How to Choose the Right Ear Plugs

Written on Monday, November 2, 2009

Ear plugs may be small, but they can do great things. They protect your ears from the damaging affects of noise that can cause hyperacusis and tinnitus over time. Permanently damaged, you will never get it back. This can lead to many other problems in life.

If you work, live, or play in a loud environment, earplugs are vital to protecting your hearing. At the same time, earplugs can help with the ability to focus, sleep, and maintain a higher level of concentration. OSHA enacted a hearing conservation standard in the 1980s. This requires all employers to keep an eye on their employee’s hearing. This is required when people are in areas of 85 dB and above. All employees must have a hearing conservation program. Along with this, hearing tests must be available at no cost to the employee. If a person is subjected to 90 dB or above in a workplace, they must wear devices to protect hearing.

The noise of normal city traffic from inside a car is said to be around 85 dB. Overtime, loud noises can lead to ringing in the ears and varying levels of hearing loss. Ringing in the ears (tinnitus) can be temporary or permanent depending on the extent of inner ear damage. Many people develop hypersensitivity to sounds (hyperacusis). If there is damage to the auditory nerve, all incoming sounds will be amplified. This usually leads to discomfort or even pain. There are simple precautions that you can take to prevent damage to the ears. Wearing earplugs when exposed to loud noise will help to prevent damage, hearing loss, and the conditions that can accompany damage tot he ears.

There are many options out there when it comes to earplugs. Understanding what you need beforehand can save you time and frustration. All earplugs will have an NNR rating on the box. This is a good way to understand how much protection you are getting from an individual type of earplug. If earplugs have a rating of 20 NNR, this means that they will protect up to 20 dB. NNR rating will help you decide the noise reduction that is best suited for your job or other noisy environment. You also need something that is going to be comfortable. There are different shapes, sizes, and makes when it comes to earplugs. Plastic earplugs are very common. They expand to fill your ear canal and protect your ear from noise. For people who need a lot of protection, custom-fit earplugs are available. If you want an idea of the types of earplugs that are available, doing a web search will give you the options available. You can then buy online or know exactly what you need when you go to the store.

Make sure to look around enough that you know what kind of ear protection is needed. You need an earplug that can hold up to the level of disciples that you will be exposed to. This will ensure that you will not damage your hearing.