Nobody likes to be woken up in the middle of the night or while taking a power nap. Nobody likes hearing disturbing noises when they really need to get some rest. Nobody likes hearing children crying on an airplane or having to work next or on a construction site where the noises are deafening.
Yet, with a few exceptions, people don’t use that one thing that could muffle the noise and help them block the external sounds that are bothering them so much. They’re easy to find, they’re comfortable, and they’re inexpensive: that’s the easier way to describe the magic of earplugs.
The Effects of Loud Noises
Loud noises may sometimes be neglected for the danger they truly pose. They are more than just a nuisance and could have a major impact on your health. Studies have proven that noise can actually affect your heart and cause it to beat out of rhythm. There is a good reason why some people use music to relax and fall asleep. The condition, which is known as atrial fibrillation, can lead to a series of other health-related problems, and could even result in heart failure.
There are plenty of studies that have been focused on the risks of being exposed to loud noises in the long term. Some of them revealed the fact that it’s not just the noise levels themselves that are dangerous, but also the type of sounds that you hear. It turns out that the human brain actually becomes more alert depending on the type of sound they hear, and not by how loud it is.
Studying loud noises and their effects is actually a very interesting process. When people are exposed to loud noises, the tiny hair cells that are found inside our ears can end up being damaged or destroyed. The role of these tiny hair cells is to make sure that the sound waves that reach our ears are converted into electrical signals that our brains can recognize. This is how the brain is able to tell apart music, noise, or voices.
What goes on is this:
- Your ear picks up sound waves that are emitted by certain objects around you. When a sound is really loud, the wave it emits also grows.
- The sound wave is picked up by the outer ear. As it travels through the ear canal, your eardrum picks up the sound and starts to vibrate. That’s basically a sign that the sound wave has reached its first “destination”.
- Your middle ear has three bones that will start to move on account of the sound vibration. As this occurs, the vibrations of the sound get bigger.
- The third middle ear bone is responsible for moving the sound vibrations into the cochlea. As this occurs, the cochlea starts filling up with fluid, a fluid that moves because of the vibrations.
- The tiny hair cells that are inside the cochlea start to move because of the fluid as well, converting these vibrations into electrical signals.
- These electrical signals travel all the way to your brain, which then processes the sound to make note of the information it has just received. It then recognizes the signals and gives us back the information we need to identify the sound we heard.
High levels of noise can damage these hair cells, and the effect is high-frequency hearing loss. As a result, some people can end up having trouble understanding all the sounds in speech, leading to a loss of understanding of what other people are saying. The rule is that any noise that is above 85 dB will put you at risk of hearing loss.
But that’s not all that science has to say about the dangers of loud noises. It turns out that your brain can also become inflamed, and it’s precisely because of the damage noise can cause to the delicate nerve ending of the tiny ear hairs. This is why hearing loss is believed to be linked to dementia.
Another negative effect of loud noises is reflected in your mood. When you’re constantly exposed to noise that bothers you, you start to feel irritated, and this can boost your anxiety levels. Imagine having to work every day in an office that is next to a construction site. You’d be exposed to high levels of noise that would make it difficult for you to calm down and focus on what you’re doing.
It is also possible for a loud noise to make your immune system weak. That occurs because of the irritation of having to face noises that you’re not comfortable with leads to the secretion of what we have come to know as the “stress hormone”. As a result, your blood pressure increases, as well as your sugar levels. You then become more prone to infections and viruses. Make no mistake, there are plenty of medical conditions that are stress-related.
According to a study conducted at the Seoul National University, men’s fertility might be affected by noise pollution, but there are plenty of details that need to be sorted out to discover exactly why noise is a potential threat to someone having a baby. The study itself discovered that men who are constantly exposed to low levels of noise are more likely to be infertile.
Needless to say, loud noises can interfere with the quality of your sleep and your regular sleeping patterns. Noise is a very distracting thing to have to fall asleep to, and the frequency of the noise can cause you to wake up abruptly and prevent you from falling asleep again. Being exposed to noise while you’re supposed to get some rest is a terrible thing to have to go through. The dangers of not getting enough sleep are as real as they can be.
