Disclaimer: The responsibility for the use of ear plugs sold on this website is solely that of the user. Snorestore disclaims any and all liability, loss or otherwise, which may occur through negligence in the use of this product; to include insertion, wearing and the removal of this product.
Customers are reminded to use discretion when wearing ear plugs, as the ear plugs will reduce outside sound significantly, especially in the case of important sirens or warnings.
Customers must exercise care and proceed cautiously when inserting and removing ear plugs, to prevent potential damage to the ear.
The following questions and answers are drawn from various parts of the web, in particular McKeon's Inc., supplier of our best-selling Pillow Soft silicone earplugs.
Are there any earplugs which block out 100% of the noise?
The highest Noise Reduction Rating currently offered by an earplug is around 39dB. If you refer to the chart below, you will find that decibel levels up to the earplug's NRR will be blocked out entirely. Any noise over the earplug's NRR may be heard.
Another important factor to note is that the body absorbs sound; so short of living in a sound proof chamber, it is almost impossible to block out all noise.
Earplugs are designed to take off the harshness of the noise and bring it down to a safer, more tolerable level.
Can I carry on a conversation wearing earplugs?
Yes, usually. Most people without damaged hearing have no problem carrying on a conversation while wearing earplugs. Often, in noisy or loud environments, earplug wearers discover that the earplugs seem to "filter" out the background noise, actually making conversation and music clearer and easier to understand.
How long can I use my earplugs for before changing to a new pair?
For foam earplugs which require rolling before insertion, e.g. Spark Plugs Soft, SafeSound Ultra etc., we recommend you change your earplugs as soon as they become dirty, or when they stop returning to their normal shape when you remove them from your ear canal, whichever comes first.
For non-roll earplugs such as EAR Soft 21, then start a new pair as soon as they become dirty.
Silicone earplugs can be used until they lose their stickiness and thus stop sticking to the ear, or until they become dirty, whichever comes first.
Wax earplugs can be used until they become dirty, or until their effectiveness is reduced. If they start to break apart, cease using that pair immediately and start on a new pair.
What do the terms SNR and NRR mean?
SNR is the noise reduction rating standard in Europe. NRR is the rating system used in North America. Usually the NRR figure is slightly lower than SNR and is to do with different measuring methods and standard deviation. In pratice, there is not a massive amount of difference between the two. For a detailed technical explanation, please click here.
What are decibels?
Hmm. A little complicated. Suffice to say, if you were to measure two sounds, the first coming in at 60dB and the second at 80dB, the difference of 20dB would actually mean that the second sound is a HUNDRED TIMES LOUDER than the first (and yes, we are shouting!).
Put more simply still (thanks to The Times May 19th 2008 for this by the way), an increase or decrease of three dB represents a doubling or halving of intensity - the energy it contains. So, for example, 73 dB is twice as intense as 70 dBA.
To read more, please go to Science Buddies who explain things very clearly.
Do earmuff style hearing protectors offer better protection than earplugs?
No. A well-designed earplug can offer protection comparable to or exceeding that of earmuffs at most frequencies. More important is evaluating the individual device and the user's compliance with the proper use of the device.
Is it possible that my ears can get used to the noise that causes hearing loss?
No. If your ears seem to get used to the noise, it is only an effect caused by the deafening of your ears. Ears do not "toughen up" with repeated exposure to noise.
I've already lost some or most of my hearing; why should I wear hearing protection?
The existence of full or partial hearing loss does not protect one from further hearing loss due to noise exposure. While hearing loss is permanent in nature and the use of earplugs cannot restore hearing loss, they can help prevent further damage. The proper use of earplugs can also help prevent temporary hearing losses, and allow existing temporary losses to recover before they become permanent.
How can I tell when a noise is potentially damaging to my hearing?
People differ in their sensitivity to noise. As a general rule, if you have to shout to communicate with a normally hearing person at a distance of about three feet, the noise is potentially harmful. Other signs to watch for are if the noise hurts your ears, causes your ears to ring, or causes temporary hearing loss for up to several hours after exposure. As the chart below illustrates, the start of unsafe levels begins at approximately 85 decibels. It is not only the level of noise, but also the duration of exposure that determines whether it is a minor irritant, a definite disturbance, or a threat to your hearing.
What laws are there to protect me if I work in a noisy environment?
Since 1989, UK noise regulation has been based on European standards. Under a 2003 European Union directive, these laws were replaced in 2006 with upgraded regulations. The leisure industry, which tried for exemption from the improved standards, has had to comply since April 2008. In the UK, the Noise at Work Regulations 1989 say employers must reduce the risk of hearing damage to the lowest level reasonably practicable and maintain all equipment. Of course, these regulations and laws only apply to employees. If you're a musician, rock chick or biker, it's entirely up to you if you want to protect your hearing.
How loud is too loud?
10 dB20 dB Rustling leaves, mosquito buzzing
30 dB Whisper
40 dB Stream, refrigerator humming
50-60 dB Quiet office
50-65 dB Normal conversation
60-65 dB Laughter
60-90dB Snoring (yes, really!)
70 dB Vacuum cleaner, hair dryer
75 dB Dishwasher
78 dB Washing machine
80 dB Refuse lorry, city traffic noise
Prolonged exposure to any noise above 85 dB can cause gradual hearing loss.
84 dB Diesel lorry
70-90 dB 4WD vehicle
88 dB Underground station, motorbike engine
85-90 dB Lawnmower
100 dB Train
97 dB Newspaper press
98 dB Farm tractor
Regular exposure of more than 1 minute risks permanent hearing loss.
103 dB Jet flying overhead at 100 feet
105 dB Snowmobile
110 dB Power saw, symphony orchestra (think about it, musicians!)
120 dB Clap of thunder, disco
110-125 dB CD player at full volume
110-140 dB Rock concert
130-140 dB Jet taking off, shotgun firing