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Hearing Protection

In the midst of our daily lives, our ears play a vital role. However, with the noise, comes a potential threat — noise-induced hearing loss. From concerts to machinery, excessive noise can harm our hearing. Understanding the importance of wearing hearing protection, having regular hearing tests and choosing the right earplugs can help protect your hearing and reduce the risk of hearing loss.

Updated: 3rd April 2024

AudioNova™ ear plugs: don’t mute the world; simply filter the sound

Unlike your eyes, your ears can’t close themselves to protect against damaging stimuli. That’s why it’s important to understand what can damage your hearing and how you can protect it.

AudioNova™ is designed around advanced filter technology. These filters let you limit and even remove sound and loud noise which may be damaging for your ears – without sacrificing things like conversation and situational awareness.

The importance of safeguarding your hearing

Our ears play a crucial role in our lives, allowing us to experience the richness of sound in various environments. However, exposure to excessive noise poses a silent threat known as noise-induced hearing loss. 

Our ability to hear connects us to the world, facilitating conversations, enabling the enjoyment of music, and allowing us to listen to  the sounds of nature. The ability to hear these day to day sounds is essential for a better quality of life. Beyond communication, our hearing plays a vital role in our emotional well-being, keeping us engaged, connected, and experiencing life to the fullest.

Just as we shield our eyes from the sun, our ears need safeguarding too. Investing in the right hearing protection helps maintain our ears' functionality, allowing them to accurately perceive sounds in our environment.  

Explore our extensive range of hearing protection solutions.

Threats to your hearing: identifying harmful noises

The volume of different sounds plays a huge role in maintaining our hearing. Measured in decibels (dBA), sound volume is not just a metric but a key to determine potential harm to our hearing. NIDCD research indicates that long-term or repeated exposure to sounds louder than 85dBA can be detrimental, causing gradual hearing loss over time.

Think about  a busy city, where the perpetual hum of traffic, construction sites, and public spaces can often exceed safe sound levels. The noise from electronic devices, concerts, or even household appliances may also add  to this auditory challenge. Understanding the risks associated with these everyday sounds is essential for safeguarding our hearing.

Here are a few examples of harmful sounds:

  • Traffic roar: commuting, where the constant hum of engines, honks, and road noise can surpass safe decibel levels.
  • Concerts: live music comes with a range of sounds like applause, amplified music, and cheering crowds, which can expose our ears to potentially harmful noise levels.
  • Power tools: power tools during construction or home improvement projects can produce sustained loud noises, posing a risk to our hearing health.
  • Electronics: prolonged use of headphones at high volumes, often underestimated, can contribute to hearing damage over time.
By understanding these examples, it’s clear to see the proactive measures that need to be taken in order to protect our hearing health. For an in-depth exploration of everyday sounds and their potential impact on hearing, explore our guide on noise levels of everyday sounds

Prioritising ear health: what can you do to protect your ears?

Safeguarding your hearing is important for protecting against noise-induced hearing loss. Here's how you can protect your ears in various scenarios and reduce exposure to loud noises:

  • Concerts: the decibel levels at concerts can reach harmful extremes. Consider wearing earplugs that are used by musicians to enjoy the music without compromising your hearing.
  • Construction workplace: construction sites produce high-intensity sounds from machinery and tools. So, it’s vital to wear hearing protection to reduce noise and limit the damaging levels of sound that occur. Opt for earmuffs or earplugs to create a sonic shield, reducing the risk of noise-induced hearing loss.
  • Bedroom: even during sleep, our ears are not immune to disturbances. If you live in a noisy environment, custom-fit earplugs can create a quiet environment, helping you have a peaceful night's sleep.

Tips for noise reduction

Whether you’re at work, home, or out, implementing these strategies can significantly minimise the impact of loud sounds on your ears:
  • Use quieter equipment: where possible, choose quieter appliances and tools to minimise noise generation. Look for devices with lower decibel ratings to create a quieter environment.
  • Maintain safe distances: keeping a safe distance from loud sources can significantly reduce the impact of noise on your ears. Whether it's fireworks, loud machinery, or live music, find a comfortable distance.

The power of ear protection

Discover the impact of ear protection in preserving your auditory well-being. Earplugs and earmuffs shield your ears from the harmful effects of loud noises and reduce sound to safe levels. 

You can use the various forms of protection  to create a safer environment:
  • Earplugs: custom-fit earplugs offer a tailored solution. Whether you're attending a concert, working in a loud environment, or trying to get some quality sleep, they provide effective noise reduction and reduce background noise.
  • Earmuffs or ear defenders: ideal for industrial settings or situations where prolonged exposure to loud or harmful noise is unavoidable, earmuffs create a physical barrier and protect your ears .
While these tips can provide basic protection, seeking professional advice is crucial for personalised solutions. Audiologists can assess your specific needs and recommend the most effective hearing protection measures tailored to your lifestyle.

Find an audiologist near you today.

Types of hearing protection

When it comes to choosing the right hearing protection, understanding your specific needs and comfort preferences is key.

