What is the Best Type of Ear Protection?

a pair of orange foam earplugs

More and more people are dealing with noise-induced hearing loss, but there are ways to protect against it. Loud music and earbuds, work environments, household chores, and other daily activities can all contribute to hearing loss if not monitored. Using some form of ear protection during loud activities can help you prevent hearing loss.

The most effective form of ear protection to use will depend on what activity you are performing and what your goals are for that activity. There are many options that you can choose from to find the one that will aid you in your daily activities best.

Foam earplugs

Foam earplugs are disposable, cheap, and easy to find, which make them a great ear protection option. You can insert them into the ear canal, which will plug it and minimize the exposure to loud noises.

Wax balls

Wax balls do not dampen the effect of loud noises, and it completely blocks any noise from reaching your ear canal. With other forms of ear protection, you can still hear a little bit, but these wax balls can be formed to cut off your ear completely to any sound. These are also disposable and easy to find options for ear protection.


There are many different kinds of earmuffs. There are kinds designed especially to clip into safety helmets for construction workers that need double protection. They also come in kid sizes to help with sensory processing disorders. They are connected to a headband and sit over each ear. The earmuff part is covered in a soft material that not only provides a comfortable fit but also dampens the sounds around you.

Silicon plugs

Silicon plugs are similar to foam earplugs, but they have several distinctive differences. Silicon plugs are less irritating to the skin because of the difference in material. They also are not inserted into the ear, but they just cover the auditory canal.

Universal earplugs

These earplugs are probably the most common type used. They seal off the auditory canal to dampen the sound. They do enable more hearing than the wax balls though, so you are not completely cut off from the outside world.


For people who are exposed to loud noises regularly, a more personalized approach might be useful. Customized hearing protection is often used by musicians or motorcyclists. It is designed to fit perfectly into your specific ear and will last for years.

Finding the right ear protection is very important, especially for people who work around dangerous levels of sound on a regular basis. Even if you just need ear protection for mowing the lawn, you should take it seriously. Taking precautions to guard against hearing loss now will benefit you greatly in years to come.

Consulting with an audiologist about your exposure to loud noises and your level of need for ear protection can make a big difference when it comes to making sure you are fully protected. An audiologist can help give you recommendations for ear protection that is based on your specific situation and the type of noise you encounter. 

To learn about how The Hearing Aid Place can provide you with hearing protection options, give us a call at 510-768-7091!