How to Make Noise Blocking Earbuds

The winner! Does reduce noise somewhat.

I love podcasts.  You probably love podcasts.  The problem is finding time to listen to them.  I’ve started listening to some when I mow the lawn but the sound of the mower drowns out the sound of the podcast.  I won’t wear my nice noise-canceling headphones out in the yard where they would probably get dirty, sweaty, and damaged.  What to do?

Well, one of my favorite YouTubers, NighthawkinLight, came out with a video about how to make your own sound dampening earbuds. It is a two step process where you coat the earbud in silicone and replace the cups with better sound-blocking versions.  I had an extra pair of earbuds from an old phone and so I thought I’d give it a try.  Here are my results:

1. LOUDEST – Uncoated earbud with noice-dampening cups. Note: cup had to be trimmed to comfortably fit my ear. Untrimmed cup shown above earbud.
2. SLIGHTLY QUIETER – Form-fitting memory-foam-style cup. Uncomfortable to wear.
3. SLIGHTLY QUIETER THAN #2 – Silicone-covered earbud with noise-reducing cups
4. ABOUT THE SAME AS #3 – Used the standard cup with these. They reduced the noise about as well as any of the other setups but were by far the most comfortable.
5. SLIGHTLY QUIETER THAN #3 OR #4 – Standard earplug. They don’t block all sound. Of course they don’t let in any music either. 🙂

Overall, it is definitely an improvement from unmodified earbuds but it isn’t the noise-reduction bliss I had hoped for.  Now instead of having the sound at un-safe maximum levels it is just loud.  On the plus side, since the mower sound is reduced I’d say the overall sound level when mowing and listening to a podcast is no louder than mowing with no ear protection.

Let me know if you’ve come up with a solution that you really love or what your results are if you try this.


6 thoughts on “How to Make Noise Blocking Earbuds

  1. what works for me is if I wear my earbuds with the hearing protector muffs you get at Home Depot/lowes. About $15/pair.

  2. I have some cheapo earmuffs that I use when I’m working in the shop. I’ll have to try them over the earbuds and see how they do. Good idea guys.

    1. Now I remember why I didn’t do this before. Both of my homecenter earmuffs don’t have room inside for earbuds to fit. Maybe those ones that Brian recommended will work. They look a lot deeper.

  3. Jason i have used the ear plugs in conjunction with ear buds. Very carefuly cut center out of earplug. Then wrap around ear bud speaker with pretty good results

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