Are Earplugs Safe To Use?

Are Earplugs Safe To Use?

August 20, 2019

Earplugs are sold in a variety of places, and many individuals swear by them. Earplugs work to block out loud noises, which makes them beloved by individuals living in noisy areas as well as those who are light sleepers. Those traveling to a noisy event, such as a concert or a car race, also tend to make these a must-have when they attend. However, there is some debate over whether or not earplugs are safe to use, especially during long periods such as every night during sleep. So are earplugs safe?

The Benefits of Earplugs

According to those who regularly sleep using earplugs, they significantly raise the quality of sleep. This is due to the fact that they can block out noises that would otherwise keep someone awake. If you are a light sleeper, or you live in an area that is quite noisy (including a household containing children or pets) no doubt you have been jostled awake many a night by something that earplugs would prevent. When an individual is pulled out of a deep sleep, even for a brief moment, this can cause debilitating effects on health as well as productivity during daytime hours. It takes time to return to that essential state of a deep sleep, and your body must get enough of it to operate at its best.

According multiple sleep studies, poor-quality sleep over a long period of time can lead to problems with high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, obesity, strokes, and even heart attacks. In addition, it has been shown that not receiving enough sleep or decent sleep can lower immune function and cause inflammation in the body. Therefore, it is essential for every person to not only get adequate hours of sleep but to also get quality shut-eye.

Another benefit to using earplugs relates to NIHL, otherwise known as noise-induced hearing loss. Have you ever engaged in hunting, attended a concert or car race, or spent time in an area with lots of noise, such as in the workplace? Without ear protection, it is common to hear a ringing in the ears or even lose hearing permanently. Earplugs work to protect the ears in these situations, so that hearing does not become impaired due to loud noises.

Are There Side Effects of Using Earplugs?

While earplugs can serve as the thin line between hearing loss, a good night's sleep, a productive day, and more, there are certain side effects that can occur if use is not carried out responsibly. Wearing earplugs regularly without cleaning the wax out from the ears, for example, can cause the earwax to be pushed back deep into the ear. This build-up of wax can lead to temporary hearing loss, infection, and tinnitus. When this happens, it becomes necessary to use ear drops, whether they be over-the-counter or prescribed. In some cases, an individual must see a healthcare provider to remove the wax, whether that be through the use of skinny metal tongs or with the pouring of water into the ear to drain wax (which can lead to nausea and dizziness).

Another way that side effects can pop up because of regular earplug use is the failure to throw out earplugs after they have become dirty. Most, if not all, earplugs are designed to be thrown away after a single use. In fact, many earplugs come with multiple sets to one bag so that they can be thrown away with a replacement set for the next time earplugs are required. If an individual were to neglect to throw away their earplugs and wore them multiple times in a row, this could lead to an ear infection due to the accumulation of bacteria, dirt, and grime. Ear infections are, at the very least, painful to have to deal with. Worst case scenario, infections in the ears can lead to hearing loss and other long-lasting complications.

Do's and Don'ts of Earplugs

If you want to use earplugs but are worried about safety, there are some do's and don'ts related to their utilization. To start, it is vital to throw out earplugs or, at the very least, clean them each day. There are custom pre-molded earplugs that can be used and these definitely should be cleaned regularly to avoid infection. This is not just due to the fact that the bacteria introduced into the ear canal can cause adverse effects. Earwax can cause earplugs to become rigid, which in turn can cause strain to the ear canal. This, at the very least, can cause a decent bit of pain. Therefore, it is imperative not to neglect earplug maintenance or throwing out a disposable pair each day.

Another don't of earplug use? Don't neglect your earwax! While earwax does serve a purpose in the ears, regular use of earplugs, as mentioned earlier, can cause the build-up that causes problems. Safe removal of excess ear wax, such as through the use of drops, can make earplugs much safer.

Do ensure that you are inserting the earplugs safely. NEVER push them deep into the ear, as this can damage the inner part of the ear. Rather, make sure you roll the earplug gently, and then pull to open the ear. Pull up and away with your opposite hand so that the plug may enter safely. After it has been inserted, hold for a moment.

Are Earplugs Safe to Use?

So are earplugs safe, especially for regular use? As we have learned in this article, earplugs can protect the ear from damaging loud noises, as well as promote quality sleep that is essential for overall health. However, they must be used with caution. As long as one were to ensure that they were practicing good ear hygiene practices, as well as being sure to throw out used earplugs or clean the ones that they have, earplugs are safe to use. It boils down to maintenance as well as how the individual handles the insertion of the earplugs.

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