As a concert photographer and live music reviewer, I have a long list of equipment that I have pack along with me for each show. Camera bodies, lenses, audio and video gear, memory cards, etc, round out a plethora gear needed to work a show correctly. One piece of vital equipment I see getting overlooked by concert goers as well as workers are EARPLUGS!! Earplugs are the first thing I check my bag for when loading out for a concert.



I’ve been through a ton of different brands of earplugs over the last few years as a concert photographer, but I think I have come across my last pair. The fine folks at Etymotic Research were kind enough to send me a few sets of their ER20XS High Fidelity Earplugs to try out. The ER20XS plugs are specifically designed for concerts, night clubs, and any other situation where sound levels may be uncomfortable.


The ER20XS plugs are a tri flange design that fit securely in your ear. In fact, they provide you 3 ear tip options in the package to get the optimal fit. After switching through all 3 sizes I found the biggest size fit the best and provided the best protection. Also included in the package is a nylon neck cord and a rubber carrying case.


I had the opportunity to test these out in a few different scenarios over the last few weeks. I put them through the ringer and 2 heavy metal concerts, multiple trips to the shooting range, and even at work while working on machines. In the concert situation I still had my old go to plugs in my bag as a backup just in case. Where we are usually at as photographers we are inside the FOH system that the fans hear, but faced with monitor systems pointing to the front row as a fill in. These systems are often isolated and much louder simply because of the frequencies coming through them. After wearing these for the first few moments of the show, I never even thought about reaching for my old ones. The Er20XS’s blocked a ton of the noise but still provided me with a great listening experience. I honestly think that is why people won’t ear earplugs at concerts. They are afraid they won’t be able to hear the music. Rest assured the ER20XS’s provide you with a great concert experience.


With a price point ranging from $18.00 to $25.00 depending where you get them, Etymotic Research has provided you with amazing hearing protection at an affordable price. I’ve spent upwards of $100 on a set of earplugs thinking they would be better than the rest. Had I known about the ER20XS’s I could have saved myself a ton of money.  Follow the links below to pick up a pair, and check out all the other great products from Etymotic Research!

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