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Foam vs. Silicone Earplugs

A big bucket of earplugs in the shop makes ear protection easy. But, depending on your worksite, some types may work better than others. Whether your workers have expensive, custom-made ear protection to ensure their ears are safe, or even if most of your workers wear earmuffs, a handy box of bulk earplugs is helpful for emergencies, visitors, and for when a worker loses or misplaces their usual ear protection.

Two of the most common earplugs available in bulk quantities are foam and silicone, otherwise known as disposable (foam) or reusable (silicone). The question many shop owners have to answer is which is better for their shop. In this article, we’ll help you understand the difference between the two so you can make an educated decision when you buy your bulk earplugs.

Bulk Foam Earplugs for sale

Foam earplugs

Typically made of memory foam, these are designed to create a seal in your ear canal to block out noise. To use these workers roll the plug to squish, then push it into their ear canal. For more information on how to properly use foam earplugs, read our ‘how to’ on the blog. However, because they are made of foam, they can not be cleaned and thus are disposable. When shopping for foam earplugs, it’s important to remember there are a great variety of brands that make foam earplugs, and they look and feel different from brand to brand. For small shops with few workers, it is helpful to try a variety of brands to ensure you find a fit that works best for you and your employees.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Disposable
  • Effective protection against excessive noise
  • Many people find them comfortable
  • Fits easily in pockets

Cons

  • Difficult to insert
  • Can go through them quickly
  • Uneven frequency attenuation
  • Risk of infection from dirty hands

Silicone earplugs

Silicone earplugs feature flexible ridges that create a seal in your ear canal to block out excessive noise. Unlike foam, which requires a specific insertion method, silicone earplugs area simple and easy to use – just push them into your ears until they seal. Because they are made of silicone, they are also washable, which means they are reusable. However, because of their small size, they are also easy to lose, which means workers will still need new earplugs on a daily basis.

Pros

  • Easy to insert
  • Washable and reusable
  • Inexpensive
  • Some types offer more ‘even’ ear protection
  • Some types can be used in water

Cons

  • More expensive per unit

The right choice for your worksite

Finding the right choice for your shop will make it easier for everyone on the worksite to maintain their ear protection constantly.

To find the right ear protection for your worksite, call Colony Distribution today.