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4 Ways Earplugs Help Prevent Hearing Loss

Here at Beltone, we love earplugs about as much as we love hearing aids. Why? Earplugs give people a lot of control over their hearing health, and we like to see our users empowered!

When you can’t avoid being around loud noises, earplugs are the next best thing. There are many ways earplugs can help prevent hearing loss. Here are a few:

1. Earplugs protect ears from damage caused by wind, cold weather and other harsh elements.

If you spend a lot of time boating, skiing, snowboarding and bicycling, chances are you are putting your ears at risk as cool winds nip at your outer ears and swirl around into your inner ear . You may experience intense pain if you don’t cover up!

Earplugs help reduce some of the irritation your ears may experience after prolonged exposure to harsh elements, and on dry land, insulating earmuffs on the mountain should be enough to do the trick (and keep you warm at the same time).

2. Earplugs protect ears from damage caused by continuous exposure to water.

Water in the ear can be irritating, or worse, lead to conditions known as Swimmer’s Ear or Surfer’s Ear. (Yes! They are different conditions!) Earplugs made of silicone or wax are most appropriate in this case and need to fit snuggly to prevent water from getting inside the ear canal. Foam earplugs should be avoided in the water since they are more likely to fall out on impact.

3. Earplugs protect ears from damage caused by constant noise.

In many occupations, hearing protection in the form of earplugs is now mandatory. One day on a noisy job site is not likely to amount in hearing loss, but after years of exposure to a noisy work environment, earplugs help by muffling sounds, dulling them so they don’t reach the inner ear at full force.

Foam earplugs are the most popular kind of earplug and are usually made out of memory foam. They are intended for disposable use – making them hygienic – and are easy to use, effective and comfortable.

4. Earplugs protect ears from damage caused by loud noises.

Although Hollywood wouldn’t have you believe it, hearing a gunshot without wearing any type of hearing protection can do a lot of damage to your ears, temporarily diminishing your hearing capacity. If you frequent the shooting range on weekends, enjoy lots of rock concerts, or love a good fireworks show, earplugs will go a long way in preventing hearing loss, as even a small barrier is enough to dampen the intensity of loud noises.

There are many other applications for various types of earplugs. Musicians and TV personalities rely heavily on specialized flanged earplugs and in-ear monitors that allow them to hear themselves but not much else going on around them. This not only helps them perform better on the job, but protects their hearing over time as it reduces their exposure to constant noise.

Special types of earplugs are also available to help people sleep better, or to help reduce the pain some people experience in their ears when flying.

The style of earplug you choose is determined by the type of elements or auditory threats you want to protect yourself from. They range in how much of the ear they cover, and how far they are designed to fit inside the ear canal. A will help you sort out what style is ideal for you.

Custom Earplugs

While foam earplugs are suitable for most people, custom-fit earplugs, which are made by taking a mold of outer ear, are becoming more popular as people are wanting more and more to protect themselves from the dangers of noise pollution. It’s a loud world out there!

For extended use, custom-made earplugs that are tailor-made according to the contours of your outer ear will be more comfortable and more effective than those baby-carrot-shaped foam earplugs my niece enjoys playing with so much.

Beltone’s Custom EarMolds protect your ears in a variety of situations, not just when there are loud noises. Use our EarMolds to improve the feel of your music player’s ear buds, or improve the comfort of your smartphone’s Bluetooth, for example.

Each Beltone custom earpiece is unique to you, made from an impression of your ear canal and concha area. To provide maximum comfort and protection, Beltone offers custom EarMolds in four different materials: hard acrylic, Biopor 25, 40, and 70.

The custom EarMolds that are used to protect your hearing are variations of the EarMolds designed to be used with your hearing aids, and there are more varieties out there than you’d think!

General Earplug Tips

No matter what your reasons are for adopting a pair of earplugs, always remember:

  • Hearing protection is only effective if it is worn correctly and for the full duration it is recommended or required.
  • In some cases, a combination of hearing protection methods will be recommended for providing an added layer of protection. Try a combination of earmuffs and earplugs in really loud situations.
  • If at some point you feel your hearing protection is no longer working, and you feel an ear ache, or think hearing loss may be imminent, book a hearing test to find out how well your ears are working.

With so many different types of earplugs out there, there is no reason to not wear them whenever and wherever your lifestyle demands them. To discuss your hearing protection options, book an appointment with Beltone and be sure to browse the rest of our site for even more ways to protect your hearing .

Ken LaFerle, Au.D.
Ken is Beltone's Director of Educational Services and has been "bleeding Beltone Blue" for the last 26 years. He has been working in the hearing industry for the last 31 years and thoroughly enjoys the hearing care field and is looking forward to sharing his thoughts and experiences on the blog. More about Ken

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