This article focuses on two types of ear protection: ear plugs and ear muffs, to help you better understand their respective advantages and disadvantages, and to provide you with a reference when choosing.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Ear Muffs
The greatest advantage of earmuffs is that they do not need to be customized. Most models are designed as one size fits all, and some earmuffs can be easily adjusted to fit snugly on the wearer’s head. Because of their size, they are easily visible and difficult to lose. Not only do they protect employees from loud noises, they also keep their ears warm, making them ideal for construction workers, gardeners, and others who must work in cold weather.
While soundproof earmuffs can do a lot of things, they do have certain drawbacks. First, they can be very uncomfortable in hot and humid conditions. They fit snugly over the ears and are good for blocking heat, but they are not ideal when the temperature is above 80 degrees. In addition, people who wear glasses may have difficulty because the legs of the glasses may prevent the safe wear of the muffler. Besides, earmuffs do not directly block the ear canal and may be less effective at blocking extreme noise than earplugs.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Ear Plugs
Earplugs for workplace are worn directly in the ear canal and provide better sound insulation than earmuffs. This type of ear protection is suitable for workers in factories, foundries, airport runways, etc. Workers can easily carry them around in a sealable plastic bag or hard-shell case. And, there is no discomfort or disruption for workers wearing glasses or safety helmets.
On the other hand, earplugs can be difficult to insert into the ear. Some instruct the user to pull the ear at an angle, curl the earplug, and insert it into the ear canal. If not handled properly, the earplugs will constantly slip out of the ear canal and do not protect the wearer well. In addition, they are small, easy to lose, and difficult to see in the wearer’s ear.
What’s the Answer?
It depends on the needs of the worker. Earmuffs are effective in most cases, but may cause discomfort in areas with higher temperatures. Earplugs, on the other hand, fit directly into the ear canal and provide maximum protection from excessive noise. The only drawback is their size. They are not easy to put on and are so small that they can easily be lost.
Whichever product you choose, it is wise to pay attention to the decibel (dB) rating. Both earplugs and earmuffs have a “decibel value” that indicates how much noise they reduce when worn. For example, if the ear muffs are rated at 30 dB, this means that when worn, the ambient noise level is reduced by 30 dB.
Remember that you do not necessarily have to choose one or the other. If you are working in an extremely noisy environment and do not require much communication, you can wear both earplugs and earmuffs. In this way, you will have maximum protection against the threat of hearing impairment.