We live in a day and age where we are more aware about hearing protection than we were even 20 years ago.  However despite that according to the CDC

Occupational hearing loss is one of the most common work-related illnesses in the United States. Each year, about 22 millionExternal U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels at work.

According to the CDC 27% of all agricultural workers, 46% of all manufacturing workers, 51% of all construction workers, 61% of all mining, oil & gas workers have been exposed to hazardous levels of noise that can cause hearing loss and tinnitus.

That’s a lot of hearing loss!

Based on reports some workers choose not to wear hearing protection which means for some their hearing protection is not adequate enough. So what is out there and which one is the best hearing protection money can buy?


foam ear plugs

Pros: Inexpensive

Cons: One Time Use, Can Irritate Ear Canal

Conversations: Because they don’t block a lot of noise with yelling you can have a conversation without removing them.

Effectiveness:  Not very effective as doesn’t block all sounds and frequencies


Pros: Inexpensive

Cons: One Time Use, Can Irritate Ear Canal, Can Cause Moisture Buildup

Conversations: Have to be taken out to have a conversation which then causes issues putting them back in repeatedly

Effectiveness:  They tend to create a better seal in the ear so can block loud sounds more effectively


earmuff hearing protection

Pros: Affordable, Various Models to choose from, Can clip on helmets to hold in place

Cons: Heavy, Cause sweating around ears in summer if outdoors or warm environments

Conversations: Easier, have to remove at least one ear and hold way from ear to hold a conversation

Effectiveness:  Effective, they block out the most frequencies and loud noise compared to foam & silicone earplugs


Universal Earplugs

Pros: Reusable, Inexpensive,  Many styles to choose from for best fit

Cons: Unhygienic (reusable and prone to getting dirty), Can cause moisture build up in the ear

Conversations: Need to be removed but because they are reusable they are usually easier to put back in.

Effectiveness:  Like silicon, they can cause a good seal and block out more than foam but less than earmuffs.


Pros: Reusable, Custom fit for your ears

Cons: Expensive, Purchased through special companies only, If has a speaker will need to have batteries replaced

Conversations: Need to be removed unless you purchase a version from Tympro (featured above) with a built-in speaker for conversations

Effectiveness:  Effective as it is custom fit for your ear, however no real indication of what frequencies and volumes it can protect from.


Pros: Reusable, Varied eartips for best fit, Most Effective

Cons: Expensive, Run on batteries so need to be charged every 50 hours of use

Conversations: No need to remove, the frequency of speech is clearly heard while blocking all other frequencies!

Effectiveness:  Most effective at blocking a large range of frequencies and volumes


In the world of hearing protection pricing can be deceiving and you do get what you pay for.  The $1 foam earplugs aren’t that effective and can still lead to hearing loss, whereas the $100 earmuffs are more effective but the $229 electronic earplugs are most effective for a few reasons.

  1. The biggest factor is the ability to have conversations without having to remove them.  Conversations are always required in the workplace and to have to remove your hearing protection over and over during the course of the day exposes your ears to hazardous levels of noise that can do damage even in a short period of time. As well, taking out and putting back in traditional earplugs causes discomfort and if your hands are dirty then the risk of ear infections as well.
  2. Their effectiveness and blocking all frequencies and levels of noise so it ensures proper protection of your hearing no matter what industry you work in.  Whether it’s a high frequency from a saw or the low frequency of machinery you are protected.
  3. Comfort is key, they are lightweight, secure and come with a variety of ear tips (foam and silicone) to ensure the best fit and comfort for your ears and aren’t heavy on your head like earmuffs, the next closest in effectiveness.


The average foam earplug cost is $50 for about 200 good quality earplugs.  On average a worker works 210 days or more per year so your cost is $50 for just less than a year, QuietOn Active Noise Cancelling Earplugs will cost you $299 but should also last you more than 2 years.  So if we assume at least 2 years life your cost is only $150 more than what foam earplugs would have cost you over the 2 years.

Earplanes- Child-box


Introducing Earplanes™, a revolutionary disposable Ear Plug System designed to eliminate ear pain and discomfort during air travel. At the heart of Earplanes™ lies the innovative patented CeramX™ filter, a technological marvel that transforms your flying experience. This advanced filter is meticulously crafted to enable the natural adjustment of air entering the ear, seamlessly adapting to the shifting air pressure during takeoff and landing.

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Etymotic Research High-Fidelity Earplug Professional Musician ER-20


Introducing patented 'Hi-Fi' technology ear plugs, a revolutionary advancement equipped with an integrated tuned resonator and acoustic resistor. This ingenious design empowers users to experience the world with natural clarity while selectively attenuating a portion of high-intensity noise or sound. In stark contrast to traditional ear plugs that provide maximal sound reduction, innovation strikes the perfect balance between preserving auditory richness and diminishing unwanted noise.

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Flents Silicone Earplugs- 6/pk

Introducing Silaflex Soft Silicone Ear Plugs – the ultimate solution for safeguarding water-sensitive ears during aquatic activities like swimming, bathing, and showering. Crafted from a supple and smooth silicone material, Silaflex Ear Plugs offer unparalleled comfort and protection. This pliable composition effortlessly conforms to ears of all sizes, ensuring a secure and customized fit. The added benefit of being washable allows for repeated usage, making them an economical choice for long-term protection.
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Phonak Serenity Choice Work


Serenity Choice™ Work stands as versatile, eco-friendly hearing defense, crafted to serve as essential Personal Protective Equipment within clamorous work settings such as industrial workshops, agricultural landscapes, infrastructure development, and construction zones. This innovation is indispensable wherever well-being and security dictate the implementation of auditory safeguarding, notably in scenarios surpassing the recommended 85 dB noise threshold.

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QuietOn Pro noise-canceling earplugs

QuietOn Dental active noise-canceling earplugs are the ideal solution to protect hearing and reduce anxiety while in a dental office setting. The optimized technology allows users to block out most of the audible spectrum of dental office noise while still being able to communicate with both patients and staff. Make appointments more pleasant, no matter what type of patient is visiting, by recommending QuietOn earplugs; they help create a better experience all around!
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Sound Guard Ear Plugs 200/box

Introducing Sound Guard Ear Plugs – a comprehensive solution provided in a box containing 200 ear plugs. With this generous quantity, you're equipped with a robust supply of premium ear protection, ready to shield your ears from noise and create a more serene auditory experience. Trust in Sound Guard Ear Plugs to safeguard your hearing, whether you're in a bustling work environment or seeking tranquility in your daily activities.
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Tasco Hi-Rated Golden Eagle Ear Muffs

Discover the harmonious blend of comfort, adaptability, and protection – all meticulously crafted in the USA to ensure your hearing's safety and well-being. Your comfort and peace of mind are our commitment.
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Tasco Model 2900 Super Muffs

Discover the harmonious blend of comfort, adaptability, and protection – all meticulously crafted in the USA to ensure your hearing's safety and well-being. Your comfort and peace of mind are our commitment.
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