Choices for Hearing Protection

Earplugs and muffs have a noise reduction rating, or NRR. The NRR tells you how many decibels your protection will block. Check the NRR and decide what protection is right for you. Ear plugs and muffs can be worn together to block even more noise.

Disposable ear plugs

  • Made of dense foam

  • May come joined by cord to prevent loss

  • Lightweight, comfortable, easy to fit

Fitting disposable ear plugs

  • Wash hands

  • Roll and compress ear plug into a point

  • Reach over head and pull ear up and back

  • Insert plug into ear and hold in place until it expands

Care of disposable ear plugs

  • Discard if foam doesn't expand to fill ear canal

  • Discard if dirty or after each use

Reusable ear plugs

  • Made of flexible rubber or silicone

  • May come joined by cord to prevent loss or as headband

  • Easy to put in and take out many times a day

Fitting reusable ear plugs

  • Wash hands

  • Reach over head and pull ear up and back

  • Insert plug into ear

  • For headband: gently pull apart, release plugs into ears

Care of reusable ear plugs

  • Wash plugs in soap and water

  • Discard if torn or warped or if headband breaks


  • Cushions filled with foam or liquid

  • May come attached to a hard hat

  • Difficult to wear with glasses or over hair that covers ears

Fitting muffs

  • Push hair away from ears

  • Place cushions over ears

  • Press cushions to create a seal around ears

  • Wear headband over top of head, not around neck

Care of muffs

  • Wipe cushions clean with damp cloth and soap

  • Don't modify headband or cushions

  • Replace cushions if torn, replace headband if bent

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