Silicone ear plugs are ear plugs which are made from silicone, a rubber-like chemical compound which is utilized in a wide variety of ways. This ear plug design is available from drug stores, swim shops, musical supply catalogs, and medical suppliers. Compared to some other ear plugs on the market, silicone ear plugs tend to be more expensive, but some people believe that they offer superior performance in the realm of ear protection, making the extra cost acceptable.
As a substance, silicone has a number of interesting traits which make it suitable for ear plugs. It is famous for having a memory, which helps it to fill the external section of the ear canal completely, because the silicone molds to the ear's shape. It is also soft and malleable, making it easy to insert and remove without damaging the ear, and it is nontoxic, inert, and safe for use in ears of all ages.
Most silicone ear plugs are reusable, and because silicone is heat-resistant, they can be run through a dishwasher or boiled in a sterile solution for periodic cleaning. The shape of these ear plugs varies, with most looking like little wedges which can be inserted into the external part of the ear canal, and many companies make an array of colors.
For noise protection, silicone ear plugs are very effective. They can be used by musicians, hunters, and other people who work in loud environments to reduce the risk of hearing loss by protecting the ears from loud noises. They also effectively seal water out of the ear, which can be very useful for swimmers, divers, and other people who engage in aquatic sports. The soft texture keeps the ear plugs very comfortable to wear, allowing people to use them for snoring relief overnight, or for plugging the ears against loud ambient noises like garbage trucks and ambulances.
Like all ear plugs, silicone ear plugs need to be inserted and removed with care so that they do not damage the ear. To insert, the ear plugs should be rolled between the fingers and then carefully inserted into the external area of the ear canal and held for a moment while the silicone molds to the area. Forcing the plugs into the ear is not advised. To remove, the edge of the ear plug should be gently pulled towards the ground or the back of the head to break the seal so that the ear plug falls out. Abruptly tugging ear plugs can cause hearing damage.