Earplugs are these tiny little products that can help a lot in situations where you have to block out unwanted noise. Not only are they good for sleeping, but can be of great use when you have to travel a long distance, when you’re working in a loud environment that could have deafening consequences in the long run, when you’re trying to work or study and there’s some loud noise preventing you from concentrating, etc. But what are some other things that you should know about earplugs?
Sleeping with Earplugs
While it’s true that earplugs can be useful in a lot of different situations, the majority of people who purchase such a product plan to use it when sleeping. Of course, just as in the case of sleeping with headphones, using earplugs when sleeping can be both a good and a bag thing, particularly if you’re not sure what are the sleep hygiene rules when it comes to napping with foreign objects inserted in your ear canal.
For the most part, earplugs are a really great way to block out unwanted noise that could prevent you from falling asleep or that might cause you to wake up in the middle of your sleeping hours. That is not true for all cases, as some people actually like sleeping with noise (like those who sleep with the TV on or use a white noise machine). Science says that it’s not the intensity of the noise that wakes you up, but rather the frequency of the sounds you might hear when you’re sleeping.
But let’s leave these technicalities aside and focus on why sleeping with earplugs can be a good thing, and what are the things that you have to look out for in terms of risks.
For the most part, earplugs are an inexpensive product that might help you fall asleep faster or sleep sounder. Compared to other methods of blocking noise, earplugs are one of the safest products that you use. Research is still a bit confusing when it comes to the scientific benefits of using earplugs. Some of it even suggests that when using sleep masks and earplugs, one can increase the brain processes that occur when sleeping, such as memory consolidation, while other research suggests that earplugs might lead to an increase in melatonin levels.
Earplugs have proven benefits that don’t need to be backed up by science, as they are just straight-up common sense.
- Earplugs can come in handy when you have to work night shifts that require you to sleep during the day with background noise ranging from traffic to dogs barking.
- They are great for people who have to work in a noisy environment, be it those who work in construction and are exposed to high levels of deafening noise, or those who work in really crowded offices and have to focus on things while everybody is tossing and fussing in the background.
- Students that live in dorms and have to study while they’re roommates are playing videogames or other teens are having a party across the hall might also need a product that can help block some of that noise.
- Those who travel long-distance on trains, planes, buses, or whatever, might want to get some shut-eye before they reach their destination. Since you can’t make everyone around you shut up when you want to take a nap, earplugs are the next best thing that will help block some of that noise.
Even so, you must keep in mind that in some situations, you don’t want to block noise no matter how annoying it might be. For example, if you’re on a long trip in your personal car and you’re driving, you want to hear whatever goes on in the environment around you. Using earplugs in such a situation may prevent you from hearing an ambulance trying to pass by or perhaps the car honks of another traffic participant.
The same goes for people who use earplugs at work, especially if there is a certain degree a risk to their jobs that would require being aware of noises coming from around them. This is often the case of people who work in factories, those who operate heavy machinery, truck drives, and other such jobs.
You should also test your earplugs before sleeping with them because even if you’re trying to rest, there is a list of potential noises that you “want” to be able to hear, like a smoke alarm or even your phone’s alarm clock. Using earplugs shouldn’t make you completely oblivious to the environment around you.
It is very important to know that even if earplugs are typically safe to use, they also pose some potential risks that you need to be aware of. One of the most common risks of using earplugs for extended periods of time is wax build-up. Wax is typically eliminated through the ear canal, and this helps keep your ear cleaner. When you plug your ear canal for hours on end, you are blocking the exit for the wax to be eliminated from your ear.
Having a wax build-up can cause a series of other problems, like ear discomfort, itching, tinnitus, or even dizziness. In case you find yourself with wax build-up, you can either buy some medicinal eardrops or undergo a procedure that will remove the ear wax build-up (this is usually non-painful).
Earplugs need to be cleaned on a regular basis, assuming that the type of earplugs that you buy can be cleaned at all. Those made from silicone, for instance, are designed to be reusable, but those made from foam are more prone to trapping bacteria and will require frequent changing.
The point is that dirty earplugs can lead to an ear infection which, when left untreated, can even lead to temporary, if not permanent hearing loss. Think of inserting the same dirty object in your ear each and every day. Ear infections can lead to discomfort, pain, even nausea, and vomiting. Ear infections are typically treated with antibiotics (which require a medical prescription, so make sure you visit your doctor for a check-up).
One potential risk of using the wrong type of earplugs is an irritation to the ear canal. It’s very important that these earplugs feel really comfortable and match the diameter of your ear canal, otherwise, the discomfort might turn into actual pain. Also keep in mind that when you’re putting a plug inside your ear canal, you should never push it in too deep, or you could damage your eardrum. Earplugs should always be easy to remove, especially if they’ve been inserted by gently twisting and pushing the plugs.
An In-Depth Look at Hearos Ear Plugs
Hearos is a brand of earplugs that was born back in 1992 in a Californian apartment, out of Doug Pick’s like saving of $15,000. Unhappy with what the market had to offer at that specific time, Doug decided to create a product that was better and has made it his life’s mission to revolutionize the earplug industry.
