This article on Epainassist.com has been reviewed by a medical professional, as well as checked for facts, to assure the readers the best possible accuracy.

We follow a strict editorial policy and we have a zero-tolerance policy regarding any level of plagiarism. Our articles are resourced from reputable online pages. This article may contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.

The feedback link “Was this Article Helpful” on this page can be used to report content that is not accurate, up-to-date or questionable in any manner.

This article does not provide medical advice.


Is It Safe To Sleep With Earplugs?

Topic Overview

Having a sound sleep is an absolute necessity for good health. While some people immediately fall asleep after hitting the bed, there are many who can get awakened even with little sounds like that of their partner snoring or the barking of a dog. Such people seldom have a rested good night’s sleep. In fact, there are many research studies that have indicated that sounds stand in the way of an individual getting a rested good night’s sleep.[1]

Studies suggest that sounds which are less than 40 decibels as that with a whispering can be good enough to wake light sleepers. To sleep well and to keep outside noises away many people use earplugs. However, many people question about the safety of these earplugs.[1] This has what been explained in the article below.

Is It Safe To Sleep With Earplugs?

Is It Safe To Sleep With Earplugs?

Normally, earplugs are quite safe when they are used for sleeping. However, some experts believe that chronic use of this object may at times cause problems in the long run, especially causing accumulation of cerumen or earwax. Having a disrupted sleep can be a cause for many medical conditions and any sort of external noise while sleeping is a major cause of a disrupted sleep.[2]

This is normally seen when on an airplane for long hours or having a bedroom near a busy street. In such cases, it is quite useful to wear earplugs to cut off the external sounds for a peaceful sleep. For some people, however, certain types of sounds like music or that of the wind chimes are quite soothing and in fact make them sleep but such are rare instances.[2]

Coming to the research part of it, studies suggest that earplugs are quite safe and economical way of promoting sleep. Research suggests that earplugs or other forms of eye masks promote REM sleep, which is the deepest form of sleep. It also promotes various vital processes such as memory function during sleep. Earplugs also play a role in increasing the levels of melatonin. It is a hormone that regulates sleep.[2]

Additionally, there are minimal side effects with using earplugs than any other method of inducing sleep. This is especially for people who resort to medications to induce sleep. For such people, there may be side effects of dizziness and drowsiness during daytime and the person may not look refreshed even after getting a full night’s sleep.[2]

However, wearing earplugs for a long time has its own risks of which the most important risk is the buildup of earwax within the ears. In addition to this, there may also be discomfort and itching associated with the earplugs. There is little information however as to how long can earplugs be used to induce sleep before it becomes risky.

Earwax accumulation leads to a variety of symptoms to include ear pain, dizziness, balance problems and tinnitus. The primary options for treatment for earwax buildup is suctioning of the earwax after softening it. There are various ways to make the earwax soft to include ear irrigation and use of eardrops.[2]

In some cases, chronic use of earplugs also may lead to infections. This can occur as a result of the bacteria from the earplug entering the ear canal or from the earwax accumulation. An ear infection as a result of use of earplugs causes dizziness, nausea, vomiting, hearing dysfunction, itching in the ears, and tinnitus. The best way to treat bacterial infections is by way of antibiotics.[2]

However, if one looks at the benefits of earplugs when sleeping, they far outweigh the risks of using them. Earplugs promote good sleep. Having a good and restful sleep is essential to prevent many medical conditions. If an individual does not get enough sleep, it puts him or her at risk for various medical conditions like diabetes, cardiac problems, and even obesity.[2]

People who do not get enough sleep also are at risk for going into depression. Lack of enough sleep does not allow an individual to focus and concentrate fully on tasks at hand. This tends to affect their work and personal life. In some cases, where the individual operates heavy machinery, it can even be life threatening as lack of sleep may cause the individual some fatal injuries.[2]

In conclusion, it is quite safe to use earplugs to promote sleep. This is especially true if the person is a light sleeper and tends to be awakened even with the slightest of sounds. Chronic use of earplugs however can cause accumulation of cerumen in the ear which can cause some symptoms. However, this can be easily treated.[2]

Use of earplugs may also result in infections which may require further treatment. The positive side is that the benefits of using earplugs far outweigh the risks of using them. Additionally, sleep deprivation causes more harm than the benefits of earplugs and thus can be used to promote sleep. Therefore, earplugs are a good and safe way to use for sleeping.[2]


Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 6, 2022

Recent Posts

Related Posts