Man using earplugs to protect his hearing before a concert.

If you’re subjected to loud sounds, for instance using a lawnmower in your yard, going to a venue to see your favorite band in concert, or merely sleeping at home next to a snoring spouse, earplugs can be practical. Bringing down the volume is the way earplugs can help in the first two circumstances. In the last situation, they reduced the decibels plus help save your peace of mind (and possibly your marriage) by permitting you to get a good night’s sleep. But is your hearing being harmed by these protectors?

What’s The Point of Wearing Earplugs?

It’s a fairly simple case for using earplugs: Properly used, earplugs can minimize your exposure to excessive volume levels and thereby safeguard your hearing. After you leave a loud venue, like a football game where the Jumbotron keeps telling the crowd to, GET LOUD, when the other team kicks off, you’ve most likely noticed that your hearing seems off, and you might also have symptoms of tinnitus. This occurs because those extremely loud noises can actually bend the little hair cells inside of your inner ear. It often disappears within a couple of days, because the hair cells have recovered.

But if you’re subjected to high decibels constantly, for instance, if you work on a construction site or at an airfield, the aural assault on those tiny hair cells is relentless. In this situation, those hairs don’t get better, they are permanently injured. inside of each cochlea, there are about 16,000 of these little hair cells, but up to 50% of them can be destroyed or at least damaged before you would see the different in a hearing assessment.

How Might Your Hearing be Damaged by Using Earplugs?

With regards to protecting your ears, it seems like it would be a no-brainer to wear earplugs. But particularly if you’re in scenarios where you’re exposed to loud noises on a regular basis (like on the job or with the above mentioned snoring significant other), over-the-head earmuffs or noise-reducing (but not completely stopping) headphones are a better option. Earplugs aren’t the best choice for everyday use but are better suited to one off events such as a concert or sporting events.

Why? The first problem is, earwax. So that they can protect themselves, your ears create earwax, and if you’re constantly wearing earplugs, they’re going to make more of it, and you’ll probably jam it in with the plugs. Tinnitus and other issues can be the result of impacted earwax.

Ear infections can also result from overuse of earplugs. They can become bacteria traps if you regularly wear the same pair without proper cleaning and disinfecting. Ear infections are, at the very least, a painful annoyance. If left untreated, in the worst situations, they can cause an ear infection.

How Can You Safely Utilize Earplugs?

Whether it’s a good night sleep or protecting your ears, there’s still a formidable positive to using earplugs. You just need to be certain you’re using the proper kind and utilizing them in the proper way. The porous material of foam earplugs is a germ paradise so it’s a good thing that they are the least costly. Wax or silicone earplugs are reusable, but you need to keep them sanitized, wash them with warm water and mild soap to clean them, and don’t put them back in your ears until they’re completely dry. It’s also a good plan to keep earplugs in a ventilated container to discourage moisture, or worse, mold or bacteria, from building up.

You might want to contact us concerning custom fit earplugs if you want or need them frequently. They are comfortable since they’re crafted from molds of your ears and they are reusable. But it’s crucial not to forget, good earplug hygiene can prevent hearing impairment.

Why wait? You don't have to live with hearing loss. Call Us Today