Non-Custom Earplugs

Multipurpose – appropriate for a variety of situations

Advantages:

Up to 33 dB of attenuation


Inexpensive ($1-$15 per pair)
Various shapes, sizes and colors
Various materials (silicone, plastic, foam, rubber)
Lightweight
Comfortable
Convenient
Can have uniform attenuation
Can be washed and reused
Can be connected with a cord or band

Disadvantages:

Proper insertion may be time consuming (but is needed to achieve optimum attenuation)

Fitting:

The plugs should fit deep and snugly into the ear canal and should fill the ear canal completely.
Expandable foam earplugs should be rolled into a thin cylinder, then inserted into the ear.
Pre-molded earplugs should be fit by reaching over the head with one had to pull up on the ear while inserting the earplug deeply.
The earplug should not be visible sticking out from the ear when looking at an individual from the front. If the earplugs have a stem, only the stem should be visible. If the earplug has flanges, all flanges should fit inside of the ear canal.

Custom Earplugs

Multipurpose – appropriate for a variety of situations

Advantages:

Custom fit for an individual’s ear


Up to 33 dB attenuation
Proper fit is easily and consistently achieved
Last for an extended period of time
Easily cleaned with soap and water
Lightweight
Comfortable
Convenient
Various shapes, sizes, colors and materials
Can have uniform attenuation
Can be connected with a cord or band

Disadvantages:

Expensive ($115-$200)
Regular cleaning needed to protect hygiene of the ear

Fitting:

An audiologist must make an impression of the ears before the earplugs can be made

Passive Earmuffs

Blocks all sounds passively. Appropriate for use at sporting events, while using power tools or lawn care equipment, and for household chores.

Howard Leight Earmuffs

Advantages:

Up to 30 dB of attenuation


Inexpensive ($5-$35)
Durable
Can attach to the head in multiple ways

Disadvantages:

May be uncomfortable
Inconvenient
Hot
Uncomfortable
Monitor closely for deformities

Fitting:

Earmuffs must be free of deformities
No physical modifications of the earmuffs
Earmuffs should seal off the ear completely, there should be no gaps between the ear and the earmuff
Make sure the earmuffs are compatible with other equipment (glasses, helmet, etc)

Electronic Earmuffs

Electronically allows safe levels to be heard while blocking high level sounds using compression. Great for hunting.

Peltor AM/FM Headset

Advantages:

Up to 30 dB of attenuation


Can amplify desired sounds while blocking out harmful sounds
Radio or communication capabilities
Durable
Can attach to the head in multiple ways

Disadvantages:

High price $40-$360
May be uncomfortable
Inconvenient
Hot
Uncomfortable
Monitor closely for deformities