How Do Earplugs Work? A Short Guide

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Earplugs can be either a luxury or a necessity for which one might be eternally grateful. Sometimes you are in a noisy environment filled with different distractions that prevent you from focusing on your work or even disturb you while taking a power nap. Earplugs are also helpful to enjoy deep sleep at night. In such circumstances, earplugs are a must-have tool in your room.

There are also times when you desperately need earplugs, especially when you are working in an environment with a loud noise that can permanently damage your hearing. That’s why choosing the best earplugs and knowing how earplugs work is important. 

Let’s find out the different types of earplugs, proper usage, best practices, and handy tips to get the most out of earplugs.

How Do Earplugs Work?

An earplug works by covering your ear canal to block the sound vibrations and prevent them from traveling down the canal to the eardrum. Small earplugs are inserted into the ear that form a tight compression against the ear canal, expanding and blocking it.

Earplugs are typically manufactured from a rubber material to form more or less a tight fit inside the ears. However, they can be custom-made according to your ear shape. These plugs are typically large and cover more of the external part of your ear.

Different Types of Earplugs And How They Work

1. Earplugs For Sleeping

Sleep is vital for human health, and about 30% of the world’s population is suffering from a lack of proper sleep. When you are facing sleeplessness issues due to ambient noise, there is nothing better than sleeping earplugs to enjoy a good night’s rest.

Such types of earplugs are made for comfort from a softer and more flexible material so that you can easily wear them all night without any irritation.

Types of Sleeping Earplugs

· Disposable Sleep Earplugs

Commonly made from soft foam material for maximum comfort, disposable earplugs can be used one or two times.

· Reusable Sleep Earplugs

These types of earplugs are manufactured from plastic or a soft silicone material. Reusable sleep earplugs have durable quality and can be reused for several nights of sleep.

· Custom Sleep Earplugs

Such earplugs offer the most sound attenuation. They can also be made by hearing healthcare experts by taking an earmold impression and sending it to earplug manufacturers to make custom sleep earplugs.

· Moldable Earplugs

One of the most effective solutions for when you are unable to achieve a comfortable fit with a typical earplug and you don’t like the feeling of foam in your ear. Moldable earplugs are made from silicone or wax material. They can be molded into the bowl of your ear.

Who Should Wear Sleeping Earplugs?

  • Those sleeping in a noisy environment such as a neighborhood with a lot of traffic noise
  • Sleep partners struggling with heavy snoring
  • Travelers who needs to rest on the go

2. Earplugs For Noise Reduction

Also known as sound plugs, earplugs for noise reduction are meant to be used in loud environmental noise such as around power tools, gunfire, heavy machinery, lawn mowing equipment, sporting events, and loud music to protect your hearing health.

Do you know sounds louder than 85 dB can cause noise-induced hearing loss? That’s why you need a pair of noise-reducing earplugs to keep your hearing sense in the best condition.

Types of Noise Reduction Earplugs

· Earmuffs

One of the most famous forms of noise-reducing earplugs, earmuffs are commonly used by people working around lawn mowing equipment or heavy machinery. They are also ideal for those who don’t like the way earplugs feel in their ears or need additional ear protection. Earmuffs can also provide more noise attenuation compared to earplugs for those working in loud environments like around aircraft engines.

· Custom Noise Plugs

Want to block out nasty sounds? Custom noise plugs are the best solution for harmful noises. You can buy them from a hearing healthcare professional.

· Disposable Noise Plugs

The cheapest option for occasional use, disposable noise plugs are made for one or two times use. They are commonly made of foam material. Make sure to dispose of them after use.

· Reusable Noise Plugs

Another inexpensive way to protect your ears from loud noises, these earplugs are made of soft silicone material. The best part is that you can easily clean them to reuse later. Reusable noise earplugs are available in both corded and non-corded forms.

Who Should Wear Earplugs For Noise Reduction?

  • Military personnel working in gunfire or explosive zones
  • Workers exposed to extremely loud noises
  • A person using power tools such as lawn mowing equipment or home machinery

3. Earplugs For Concerts

Every musician spends most of their time around damaging noise levels. Whether he/she sings in a band or plays any loud instrument, musicians are always at severe risk for developing noise-induced hearing loss.

A musician relies on their hearing in both practice and performance, and therefore, it is crucial to take care of their hearing. Besides musicians, these earplugs are useful for music lovers who frequently attend music events to save their hearing after years of enjoying the music with headphones that look like earplugs.

Types of concert earplugs

· Electric Musician Earplugs

These electric earplugs can automatically adjust to changing sound levels. For instance, a band instructor needs to hear the question of their student during practice but also get proper protection from loud music when the band starts playing.

Electronic musician earplugs allow low-level sounds to come through naturally, while automatically adjusting to offer a sound attenuation of 9 or 15 dB during loud noises.

· Custom Musician Earplugs

These types of earplugs consist of a filter along with a custom earplug that is molded to the shape of your year. The filter is commonly a 9, 15, or 24 dB attenuation filter.  Most musicians prefer to use ER-15 filters, especially drummers and amplified bands. Solo or acoustic performers use ER-9 filters.

· Non-custom Reusable Earplugs

A low price alternative for students, musicians, and concert lovers, non-custom reusable earplugs helps to reduce the overall volume while preserving the musical quality. Make sure to check for the high fidelity term when buying a pair of these musician earplugs.

Who Should Wear Earplugs For Concerts?

  • Music instructors and conductors
  • Both professional and amateur musicians
  • Concert attendees
  • Entertainment industry staff

Best Practices

· Insert properly

If you have custom-made earplugs, they should fit snuggly. All you need is to make sure that the earplugs are clean and properly pushed into your ear to form a perfect seal. Follow the strict process for foam and moldable rubber earplugs.

· Regular Cleaning

One essential part of earplug use is cleaning them every day. If you are using foam earplugs, discard them regularly. Clean the custom-made and pre-molded earplugs daily. This is significant to prevent any bacteria build and prevent dirt introduction into the year canal.

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