Noise-related hearing loss is one of the most common kinds of hearing loss around. Exposure to unsafe levels of noise, which is usually cited to be around 70 dB can either temporarily damage your hearing, or permanently damage the nerves and hair cells in the ear, leading to irreversible gradual hearing loss.

One of the most effective ways to prevent noise-related hearing loss is to make sure you have the right ear protection. From earmuffs to disposable earplugs, there are several options at your disposal. However, custom earplugs may be the best solution for you. Here, we’re going to look at what you need to know about them, how effective they are, and how your audiologist can help you acquire them.

What are custom earplugs?

All earplugs are designed to fit snugly into your ear with the express purpose of stopping noise from entering. The major difference between custom earplugs and others is hinted by the name: they are custom-built to suit your needs. This means that they are designed specifically to fit your ear, using a mold that is cast of the ear, so that they remain comfortable even after hours of wearing them. Furthermore, custom earplugs can be designed to meet a range of needs, such as filtering out specific kinds of noise or having waterproof tendencies. Furthermore, custom earplugs are designed to be reused multiple times after having been washed.

The alternative to custom earplugs is disposable earplugs that can be easily bought in stores across the country. While cheaper, these earplugs can only be used once before they are thrown away. Furthermore, they are not designed to fit your ear, so some may find them uncomfortable.

Are custom earplugs effective?

The effectiveness of all hearing protection is measured in the level of decibels they are able to cancel out. For instance, if you are exposed to sounds at the level of 80dB, then earplugs that have a NRR of 20dB would bring that down to 60dB, which is within the safe hearing limit.

While there are other factors worth addressing in the differences between them, you may wonder whether which has higher NRR: custom or disposable earplugs? The best-fitted custom earplugs can deliver an NRR of 29dB. However, disposable earplugs can offer an NRR of 33dB.

This difference is largely due to the material: custom made earplugs are made of silicone or vinyl which is solid and has plenty of benefits but is not as effective as the PVC or UF foam which comprises disposal earplugs.

The difference of roughly four dB is not too major, however, and both are highly effective ways of protecting your hearing.

The other benefits of custom earplugs

When it comes to looking at your options in terms of sheer effectiveness, disposable earplugs have a slightly higher noise reduction rate. However, custom earplugs come with plenty of benefits that are worth considering. Here are some of the unique advantages that custom earplugs offer:

  • They offer a better fit, meaning that they’re less likely to irritate or cause any pain to your ears over time.
  • They last much longer than disposable earplugs, largely due to the fact they can be used time and time again.
  • When you compare the costs of having custom earplugs made vs. buying disposables time and time again, they are more cost-effective.
  • They can come with a range of features, including specific noise reduction and waterproofing.

How your audiologist can help

If the advantages of custom earplugs appeal to you, then it is worth talking to your audiologist about them. Not only can your audiologist offer plenty of advice on the different products on the market, but they can help you ensure they fit your ear perfectly, too. It is your audiologist who will take an impression of your ear by using a syringe or impression material gun to fill your ear with a fast-setting material. This impression is then used to make the mold which will determine the shape of the earplug.

Get your custom earplugs with the help of your audiologist today

If you’re in need of hearing protection and you believe custom earplugs are the best option for you, then your audiologist is here to help. To learn more about the process of fitting you for your hearing protection or to arrange an appointment, you can call the team at Hinderliter Hearing Services at (248) 430-7353. We will be glad to help you however we can.