It’s not just the fact that you wake up feeling groggy the next day, but losing sleep can take a toll on your entire body, it can cause you to become more irritable, to lose focus, to find it more difficult to be tolerant with the problems that you have to face. Lack of sleep increases anxiety can cause obesity and diabetes, and can basically impact your personal and professional relationships in a negative way.
Mack’s is a company with a rather fascinating history. It goes way back to 1962 when an up-and-coming symphony orchestra musician named Raymond Benner bought an earplugs business from a pharmacist for $2,000. That’s how McKeon Products, Inc. became a company that was soon to become a market leader.
When the company first started, they basically had one single product in their line-up, their moldable clay mixture. Naturally, the product could have used a lot of improvement, so that the earplugs could be easier to wear and more comfortable. Being an avid swimmer himself, Benner wanted to make the plugs stickier and more moldable, so that they could be used underwater whilst creating a tight seal that would prevent water from entering the ear canal.
The road to success is never an easy one, and Mack’s earplugs went through a long research process to end up discovering the substance that would eventually create the first moldable silicone earplugs that the world had ever seen. What was initially meant to be a side business that could generate a little bit of extra income eventually became a huge name in the industry, and with that amount of success came a huge product line that people would eventually benefit from.
The company doesn’t just manufacture and sell earplugs, they also sell ear wax removal, ear bands, sleep masks, phone cleaners, and others. Mack’s manufactures and sells earplugs that are made from a variety of different materials, but their best-selling products are plugs made from silicone, which is basically the material that put Mack’s on the map.
1. Pillow Soft® Silicone Putty Ear Plugs
This is Mack’s most famous product, a set of earplugs that have shaken and revolutionized the way Americans sleep. They are made from silicone putty that you can easily mold at your own will to make them fit comfortably inside your ear. These earplugs have repeatedly been recommended by doctors to people that want a comfortable product to wear when sleeping, but also to serve as protection when swimming.
Because you get to mold them as you please, Mack’s silicone earplugs ensure a tighter seal, having an NNR or 22 decibels. The level of comfort they provide makes them useful in a lot of different scenarios, and there are plenty of people who use while traveling or even as ear protection for after surgery.
The material used to make these earplugs is not toxic and can be used by people who have allergies and might be sensitive to other earplugs materials, such as foam.
2. Snoozers® Silicone Putty Ear Plugs
While there are very few differences between the Snoozers earplugs and the Pillow Soft silicone ones, these are quite the popular items amongst Mack’s trusted customer community. Made from silicone putty, these earplugs come with the possibility of reducing background noise up to a level of 22 decibels.
Since they can also be molded, the silicone putty serves as a tight seal that covers the ear canal, making sure that you can sleep comfortably without being disrupted by a partner who snores.
3. Soft Moldable Silicone Putty Ear Plugs – Kids Size
Mack’s doesn’t just take pride in making quality and useful earplugs for adults, but they also seem to have products that are designed for children as well. This particular product is designed for kids who swim and require protection from water that could get in their ear canal and cause an infection.
Aside from being really good at what they were designed for, these earplugs are also being properly advertised to make them more appealing to children. Each package that you buy contains a temporary tattoo that most kids would love and proudly wear. The earplugs are sold with a storage cage that makes it easy for parents to take the product with them whenever needed.
If you believed earplugs where a futile product to own, maybe the fact that loud noises can take a huge toll on your health might make you reconsider your option. It’s true that not everyone in the world needs earplugs, but if there’s even the slightest chance of you being exposed to noises that are irritating your mood even slightly, why would you risk it for just a few dollars?
The fascinating story behind Mack’s earplugs is just one argument in favor of considering this brand. What was meant to be a simple side business became the USA leader and supplier of earplugs? The product that revolutionized the market was the moldable silicone putty that soon became a product that more and more people would hear about.