Using ear plugs is among the simplest things you can do to protect your ears from harmful noise levels. These small devices are inserted into the ear to block out disruptive or damaging sounds. There are many types of ear plugs on the market, making shopping confusing for some people, but with a little knowledge you can find the right pair for your situation.
First of all, figure out how much noise reduction you need from your ear plugs. Take a look at the noise reduction rating (NRR) on the box to find out how much sound it cancels out: better quality plugs have a rating between 21 and 33. Second, consider where and when you’ll use the ear plugs most often. Ear plugs with a lower NRR are sufficient for blocking out traffic noise or your roommate’s TV while studying. In contrast, you will need ear plugs with a higher NRR rating if your profession consistently puts you near loud equipment or music.
Third, evaluate the different materials that ear plugs are made from. The most basic material is foam. The foam is compressed during insertion then expands to plug the canal. Alternatively, silicone plugs are molded over the outside of the ear canal, allowing you to create a plug that fits your ear perfectly. Both silicone and foam plugs are intended to be disposed of after several uses.
Finally, consider the situation that you need the ear plugs for. While foam and silicone ear plugs are great for casual use, certain professions and situations warrant investing in specialized ear plugs. For example, musicians often have custom ear plugs molded for them because they spend so much time around loud music both practicing and performing. Musician plugs are custom fitted and designed to allow the artist to hear themselves while blocking out harmful noise around them.
Many people shop for earplugs to wear while sleeping to block out the sound of their partner’s snoring. You can find ear plugs that are specifically designed to block out snoring without keeping you from hearing your fire alarm and alarm clock. When comparing ear plugs for sleeping, be sure to test them out with your head tilted sideways. This helps you figure out if they will be comfortable to wear while you are lying down.
Although there are many choices of ear plugs, a little advanced planning will help you narrow in on the ideal pair.