Man using earplugs to protect his hearing before a concert.

Earplugs can be beneficial if you’re subjected to loud noises, such as, something as straightforward as a snoring spouse, or a lawnmower in your backyard, or going to a concert at an arena. Lowering the volume is the way earplugs can help in the first two cases. They assist in saving your peace of mind and possibly even your relationships, in the last circumstances, by allowing you to get a good night’s sleep. But is your hearing being harmed by these protectors?

What’s The Purpose of Utilizing Earplugs?

The argument for earplugs is pretty simple: When used properly, earplugs can minimize your exposure to excessive sound levels and thereby protect your hearing. When you leave a loud venue, say a football game where the announcer keeps exhorting the crowd to, GET LOUD, when the other team kicks off, you’ve most likely noticed that your hearing seems different, and you might also experience symptoms of tinnitus. Those little hairs are bent by this kind of noise exposure and that’s the reason why this happens. In a couple of days, when the hairs have recovered, it often goes away.

But if you’re exposed to excessive decibels continually, for instance, if you work on a construction crew or at an airport, the aural attack on those tiny hair cells is relentless. In this case, those hairs cannot get better, they are permanently damaged. Inside each cochlea, there are around 16,000 of these little hair cells, but up to 50% of them can be injured or ruined before your hearing has changed enough for the deficiency to appear in a hearing test.

How Can Your Hearing be Damaged by Wearing Earplugs?

With regards to safeguarding your ears, it seems like it would be obvious to wear earplugs. But if your exposed to loud noises on a regular basis, this seems even more obvious (like on the job or with the above mentioned snoring spouse), headphones that limit, but don’t totally cancel, sound or over the head earmuffs are a much better choice. Earplugs aren’t the best choice for daily use but are a smarter choice for one time occasions such as a sports event or a concert.

Why? The first problem is, earwax. So that they can protect themselves, your ears create earwax, and if using earplugs is something you do all of the time, more earwax will be created, and you probably will jam it in with the plugs. Tinnitus and other issues can be the result of impacted earwax.

An ear infection can be another problem for people who wear earplugs. If you repeatedly wear the same pair, and you don’t clean them properly from use to use, they can become bacteria traps. Ear infections are, at the very least, a painful inconvenience. If neglected, in the worst cases, they can cause an ear infection.

How Can You Safely Utilize Earplugs?

Earplugs still have a strong benefit, whether it’s protecting your hearing or getting a restful night’s sleep. Using them in the right way and using the right kind is the secret to success. The porous material of foam earplugs is a germ paradise so it’s a helpful thing they are the least expensive. Don’t put silicone or wax earplugs back in your ears until they are thoroughly dry after utilizing warm water to entirely clean them. It’s also a good plan to store earplugs in a well ventilated place to discourage humidity, or worse, bacteria or mold, from accumulating.

If you need or want to use earplugs on a regular basis, you might want to talk to us about getting custom-made earplugs. These are constructed from unique molds of your ears, they can be reused and because they’re fitted to your ears, their comfortable. Again though, to prevent any potential hearing damage, it’s essential to put into practice good earplug hygiene!