Ear plugs are such a basic piece of gear that sometimes the proper use can be overlooked. Whether you are hunting, using a chain saw, attending a race, or trying to block out noise on a long plane flight, earplugs are a critical - though simple - solution to keeping your hearing. While there's a compulsion to pretend loud noises don't bother you because, "we're men!", even if you can stand the noise, it could be causing permanent hearing loss.
Whether you’re planning to purchase them as a gift for someone or to use yourself, earplugs are probably one thing that you thought you’d never ask for. Earplugs are perfect when dealing with a loud snoring partner or to minimize wakefulness as a result of nighttime noises. Aside from these most common reasons, earplugs are useful for protecting your ears from work hazards such as construction noise and other annoying sounds. In this guide, it doesn’t matter if you own pre-molded, custom molded, or foam earplugs. It only matters that you understand the most basic dos and don’ts of earplug use.
Do Discard or Clean Regularly
When we mean regularly, we mean daily. Foam earplugs need to be discarded daily while pre-molded or custom ones need to be cleaned with soap and water mixture and hydrogen peroxide. Failing to follow these instructions can leave your earplugs exposed to bacteria and dirt. Also, the daily build-up of earwax in your earplugs can strain your ear canal, which can lead to infections, pain and hearing loss. All of which you are trying to avoid by using earplugs.
Do Clean Your Ears of Earwax
Although it may seem like an annoying thing to deal with, earwax serves a purpose in your body. Otherwise known as cerumen, earwax is produced by the ear’s glands and protects the skin by guarding it against bacteria, aids in cleaning and lubricates it. Because of the body’s natural cleaning process, earwax is removed day by day without you knowing it. However, the use of earplugs can block the body from its automatic clean-up process. It is recommended to clean your ears with cotton buds every day and have them cleaned by a health professional at least once a year.
Do Insert Earbuds Properly
You may have been using the best ear plugs in the market but, if you’re not inserting them correctly, it won’t do you any good of protecting your ear from foreign elements and detrimental levels of noise. Whether you have foam earplugs, silicone, custom or premade, it is recommended that you read the instructions carefully because poorly inserted earplugs are money wasted.
Do Choose the Right Kind of Earplugs
The market is riddled with a variety of choices for a multitude of purposes. It is best to determine what you’re going to use the earplugs for before purchasing a set. For a worker that is exposed to loud construction noises daily, it is best to invest in custom earplugs. Custom earplugs assure higher noise protection and promise uncompromised comfort. Surfers and swimmers would greatly benefit from wax or silicone earplugs as they are waterproof. Musicians, on the other hand, need to use Hi-Fi earplugs so they can hear the music while protecting the ear from unwanted and unnecessary noise.
Don’t Always Believe the Noise Reduction Rating
This may confuse everyone who’s using earplugs already and those who plan to purchase some. The Noise Reduction Rating indicated on the packaging of the earplugs is not the actual protection level you’ll obtain. For example, if your earplugs indicate protection of 45 decibels, expect only actual protection of 22 decibels.
It is also crucial to know that before you choose earplugs, determine what you’re going to use them for and read user reviews about the ones you're considering. Also, discuss your decision to buy earplugs with a health professional for some additional advice. In this manner, you can make a purchase that is worth every penny and not compromise your ear safety overall.