The humble earplug isn’t glamorous or exciting. Well, at least for most people. However, in reality, earplugs have a huge range of uses.
Almost anyone who works or lives in noisy environments should have a pair close to hand to protect their ears, while swimmers, sailors and travellers can also benefit.
Sometimes you can achieve big improvements in your quality of life and health through tiny interventions, and wearing earplugs could be one of them.
Here are just some of the ways that earplugs are being used right now to improve peoples’ lives.
Choose Earplugs to Use Tools and Machinery Safely
Earplugs are essential for anyone who regularly uses power tools or heavy equipment. It’s not necessarily the sheer volume of noise generated by industrial tools that makes earplugs so vital, it’s also the incessant nature of the noise. Prolonged exposure to noise can cause permanent loss of hearing and conditions like tinnitus, so most occupational health experts recommend that machinery operators use them.
Listen to Music Safely With the Right Earplugs
Tinnitus isn’t a minor problem. Actually, around 50 million Americans are affected by ringing in their ears, many of them to the point that it interferes with their working lives.
No group is as badly affected as musicians and music fans. That’s why all good music shops stock a range of custom-made earplugs. At the high-end, these earplugs for musicians and concert goers are engineered to filter out the most harmful frequencies, leaving the sound quality of the music intact – even though some people still can’t bring themselves to wear them at concerts.
Hit the Pool Without Fearing Infections
Swimmers are another group of people who benefit from wearing earplugs. In their case, specialist waterproof earplugs stop water entering the inner ear. This doesn’t just prevent the blocked-up feeling many people feel after leaving the pool. It also helps to prevent earache, perforated eardrums and “swimmer’s ear” – a common pool-related ear infection.
Get A Good Night’s Sleep by Wearing Earplugs
Research also suggests that wearing earplugs is an effective way to ensure a good night’s sleep. Sometimes, sleep impairment is caused by ambient noise. If you’ve ever lived near a train line or a major inner city road, you’ll know the problem.
Wearing sleeping earplugs overnight drowns out that noise, helping the brain and body to focus on rest and recovery from the previous day. That applies to even low noise levels, as the brain can still hear noise even while you are asleep. The result of drowning out this noise is more REM sleep and lower levels of stress hormones, the hallmarks of a good night’s sleep.
It’s worth to add that many people tend to use earplugs along with an eye mask to ensure complete darkness and peace of mind while sleeping.
Beat Sea Sickness With the Earplug Trick
Earplugs aren’t just useful for light sleepers. If you have ever felt nauseous at sea, they could be a low-tech cure for your sea-sickness too. Many sailors report that wearing an earplug in your non-dominant ear is an effective way to prevent nausea (that’s the left ear for right-handers and the right ear for left-handers).
It might sound strange at first, but this simple trick can revolutionize the lives of sailing enthusiasts who happen to suffer from crippling nausea.
Fly in Comfort By Wearing Earplugs
The same applies to fliers who suffer from pain due to the changes of air pressure in airplane cabins (and the noise that the plane produces). Specialist airplane earplugs are available that reduce airflow to the inner ear, helping to modulate changes of pressure and preventing the expansion of the eardrum. It’s this expansion that causes pain in around 30 percent of frequent fliers, but with the right earplugs, there is no need to worry.
Earplugs are one of those items that people tend to forget about. They don’t have sex appeal, and they aren’t a fashion item. What they are is useful, and more useful than many people would imagine. Whether you want to sail in comfort or maintain your hearing when working with power tools, choosing the right set of earplugs is essential.