Use Earplugs To Sleep Every Night? Here’s What You Need To Know

sleeping with earplugs safety


For the light sleepers of the world, earplugs can be a godsend. They block out the majority of the noises that startle you awake at night, they come in all sorts of plush materials for the ultimate comfort and you can take them pretty much anywhere. But is it really a good idea to snooze with those little things stuffed into your ears night after night?

Surprisingly, earplugs are safe for nightly use… as long as you follow a few ground rules.

Keep ‘Em Clean

The biggest risk associated with wearing earplugs frequently is contracting an ear infection. When you stuff these foreign objects into your ear canals daily and don’t properly clean them or swap them out for a new pair, you end up pushing unwanted bacteria deeper into your ear where it can cause serious pain and health complications if you don’t address the infection right away.

If you invested in a custom pair of earplugs to guarantee yourself the best fit possible, you need to be diligent about how often you clean them with isopropyl alcohol and a cotton swab. And if you prefer the less expensive foam earplugs route, take that “disposable” sign on the label seriously and toss each pair after two or three wears. The soft material might make them super comfortable, but it’s also porous and very susceptible to bacteria growth.

sleeping with earplugs safety
Flickr/Your Best Digs

Rinse Your Ears

Keeping your earplugs clean won’t make much of a difference if your ears are perpetually dirty. If you have an abundance of ear wax, the earplugs push that buildup deeper into your ear canal over time, leading to hearing loss and a frequently ringing sensation in your ears. At that point, you have to use a certain kind of ear drops to soften the wax for removal or have it extracted at your doctor’s office. Either way, not fun. So don’t forget to clean your ears frequently!

Don’t Jam ‘Em In There

When it comes to putting your earplugs in, always exercise caution. Even if you’ve done it a hundred times before, your ear canals are a very sensitive space and shoving hunks of foam in there too far, too fast and too frequently can lead to a world of pain. So be gentle as you slide your earplugs of choice in place — only as far as is necessary to block the sound you’re avoiding. If you feel like you’re forcing them into your ears, you’re doing way too much.

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