearos earplug combo works best for non-snorers who don’t like wearing earplugs. This pairing works well to block average snoring levels, but loud and extreme snoring noises may bleed through.
White Noise Mobile App + Earplugs
For these trials, we used the White Noise Free App for Android, the most popular background noise app in the Play Store. We tested the products with Ocean Waves and with Rainforest background sounds at a high volume. The only problem with these settings is the white noise could wake the snorer. We’re assuming the snoring is about 4 ft away from the white noise sound, and the non-snorer is one foot away.
Marpac Dohm-DS All Natural Sound Machine + Earplugs
The Marpac Dohm is a dome-shaped white noise machine that’s easy to use and promises to help drown out irritating noises. We placed the white noise machine about 1.5 ft away from the partner and set it to the highest volume possible. This was the best performing combination. When used together, these products provide a comfortable and effective solution to eliminating low-level snoring noises across the sound spectrum.
To successfully block or eliminate noises like snoring, place the classic Marpac white noise machine about 1 to 2 ft away from you on a nightstand and play it on highest volume that feels comfortable. Then, insert foam earplugs with a rating of NRR 31 or higher. This is the best solution we found for price, comfort, and success.
|Parameters: Snoring Distance: 2-3 ft.,|
White Noise Volume: High,
White Noise Distance: 1-1.5 ft.
|White Noise Mobile App + Hearos Extreme EarPlugs||SleepPhones w/Ambient Noise + Hearos Extreme Earplugs. ||Sleep Earmuffs + White Noise||Marpac Dohm-DS All Natural Sound Machine + Hearos Extreme Earplugs.
|45dB – 55dB (average snoring)||Snoring is barely perceptible.||Snoring cannot be heard.||Snoring barely perceptible.||Snoring cannot be heard.|
|55dB – 65dB (loud snoring)||Snoring is noticeable, but you can sleep through it.||Snoring is noticeable, but you can sleep through it.||Snoring is noticeable, but you can sleep through it.||Snoring is noticeable, but you can sleep through it.|
|65dB+||Snoring is still bothersome.||Snoring is noticeable, but you can sleep through it.||Snoring is still bothersome.||Snoring is noticeable, but you can sleep through it.|
|Notes||White Noise must be loud to block out snoring, may wake up the snorer||Works better than a white noise machine or white noise mobile app. Price is high. SleepPhones may fall off. Not the most comfortable solution.||This is for the user that don’t like to wear earplugs. The Sleep earmuffs do very little to block out snoring by themselves. The Sleep Earmuffs are not comfortable for side sleeping.||This is the best combination we found. The white noise machine, when placed close to the non-snorer does not disturb either sleeper. Very comfortable, cheap.|
We didn’t test Bluetooth wireless earbuds with white noise streaming from a mobile app. Theoretically, you could play white noise all night while using the earbuds’ noise cancellation technology. This could offer promising results, so please let us know if you try this. Wire-free earbuds prices tend to fall between $50 and $300.
Make sure to use a combination of items. These products won’t do much to reduce snoring noises on their own, but when paired with other devices, they can make snoring significantly less noticeable. You also don’t want to sacrifice comfort for quietness. Products that block noises aren’t worth buying if you can’t wear them to bed. Just use something that gets the snoring volume down to a level where you can sleep. Using 100% sound reduction products could cause you to miss a phone call, the fire alarm or other emergency sounds during the night. For sleepers who don’t enjoy wearing earplugs for extended periods, keep the products on the nightstand and put them on if snoring occurs.
In conclusion, no single device completely reduces snoring sounds. Therefore, you may need to try a few products simultaneously to successfully block snoring. While you consider noise blocking products, have your partner try more anti-snoring devices. Results vary by person, so many individuals give up after only trying a few. Smart pillows may help, so be sure to try them as well. If your partner is having trouble finding a capable anti-snoring device, have them read our reviews on anti-snoring mouthpieces.