Hear in Edmonton - Edmonton, Alberta

Man using earplugs to protect his hearing before a concert.

Earplugs can be practical if you’re subjected to loud sounds, such as for example, something as simple as a spouse who is snoring, or a lawnmower in your backyard, or going to an arena to see a concert. In the first two cases, they can assist in protecting your ears by decreasing the volume. In the last instance, they low the sound levels plus help protect your sanity (and possibly your relationships) by letting you get a good night’s sleep. But is your hearing being harmed by these protectors?

Why Utilize Earplugs in The First Place?

The argument for earplugs is fairly simple: When used properly, earplugs can help protect your ears by reducing your direct exposure to excessive decibel levels. After you leave a loud place, like a football game where the announcer keeps telling the crowd to, GET LOUD, whenever the other team kicks off, you’ve probably observed that your hearing seems off, and you may also suffer from symptoms of tinnitus. Those little hairs are bent by this sort of noise exposure and that’s the reason why this occurs. In a couple of days, when the hairs have recovered, it generally goes back to normal.

But if you’re exposed to excessive decibels continually, for example, if you work on a construction crew or at an airport, the aural attack on those tiny hair cells is constant. In this circumstance, those hairs don’t recover, they are permanently injured. There are around 16,000 of those little cells inside each cochlea, but up to 50% of them can be injured or destroyed before your hearing has altered enough for the deficiency to show up in a hearing test.

Is it Possible That Your Ears Could be Injured by Earplugs?

That being said, you’d think that using earplugs would be an obvious choice in terms of protecting your hearing. But if your subjected to loud noises on a regular basis, this seems even more obvious (like on the job or with the aforementioned snoring partner), over-the-head earmuffs or noise-reducing (but not completely blocking) headphones are a better option. Earplugs are better suited to one-off scenarios such as a sporting event or concert than for day to day use.

Why? For one, earwax. Your ears produce wax to defend themselves, and if you’re frequently using earplugs, they’re going to create more of it, and the earplugs will push it in further. Tinnitus and other complications can be the result of impacted earwax.

Ear infections can also result from too much use of earplugs. If you repeatedly use the same pair, and you fail to clean them from use to use, they can become bacteria traps. Certainly, ear infections can be a disturbance to your day to day life. But at the worst-case-scenario end of the spectrum, they can also be the cause of hearing loss if you fail to get treatment.

How Can You Make Use of Earplugs Safely?

Earplugs still have a strong upside, whether it’s protecting your ears or enjoying a restful night’s rest. You just have to be certain you’re using the correct kind and utilizing them in the proper way. Foam earplugs are the least expensive, which is helpful because you really shouldn’t use them more than once, the soft, porous material is a germ’s haven. Don’t put silicone or wax earplugs back in your ears until they are completely dry after utilizing warm water to entirely clean them. Buildup of dampness can cause bacteria or mold so keep your earplugs in a well ventilated container.

You may want to contact us concerning custom fit earplugs if you need or want them on a regular basis. These are made from unique molds of your ears, they’re reusable and because they’re fitted to your ears, their comfortable. Again though, to prevent any possible hearing damage, it’s crucial to put into practice good earplug hygiene!

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