If you’re exposed to loud sounds, for example running a lawnmower in your yard, going to an arena to see your favorite band in concert, or merely sleeping in your own bed next to a snoring spouse, earplugs may be helpful. In the first two instances, they can help safeguard your hearing by turning down the volume. They help save your peace of mind and perhaps even your relationships, in the last situation, by letting you get a good night’s sleep. But is your hearing being damaged by these protectors?
What’s The Point of Using Earplugs?
The case for earplugs is pretty simple: When used properly, earplugs can reduce your exposure to excessive sound levels and thereby safeguard your ears. After you leave a loud place, say a football game where the announcer keeps telling the crowd to, GET LOUD, when the other team kicks off, you’ve most likely noticed that your hearing seems different, and you may also have symptoms of tinnitus. Those small hairs are bent by this kind of noise exposure and that’s the reason why this happens. In a day or two, when the hairs have recovered, it usually goes back to normal.
But in a few particular situations, there is a constant attack on those tiny hairs, this is especially true if you work in a high volume trade such as the music business or around jet planes. In this instance, those hairs never heal, they are permanently damaged. inside of each cochlea, there are about 16,000 of these tiny hair cells, but up to 50% of them can be damaged or destroyed before your hearing has altered enough for the deficiency to appear in a hearing assessment.
Is it Conceivable to Harm Your Ears by Using Earplugs?
With regards to protecting your hearing, it seems like it would be a no-brainer to use earplugs. But primarily if you’re in situations where you’re subjected to loud noises every day (like on the job or with the aforementioned snoring significant other), over-the-head earmuffs or noise-reducing (but not completely blocking) headphones are a smarter choice. Earplugs are better suited to one-off scenarios like a sporting event or concert than for everyday use.
Why? The first problem is, earwax. So that they can protect themselves, your ears make earwax, and if wearing earplugs is something you do regularly, they will generate more of it, and you are likely to push it in with the plugs. This can lead to issues like impacted earwax, which can trigger tinnitus and other hearing concerns.
Ear infections can also result from overuse of earplugs. If you continually wear the same pair, and you fail to clean them between uses, they can become bacteria traps. Certainly, ear infections are a disturbance to your day to day life. But at the worst-case-scenario end of the spectrum, they can also result in a loss of hearing if you fail to get treatment.
How Can You Safely Use Earplugs?
Whether it’s a restful night sleep or protecting your hearing, there’s still a formidable upside to using earplugs. You just need to be sure you’re using the correct kind and utilizing them the correct way. The porous material of foam earplugs is a germ paradise so it’s a good thing they are the least expensive. Don’t put wax or silicone earplugs back in your ears until they are totally dry after utilizing warm water to completely clean them. Buildup of humidity can cause mold and bacteria so keep your earplugs in a well ventilated place.
If you need or want to use earplugs regularly, you might want to consult us about getting custom-made earplugs. These are made from unique molds of your ears, they’re reusable and since they’re fitted to your ears, comfortable. But it’s worthwhile not to forget, good earplug hygiene can prevent hearing damage.