Custom earplugs

Custom-moulded earplugs are a game-changer when it comes to hearing protection. Unlike one-size-fits-all alternatives, these earplugs offer a personalised and tailored fit. Made from durable materials, they’re ideal for long-term use, providing comfort and effective noise reduction. To purchase custom earplugs, visit a professional audiologist. They’ll take impressions of your ears, so you can be confident in a tailor-made fit that provides both comfort and performance.


Instant earplugs

Instant earplugs are readily available and perfect for everyday use. They provide a convenient and affordable solution for various scenarios. Perfect for those seeking quick and cost-effective options, these earplugs offer accessibility without compromising on effectiveness. While custom moulded earplugs offer a tailored fit, ready-made options like foam earplugs are made from a soft, comfortable material, for easy use. Consider the specific demands of your environment and preferences when choosing between these options.


Earplugs for sleeping

Earplugs designed specifically for sleep prioritise comfort and relaxation. Designed with a focus on providing a comfortable fit for extended wear during sleep, these earplugs aim to block out disruptive noises and promote a peaceful environment. To use them effectively, insert the sleeping earplugs into your ears before bedtime, for a snug fit. Their design helps create a quiet and soothing space, facilitating a restful night's sleep.


Earplugs: usage and maintenance

Correct insertion and removal of earplugs

Maintaining the effectiveness of earplugs requires mastering how to insert and remove them. Roll or compress the earplug with clean hands to reduce its size. Gently pull your ear upward and outward to straighten the ear canal, then insert the earplug quickly and comfortably. Hold it in place for a few seconds, allowing it to expand and form a snug seal.

 Importance of hygiene

Maintaining hygiene is crucial when using earplugs. Regular cleaning prevents ear infections and means you’ll get more use out of them.  Dirty earplugs can introduce bacteria to the ear canal, leading to discomfort and potential health issues. Prioritise cleanliness to contribute to the longevity of your earplugs and safeguard your ear health.

Tips for cleaning and storage

Use mild soap and water: clean earplugs with mild soap and lukewarm water. Avoid harsh chemicals that may damage the material.
Air dry completely: after washing, allow earplugs to air dry completely before storing them. Make sure they’re free from moisture to prevent bacterial growth.
   hearing aid case Store in a clean case: use a designated case to store earplugs when not in use. This protects them from dust, debris, and potential contamination.
   repeat icon Replace when necessary: earplugs have a lifespan. Replace them periodically, especially if they show signs of wear or if the material loses its integrity.

Choosing the right earplugs

Selecting the right earplugs can be crucial to helping  protect your hearing health.  Consider factors like noise level, duration of exposure, and personal comfort preferences when choosing ear protection. Foam, silicone, and custom-moulded earplugs offer varied options catering to different needs and situations.

Take a proactive stance in preserving your hearing by investing in suitable ear protection. Whether you're attending concerts, working in noisy environments, or enjoying water-related activities, Boots Hearingcare has a tailored solution to suit your needs. Don't wait – prioritise your hearing health today for a future of clear and undisturbed sounds.

Ready to prioritise your hearing health? Book a hearing test with us today.

Frequently asked questions

What are the rules for hearing protection in the UK?

The UK follows regulations outlined in the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005. Employers are required to assess and manage noise risks, provide hearing protection where necessary, and ensure employees are informed and trained.

What are the 3 types of hearing protection?

The three main types of hearing protection are earplugs, earmuffs, and custom-moulded earplugs. Each type offers distinct advantages, and the choice depends on individual preferences and specific scenarios.

Are ear plugs better than earmuffs?

The effectiveness depends on personal preference and the environment. Earplugs are more discreet and suitable for some situations, while earmuffs provide over-ear protection and may be more comfortable for extended wear.

How do I know which type of earplugs are right for me?

Consider factors like noise level, duration of exposure, and personal comfort preferences. Foam earplugs are versatile, silicone earplugs are durable, and custom-moulded earplugs offer a tailored fit.

What is Noise Reduction Rating (NRR), and why is it important?

NRR measures the effectiveness of hearing protection in reducing noise exposure. A higher NRR indicates greater noise reduction. It's crucial to choose ear protection with an appropriate NRR based on your specific needs.

Is 70 dB considered loud?

Yes, 70 dB is considered moderately loud. Prolonged exposure to sounds at this level or higher can contribute to hearing damage over time.

How do I properly insert and remove earplugs?

Follow the instructions provided with the earplugs. Generally, roll foam earplugs into a thin cylinder, insert into the ear canal, and allow them to expand. To remove, gently twist or pull.

Can I reuse earplugs, and if so, how do I clean them?

Reusable earplugs can be cleaned following the manufacturer's instructions. Typically, it involves using mild soap and water. Ensure they are completely dry before reuse.

Where can I purchase quality earplugs, and how much do they cost?

Quality earplugs are available at pharmacies, online retailers, and specialised hearing protection stores. Prices vary based on the type and brand, ranging from a few pounds for disposable earplugs to more for custom-moulded options.

emma jarvis

Written By:
Emma Jarvis

Digital Optimisation Lead

Hannah Author Image

Medically Reviewed By:
Hannah Samuels

Audiology Expert