What are Foam Ear Plugs?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 18 October 2018
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Foam ear plugs are small pieces of soft molded foam that are inserted into the ear canal to block noises. Foam ear plugs may be used simply to block the sounds of snoring, or they may be used at places where hearing damage is a concern, such as a loud concert, noisy workplace, shooting range, or on a motorcycle, just to name a few. It is a good idea to use ear plugs whenever hearing damage is possible, because hearing damage is irreversible.

Ear plugs are marked with a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). The NRR is a decibel rating that states the amount of additional protection offered by the ear plugs. For instance, ear plugs with an NRR of 29 offer protection by reducing the noise level by 29 decibels.

The higher the NRR, the better noise protection offered by the ear plugs. This rating is specified by the Environmental Protection Agency. It may be helpful to search for a chart online that specifies decibel levels at various events in order to choose ear plugs with an appropriate noise reduction rating for your desired application. The highest NRR currently offered by the use of foam ear plugs is 33; this number can be increased further by wearing noise-reducing earmuffs on top of the ear plugs.


Foam ear plugs are typically sold in packs with multiple pairs included in the pack, and are quite inexpensive. There are also some higher quality ear plugs sold individually, and there are even custom made ones available. Typically, foam ear plugs are disposable, and should be thrown away after a few uses. They often come in bright colors to make it clear to others that someone is wearing ear plugs. Most are able to fit entirely inside the ear and are not very noticeable.

Foam ear plugs are generally not intended for use while swimming. There are specially designed ear plugs for swimming that do not have the potential to swell the way foam ones do. It is best to choose ear plugs that are designed for one's intended use; ear plugs designed to help with snoring may not be much help when mowing the lawn or enjoying a loud rock concert.

Some ear plugs feature a cord to allow them to be worn around the neck when not in use. Most come with a small carrying case to prevent them from becoming lost. Ear plugs may be purchased online in bulk, or they can be found at virtually any discount store or drugstore. They are simple to insert and remove, and should not cause any discomfort. It is a good idea, however, to first clean out any earwax from the ears before wearing them, since the earplugs could impact the wax deeper into the ear canal.



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Post 2

@talentryto- Foam ear plugs are great for protecting workers' hearing in many professions. Construction jobs, assembly plants, and airline positions are just some of the professions where staff members may want to consider protecting their hearing.

Post 1

I have a friend who works as a stage manager, and is frequently exposed to loud music. When he realized that a lot of his co-workers were starting to have hearing issues several years ago, he began wearing foam ear plugs. He swears by them, because his hearing has not started to decline. He also likes that they are comfortable to wear, and not too noticeable when they are in his ears.

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