Man using earplugs to protect his hearing before a concert.

Earplugs can be beneficial if you’re subjected to loud sounds, such as for instance, something as straightforward as a spouse who is snoring, or a lawnmower in your yard, or going to a concert at an arena. In the first two instances, they can assist in protecting your ears by decreasing the volume. They assist in saving your sanity and possibly even your relationships, in the last case, by permitting you to get a good night’s sleep. But are these ear protectors, actually, causing damage to your ears?

Why Utilize Earplugs in The First Place?

It’s a pretty simple argument for using earplugs: Properly used, earplugs can minimize your exposure to extreme volume levels and thereby protect your hearing. Perhaps you’ve noticed that your hearing seems different after you leave a loud venue, for instance, a football game with a loud crowd, and you could also suffer from symptoms of tinnitus. This happens because those extremely loud sounds can actually bend the small hair cells inside of your inner ear. It commonly vanishes within a couple of days, because the hair cells have recovered.

But in a few particular circumstances, there is a persistent assault on those tiny hairs, particularly if you work in a noisy profession like construction or in an airport. Instead of recovering after bending, the cells are permanently injured. inside of each cochlea, there are around 16,000 of these tiny hair cells, but up to 50% of them can be harmed or destroyed before your hearing has changed enough for the problem to show up in a hearing exam.

How Might Your Ears be Injured by Using Earplugs?

When it comes to safeguarding your ears, you’d think it would be a no-brainer to utilize earplugs. But particularly if you’re in scenarios where you’re exposed to loud noises regularly (like on the job or with the above mentioned snoring significant other), over-the-head earmuffs or noise-reducing (but not completely stopping) headphones are a better option. Earplugs are better applicable to one-off situations like a sporting event or concert than for everyday use.

Why? The first problem is, earwax. Your ears produce wax to protect themselves, and if wearing earplugs is something you do constantly, more earwax will be generated, and you probably will push it in with the plugs. Tinnitus and other complications can be the outcome from impacted earwax.

An ear infection can be another problem for people who use earplugs. If you frequently wear the same pair, and you don’t clean them from use to use, they can become bacteria traps. Certainly, ear infections can be a disruption of your day to day life. If left untreated, in the worst instances, they can result in an ear infection.

How Can You Safely Use Earplugs?

Earplugs nevertheless have a strong upside, whether it’s protecting your hearing or enjoying a good night’s rest. Using them in the right way and using the right kind is the key to success. The porous material of foam earplugs is a germ sanctuary so it’s a good thing that they are the least expensive. Wax or silicone earplugs are reusable, but you need to keep them sanitized, wash them with warm water and mild soap to cleanse them, and don’t put them back in your ears until they’re totally dry. It’s also a good idea to keep earplugs in a well ventilated place to discourage humidity, or worse, mold or bacteria, from accumulating.

You might want to talk to us about custom fit earplugs if you need or want them on a regular basis. These are constructed from unique molds of your ears, they can be reused and because they’re fitted to your ears, comfortable. Again though, to avoid any possible hearing problems, it’s essential to practice good earplug hygiene!

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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