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Earplugs vs. Earmuffs: How to Choose the Proper Hearing Protection for your Job

There are a variety of ways you can protect your ears from the assault of loud and high-pitched noises at work. Disposable ear plugs and ear-covering earmuffs each have their own role to play in protecting your hearing. Deciding between earplugs vs. earmuffs can be hard because both do a good job of an extremely important task: hearing protection.

The importance of hearing protection

The sad truth is our hearing will only diminish with age. Our ears work by funnelling sound waves into our ear canals to resound off our eardrums. From there, the sound waves move through a variety of small bones, including the hammer, anvil and stirrup, and into our cochlea, where small hairs vibrate sending signals that our brain interprets as sounds. Most of those aspects are robust and will heal if damaged.

But, the small hairs that send the final signal are not only delicate, but also do not heal if broken.

Every bit of damage done inside the cochlea is for life, and the accumulation of damage will leave your hearing dulled, or even non-existent.


Earplugs are small, foam devices that are placed in the ear canal to deaden noise from the environment. There are plenty of reasons earplugs may be preferred in a work environment, including that they are:

  • Smaller and more convenient
  • More comfortable in hot or humid work conditions
  • Less intrusive, physically

However, ear plugs have their limitations and frustrations, including:

  • Increased time to put on
  • Ill-fitting in the ear canal
  • Easy to put in wrong
  • Irritation of the ear canal
  • Easily lost when taken out


Instead of placing in the ear, ear muffs are placed over top of the ear, covering the organ in a shroud which deadens noise. Like ear plugs, ear muffs have their own pros and cons. They are good for:

  • Easy fitment across users
  • Easy to monitor usage
  • Difficult to lose
  • Won’t irritate the ear canal

While their large size does make them easier to find, they come with their own limitations, including:

  • Less convenient
  • Uncomfortable in hot or humid work conditions
  • May interfere with wearing safety or prescription glasses which could render the earmuffs less effective.

Dual protection

For particularly noisy environments, where lessening your time or the volume of the noise is impossible, using both types of hearing protection can help you ensure you will protect your hearing for years to come.

Call Colony Distribution today to find out which ear protection is right for you!


Colony Distribution Inc.