Hearos is a brand meant to bring quality products that excel in design so that they could be superior to the others. Even the name itself is a wordplay that combines the terms “hear” and “heroes”. Fast forward to this date, Hearos is a leading brand in its niche, with products being sold with respectable third-party retailers, like Amazon, Walmart, Walgreens, HEB, and others.
Their product line-up is basically earplugs that are divided into categories that address a specific activity that might benefit from the use of these kinds of items. For instance, they have an entire product line-up that designed for sleeping, or one that’s best-suited for travel. Let’s explore some of the main categories of product that Hearos delivers and get a better idea of what to expect when you choose their earplugs
Earplugs for Sleeping
One of their most popular products for sleeping is the Sleep Pretty in Pink set of earbuds, which are designed to block snoring noises. Because of their color, they are best suited for women, but what makes these products special other than their colors? First of all, it’s the tapered design that brings forth a nice rounded tip so it can better fit inside one’s ear canal. Then there’s the soft surface of the earplug, create to prevent ear canal irritation. These earplugs are made from a soft type of foam with a fast shape recovery. With an NNR of 32 and 100 pairs available in a pack, it’s one of the most convenient options on the market.
The Hearos Xtreme earplugs also come in a pack of 100 pairs and have a higher NNR (33) for better noise blocking. Made from hypoallergenic foam, these earplugs come with a closed-cell skin in order to keep away earwax or dirt build-ups from ruining the surface of the plugs ahead of time.
The Ultimate Softness Series is a pack of 20 pairs of earplugs with an NNR of 32. They’re made from polyurethane foam and are designed to be both comfortable and efficient when it comes to using in your sleep and preventing noise from waking you up.
The Advanced Protection Series uses a unique type of foam that’s designed to offer a smooth surface and slow-recovery foam that makes sure the plugs regain their original shape when removed from the ear canal. One case contains 50 pairs and a protective case.
The NexGen Series of earplugs is available in three pack sizes: with 14, 28, or 56 pairs of earplugs that are designed to help you sleep better. Made from polyurethane foam and being PVC-free, these earplugs are super soft and easy to shape using just two fingers. Their handle makes insertion and extraction from the ear canal a breeze.
If you are a fan of silicone earplugs, then the Multi-Use Silicone Series might be the right product for you. Unlike the other earplugs we’ve talked about before, these ones are actually covers for your ear canal, and they have an NNR of 21. The silicone used to make these is actually quite easy to mold. They come in the shape of disks that can be rolled in one’s hand in order to form balls that cover the entrance to the ear canal.
The last product in the sleeping category is the Nanos Series set of earplugs. With 25 pairs included in a pack, these earplugs have a more compact size when compared to the others. Having a small/narrow ear canal can be a problem for some people who can’t seem to handle bigger earplugs, and that’s where the Nanos Series comes to the rescue.
Hearos currently offers three different types of music earplugs:
- The High-Fidelity earplugs come with an NNR of 12 and they are designed from translucent silicone which makes them almost invisible at a first glance. They are discreet, soft and malleable, and can easily be washed and used time and time again.
- The Rock`n Roll Series has an NNR of 27 and are available in a package of four pairs. They come in a protective case that makes it easy to store the plugs and use them while traveling.
- The Just for Kids Series is a three-pair pack that’s perfect for children between the age of three and 12. With an NNR rating of 28, these earplugs are made with closed-cell foam and are connected by a security cord so your kid won’t lose one of them.
This is a very important category of earplugs that we wanted to address because there are certain jobs where not using such a product can lead to severe hearing problems, and maybe even permanent hearing loss. At the current time, Hearos has four different options when it comes to earplugs for work safety:
- The Softstar EZ Twist earplugs are available in both a corded and uncorded version and they might be one of the best options in terms of earplugs you can use to reduce noise at the workplace. They are made from foam and are advertised as reusable plugs with an NNR of 30.
- The Softstar EZ Twist Hybrid series consists of a mixture between polyurethane earplugs and reusable stem. They also have an NNR or 30 and are connected by a cord for safekeeping.
- The Softstar NexGen series consists of a set of earplugs that are made from foam and promise an NNR of 30.
- Fans of reusable earplugs should check the F4 earplugs, also available in a corded and uncorded version. They have an NNR of 27, are soft and washable, so you can use them multiple times.
Earplugs are one of the safest means to block out unwanted noise when you need quiet for activities such as sleeping, working, studying, or others. But that doesn’t mean that using earplugs in the long haul is a risk-free activity. Earplugs require maintenance, especially when used daily, or they could lead to a series of problems, such as ear infections caused by bacteria or wax build-ups.
When you’re buying new earplugs, always look at the material they’re made from, as this will tell you a lot about how to clean it and how comfortable it may be. The noise reduction rating is also important because it tells you how many decibels of noise that a certain pair of earplugs can block.