Wearing earplugs is one of the simplest steps you can take to protect your ears from harmful noise. Ear plugs physically impede sound waves when inserted into the ear canal. Although they seem like a simple product, there are actually many different types of ear plugs on the market. Knowing the essential differences will allow you to pick the best ones.

The first thing to think about when shopping for ear plugs is the amount of noise reduction you need. Take a look at the noise reduction rating (NRR) on the box to find out how much sound it cancels out: better quality plugs have a rating between 21 and 33. Think about where you plan to use your ear plugs. For example, you will find that plugs with a lower NRR will be sufficient if you plan to use them to block out traffic noise while working or studying. In contrast, you will need ear plugs with a higher NRR rating if your profession consistently puts you near loud equipment or music.

Third, evaluate the different materials that ear plugs are made from. Foam is one of the most basic materials used in ear plugs. Foam ear plugs compress as they are pressed into the ear and expand slightly when released to plug the ear canal. In contrast, you can use silicone plugs to mold a perfectly-fitted barrier around the outside of your ear. Both foam and silicone ear plugs need to be replaced periodically.

Your final step is to consider why you are shopping for plugs in the first place. A simple foam or silicone plug will suffice in many circumstances; however, there are specialized plugs available for specific environments. If you are a musician who is constantly exposed to loud music, you may want to look into custom-made, non-disposable earplugs. Because these plugs are custom made to fit your ear, they will block out dangerous noise while still allowing you to hear the music you are making.

If you have a partner who snores, you may be shopping for earplugs to wear while you are sleeping. Ear plugs for sleeping are fairly advanced. They are able to block out the sounds of snoring while permitting you to hear your alarm clock or fire alarm. Try out these plugs with your head tilted to the side. This helps you figure out if they will be comfortable to wear while you are lying down.

With a little time and consideration you should not have any difficulties finding the earplugs that are right for you.