Helpful Tips for Selecting Ear Plugs for Professional or Casual Use

To protect your ability to hear, begin with the basics – earplugs. When these small devices are inserted into your ear canal, disruptive or dangerous sounds are blocked out. Shopping for ear plugs can be confusing, as there are a large variety of styles available, but with patience and a little bit of know-how you can find the plug for you.

Start by assessing the amount of noise dampening you require. Every plug has a noise reduction rating (NRR) that signifies the amount of noise it cancels out, with the best quality ear plugs ranging from 21 to 33 decibels. Figure out where and when you will use your ear plugs. Ear plugs with a lower NRR are sufficient for blocking out traffic noise or your roommate’s TV while studying. However, if your profession requires you to spend time around loud equipment or music, a higher rating is more appropriate.

The composition of your ear plugs is another important factor to consider. The most basic material is foam. The foam is compressed during insertion then expands to plug the canal. In contrast, you can use silicone plugs to mold a perfectly-fitted barrier around the outside of your ear. Both types of plugs are disposable.

Lastly, evaluate whether you’d be better served with non-disposable, custom ear plugs. A simple foam or silicone plug will suffice in many circumstances; however, there are specialized plugs available for specific environments. For example, musicians often have custom ear plugs molded for them because they spend so much time around loud music both practicing and performing. Because these plugs are custom made to fit your ear, they will block out dangerous noise while still allowing you to hear the music you are making.

Many people shop for earplugs to wear while sleeping to block out the sound of their partner’s snoring. Ear plugs for sleeping are fairly advanced. They are able to block out the sounds of snoring while permitting you to hear your alarm clock or fire alarm. Take time to test out the plugs with your head tilted to the side. This simulates the changes that take place in your ear canal while lying down, helping you determine whether the plugs will be comfortable while you are sleeping.

Although there are many choices of ear plugs, a little advanced planning will help you narrow in on the ideal pair.