The Best Way to Study: Earmuffs are Better than Earplugs and Noise Canceling Headphones

If you’re like me then you understand the immense benefit that comes from lowering the volume in your study space. You may be wondering which accessory is best in terms of effectiveness and affordability. There is a clear answer.


Earmuffs – and in particular the ones used in gun ranges to protect your ears – are in my opinion the undisputed winner when it comes to comparing the performance of different noise reducing earpieces.

You can find a good pair here. Last I checked, they were around $15 if you have prime.

If you are trying to study these are the ones to get. I assume most people are like me in that we don’t want to study in absolute silence – if that is the case then these are still the best pick because they don’t eliminate ALL noise – they simple drastically lower all noise.

The only small downside is one of the reasons these are so effective – they are a bit tight on the sides of the head. Personally, it doesn’t bother me too much. I’ve also given them to people to try on, it doesn’t seem to bother them either.

Problems with other accessories


The most popular one as of now was this brand. A lot of people I know use them, however they all complain about the same few things.

Issue 1: they are hard to get into your ear and the process is definitely not germ free. Insertion requires the rolling of the earplug and deep inserting into the ear. Granted, when it’s in – the noise dampening is pretty effective. But there is issue 2.

Issue 2: every time the earplug stays in the ear longer than an hour there is an almost painful discomfort. I am unsure how this arrises – but I know it happens.

Issue 3: They are not reusable so you have to constantly buy more.

If neither issue 1,2 nor 3 bother you, and you are put off by the slightly tight grip of the earmuffs, I recommend the earplug brand linked above.


I figured I’d mention something about headphones given that they are a volume-dampening accessory and many people use them to study. However they provide other benefits which are outside of the scope of this article; most evidently you can listen to what you want.

I have no say in which headphones are good because my concern is strictly noise reduction. I will say that if your only focus is finding an accessory that reduces noise around you, earmuffs obviously win.

I will add one more thing. I have used noise canceling headphones before; they are known to cancel waves of sound (particularly sounds that we would label as passive noise). Keep in mind that earmuffs – like the ones you’d find in gun ranges – dampen most sounds. Whereas noise canceling headphones might reduce the sounds of a section of the sound spectrum; earmuffs lower seemingly all of it. After all they are built to lower the shock of gunfire and what could be less passive?

Solution to these problems

As stated in the last paragraph. The solution is buying a pair of earmuffs. Here is that link again. I highly recommend. I don’t have any affiliation with this brand – I just really enjoy the benefits that have come from daily usage.

Upside: The volume of all noises around you are clearly lowered – to the point you have to brace yourself for loud noises when you take them off. They are roughly the same price as the popular earplugs but earplugs are a recurring purchase because you run out. These earmuffs are very durable, mine are a few years old with no wear.

Downside: They’re a bit tighter compared to some popular headphones but it’s a small compromise for being the best option for blocking out the outside world. Another odd downside is that I can occasionally hear oscillations of pressure, but this only happens if I lean forward. I have no clue why this happens. The easy fix is just to lean forward less.

Closing Statement

This has been my assessment of the popular solutions to the problem of studying in a noisy environment. Thank you for reading; good luck with the studies.