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What are the Different Types of Hearing Protectors?

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  • Written By: K. Gierok
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 24 August 2016
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In most cases, hearing loss is caused due to overexposure to loud noises. Often, working at manufacturing or other similar jobs where noise is an issue can lead to serious hearing loss over time. Some of the best forms of hearing protectors include earplugs, earmuffs, and canal caps. While canal caps may be easy to use, they do not provide as much protection as earplugs or earmuffs. By using the right type of hearing protectors, hearing loss can often be reduced or avoided entirely.

One of the most popular types of hearing protectors is earplugs. Earplugs can be made of many different materials, including in foam, rubber, silicone, and plastic. Typically, foam earplugs are preferred, as they completely fill the ear canal, and are one-size-fits-all. In contrast, rubber, silicone, and plastic earplugs usually come is several different sizes, and it is up to the individual searching for ear protection to know what size will be best for him or her. Earplugs are easy to use and inexpensive, and are often used as one of the first tools in the prevention of hearing loss.

Earmuffs are another common form of hearing protectors. Unlike earplugs, which only go inside the ear canal, earmuffs cover over the entire outside of the ear. Like earplugs, there are a variety of different types and sizes of earmuffs available, with the larger muffs being more expensive.

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In addition, some earmuffs contain technology that cancels emitted sounds; these noise-canceling ear protectors are often highly desirable for the prevention of hearing loss. In order to achieve best results when using earmuffs, they should be fitted individually to the head of the person wearing them. In some cases, people with lots of thick hair, or those with eyeglasses may not be able to get a good fit with earmuffs.

Canal caps are a type of hearing protectors that are most commonly used in places where loud noises are intermittent. Canal caps are attached to headbands, and because of this, can be easily taken off and put back on with relative ease without the fear of them being lost. While they may provide some protection, studies have shown that they are not as effective as either earmuffs or earplugs.

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