Earplugs Vs Earmuffs: How to choose the right ear protection?

In different working environments, workers across industries are exposed to varying levels of sounds. Safe sound exposure levels are up to 90 dBA for 8 hours. If the decibel levels rise to 95 dBA, then workers can be exposed to hearing damage. In order to mitigate the risk of such risks, choosing the right hearing protection becomes essential. Earplugs and earmuffs are some of the widely used hear protection gear in various workplaces across a wide host of industries and businesses.

Let's delve deep into the salient features of earplugs and earmuffs and understand when to use them.

Earmuffs :
Earmuffs are useful as they do not necessarily require a custom fit. They are designed in a way to adjust accordingly to wearer's head. These hearing protection devices are conspicuous and therefore, can be easily found wherever they are kept. In extremely cold temperatures, earmuffs help in keeping ears warm for workers braving out in the cold. Electronic earmuffs are powered by batteries and are capable of permitting ambient sounds to be heard with the help of microphones in the absence of loud noise.

Earmuffs do not block the ear canal, so they are not effective in protecting extreme sound decibel levels. Earplugs are a better option for workers exposed to harsher sounds.

Earplugs:

Earplugs are effective against harsher sounds as they are capable of blocking the ear canal. They are widely used by workers employed in the aviation industry, foundry, factories and workshops. Earplugs are easy to use and pose no discomfort to workers wearing glasses. Sometimes, earplugs are challenging to fit in, and some earplugs require the wearer to pull ear at a certain angle to use them. If not fitted properly, these earplugs might slip off and expose the wearer to higher decibel levels.

Choosing earplugs over earmuffs will depend upon the need of the worker. At times, earmuffs can lead to discomfort when the wearer is exposed to extreme temperatures. It is crucial to pay heed to decibel rating of both earplugs and earmuffs and chose them for the requirement at hand. Earplugs are easy to use and pose no discomfort to workers wearing glasses. Sometimes, earplugs are challenging to fit in, and some earplugs require the wearer to pull ear at a certain angle to use them. If not fitted properly, these earplugs might slip off and expose the wearer to higher decibel levels.