Earplugs seem really simple. Just put them in and go. That’s fine if you’re trying to block out the sound of your neighbours so you can sleep, but for serious ear protection, you need the right earplugs. Here are a few things you need to know before buying earplugs:
Yes! No matter how high of a rating a product has, you may still hear some sound. The effectiveness of earplugs is determined by a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) normally ranging from 15-35 decibels. The greater the rating, the higher the protection provided.
Every person’s ears are unique, and earplugs are not one size fits all. It may take a few tries to find the best earplug for your. That’s why most earplugs are available in sample packs.
The earplugs that work for best for you today may not work as well a year or two down the road. This is because your ears continue to grow and change over time. In fact, according to this article, plastic surgery on the ears is becoming more common!
Foam earplugs block more sound, but silicone earplugs are generally more comfortable.
Some earplugs may feel uncomfortable at first, but give yourself a chance to get used to them, just as you would do with a new pair of shoes or jeans. Try a few different ones to find the fit that suits you best. Our sample packs offer an ideal way of trying out a few earplugs to see which one is the perfect fit for you.
- Foam Earplugs – These earplugs are manufactured from expandable slow-recovery foam. They often offer the best mix of protection and comfort for most people. After fitting inside the ear, foam ear plugs expand to offer a snug and secure custom fit. Foam earplugs are the most widely available earplugs on the market.
- Silicone Earplugs are ideal if you a re looking for a custom fit and supreme comfort. Choose form our wide range of silicone earplugs to find one that suits you best.
- Wax Earplugs – Earplugs have been made with wax and cotton for more than 2,000 years. Some people still prefer these types with poplar choices being wax earplugs made by Quies or Ohropax.
Yes – but sometimes a lifestyle change that is what is really needed.
There are a lot of people who are upset that their partner’s seem to be unable to understand the impact their snoring is having on their relationships. In fact, more than a few relationships has been destroyed by snoring. If you’re a snorer, it’s not your light sleeping partner’s fault, you’re the noisy one. Changing your lifestyle might help, and could make your partner’s life much more bearable. Maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and quitting drinking or drinking in moderation can all reduce, and in some cases eliminate snoring.
No. The shape of your ears can change as you get older. An earplug that fits you now might not fit you in the future. Not convinced? Have a look at this! Big ears: they really do grow as we age.
Assuming you don’t have hearing damage, your ears are surprisingly sensitive, making it all but impossible to completely block out noise with earplugs. Earplugs are designed, not to block noise entirely, but to bring noise levels down to safer levels. Currently, the highest Noise Reduction Rating for earplugs is about 39dB.
In most cases, assuming you don’t have hearing damage, yes. Most people with normal hearing are able to carry on conversations quite easily with earplugs. In fact, many earplug wearers find that conversations in noisy environments is actually easier because the earplugs damp down background noise, making conversations and listening to music easier.
Foam earplugs need to be replaced when they get dirty or when you notice that they don’t return to their normal shape after removal from the ear canal.
Silicone earplugs should be replaced when they get dirty or no longer stick to to your ear.
Wax earplugs need to be replaced when they get dirty, if you start noticing they aren’t blocking noise adequately, or if they no longer hold together.
SNR and NRR are two rating systems used to measure the amount of noise blocked by a pair of earplugs. SNR is the system used in Europe, while NRR is the system used in North America. The NRR rating is generally slightly lower than an SNR rating, due to differences in measuring noise levels and standard deviations. However, the practical difference between the two rating systems is negligible.
Noise rating systems can be compared to the SPF system used to rate sunscreen. Where SPF tells you how long you can stay in the sun before you start to burn, SNR and NRR tell you how much noise can expect the earplugs to filter. So if you’re at a concert where the volume is 120 dB, wearing our HEAROS disposable foam earplugs, which are rated at 30dB, the noise entering your ear will be 120 – 30, or 90dB.
Even in very quiet scenarios, there are still sounds that can be measured. When the volume is very high, the sound is not safe and can damage your hearing. Measuring sound provides information that you can use to protect yourself. Risk factors for hearing damage include: noise level, distance between the noise and the hearer, and the amount of time spent listening to loud noise. Higher sound levels, close proximity to loud noise, and prolonged listening time can all increase potential for hearing loss.
A decibel meter is a device that samples sound so it can be measured and provides a result. Units of measurement for sound are called decibels, abbreviated dB. More decibels mean louder noise. The decibel scale is a logarithmic scale rather than a linear scale, which means that an increase of 10 decibels means the sound is multiplied by ten.
You don’t need a special device to measure sound levels, there are smartp
You might be surprised to know that getting your earplugs to fit properly is actually a learned skill. Until you get it, following instructions on the back of the product package will give you the best results.
This is purely a matter of personal preference. Reusable earplugs need to be cleaned regularly for good hygiene. Those who tend to lose things or prefer not to spend time on cleaning might prefer to buy disposable earplugs. If you choose disposable, you can save time and money by buying in bulk.
