Man using earplugs to protect his hearing before a concert.

If you’re exposed to loud noises, for instance running a lawnmower in your yard, going to an arena to see your favorite band play, or simply sleeping in your own bed next to a snoring spouse, earplugs can be practical. In the first two circumstances, they can help protect your ears by decreasing the volume. In the last instance, they decrease the decibels and help protect your peace of mind (and possibly your marriage) by allowing you to get a good night’s sleep. But are your ears being harmed by these protectors?

Why Use Earplugs at All?

The case for earplugs is fairly simple: When used properly, earplugs can help to safeguard your hearing by reducing your exposure to extreme decibel levels. Maybe you’ve noticed that your hearing seems different after you leave a loud venue, for instance, a football game with a loud crowd, and you might also experience symptoms of tinnitus. This happens because those super-loud noises can actually bend the small hair cells in your inner ear. In a couple of days, when the hairs have recovered, it usually goes away.

But if you’re subjected to excessive decibels constantly, say you work on a construction crew or at an airport, the aural attack on those tiny hair cells is unrelenting. In this instance, those hairs don’t heal, they are permanently injured. inside of each cochlea, you have around 16,000 of these tiny hair cells, but up to 50% of them can be damaged or ruined before your hearing has altered enough for the problem to appear in a hearing assessment.

How Might Your Ears be Injured by Using Earplugs?

With all that, you’d think that wearing earplugs would be a no-brainer in terms of protecting your hearing. But if your subjected to loud noises on a regular basis, this seems to be even more obvious (like on the job or when your spouse snores as mentioned), headphones that reduce, but don’t entirely cancel, sound or over the head earmuffs are a much smarter idea. Earplugs are better suited to one-off situations such as a concert or sporting event than for day to day use.

Why? For one, earwax. In order to protect themselves, your ears make earwax, and if wearing earplugs is something you do regularly, more earwax will be created, and the earplugs will jam it in further. Tinnitus and other concerns can be the result of impacted earwax.

An ear infection can also result from too much use of earplugs. They can become bacteria traps if you use the same pair without proper cleaning and disinfecting. Certainly, ear infections are a disruption of your life. If left untreated, in the worst situations, they can trigger an ear infection.

How Can You Safely Utilize Earplugs?

Earplugs nevertheless have a strong upside, whether it’s protecting your ears or getting a restful night’s rest. Using them in the proper way and using the most appropriate kind is the key to success. Foam earplugs are the least costly, which is helpful because you really should not reuse them, the cushy, porous material is a germ’s haven. Don’t put wax or silicone earplugs back in until they are completely dry after utilizing warm water to entirely sanitize them. Buildup of moisture can cause mold and bacteria so keep your earplugs in a well ventilated place.

You may want to get in touch with us about custom fit earplugs if you want or need them regularly. These are constructed from unique molds of your ears, they’re reusable and since they’re fitted to your ears, their comfortable. But it’s crucial not to forget, good earplug hygiene can stop hearing damage.

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