Wearing earplugs is one of the simplest things you can do to protect your ears from damaging noise levels. When these small devices are inserted into your ear canal, disruptive or dangerous sounds are blocked out. Shopping for ear plugs can be confusing, as there are a large variety of styles available, but with patience and a little bit of know-how you can find the plug for you.

First of all, figure out how much noise reduction you need from your ear plugs. Take a look at the noise reduction rating (NRR) on the box to find out how much sound it cancels out: better quality plugs have a rating between 21 and 33. Think about where you plan to use your ear plugs. Ear plugs with a lower NRR are sufficient for blocking out traffic noise or your roommate’s TV while studying. However, if your profession requires you to spend time around loud equipment or music, a higher rating is more appropriate.

The composition of your ear plugs is another important factor to consider. Foam is one of the most basic materials used in ear plugs. The foam is compressed during insertion then expands to plug the canal. In contrast, you can use silicone plugs to mold a perfectly-fitted barrier around the outside of your ear. Both foam and silicone ear plugs need to be replaced periodically.

Your final step is to consider why you are shopping for plugs in the first place. A simple foam or silicone plug will suffice in many circumstances; however, there are specialized plugs available for specific environments. Musicians often wear custom-made, non-disposable earplugs to help protect their hearing while they are performing. These plugs are carefully crafted to fit your ear, allowing you to hear what you are playing while blocking out harmful sounds.

If you have a partner who snores, you may be shopping for earplugs to wear while you are sleeping. Ear plugs for sleeping are fairly advanced. They are able to block out the sounds of snoring while permitting you to hear your alarm clock or fire alarm. When comparing ear plugs for sleeping, be sure to test them out with your head tilted sideways. This helps you figure out if they will be comfortable to wear while you are lying down.

With a little time and consideration you should not have any difficulties finding the earplugs that are right for you.