How Many Decibels do Earplugs Block

This depends on the specific ear plugs you have but 33dB is currently the highest Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) for ear plugs. When shopping, you’ll typically see ear plugs with a range of 22dB up to 33dB. You should make sure to get earplugs with a NRR sufficient for your specific situation (see chart below).

Hearing loss stems from loud noises killing the little hairs in your inner ear. Using ear plugs will help your protect your hearing from being damaged. Hearing protection, such as ear plugs, is generally a good idea any time you are being exposed to noises above 85 dB.

Duration per Day (hours)Sound Level dBA slow response

Just how many decibels do earplugs block though? That completely depends on your ear plugs, but typically the range is 22dB to 33dB. The decibel rating that you see on ear plugs is actually a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). All ear plugs are tested to identify their ability to reduce noise (in decibels).

When deciding on the NRR for your earplugs, you should base the dB level on the activity you need ear plugs for. The chart below highlights different dB ratings for comparison. Your goal should be to select ear plugs that will reduce the noise level to a safe level for your particular activity.

30 dBWhispering
50 dBRainfall
60 dBNormal conversation, dishwasher
70 dBVacuum cleaner, chicken coop
80 dBCity traffc, alarm clock
90 dBLawn mower, subway, shop tools
100 dBChain saw, pneumatic drill, snowmobile, power tools
110 dBMachinery

If you are going to be in a loud environment for an extended period of time, a lower dB threshold can cause damage.

Noise LevelHearing Loss After:
85 dB8 hours
90 dB4 hours
100 dB1 hour
110 dB15 minutes
120 dB +immediate
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