Which Provide Better Hearing Protection, Plugs or Muffs?

a woman experiencing slight ear discomfort

Protecting your ears is important. That is why knowing what is different between earplugs and earmuffs is crucial. Though they both protect your ears, they each do so in a vastly different way. Ultimately, it is up to you and what your needs are. Before you decide which hearing protection is best, you should first get a complete understanding of hearing protection devices.

Hearing Protection Devices

Hearing protection devices are an important part of protecting your ears from harmful damages. These devices are designed to be worn in or around your ears while exposed to places that are excessively noisy.

They are also designed to reduce the risk of noise-induced hearing loss, which can be really irritating and sometimes irreparable. Hearing protection devices can also help guard your ears against other noise-related conditions like tinnitus, hypertension, stress and overall discomfort. Among the hearing protection devices, there are two main kinds. They are earmuffs and earplugs. They both serve different purposes, are unique and have their own advantages.

Earplugs

Earplugs are one of the two hearing protection devices that will offer the most protection. They are typically small, are tubular shaped and are designed to be inserted into the ear canal. They can be both disposable and reusable. You can opt for the foam earplugs, the custom molded or preformed earplugs, the musician earplugs, the electronic earplugs or the non-linear acoustic filtered earplugs. 

The biggest benefit of using earplugs is their size and portability. They are small in both size and weight, making them the perfect took to take on when you are on the go. Another benefit to earplugs is their price as they are usually the cheaper option. If you opt for disposable earplugs you can expect to pay even less. Earplugs are super comfortable to wear particularly if you find yourself working in hot, humid or confined spaces. They sit in your ear canal, so your head movement is not limited and will not be too overbearing on your external ears while you are working.

Earplugs are not the end-all, be-all. They have some drawbacks too. One of the biggest drawbacks is that you have to take your time to put them on correctly. Remember that these have to be put in right in order for you to experience the right level of noise reduction. The same thing goes if you are using disposable earplugs. It is recommended that you use your fingers to dig in and out of your ear canal until you get the right fit, but you have to do it correctly.

Proper hygiene is imperative when handling your earplugs. It will do more harm than good if you are fumbling with your earplugs with dirty fingers. Keep your hands clean when handling the earplugs otherwise you could be open to exposing your ear canal to irritation and infection. Make sure that you keep track of your earplugs as well. They are really small, so they can be easily be misplaced if you are not careful.

Earmuffs

Earmuffs are a super simple design meant to block out any noise. It is essentially a headband with an ear cup on both sides. These ear cups are worn outside the ear while using the headband’s clamping force to make it nice and snug. This makes it super comfortable to use while also blocking out the excessive sound. You can choose between the normal earmuffs, the click-onto helmet earmuffs, the active electronic earmuff and the active noise reduction earmuffs. They all come with their advantages.

One of the greatest advantages of using earmuffs is they are much easier to put on and remove than earplugs. If you want to take off the earmuffs, all you have to do is lift both ends of the headband. It is super simple. These are ideal if you are working in a place that has a lot of irregular noise since they are so easy to put on and take off. Another great advantage of using earmuffs is that they are designed to fit most head shapes. If you have a bigger than normal or smaller than normal head shape, you will still be able to find the perfect earmuff for you. They are also very hard to lose since they are typically much bigger than a lot of your earplugs

There are some drawbacks as well. They are a tad bit heavier and are less portable than earplugs since they are much bigger than earplugs. Because of their size and lack of portability, earmuffs may also interfere with existing personal protection equipment that you may also have to wear. Earmuffs are also notorious for being uncomfortable in hot, humid and confined environments.

If you still are not sure which is the better option for you, make sure you call Pacific Audiology Clinic to learn more. You can reach us at 503-719-4208.