Most of us would have used earplugs at some point. But did you know that there is a wide range of earplugs, each serving a different purpose? Here's what you need to know about the different types of earplugs and if you're wearing the right ones.
Earplugs come in a range of fits, from general, one-size-fits-all options you can purchase in a chemist to more complex, protective earplugs that require a custom fit. Some of the standard earplug fits available include:
Foam earplugs are one of the most common options and are typically made from inexpensive material that moulds to the shape of your ear canal. You'll often find these in supermarkets, chemists or receive them on a long-haul flight. Although readily available, these earplugs can be challenging to keep in your ears as they are not custom-fitted. They should only be used in environments with minimal noise, like an aeroplane or in bed, to drown out your partner's snoring! Another issue with foam earplugs is that because you need to scrunch them up before placing them in your ears when they expand, they can exert pressure on the lining of your ear canal. This can be very uncomfortable!
Silicone or putty earplugs are malleable and can be pushed into the ear to create a seal, effectively blocking noise. Putty is suited to people that may be sensitive to the pressure or suction feeling of other earplug types. They are great for preventing Surfer's Ear but still require you to take care when fitting them.
Did you know that ears are as unique as fingerprints? Custom earplugs designs fit perfectly in your ear, making them comfortable but with the best level of protection too. Custom earplugs can be tailored to different purposes depending on the individual's need. You'll need to visit an ear clinic that makes custom ear impressions to get the best fit.
Earplugs have many different applications, with the primary role of most to prevent damage to the ear. For example, an individual prone to ear infections may use earplugs to avoid this problem, while a construction site worker uses earplugs to prevent damage from significant noise levels. Some examples of earplug use include:
Swimming earplugs can help people with pressure equalisation tubes in their ears and prevent chronic ear infections. Custom earplugs or mouldable earplugs provide the rightest fit for swimming and stop water from reaching the ear canal beyond the plug.
Concert-goers, sound engineers, vocalists and musicians can benefit from earplugs due to the potential damaging noise levels at events. Earplugs like the ACS Pro 26, are specialised, allowing the wearer to hear their music or voice without causing damage to the eardrum because of high volume levels.
Ear protection is a must for shooting, with the average gunfire shot exceeding 140 dB. Shooting earplugs are popular for hunting to reduce sudden high volume sounds from being transmitted to the inner ear, giving the wearer protection when they need it while allowing normal hearing at all other times.
We can help take impressions for custom earplugs or remove excess ear wax. Book an appointment at earLAB in Richmond or Footscray and take better care of your ears today!