For many people, disposable foam earplugs are an important part of the daily routine.
Whether you work in a noisy environment, ride a motorcycle or play a musical instrument, the risks of not wearing hearing protection are well documented. Failure to block out noise can cause irreversible hearing damage, which can have serious implication on a sufferer’s personal and professional life.
There are various types of protection available, from fully enclosed ear defenders to custom fit earplugs and inexpensive disposable foam (PVC) or polyurethane (PU) plugs.
These disposable plugs are by far and away the most popular, but despite their low costs there are some serious health, environmental and cost implications to take into consideration.
Bought in bulk disposable plugs can cost around 25p a pair, up to a few pounds when purchased in small quantities from some retailers, but in most cases they can only be used once before being thrown away. Earplugs can be a breeding ground for bacteria, thanks to the combination of moisture, warmth and dirt in the ear. Reusing dirty earplugs can lead to serious infections of the ears, meaning that it is good practice to throw them away after a single use.
Some people will wash their plugs in soapy water, however this is no guarantee of removing the nasties and can also lead to degradation of the material. If the plugs harden, or don’t return to their original shape when squeezed, then they’ll no longer be effective at blocking out sounds and will need to be thrown away anyway.
So, the cost of foam plugs can soon add up to a couple of quid a month per wearer – and that’s before considering the environmental costs of using disposable plugs. Millions of earplugs are disposed of each day and are sent to landfill. As these are not biodegradable, these are not recycled and can have a serious impact on the environment.
While no one is suggesting for a moment that participants in noisy activities forgo ear protection, there are other ways. Regular users can take advantage of custom fit plugs, or reusable ear plugs like Auritech’s universal fit hearing protectors which can pay for themselves in a matter of weeks, while being less harmful to the environment.
Made from silicone-free, hypoallergenic thermoplastic, the Auritech plugs can be wiped down between uses, while a cleaning kit is also available to keep them in tip-top condition over long-term usage.
Auritech universal plugs also feature a unique venturi shaped filter embedded into the plug, allowing the wearer to clearly hear conversations while reducing harmful sounds. The plugs also have a tapered design, with a diameter from between 6-12mm to ensure they fit wearers of all ages.
Auritech make hearing protectors with a range of different filters for a variety of uses, including Biker, Shoot, Work, Sleep, Music, Travel and Water Sports.
Priced at £19.95, Auritech earplugs can save regular wearers money in the long term, as well as reducing the chance of infection and helping to reduce the number of one use earplugs going to landfill.