Hearing Care Specialists - Hopkins, Glencoe, and Watertown, MN

One of the easiest things you can do to protect your hearing is to use ear plugs. Ear plugs physically impede sound waves when inserted into the ear canal. 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.

Start by assessing the amount of noise dampening you require. Ear plugs are labelled with a noise reduction rating (NRR) to indicate how much noise they are able to block. Better quality ear plugs will have NRR’s between 21 and 33. Think about where you plan to use your ear plugs. For example, you will find that plugs with a lower NRR will be sufficient if you plan to use them to block out traffic noise while working or studying. However, if your profession requires you to spend time around loud equipment or music, a higher rating is more appropriate.

Third, evaluate the different materials that ear plugs are made from. Foam ear plugs are made from a type of memory foam that is inserted into the ear canal. These plugs are compressed as they are inserted, then expand to plug the ear. Silicone ear plugs differ from foam in that they are molded over the outside of the ear canal. Both types of plugs are disposable.

Your final step is to consider why you are shopping for plugs in the first place. You can get away with using a simple silicone or foam plug in many situations, but there are specific plugs made for certain environments. If you are a musician who is constantly exposed to loud music, you may want to look into custom-made, non-disposable earplugs. 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.

A totally different use of ear plugs is to block out a partner’s snoring while sleeping. Look for specialized plugs that will block out the sound of snoring while still allowing you to hear your alarm clock, fire alarm, and other important sounds. When comparing ear plugs for sleeping, be sure to test them out with your head tilted sideways. You’ll want to choose a pair that fits well while lying down.

With a little time and consideration you should not have any difficulties finding the earplugs that are right for you.

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