How To Choose the Right Ear Plugs

Shopping for ear plugs? We can help. These tips will help you choose the right ear plugs

Use these tips to choose the best ear plugs for your needs

Ear plugs can protect your ears either from unwanted noise or water. Choosing the right ear plugs, however, may seem like a daunting task simply because there are so many options available to the typical consumer. If you’re feeling lost, here is a quick guide to choosing the best ear plugs for you!

Decide What You Need

You want to make sure you consider purpose first because this will help you eliminate a good number of options. For instance, if you want to block out noise, you can eliminate all ear plugs that are specified towards blocking out water. While there are a few types of ear plugs that do both, there simply are not too many options on the market. Once you’ve figured out your purpose, you can decide exactly how much protection you’ll need.

Swimming: There are several great ear plugs that are designed specifically to keep water out of the ear canal. If you are a swimmer, you can narrow your search towards these types of ear plugs and nix a whole bunch of potential sound-based options.

Loud Music/ Noise: If your goal is to protect your ears during a concert, you may want to check out the recommendations from professional organizations such as the American Hearing Association. You should also consider the amount of noise that the activity will produce. For instance, a loud lawn mower can expose you to 100dB, while a rock concert can reach as high 150dB. Keep in mind that sounds over 85 dB can damage your hearing if you aren’t using any sort of protection. For loud situations, consider plugs with a high NRR or noise reduction rating. The NRR is often listed on ear plugs and you can use the following formula to convert the NRR rating : (x-7)/2 where x is your NRR rating.

Sleeping: If you need ear plugs for sleeping or to cancel out ambient noise you will probably need a lower NRR rating compared to ear plugs needed for concerts. You should also consider any necessary noises that you do not want to be blocked by ear plugs. For instance, if you are sleeping, you want to ensure that you can hear your alarm clock or, if you are tuning out in a public place, you still want to have enough noise come through to keep you safely aware of your surroundings.

Figure Out How Much You’ll Use Them

Once you’ve figured out the type and power level, you’ll need from your ear plugs it is time to consider usage frequency. How often you plan to use your ear plugs can help you decide between disposable, reusable and custom ear plugs.

Once in a While: If you looking to use ear plugs for a specific occasion such as a concert, or want to use them once in a while, it may be best to purchase disposable ear plugs. Disposables, or single-use ear plugs. are typically the simplest, and cheapest ear plugs o the market and can be great for one-time use. If you are going to use the ear plugs on a few different occasions and are conscious about the environment, you may consider reusable ear plugs.

Pretty Often: If you are going to use your ear plugs on a regular basis, you also want to consider the reusable option. While the reusable ear plugs are a little bit more expensive than their disposable counterparts, it is more economical to pay a little more for one pair than to continuously buy disposables. Another option to consider, especially if you are using ear plugs on a semi-regular, or regular basis is custom ear plugs. The custom option is the most expensive, but it is also the most comfortable and provides the best protection. If you are going to be using the ear plugs every day, or every night, it probably makes sense to invent in the customs.

Figure Out Your Budget

Along with the frequency of use, it is important to consider your budget. While the single-use ear plugs are the least expensive and the custom types are the most expensive, you may also consider the consequences of what can happen in the long run. For instance, if you need the ear plugs to protect your ears from water because you are prone to ear infections and opt for the cheapest brands, you’ll later end up paying the consequences by having to buy medication or worse, having to cope with permanent damage to your ears. Conversely, it doesn’t make much sense to order custom ear plugs just for one night at the concert.

Resources — American Hearing Research AssociationCooperSafetyEveryday Hearing


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