10th July 2020

A Beginner’s Guide To Ear Plugs For Hearing Protection

Ear plugs are an important element of promoting good ear health and protecting your hearing. We recommend custom made ear plugs for safety and ergonomic fit. The squashy over the counter type are only ever recommended as a temporary solution and should be treated with caution.

Issues that can arise with soft, non-custom ear plugs mainly come from it being all too easy to push them too deep into the ear which can result in:

  • trauma to the ear canal
  • potential damage to the eardrum
  • impaction of wax in the ear canal

Poor fitting ear plugs negate their efficacy by allowing damaging noise to enter the ear, or water and other elements you are trying to keep out.

What are ear plugs?

Ear plugs perform a range of functions and the most common concept is protection against noise. Whilst this is true, there are a multitude of examples where ear plugs should be worn for general ear health.

Ear plugs are designed to fit into the ear canal and as the name suggests, plug the ear. This will then prevent whatever it is you don’t want, to get into the ear. This could be noise, water, dust, infection or unwanted sounds.

What are the benefits of ear plugs?

The benefits of ear plugs is to future proof your ears, especially against noise, which is the largest single cause of hearing loss after age related conditions known as presbycusis.

Properly fitted ear plugs obviously afford the best protection as they are made from a scan of your ear impression to assure a comfortable, snug and secure fit for optimum results. A bespoke ear plug can reduce up to 39dB of sound which can bring background noise within safe limits.

If used for swimming, they will ensure the ear canal remains dry and healthy and significantly reduce any risk of ear infection.

What are the best ear plugs for your needs?

For musicians

Musician ear plugs and musician in-ear-monitors are designed to reduce ambient noise levels to a safe level

Depending on environments, these moulds which have calibrated filters, can reduce sounds from 9dB to 25dB and are usually prefixed by the letters ER.

For swimmers

We have a great range of swim plugs under the Catamaran brand which means they are floatable should one get dislodged accidentally, reducing the risk of loss.

They come in a whole range of colours from subtle to vibrant and can be different colours for each ear.

For factory workers

This range of ear plugs are very similar to the musician ear plugs as they are graded with the different filters attenuating different levels of noise to bring the work environment within safe working levels.

For those with hearing loss

There is no difference to the type of ear plugs worn whether a hearing loss is present or not. Each pathology is equally important. It is extremely sensible to preserve whatever level of hearing you have.

Our advice is to always protect your ears and at the earliest opportunity possible.

For those without hearing loss

As before, prevention is better than cure and early adoption is paramount to protect the long term future of your ears

For those struggling with sleep

These custom ear plugs are made of an extremely soft and pliable silicone which is recessed into the concha or bowl of the ear so they do not protrude and allow you to rest your head on a pillow for a comfortable night’s sleep.

These sleeping ear plugs are especially useful if you live under a flight path or next to a busy road. Also for a snoring partner, not that they would admit to that! They are also ideal for people who work nights and need to sleep during the day.

Step-by-step: How to wear ear plugs

All ear plugs come with instructions on how to use them correctly and safely.

Instructions should include:

  • identifying which one goes in which ear
  • how to correctly insert into the ear for best retention and results

In most instances the ear plugs will come with a cream to make insertion easy. NEVER lick your ear plugs to insert them as your mouth is full of bugs and you are liable to introduce unwanted bacteria into your ear.

How to clean ear plugs

Ear plugs should be cleaned with warm, mild soapy water to maintain good hygiene and never with solvents or cleaning chemicals as this will quickly compromise the silicone and shorten the life of the plugs.

Ear plug FAQ

Can ear plugs prevent hearing loss?

There can be no doubt the importance of wearing ear plugs as the best prevention against noise induced hearing loss.

Your ear is made up of tens of thousands of hair-like cells which can easily be damaged by noise. Unfortunately when they are damaged or gone, they are gone forever.

Damage can occur on your very first exposure to excessive noise so it makes sense to have a custom made ear plug at your earliest opportunity.

Can ear plugs damage hearing?

A custom ear plug cannot damage your hearing because it is made exactly to the anatomical shape of your ear and cannot be pushed too deep into the ear canal.

However, non-custom ear plugs can easily be pushed too deep into the ear with the potential to cause damage.

Do you need a prescription?

There is no need for a prescription to get ear plugs. An appointment however is necessary so the consultant can:

  • check your ear health
  • ensure the ear canal is clear
  • take an impression using a soft putty-like gel or silicon

The impression will create a perfect imprint of your ear so the ear plugs will be the perfect fit..

Contact us for further advice

Please contact us on 01403 218863 for further advice or to book an appointment. You can also reach our team by emailing us at admin@hearingcarecentres.co.uk where we will get back to you as soon as possible..

What our clients say

Two members of my family have just received excellent advice and treatment at the Chichester Centre.

My husband for ear plugs advice and my 12 year old son, who has been suffering with excessive ear wax building up for the past year or so and being told by GP that can do nothing except keep putting drops in.

Within 15 minutes he had his ears safely unblocked, using micro suction and washing, something the GP said was not available. My son is like a different child and can actually hear again.

Thank You!

Mr J Llewellyn – Chichester patient