If you have trouble sleeping due to a snoring spouse or living on a high traffic street, you may choose to use earplugs to drown out unwanted noises and to help you fall asleep faster. However, there are a few risks that you should be aware of if earplugs are part of your nightly bedtime routine.
Ears are sensitive and vulnerable. Although you may associate ear infections with children and swimmers, anyone can get an ear infection. If you do not keep your earplugs clean, bacteria can grow on your plugs and infect your ears. Make sure to clean your earplugs regularly using rubbing alcohol. You should also have a clean, dry case in which to store your earplugs when you are not using them. Buying disposable earplugs may be a better option if you are prone to ear infections.
Too Much Noise Blocking
Not all earplugs are created equal. Some earplugs simply muffle noises, while others are complete noise blockers. You want to make sure that your earplugs aren't zoning you out so much that you do not hear your child screaming if he is sick in the middle of the night. Earplugs can also be dangerous if you live alone and don't have someone else in your house to wake you up if a fire alarm goes off or if there is a break-in.
Ear Wax and Earplugs
Clean the earwax out of your ears with cotton swabs. The plugs will only push the wax further into your ear canal if you allow excess ear wax to build up. If enough wax builds up in parts of your ear where it doesn't belong, it can actually cause hearing loss. Although this type of hearing loss can be treated, it is still best to prevent the situation completely by practicing proper hygiene techniques.
Invest in a pair of earplugs that are intended for sleeping use if you feel earplugs are the only way to help you sleep. If you purchase a cheap pair of swimming earplugs from the chemist, your plugs may end up causing you pain and discomfort when you wake up in the morning depending on the position that you sleep in. Also talk to your doctor about other ways to drown out noise.