Best Earplugs for Piccolo: Etymotic ER-20 Review

Do you want to get better at playing the piccolo? Consider how the Etymotic ER-20 earplugs can help you get over the hump of not wanting to play higher notes or play for longer.

That way, you can improve your playing and enjoy the process. And you won’t have to worry about ruining your hearing.

Before we get into the review, this post contains affiliate links. Click here to read the full disclosure policy.

Why Do You Need Earplugs for the Piccolo?

You should use earplugs when playing the piccolo to protect your hearing. Unfortunately, your hearing won’t come back if you lose it.
The piccolo can get pretty loud and high, and it sits very close to your right ear. So you may not even need to play that high or loud for it to cause a bit of damage.
Good earplugs for piccolo playing will also allow you to hear the music a bit. That way, you can still hear yourself and other musicians around you to make sure you’re in tune.
Etymotic ER-20 Earplugs | Piccolo Perfection

Etymotic ER-20 Features

The Etymotic ER-20 earplugs are my personal favorite earplugs for the piccolo. They’re very affordable, and they offer a ton of features that are perfect for musicians.
For one, the earplugs are pretty comfortable. I have somewhat small ears, so wearing huge earplugs, earbuds, etc. can be uncomfortable. But I can go through a long rehearsal or practice session just fine.
Another great feature of the Etymotic earplugs is that they come on a string. So if you want to wear one earplug, which is great for piccolo playing, you won’t lose the other one.
And when you aren’t using the earplugs, you can keep them in their clamshell case. That way, they have a safe place to sit between your practice sessions.

Etymotic ER-20 Pros

While it’s helpful to know about the features of the Etymotic earplugs, you may not know how that affects you. If you’re looking into a good pair of earplugs, you want to make sure you’ll like them.
Because if you don’t like them, you won’t use them. And if you don’t use them, you won’t be able to protect your hearing.
Here are some of the best advantages of using the Etymotic ER-20 earplugs.


The earplugs are relatively comfortable for a lot of people. They have soft, adjustable materials for the part you put in your ears, which is great.
You can put the earplugs in your ears and leave them in for a short performance or a longer practice session. While they aren’t going to be the most comfortable for everyone, they can be useful.

Stays Together

Some earplugs are just earplugs, so it can be all too easy to lose them. When you get the Etymotic earplugs, you don’t have to worry about losing one and not the other.
They come on a string to keep them together when you are and aren’t using them. The string also make sit really nice when you want to use just one earplug.
You can let the earplug you aren’t using just hang over your shoulder. That way, you don’t have to worry about setting it somewhere safe.
Etymotic Earplugs | Piccolo Perfection

Allows Some Sound

One problem with most earplugs is that they completely block out sound. That can be nice if you need to do construction work or want to get quiet sleep.
But as a piccolo player, you still need to be able to hear yourself and others play. When you use the Etymotic ER-20 earplugs, you can still hear a bit of the sound.
If you’re looking to play with others, you need to be in tune. And you need to make sure you can stay in time with the musicians around you. These earplugs help with that.


When looking to get earplugs, you could go through an audiologist. But you would need to spend a lot of money on an appointment and getting the earplugs fitted to your specific ears.
That can be a huge turnoff to people who haven’t used earplugs much or at all. Luckily, the Etymotic earplugs are MUCH more affordably.
You can get a pair for the cost of a couple of meals out. So if you’re on a tight budget, you can still get the ear protection you need.

Etymotic ER-20 Cons

Unfortunately, the ER-20 earplugs aren’t perfect. They have some great features, but before you get them, you should know about the not-so-great things.
I love the earplugs, and the pros outweigh the cons for me. But it might go the other way for you. So consider the following disadvantages.

Collects Dirt and Wax

The more you use the earplugs, the more dirt and earwax can collect in them. I’ve pulled out my earplugs, and they’ve been pretty gross at times.
Now, you can clean them, but that can be annoying for some people. If you want to use the earplugs a lot, you might not want to worry about cleaning them all of the time.
And if you don’t clean them for a while, the dirt will just grow and grow. Most earplugs will probably have a similar problem, so you need to consider which earplugs stay the cleanest.

Not a Perfect Fit

While the earplugs do fit well, they may not fit perfectly. After all, they have to work a bit for most people, which means they may not work the best for one person.
If you’re looking for a perfect fit, you might want to visit an audiologist. It can be more expensive, but you don’t have to worry about getting earplugs that you may not love.
Unfortunately, you can’t test the earplugs before you buy them. Even though they’re affordable, you could still be wasting money.

How to Use the Earplugs

If you get the Etymotic earplugs, you need to be able to use them correctly. That way, you can get the best possible benefit out of them.
Here are a few things you can do to make sure you protect your hearing when you practice piccolo.

Wear Them Regularly

You can’t just get the earplugs and expect them to work. If you don’t actually wear the earplugs, you won’t get the benefits of their protection.
Make sure you wear the earplugs whenever you practice the piccolo for a decent amount of time. And even if you only play for a few minutes, you should wear the earplugs when you play high notes.
A lot of piccolo repertoire involves high notes. If you don’t have the protection, you could do a lot of damage to your hearing over time, and you may not notice changes until it’s too late.

Keep Them in Your Case

To make sure you wear the Etymotic ER-20 earplugs, you need to keep them in your piccolo or flute case. That way, you’ll always know where they are, and you can put them on quickly.
If you don’t have space in your piccolo case, put the earplugs in your music bag. Either way, you want to make the earplugs easy to find when you need them.
Because again, if you don’t wear them, you won’t actually get the benefits of them.

Clean Them Often

Whenever you notice earwax or dirt on your earplugs, clean them. Don’t wait until the next day or the next time you take the earplugs out.
If you go too long without cleaning them, they can get too dirty. And depending on the dirt that gets on them, you could collect bacteria that then gets in your ear.
It sounds scary, but you don’t want to worry about sticking that in your ear just to play the piccolo.

The Best Earplugs for Piccolo

If you want to take your piccolo playing to the next level, you need the best earplugs. I love the Etymotic ER-20 earplugs because they’re affordable and easy to use.
While they aren’t perfect for everyone, you should check them out. That way, you can keep your hearing safe when you play the instrument you love.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *