These Earplugs Changed My Life, Help Me Sleep Better Than Ever

This Changed My Life is an ode to the small, seemingly chill purchases bought by Autostraddle writers and editors this year that made our lives infinitely better. Did these items LITERALLY CHANGE OUR LIFE? No, we’re being gay and dramatic. But perhaps a pair of sunglasses really did change your life — who are we to judge?


The author Lily Alvarado wearing mint green ear loops and a gray hoodie

Let me illustrate a scene for you. It’s the middle of the night, and I’m under my weighted blanket with two pillows supporting my head. My hair is pushed aside because if it touches my neck while I’m trying to sleep, the feeling of it will cause discomfort throughout my entire body. I ensure that the pajamas I’m wearing are loose fitted and not too stuck on my skin. As I slowly begin to drift to sleep, I hear a noise coming from outside. It’s not the worst sound in the world and wouldn’t necessarily be categorized as a nuisance, but it’s there. Then I hear someone in my apartment walking to the bathroom, followed by the sound of the toilet flushing. Overstimulation takes place where sleep is supposed to be.

“You really need some good sleeping earplugs,” someone once suggested to me. To be honest, I never considered getting any. I’ve tried other methods like melatonin, chamomile tea, gentle yin yoga, not looking at a screen an hour before bed. I’ve also come to accept very little sleep in my life and learned to relatively function well without it. Insomnia has occupied itself in me for most of my life, even during my childhood years.

So, one night at 3 a.m. with drooping eyes, I went on my phone in search for some earbuds. Soon enough, I discovered Loop.

Loop creates high-quality earplugs that filter out much of the noise around you but still allow you to engage in conversation or hear anything that may be important. A large number of customers purchase Loop earplugs because of noise sensitivities from being neurodivergent, having anxiety, or difficulties with focusing. I personally got Loop Quiet, which is made of soft silicone and was particularly designed to be worn comfortably all night. It offers up to 27 dB of noise reduction, and frankly, I don’t understand the exact science behind that metric, but it works pretty damn good. I was SHOOK the first time I put them on because it really does change the noise level of your environment. My dad calls me “Rabbit Ears” because of my ability to hear things from far away. For the first time in my life, I couldn’t hear what was going on from a relatively not-close distance. And it changed everything in the best way possible.

To put them on, all you gotta do is insert it in your ear, turn it, and make sure it doesn’t stick out or appear visible from the front of your face. Each order comes with 4 different sizes of ear tips (which can easily be cleaned with some basic soap and water) and a silicone plug that can easily be removed from your ear once you’re done using it. You also get a neat keychain case for your earplugs to carry and be on the go with. The best part is that you can choose from different colors!! Who doesn’t love when things come in different colors?! I got magic mint, which is a cute blue-green color you can even style and coordinate with the rest of your aesthetic.

I’ll admit, it took me a while to get used to the earplugs. But god it feels amazing for my body to relax and not feel alerted by every sound that comes up. I’m getting more sleep, and I’ve started wearing them casually as I’m doing homework in the library or taking the bus to work. Sometimes, I forget they’re even in my ears. Since wearing them regularly, I’ve also noticed how I feel more grounded. I struggle with emotional regulation, and something that has a huge impact on that is any stimulation that’s happening around me. My Loop Quiet earplugs not only help me at night, but they also make my day-to-day responsibilities more manageable and give me the motivation to tackle them.

Besides Quiet, you can also get Experience, which is geared more towards productivity and attending concerts, or check out Engage, which was curated primarily for social gatherings. After such a positive experience with Quiet, I definitely would love to try the other products. If you’re not sure which type to get, you can take a quiz on Loop’s website and find out which is best for you.

Chloé Hayden, best known for playing Quinni on Heartbreak High and is an autistic disability rights activist, model, author, and celebrity I personally admire so damn much, has collaborated with Loop and has praised the brand many times on her platform. If that doesn’t convince you to exit this article right now and go on Loop’s page to purchase some earplugs, I don’t know what will.

