How to use earplugs safely

There are a variety of reasons why people suffer from hearing loss, but one good preventative measure is the use of earplugs to protect the sensitive cells in your inner ear from becoming damaged.

Earplugs and earmuffs are an effective way to protect your ears from loud noises without needing to seek the help of a medical professional. If you work in a noisy environment or find yourself exposed to high noise levels for long periods of time, earplugs can help you stay protected and safe.

However, not many people know how to put in earplugs properly, causing more harm than good. Let’s take a look at what you need to know about wearing them properly, including instructions on how to use earplugs.

What are the best earplugs to use?

Generally, the best earplugs are comfortable to wear and fit into your ears securely. The most important feature to consider with earplugs is their noise reduction rating (NRR). The higher the NRR of the product, the more sound the earplugs block. Similarly, the higher the level of noise exposure, the higher the rating you should go for.

How to use foam earplugs safely

The best way to use soft foam earplugs is the roll, pull, and hold method. Make sure your hands are clean as you insert earplugs, to prevent dirt or bacteria entering your ear canal as you insert the earplug.

  • Roll and compress – make sure your earplug is tapered when you roll it, and make sure the earplug is smooth when rolled so there aren’t any wrinkles. To ensure this, it’s best to roll the plug between your thumb and forefinger to give you more control
  • Reach a hand over your head. Pull your ear upward so that your ear canal is straightened out. Insert that tapered end of the earplug into your ear canal – it helps to compress the tapered end a little so that the earplug enters your ear canal more firmly, with a lesser risk of it falling out.
  • Hold the earplug in your ear for 30 seconds while the earplug expands to fill your ear canal.

How to Use Earplugs: Tips and tricks

You’ll know the earplug is in correctly when sounds around you are muffled. To test if the fit is correct, cup your hands tightly over your ears. If the sounds are more muffled with your hands cupping your ears, your earplug isn’t working properly, and you’ll need to remove it and try again.

When the earplug is inserted correctly, the body of the plug should be inside the ear canal. The bottom edge of the earplug should be located outside of the ear canal.

Sometimes, the effectiveness of the earplug can be according to its size. You may need a bigger earplug if you find yourself doing everything right and still not feeling adequately protected from sound. Conversely, you may find yourself needing a smaller earplug if you experience any pain or discomfort.

Should you choose an earplug that isn’t made of foam, insertion is straightforward. You simply need to insert the plug into the ear canal without twisting or changing the shape.

Wax or silicone earplugs need to be smoothed over to create a seal over the ear after insertion. It's important to know that they should only be used to cover the very outer portion of the ear, and never inserted into the ear canal.

Sleeping with earplugs

It’s important to know how to use earplugs for sleeping so you can take advantage of their benefits in bed. Earplugs are a safe, affordable way of improving sleep quality, and they have also been shown to improve REM sleep. They are a very good way of protecting yourself from loud noises and minimise any cause of hearing damage or loss.

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