Example of a pair of ear plugs that go beyond the ear canal:

enter image description here

The red arrows designate the part that goes beyond on the ear canal (it covers the concha). Is there any point in it? Eg, does it increase the noise reduction?

By contrast here is a pair of earplugs that only covers the ear canal:


And here is a comparison of three pairs of earplugs with a varying degrees of size:

enter image description here

  • 2
    I’m voting to close this question because it doesn't seem to be about music practice or theory. Commented May 28 at 2:12
  • I have two guesses: 1) to give you something to grab to be able to pull it out (how do you even remove ones that don't stick out some?) 2) to increase the NRR Commented May 28 at 2:55
  • @ToddWilcox thanks 1) the ear is quite flexible, no pb to remove them. 2) does it increase the NRR? Commented May 28 at 2:57
  • 2
    @musicamante thanks, music.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/health: "Questions about how playing or listening to music affects a person's mental or physical condition or vice versa". The question fits that topic. 2 (stable positioning) seems to draw a consensus from my readings so far: same NR if all these earplugs are well-positioned but the small ones can be more easily badly positioned. Commented May 28 at 3:13
  • 3
    I guess my point is that, while musicians have an inherent interest in hearing health, this is about hearing health. Seems like a better fit on some medical SE if such exists. I don't know that there's anybody here with informed answers on ear physiology. Commented May 28 at 3:44

1 Answer 1


Some interesting answers I got on Reddit:

  • verdant_hippie: Better retention and fit, which can help with noise reduction
  • ashleeh92: Mandibular movement can’t cause seals to break in canal styles. Have full concha bowl and helix lock can keep it in place during jaw movements
  • droid_mike: Reduces the sound coming from skull vibrations and the "booming" sound of your own voice. It is the only kind of earplugs useful to brass and woodwind players, as the noise from their musical instruments vibrate through their skulls. Short earplugs can actually increase the volume of those instruments into the middle ear. [I am] taking about the long earplugs that go past the first turn in the ear canal. The extra length helps reduce skull noise and voice booming. The ones you posted are not long enough to do that.

tldr: better retention, better fit, reduced skull vibrations (the latter to be confirmed).

It's a mixture of DSP.SE, Medical.SE, Music.SE, and Physics.SE.

  • Is droid_mike talking about how far the earplugs go into the ear canal, not how far they extend outside it?
    – gidds
    Commented May 28 at 13:22

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