As we’ve mentioned previously, it is important to have properly fitting (and properly inserted) earplugs. Otherwise you will not be getting the full benefit and Noise Reduction Rating of the earplugs. At first glance all earplugs may look the similar and it may be tempting just to grab the cheapest pair off the shelf, it is important to get earplugs intended for what you will be using the ear plugs for.
How to Choose Earplugs
When choosing earplugs there are four important factors to consider:
- Proper fit
- Type & Quality
How to Fit Earplugs
Getting the proper fit is paramount to protecting your hearing. If your earplugs don’t fit and aren’t worn properly then your earplugs will never live up to their specified Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) level. Ensure that your earplugs fit snugly and do not just loosely sit in your ears – this will prevent a complete seal from forming and will not adequately protect your hearing.
Most earplugs you find will provide somewhere between 15 dB and 33 dB for a Noise Reduction Rating. The higher the NRR rating, the more protection provided by the earplugs. If you work or spend time in loud environments, make sure you are getting earplugs with a higher NRR rating.
Since everyone is different, not all earplugs fit everyone the same. Some people have larger or smaller ear canals which will inherently impact how well specific earplugs work for them. To understand what fits you best and provides the most effective noise attenuation, try a few different pairs of earplugs before committing to a large pack.
How to get the right type of earplugs
There are different types of earplugs for different applications. Make sure to read the packaging to see what they are intended for. If you are working on a construction site, operating equipment, doing yard-work, going to a concert, or shooting, make sure to look for noise reduction earplugs. If you simply want earplugs to sleep better, look for earplugs designed specifically for sleep.
While comfort doesn’t directly impact the effectiveness of your ear plugs, they are an important consideration. If your earplugs are not comfortable, then you will be less likely to wear them. So before you buy earplugs in bulk, buy a smaller package first and make sure that they are comfortable to wear – especially if you often have to wear them for extended periods of time.