Differences Between Disposable and Custom Earplugs

In Uncategorized by Dr. Arica Black, AuD

Dr. Arica Black, AuD

Consistent exposure to noises louder than 70dB can gradually result in hearing loss. That’s why hearing protection is essential, especially for those who work in noisy environments such as farming, ranching, construction, welding, woodworking, dentistry, etc.


As you look for the right pair of hearing protection, you may find a wide range of options to choose from. There are two main types of hearing protection: disposable and custom. Read on to learn about the main differences:

Disposable Earplugs

Disposable earplugs are arguably the most popular type of ear protection available on the market. As the name implies, they are meant to be thrown away after a few uses,


Disposable earplugs are typically made from a soft foam material that expands and conforms to your ear canal and are commonly sold in drug stores and personal protective equipment suppliers. Some notable brands include Soothers, Pura-Fit, and 3M.


A downside of using disposable earplugs is that there’s a chance they may irritate the ear canal. They can also be less hygienic, especially if the user doesn’t handle them with clean hands. It is also important to know how to insert the earplugs correctly; if they are not placed correctly, they will not keep the hazardous noise out.

Custom Earplugs

Custom earplugs are made by professional audiologists and hearing experts and are designed to fit the contours of your ear canals. Because of this, they are more comfortable for the user and are more effective in blocking out noises than their disposable counterparts. This type also lasts longer and can be cleaned by the owner, making it more hygienic than the disposable option.


A good pair may last between three to five years. They can come in a variety of designs and can reduce sounds by up to 24 dB. If you’re interested in custom earplugs, the brand we recommend is Soundgear.


No matter which option you choose, selecting a suitable ear protection device doesn’t have to be complicated. If you have questions or concerns, contact us at The Hearing Doctor. Our hearing experts and audiologists will be ready to help you.