Ear Defenders v Ear Plugs

Ear defenders and ear plugs are both great solutions for cutting down the risk of damage to your hearing.  However, it might be a bit tricky deciding which one will suit you best.  Today, we’re going to take a look at both and work out which one is likely to be best for you.

Ear plugs

The chances are that you probably already know what ear plugs are.  You’re on this website, after all!  Ear plugs are typically smaller, squidgy and soft slotted into the opening of the ear canal, and block noise from coming through.

Ear defenders

Ear defenders are externally worn.  Essentially, they’re very similar to ear muffs but with material built in to help block out excessive noise.

So, which will suit your needs better?  Well, there are three main things you should consider.


This is more a matter of personal preference than anything else.  If you’re OK with having things in your inner ear, then you’re probably going to be OK with traditional earplugs.  However, many people aren’t so keen on this: if that’s you, then ear defenders will allow you to safeguard your hearing without discomfort.


Ear defenders are traditionally a bit pricier: budget models usually come it at around £15, with the most expensive models costing upwards of £150 or so.  Top-level professional ear-plugs can cost upwards of £100, so at the elite end of the scale there isn’t actually much in it.  However, cheaper ear-plugs can be found for less than £1 a pair, so if your budget is pared to the bone, ear-plugs are probably the best option.

Long-term use

If you’re planning to wear your noise reduction accessories for long periods of time (i.e. if you’re exposed to loud noises at work), then comfort should be the major priority alongside actual noise prevention.  If this is the case, then a good pair of ear defenders is probably the best choice, especially if you’re on a lower budget.  Unless you’ve £100 or more to spend on a custom moulded pair of ear plugs, that is!

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