Hearing protectors can be divided into two groups: ear muffs and ear plugs.
Ear muffs surround the auricle and are sealed against the head with soft padding. A flexible headband (over the head) connects the muffs and ensures that they fit correctly.
Advantages of ear muffs: Quick and easy to use, immediately available, fit everyone, cause no discomfort if one has auditory canal problems and provide good attenuation of high frequencies.
Disadvantages of ear muffs: Unpleasant weight and pressure on the head, very uncomfortable in high temperatures, loss of “hearing direction” (localisation of the source of sound).
Earplugs are worn in the auditory canal or seal it to exclude the noise. Ear plugs can be divided into three groups: disposable, pre-formed and “custom-made”.
Disposable ear plugs
These are made of memory foam that first has to be rolled into a compressed cylinder before being inserted into the auditory canal. Once inserted, the foam expands to its normal dimensions, sealing the auditory canal. They are intended for single use. It is essential that they are inserted correctly and deeply enough to ensure sufficient attenuation.
Pre-formed ear plugs
These are inserted directly into the auditory canal, or seal the entrance to it. They can be used several times and can be cleaned. Here too, it is essential that they are placed correctly and deeply enough to ensure sufficient attenuation.
Advantages (disposable and pre-formed): Immediately available and fit most users, no uncomfortable weight or pressure on the head, no discomfort in warm surroundings, no distortion of directional hearing.
Disadvantages (disposable and pre-formed): The degree of protection is very dependent on correct insertion – practice is needed. Because they gradually work loose, it is necessary and important to keep putting them back in to ensure sufficient protection. Discomfort due to pressure in the auditory canal, limited range of attenuation levels.
Custom-made ear plugs
These are individually custom-made to fit the user’s external auditory canal. The auditory canal is sealed by the plug and the acoustic filter determines the required attenuation.
Advantages (compared to disposable and pre-formed): Maximum wearing comfort – especially for long-term usage, easy to use, secure and stable seal that ensures a high level of protection certainty. A broad range of filters offers the opportunity of attaining the best possible attenuation level, retention of perception of signals and sounds, and, what is more, continuous ventilation of the auditory canal.
Disadvantages: Not immediately available (delivery time), relatively high investment in initial purchase, but will pay in the long run.
When is it advisable to wear hearing protection?
It applies in general that noise levels of 80 dB(A) or less for a maximum of 8 hours per day are not harmful.
You can recognise a level of 80 dB(A) when at a separation of half a metre you must raise your voice in order to be heard. For each increase of 3 dB(A), the safe exposure time reduces by half: that is the amount of time you can remain exposed to this level of noise without damaging your hearing. So, at a noise level of 83 dB(A), the safe exposure time is 4 hours, and at a level of 86 dB(A), only 2 hours! At higher levels, or for longer exposure times, the wearing of hearing protectors is definitely necessary to preclude the risk of hearing damage.
Why choose custom-made hearing protection?
Custom-made hearing protectors have many advantages.
In the first place, they are comfortable to wear. After a while you won’t even notice you’re wearing them. At the same time they provide maximum protection. Our broad range of sound filters makes it easy to choose the right protection. Custom-made hearing protection enables you to continue communicating with others as
normal and there is no need to worry about feeling pressure in your ears.
In short: a custom-made hearing protector is the ideal solution for all noisy situations.
What is the difference between a 'hard' and a 'soft' hearing protector?
Soft hearing protectors, made from silicone material have only been on the market for a few years. They are comfortable to wear in the ear and adjust to the movements of the auditory canal, as the wearer talks for example. This hearing protector therefore seals the ear better than a hard one.
Hard hearing protectors are made of acrylic. These are the oldest and most well-known form of custom-made hearing protectors and are very easy to place in the auditory canal. In many cases, a hard hearing protector is the best solution for people with a very narrow auditory canal.
What degree of attenuation is provided by the Elacin earplugs?
The Elacin range offers a variety of filters (models). You can read what type of filter is most suitable for what hearing protector on our product overview. An audiologist can provide you with more detailed information.
Is it true that the best filter is always the strongest one?
That is a misconception. Too much attenuation is just as irritating as too little. It cuts you off from the outside world and increases the risk of dangerous situations occurring: in traffic, for example.
Can I claim the cost of hearing protectors on my health insurance?
No. Because hearing protection is seen as a preventative measure, no insurance covers them.