Are custom ear plugs worth the money; the pros and cons
Those of us who enjoy social or have work activities which involve exposure to potentially unsafe levels of sound know we need to protect our hearing but what are the best options for this. Do we go to the local hardware store/chemist and buy earmuffs or disposable earplugs off the shelf or should we have custom made earplugs made for us.
Did you know that custom ear pieces for using with specific situations eg for your ear buds which just don’t want to stay in your ear or for ensuring music is still heard and appreciated.
Custom made ear protection offer some advantages over the over the counter options.
- With custom made ear moulds a wide variety of noise situations are able to be catered for safely. For example, the type of music or music venue you are in, the type sport you are involved in eg shooting or motor sports; your individual communication needs eg security card or in the middle of a large stadium have solutions which provide the right amount and type of hearing protection.
- All ear sizes can be fitted. So many of the off the shelf options just don’t fit anything else than the average ear so if you have a smaller earcanal or a larger earcanal then off the shelf options don’t fit.
- All forms of hearing protection should fit in deep in the earcanal for optimal results. Most of the time people have their earplugs sitting just outside the earcanal and wonder why they are not effective.
- Custom ear moulds are more comfortable as they are made to fit your individual earcanal.
- Last up between 3 to 5 years
- Solutions are available to ensure you are adequately protected and at the same time ensure that you are not overprotected. Sometimes more is not better.
There are a few disadvantages however to custom earplugs
- Price. There is a big difference in up front costs. A custom made product may cost from $110 to $300 a pair while disposable plugs may be free or less than a dollar.
- To get your own set of custom made earplugs it takes a couple of appointments ie one take the impression and second appointment for fitting and instruction on use
Custom made earplugs are the best way to ensure consistency of protection to suit your particular situation.
This article was first published at hearingcareprofessionals.com.au. Nolene Nielson is an experienced Brisbane Audiologist whose independent audiology practice is part of a new direction in hearing health care.