Whether you’re trying to nap, work on an immensely frustrating assignment, or meet a cutie at a loud and bustling dyke bar near you, Loop can bring the noise down and have you more in your element. It’s not a stretch to say it’s one of the best things I purchased in 2022 — or even on of the best things I’ve ever bought period. I think it can benefit everyone, even people who don’t have noise sensitivity.


Before you go! It costs money to make indie queer media, and frankly, we need more members to survive 2023As thanks for LITERALLY keeping us alive, A+ members get access to bonus content, extra Saturday puzzles, and more! Will you join? Cancel anytime.

Join A+!

Lily Alvarado

Lily Alvarado is a queer Boricua whose heart was born and sings in The Bronx, New York. Her titles include grad student, educator, decolonial feminist, breaker of generational cycles, and lover of reptiles.

Lily has written 18 articles for us.

16 Comments

  1. I have the exact same pair, even the colour is the same, and I LOVE them! I used to have throwaway wax earplugs which feel pretty grimy, and I absolutely love my Loops. Thanks for sharing and making me feel so validated!!

  2. If only they blocked out a few more db of sound. My partner snores like a grizzly bear. I have a noise machine. An air purifier always on high. I tried foam earplugs and they sucked. I found a pair that blocks 32 db and if I get the seal right I hear nothing, which is what I need to fall asleep. These are cute. Here’s hoping they increase the db reduction. I’ll bookmark just in case.

    • Don’t know if these would work for you, but I use QuietOn’s noise-cancelling sleep earbuds, after trying seemingly everything else. They work when a sound machine, Bose sleepbuds, foam earplugs, even fitted earplugs wouldn’t cut it!

      • Thank you, vanessa! I had the same concern as Liz after finding Loops through Blurt Foundation (via a link from AS on their buddy box subscription) as a rec for noise-sensitive people. I also use the “swimmer’s” wax earplugs due to the db rating not being high enough on most products, and/or not fitting my small ear holes. The wax conforms better and don’t cause migraines or teeth grinding as much, but I’m always on the lookout for better noise canceling, so I’ll check out QuietOn!

  3. neither were this brand but my earplugs (about 20db reduction) were the only thing that got me through my job at an amusement park for small children. they had hard plastic stems and one of them randomly exploded so i immediately had to buy another pair (got a different kind). they were from Websites for around $20, other brands are available

  4. I have these (same color, even!) and had high hopes but I’m a side sleeper and they are so painful to sleep in. I was hoping they would be better than the foam ones for that but nope.

  5. Once again, AS is posting on something I was just researching! How are you so awesome, AS?!?! I read all about Loops and Bose and the ones with the posts that stick out, and the swimmers ones! I was actually considering splurging on the Bose to try pink noise, which is a real term, and super gay! Husbian snores and I prickle at every little sound outside (Brooklyn) and then my dog will off and bark at something any time of the night. Oh, I can hear husbian snoring right now and I am not even downstairs yet!

  6. Not for sleeping purposes, but there are some great (pierced & non) earrings that attach to the Loops for easy use/access! 3rd Try Design is woman/queer owned & focused on creative solutions for people with ADHD/sensory sensitivities/etc (they also have a partnership with Loops–coupon code posted on their website–which seems okay to mention since AS doesn’t have affiliate links with this). Full disclosure, my sister is the creator of 3rd Try Design, but that’s not the only reason I recommend them! I’ve gifted the earrings to people and they’re a really clever & well made accessory.

  7. Wow, I agree with Amy Fix’s comment above…what timing, Autostraddle! Thank you for this, Lily. I was just looking into Loops or another sort of earplugs, since my current apartment has old radiators that rattle at times, my dog makes noise when I’m trying to focus, there are a lot of city noises around us…you get the idea. My mom often called me “big ears” or “elephant ears” growing up, so your anecdote about being called “rabbit ears” really resonated with me.

    I think I’d mostly use them at home or in other contexts when I’m not trying to be social anyways, so Quiet probably is the correct kind for me, but I’d love to hear more from people who’ve tried the other kinds.

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!