A lot depends on what you plan to use them for. Your needs will be different depending on whether you’re going to a concert, you work somewhere that is often very loud, if you want to block out distractions, or if you’re going swimming and want to keep out the water. The most important factor, however, is how much noise you need to block out. For this, you’ll need to look at the NRR.
While earmuffs may muffle some sound, they are not designed to block enough sound to offer the protection you can get from earplugs. Getting the best protection depends on assessing the protection offered by a device along with proper use of the device.
Most earplugs are small and not obvious unless someone is looking directly into your ear. However, if you buy large or brightly colored earplugs, they will be more noticeable.
The only way to become accustomed to loud noise is through hearing loss. If you find yourself less bothered by loud noise than you used to be, it’s a sign that your hearing has sustained at least some damage. Lifting weights makes your muscles stronger, but listening to loud noise will not make your ears stronger.
If you have hearing loss that lasts more than a few hours, the damage is permanent and cannot be reversed. However, you can preserve the hearing you have left through proper use of earplugs. Earplugs can also help prevent temporary hearing loss and prevent it from leading to permanent damage.
Sensitivity to noise can vary among individuals, but if you find yourself shouting to communicate with another person three feet away, the noise may be harmful to your hearing. Other good rules of thumb include: noise that is loud enough to hurt your ears, noise that is loud enough to cause ringing in your ears, or noise that cause temporary hearing loss. Generally speaking, noise levels over 85dB are considered potentially harmful, especially with prolonged exposure. The length of exposure is a key factor in whether the noise is just disturbing or potentially damaging.
In 1989, the UK has been using European standards to regulate noise. A 2003 European Union directive allowed for future changes to laws, which were ultimately upgraded in 2006. The leisure industry attempted to be ruled exempt from these laws, but in April 2008 was directed to comply. The UK Noise and Work Regulations of 1989 require employers to to reduce the risk of hearing damage as much as practically possible, and to maintain all noise reduction equipment. These laws are intended to protect employees, however, not to protect you from yourself. If you like your music cranked up to 11, it’s up to you to protect your hearing.
Most wax earplugs are made of a wax blended with cotton fibres, which are included to help hold the wax together, but need to be removed before inserting the earplugs. Wax earplugs are second only to silicone in comfort. Like silicone, wax earplugs are used to seal the outside of the ear, rather than going into the ear canal. Wax earplugs are easily moulded, so they will fit nearly any ear, regardless of shape or size. Your body heat softens the wax, so the longer you wear them, the softer they get and the more they conform to your ear.
Wax earplugs fit so comfortably that they have become popular for sleeping. Not only do they not stick out of the ear, they become softer while you sleep, so you barely even notice them. This makes them extra comfortable for sleeping, especially if you sleep on your side.
Wax earplugs are excellent for blocking out noise while studying, working, or relaxing, or to protect your hearing in moderately noisy backgrounds. Wax earplugs can be used in the water, but silicone earplugs tend to work better for swimming and other water activities.
It is important to be aware that wax earplugs don’t block quite as much noise as foam bullet or barrel earplugs. So if you need serious noise protection, wax may not be the best option. But if you need to reduce noise levels while still being able to hear someone talking to you, your child’s call, the phone, or your alarm clock in the morning, wax earplugs reduce background noise enough to reduce distractions and help you sleep, while still allowing you to hear what you need to hear. Wax earplugs are especially effective at blocking nighttime background noise so you can sleep soundly and wake refreshed.
Silicone earplugs can be moulded into the perfect fit for your ear, which makes them comfortable and easy to use. If you prefer not to use cotton wool, silicone is a great alternative to wax. They can be molded as easily as putty, so they fit the shape of your ears and may well be among the most comfortable earplugs available. Silicone earplugs are intended to be used in the outer part of the ear, rather than inside the ear canal like foam earplugs.
Silicone earplugs are reusable, but need to be replaced if they get dirty or if you start to notice when rolling them that they are not as sticky.
Silicone earplugs are great for many uses, not just damping sound. They can be used while swimming or to block distractions while studying or working. They can also seal out water while you’re swimming, bathing, showering, or doing water exercise to keep the water out of your ears and prevent swimmer’s ear.
If you have noisy neighbors live near a busy highway, or your spouse is a snorer, silicone earplugs are a great choice for blocking the noise so you can sleep. Because they don’t stick out of your ear or too far into your ear, they are quite comfortable, even if you sleep on your side. While they effectively dull loud noise, they don’t prevent you from hearing your kids or your alarm clock. With silicone earplugs, you can get a restful night’s sleep, and not be late for work.
No matter what you’re doing while using them, silicone earplugs are an excellent all around choice, whether you want them for noise reduction, studying, swimming, travelling, sleeping, or anything else. Mouldable silicone earplugs are the best solution for many earplug wearers.