Is there a right and a wrong way to insert an earplug?
If earplugs, whether they be reusable or disposable, are not inserted correctly they will not block the level of noise that they are intended to do.
I can not stress enough the importance of a properly inserted earplug.
When earplugs are inserted only halfway you are receiving only half of the benefit. Additionally, if earplugs are the wrong size for your ear canal, they are going to fall out and or hurt your ears and not provide you with a sufficient amount of “quiet”.
Quite often people will tell us that they have not had success with earplugs blocking noise when they have tried them in the past. To be honest, if you are wearing earplugs and they don’t make a difference to the level of noise, they are the wrong size or they have not been put in correctly.
Noise Reduction Ratings
Earplugs and other types of hearing protection devices are designed to lessen the harshness of the noise and bring it down to a safer, more tolerable level.
Decibel levels up to the earplug’s NRR rating will be blocked out entirely. Any noise over the earplug’s NRR may be heard. Another important factor to note is that the body absorbs sound through our heads, not just our ears; so short of encapsulating oneself in a soundproof chamber, it is seemingly impossible to block out 100% of noise.
Fitting an Earplug Correctly
Soft Foam Earplugs
- Roll the earplug between your fingers to form a squished bullet shape.
- If you are inserting the earplug into the right ear, reach over and across the back of your head with your left hand and gently pull the top of your ear up and out. This ensures that the ear canal is straight and provides a better fit for the earplug.
- Insert the rolled up earplug with a slight turning motion until it is well inside your ear canal. Then use your finger to keep the earplug in place so it expands completely. I personally count 10 seconds when “anchoring” a foam earplug to make sure the expansion of the foam earplug is securely in place inside the canal. The entire length of the plug should fit inside the ear with only a small amount protruding.
As above but obviously you don’t need to squish it first
Please feel free to watch this very short video for additional instructions and tips.