One of the most basic tasks of the summertime is also the most dangerous to your hearing health: lawn mowing. It’s become such a basic component of our weekly routine that we forget how great an effect a lawn mower can have on our hearing. The average volume of a lawnmower while in use is 95 dBs, and, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), any sound louder than 80 dBs is considered “potentially hazardous.”

Custom Earplugs: A Sensible Solution

Custom Ear PlugsLuckily, you have a practical solution that will keep your hearing in tact while you keep you lawn in check:

Custom earplugs are made specifically for your ears’ particular shape, and can help to reduce the discomfort and poor fit typically associated with standard foam or rubber earplugs. Additionally, this type of hearing protection is considered safer for long-term use than foam or rubber plugs since they aren’t placed as deep in the ear canal and are gentler on your ears’ sensitive skin.

Advantages

  • Block out a lot of noise (NRR ratings ranging from NRR 25- NRR 29)
  • Comfortable due to the custom fit
  • Sturdy and long lasting (3-5 years approximately)
  • Remake warranty from most manufacturers
  • Available in all different shapes, styles, colors, and sizes
  • Small and easy to carry
  • Convenient to use with other PPE (personal protection equipment) – can be worn with ear muffs for added hearing protection
  • Comfortable for long periods of time
  • Convenient for use in confined areas
  • Available in hypoallergenic material
  • Multiple options (solid or filtered to allow for better communication)

Disadvantages

  • More costly initially
  • Have to have professional do an ear impression then wait for the finished product
  • With time the size and shape of your ear can change requiring you to get a new custom plug
  • Easy to misplace
  • Require good hygiene practices
  • Can cause minor irritation of the ear canal
  • More mass depending on the style
  • Possible discomfort with other personal protection equipment


Disposable Ear Plugs

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Advantages

  • Block out a lot of noise (NRR ratings ranging from NRR 21- NRR 33)
  • Comfortable
  • Inexpensive
  • Convenient for use in confined areas
  • Available all over and in all different shapes and sizes
  • Small and easy to carry
  • Convenient to use with other PPE (personal protection equipment) – can be worn with ear muffs for added hearing protection
  • More comfortable for long periods of time (can be worn in hot or humid areas)

Disadvantages

  • Difficult to fit properly
  • May contribute to cerumen (wax) impaction
  • More time consuming to insert
  • Easy to misplace
  • Require good hygiene practices
  • Can cause minor irritation of the ear canal
  • Hygienic risk if hands are dirty and need to compress the ear plug for insertion

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Ear Muffs

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Advantages

  • Block out a lot of noise (NRR ratings ranging from NRR 22- NRR 31)
  • Easy to put on and take off
  • Large variety of shapes, colors, functions
  • Hygienic as they do not go inside the ear canal
  • Re-usable
  • Less likely to misplace due to their larger size
  • Sturdy and can replace specific parts (i.e. the cushions, tension head band, etc.)

Disadvantages

  • Bulky and large
  • Can become very warm if worn for long periods of time
  • Difficult to localize sound
  • Uncomfortable for long periods of time
  • More expensive than disposable options
  • Can cause difficulty hearing speech
  • Less convenient to use with other PPE (personal protection equipment) – can be worn with ear plugs for added hearing protection