Disposable earplugs are typically made of foam material and are inserted into the ear canal. They absorb sound energy and prevent it from travelling through your ear canal to your ear drum. Not all the sound is absorbed, although the plug reduces the amount of sound energy reaching your eardrum and protects your hearing.

Individually moulded earplugs are made of hard acrylic or softer silicone. They can be made to absorb different levels of sound energy to suit.

Ear plugs are not recommended if wax, ear infection or any other medical condition relating to the ears is present.

Fitting Ear Plugs

Ear plugs should be the right size for each ear, therefore a different sized plug may be needed for each ear. Comfort and fit are crucial. The removal of ear muffs or plugs for even short periods of time can significantly increase your exposure to noise and therefore reduce their effectiveness.


To fit a soft foam plug:

Clean your hands.
Roll the plug smoothly and firmly into a thin cylinder.
To fit left ear reach around the back of your head with your right hand.
Take hold of the back of your left ear (about half way down).
Gently pull your ear outwards and upwards - this straightens your ear canal and helps correct fitting.
Gently, but firmly, push the ear plug into the ear canal.
For the soft foam type of ear plug hold firmly in the ear for 10 seconds. This allows the plug to expand and make a tight fit.
To check that you have a good fit, cover the opposite ear firmly with the base of your hand. If the plug is properly sealed everything will sound quieter.
Repeat for the other ear.

Individually moulded ear plugs are easy to insert and remove as they are made to fit your ear canal and outer ear. They can be used for years if they are cared for properly.



Care and Cleaning oF Ear Plugs

Check the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
Most ear plugs can be used several times before being discarded. However, they need cleaning between uses.
Ear plugs should usually be cleaned every time they are removed, especially in hot, dusty conditions.
Most ear plugs can be washed with a mild soap, thoroughly rinsed with clean water and then allowed to dry before use. A clean cloth or tissues can be used to dry the plugs, and then leaving them out overnight allows additional drying.
Discard when the plug is dirty after washing or is no longer soft.


ACKNOWLEDGMENT: "Attenuation of Hearing Protectors", 7th Edition, Australian Hearing Services (National Acoustics Laboratories), 126 Greville Street, Chatswood, NSW, 2067.


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