Earplugs are essential for protecting the ears against loud noises. Some people also use earplugs when they are sleeping especially if they live in noisy areas.
This helps them get a good night sleep as though there is no noise around them. However, there is an ongoing debate whether it is safe to sleep with earplugs night after night.
The following piece of writing will discuss the benefits and risks associated with sleeping earplugs.
The benefits of sleeping with earplugs
Sleeping with earplugs can greatly improve the quality of an individual’s sleep. Most people use earplugs to block out loud sounds such as a snoring partner or pet dog barking as they sleep.
The quality of sleep anyone achieves is as important as the number of hours spent sleeping. Loud noises can easily wake one out of deep sleep.
This can be very frustrating since it may take you a few extra minutes to get back to sleeping soundly. After a long day at work, every individual should have a few hours of deep sleep.
According to research carried out in 2006, poor quality sleep over a prolonged period could lead to the following health problems.
- High blood pressure
- Heart attacks
In 2012, another study showed that low quality sleep is associated with inflammation and a poor immune system. This can have adverse effects on your overall health.
Therefore, considering the significance of sleep to your general health, earplugs go a long way to ensure that you achieve a good night sleep.
The side effects of using earplugs
There are a few side effects of using earplugs, especially when used frequently.
With time, earplugs begin to push back ear wax back unto the ear. This can result in two main problems mainly tinnitus and temporary hearing loss.
Fortunately, the accumulated wax can be removed using ear drops which softens the wax. Also, you can have it removed by your doctor.
Earplugs can cause ear infections. Bacteria may begin to grow in the earplugs especially with the build-up of wax on them.
Ear infections are painful and can result in permanent complications such as hearing loss. As a result, ear infections should be treated with immediate effect.
What is the best type of earplug for sleeping?
There are two categories of earplugs: the vented and non-vented earplugs. Vented earplugs have a tiny hole that helps to equalize pressure in the ear. They are commonly used when flying or scuba diving. When sleeping, vented earplugs do not have any advantage over non-vented earplugs.
Vented earplugs are further categorized by the material they are made out of. Below are the few categories.
- Wax – wax earplugs are really convenient. You can easily mold them to fit the size of your ears. They are an excellent choice when swimming as they are waterproof.
- Silicone – hard silicone earplugs are perfect since they can be reused. However, they are slightly uncomfortable for sleeping especially if you sleep on your side.
Soft silicone earplugs on the other side are more comfortable for sleeping. Their downside is that they do not perfectly block out sounds compared to all other earplugs.
- Foam – foam earplugs are quite cheap. They are also soft which makes them an excellent choice when sleeping. However, they provide a good breeding ground for bacteria as they are porous in nature. As a result, you need to replace them regularly.
Additionally, you can ask your doctor to make you some custom made earplugs. A mold from your ears is created which helps in designing the actual shape of the earplugs. Customized earplugs are expensive and need to be cleaned frequently.
These earplugs also completely block out all noises including alarm clocks or your noisy neighbor playing their grand piano. Therefore, it is essential to use them with a lot of caution.
How to use earplugs
Using earplugs correctly can significantly reduce the risks of having any side effects.
Outlined below are a few steps to safely make use of earplugs.
- When rolling the earplug, always use clean hands and ensure it fits into the ear.
- Pull the earlobe away from the head.
- Insert the earplug deep enough into the ear to block all sounds. Do not force it into the ear as it could irritate the eardrum.
- When using foam earplugs, place your hand over the ear so that it expands and full the ear.
- When using easily disposable earplugs such as those made out of foam, ensure that you replace them after two to three days. You can also recycle them.
However, you will have to wash them in warm soapy water every day. Before using them, ensure that they are completely dry to avoid the growth of bacteria.
Earplugs are an excellent solution to improve the quality of sleep in noisy environments. If you are a light sleeper in such an area, invest in some good quality earplugs.
However, ensure that you clean them as often as possible, preferably after every use. You can also replace them regularly. This will help avert any ear infections. Also, do not force them deep into the ear.