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Can Earplugs Cause Hearing Damage?

You’ve likely used earplugs at least once before. Seeing as hearing loss is among the most frequently occurring chronic health issues nationwide, it makes sense that you’d want to protect those ears. A pair of silicone or even custom-molded earplugs can be a great way to reduce hearing damage at a noisy concert. Or perhaps you regularly sleep with foam earplugs in to cut down on noise from your loved ones or roommates.

You may have heard that they can actually exasperate hearing loss or lead to all manner of additional problems. The bottom line is that earplugs can prevent hearing loss, as long as they’re properly used. Let’s break down some of the risks.

Can Earplugs Cause Hearing Damage?

Earplugs can be a great way to prevent hearing damage. But, if used improperly, they can actually make things worse.

Infection Risk

Improperly used earplugs have the potential to cause ear infections. This threat tends to emerge when the same pair is used repeatedly. You may have noticed a buildup of earwax on your earplugs. They are also potentially exposed to bacteria if you leave them on your bedside table during the day. If you use foam ones, it makes sense just to dispose of them after every couple of uses. But the more sustainable option would be to use reusable ones. These can be cleaned by soaking in a solution of hydrogen peroxide, then running under cold water and drying thoroughly.

Earwax Buildup

If you regularly use earplugs, you are at risk of running into issues with impacted earwax. As you probably know, earwax typically drains throughout your ear over time. When you put them in, you run the risk of pushing that earwax further back into your ear, where it can actually exasperate the symptoms of hearing loss. There are a few steps you can take to prevent this. Carefully using cotton swabs to remove external earwax can help. There is also the option of eardrops, which can prevent earwax buildup. Finally, you might want to consider professional earwax removal.

The Bottom Line

To put things simply, as long as you follow your best practices, using earplugs can be a great way to prevent hearing loss. Be sure to clean your earplugs regularly. Also, make sure your fingers are clean before you insert them. If you are able to manage the threat of compacted earwax, earplugs are a great way to protect your hearing for years to come.

Contact Bay Area Audiology Today

Ready to change the way you look at hearing loss? Our Doctor of Audiology, Dr. Trisha A. Bents Muth, is exceptionally experienced in the art of audiology and is dedicated to providing the absolute best solutions.  Bay Area Audiology has been working to give patients a comfortable environment with thorough evaluations. We are independently owned, and unbiased when it comes to finding you the care you need.

You can always come into the office or contact us in advance to set up an appointment. We also provide updates on our social media websites. You can check out our FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Pinterest to keep up with Bay Area Audiology.

Don’t hesitate–we can help.

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 17th, 2020 at 10:58 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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