Earplugs, Do They Live Up to Their NRR?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Alue, Jan 29, 2016.

tinnitus forum
    1. Alue

      Alue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      I have tried various kinds of ear plugs, but they never really feel like the live up to their claimed NRR to me. They claim 33db Noise reduction, but it doesn't seem like that much. I recently got earmuffs that are rated 30db noise reduction and they reduce noise so much greater than the 33db ear plugs.

      Does anyone else have issues with ear plugs? Maybe my ear canals are just larger or oddly shaped that ear plugs don't fit well. I work in an area where there are a lot of loud noises and with my new T and H hearing protection is a must.
       
    2. Dave111
      Bashful

      Dave111 Member

      Location:
      Nederland
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013 worse 2/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Emotional abuse + recording guitar. Songname: Never give up -_-
      You have too push them deep.
       
    3. glynis-harbron
      Feminine

      glynis-harbron Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Awareness Team Research

      Location:
      England, Stoke-on-Trent
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Meniere's Disease
      I like the tree like ones and slightly twist them as I put them in.
      No problem with them....lots of love glynis
       
    4. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term NIHL and recent acoustic trauma
      I found ear muffs to be better but some ear plugs are good too
      It's not always easy to put plugs deep and well seated
      muffs are easier to get used to and less irritating when wearing them for extended time than plugs unless it's very hot
       
    5. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term NIHL and recent acoustic trauma
      How does NRR change decibels of exposure?
      When hearing protection is worn, your level of exposure to noise is based on the NRR rating of the protection device being used. Keep in mind, however, that while the NRR is measured in decibels, the hearing protector being used does not reduce the surrounding decibel level by the exact number of decibels associated with that protector’s NRR. For example, if you are at a rock concert where the level of noise exposure is 100 dB and you are wearing earplugs with an NRR 33dB, your level of exposure would not be reduced to 67 dB. Instead, to determine the actual amount of decibel deduction applied (when decibels are measured dBA which is the most common), you take the NRR number (in dB), subtract seven, and then divide by two. Given the previous example, your noise reduction equation would look like the following: (33-7)/2 = 13. This means that if you are at a rock concert with a level of noise exposure at 100 dB and you are wearing a hearing protector with an NRR 33 dB, your new level of noise exposure is 87 dB. If you are wearing a product with an NRR of 27 it would deduct 10 decibels (27-7/2=10).
       
      • Informative Informative x 1
    6. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      It completely depends upon the seal formed in your ear. If the seal is tight and you follow the insertion depth guidelines, then you will benefit from the full lab tested reduction.

      However, if the seal has a gap, or the overall fit is not so good then you won't get the full benefit, and the equation posted by Bobby above seems to be the go to formula. It is only an mean estimation though.

      Musician ear plugs will give you the full reduction because they are specifically made for your ears.
       
    7. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      That reduction also takes into account all the people who don't insert the plugs properly. If you roll and deeply insert the foam ones, such as hearos, you will most likely get the full reduction. The problem is when people mis use them and only push the tip into their ear.
       
    8. CDNThailand

      CDNThailand Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/17/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      MP3, Stress, TMJ
      Are you 100% sure about that?
       
    9. CDNThailand

      CDNThailand Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/17/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      MP3, Stress, TMJ
      What about post below? Do you get full nrr benefit if you fit the plugs properly?
       
    10. Alue

      Alue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Lol, old thread. But I did find out my ear canals are larger than normal hence I didn't get a good seal no matter how deep I would place them in.

      A way I came up with for estimating the noise reduction you are getting is by using a hearing test app and headphones. Determine your hearing threshold, then put in earplugs and put the same headphones on. If you have to raise the sound level about 30 db above your threshold then that's a good estimate of the reduction you are getting.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    11. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      Yea. The reduction numbers are created in a lab under perfect conditions, but what you find in the real world is not exactly perfect. Everyone's ear canals are different sizes and shapes, so you are relying on the foam plugs to expand and completely seal off your ears. In some cases this may leave a gap or it may not be possible to roll and insert the plugs deep enough. Then you have the instances where people just don't use them properly and have them half hanging out their head.

      Custom plugs are more comfortable and are made to fit your ears. Whatever specs they state should be what you are getting. If you use a blanking cap instead of a filter you should get around 30db reduction in sound.
       
    12. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      Just to add to above, have a read through these:

      http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.hearin...16_Conference/Presentations/Alberto_Behar.ppt
      http://www.protectear.com/nrr-rating/
      https://www.magidglove.com/nrr_snr_defined.aspx

      One excerpt that gets to the point is this:

      Another single number rating is based on (Subject Fit) Real Ear Attenuation measurements, known as Single Number Rating (Subject Fit 84th percentile) and abbreviated as SNR (SF 84) (for details see ANSI Standard S12.6). “SF 84” indicates that 84% of the users in a well run hearing conservation program are expected to receive at least that much protection.

      This is the plug I use; although I have 3 different filters:

      http://www.hearingprotection.co.uk/images/stories/ACSPRO-26.pdf
       
      Last edited: Dec 16, 2016

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