It is very unlikely that you will be able to have a good night’s rest when you have a snoring partner next to you or some other disturbing noises around you. Earplugs seem like an effective solution when you just need to block off the noise and go to sleep, right? Well the answer is not so straightforward.
While you may be able to sleep peacefully with your earplugs, they may actually be doing more harm than good. Curious as to how? Read on to find out more.
Noise in your environment
After a tiring and exhausting day, everyone looks forward to bedtime hoping for a good night’s sleep to wake up rejuvenated and refreshed the next day. However, sometimes, that beauty sleep we all want eludes us, no thanks to the noise in our environment.
Research has shown that anything that contributes to noise when you want to sleep can have a major impact on the quality of sleep you get, that is if you are able to get any sleep at all through the night.
Noise in this case does not just refer to loud noises such as barking dogs or a snoring partner. Even sounds at 40 decibels which is comparable to a quiet whisper at least six feet away from you is enough to keep you turning around in bed all night according to reports from the National Sleep Foundation.
Sleep deprivation is a terrible thing so it wouldn’t be out of place for you to seek earplugs that you can use at night to shut out the snoring and other disturbing noises. However, as tempting as using earplugs may be, it might not be the best idea for you.
In this article, we are going to discuss the dangers of nightly earplug use and the better alternatives.
What are the dangers of using earplugs regularly?
Granted, earplugs are really effective at blocking out the noise of a snoring partner, barking dogs, traffic outside your house and several other disturbing sounds that may keep you up at night. But are they safe? The answer is no. Earplugs can cause damage to your ears and here are some of those damages.
- Impacted earwax
Your ears were designed to drain ear wax regularly via a self cleansing mechanism. The wax is secreted from glands in the outer ear and it traps dirt, debris and grit, preventing them from going into the inner canal of the ear. As much as this wax is beneficial to your ear, it needs to be drained out regularly to keep your ear clean and avoid a wax build up.
Now, imagine a scenario where the wax is ready to be drained out but your ears are plugged up, what do you think will happen to the ear wax?
Your earplugs are a stopper to the natural flow of wax and this may be a non issue if you only use your earplugs occasionally but when it becomes a night time ritual, it prolongs the period of time earwax is supposed to remain in the ear which will affect the ability of your ear to efficiently drain the earwax. This can lead to a condition known as Impacted Ear Wax.
- Ear infections
Impacted ear wax poses the risk of ear infections. The ear wax can go deeper into the ear canal to rest in the ear drums which is quite prone to infection.
Ear wax in the inner ear canal can also cause tinnitus and discomfort. How you handle your earplugs can also pose the risk of ear infections. For instance, if you do not clean your earplugs regularly and properly, then there is the possibility of bacteria build up on the surface and for every time you insert them into you ears, you are essentially introducing bacteria to your system.
Bacterial infections can be nasty and difficult to treat and if you get one, you might need a lot more than earplugs for a good night’s sleep. There have also been reported cases of pressure sores and allergic reactions to the foam on earplugs.
- Pushing the earplug deep into the ear canal
No matter what you do, do not wet the earplugs, using saliva as lubricant so that they can slide in more easily into your ears. Apart from the fact that you would be introducing bacteria from your mouth to your ears, this could push the earplugs further into your ears than necessary.
Doctors advise that anything smaller than your elbow should not go into your ear, but your earplugs are quite small and as they are designed to be inserted into the ear.
This design is a potential hazard because those tiny things could so easily slip into your inner ear canals beyond the grasp of your fingers.
Earplugs in your inner ear may put pressure on the eardrum, potentially rupturing the membrane.
Your earplugs are far too deep in your ear canal if you notice excess pressure or pain in your ear or you are unable to pull it out with your fingers.
You are probably thinking “how is that possible ?” Well it’s impossible until it happens, and you know what they say, better to be safe than sorry.
- Impaired hearing
Earplugs have one purpose – to block out noise. Now, the deal is that your earplugs can not differentiate between plain bothersome noise, which is what you want to shut out and warning sounds that you definitely do not want to block out.
Sounds like the alarm on your alarm clock, the smoke detector alarm or emergencies like someone calling for help or someone breaking into your house are important sounds that you need to hear but could potentially be muffled by your earplugs.
So while using your earplugs might seem like a good thing when going to bed, you will definitely not be pleased if you wake up late for work in the morning or worse, to a burning house.
Good sleep is as important as your personal safety and awareness and whenever you wear earplugs to bed, you compromise the latter for the former.
- Improper removal of earplugs
When removing your earplugs, it is important to ensure that you are as careful and as gentle as you could possibly be, using a slow twisting motion is recommended. This is because earplugs work with design which creates a kind of suction with your ear. This shuts out noise in the background while keeping the earplugs in place so they do not fall off.
Now, trying to remove your earplugs too fast can cause the suction to pull on your eardrum which could rupture the delicate membrane of the inner ear.
Injury to the ear canal can lead to discomfort, increased susceptibility to ear infections and partial or total loss of hearing. You do not want to never be able to hear again simply because you were trying to block out the noise of your snoring husband at night, do you?
Having gone through the dangers of using ear plugs, it is undeniable that the disadvantages of using ear plugs outweigh their advantages. That said, if you have a snoring partner, and you really love to sleep peacefully at night, the good news is that using ear plugs are not the only way you can get that sleep you so badly want. As a matter of fact, there is a better alternative which does not even involve you at all. This alternative is called SomnoMed Oral Appliances for your Snoring bed partner.
What is SomnoMed?
SomnoMed is a company specializing in continuous open airway therapy for people with Snoring and Sleep Apnea. People suffering from Sleep Apnea may experience brief interruptions of breathing when sleeping which could make them snore when they sleep.
While snoring is not a gender-specific condition, it is more common in men and as such, women are more likely to be kept up at night by their snoring partners.
If that is your case, then ditch the earplugs and get your partner a SomnoDent Oral Appliance. Manufactured by SomnoMed, SomnoDent is the best intraoral device in the market right now for treating snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.
It is an oral sleep device worn in the mouth by a person who snores when they want to sleep. It works by putting the jaw in a forward position to keep the airway open. The device fits the mouth like an orthodontic retainer or mouth guard. This is the perfect solution to getting a good night’s rest because instead of blocking out the snoring, it treats the snoring itself.
Basically, earplugs treat the symptoms while SomnoDent treats the underlying cause.
Below are some of the benefits of treating snoring with the SomnoDent intraoral appliance instead of wearing earplugs every night.
- SomnoDent uses a unique SMH BFlex technology which provides exceptional comfort to the user such that the patient can talk comfortably even while wearing the appliance.
- The device is manufactured with top quality acrylic to ensure that they can last as long as possible for the user. According to SomnoMed, their appliance has a life expectancy of 5 to 7 years and with a 3 year warranty from the company against manufacturing defects, you can bet they are not joking around.
- SomnoDent is FDA 510(k) approved and the device is manufactured and packaged at an ISO 13485 certified facility so patients can be rest assured of the credibility of the treatment.
- The treatment of obstructive sleep apnea using SomnoDent has been tested in more than 15 independent studies and having passed every single one of them, the clinical benefits of the device are undeniable.
- About 91% of patients who use SomnoDent have reported improvements in their quality of sleep and reduction of snoring
Other alternatives to earplugs
There are a few other alternatives to using ear plugs and while some of them may not be as effective as earplugs in completing blocking out background noise, they are less risky and hazardous to health. Some of them include;
- Soundproof headphones
Unlike earplugs which go into your ears, soundproof headphones are worn over the ears thus reducing the chances of introducing bacteria into the ear which can lead to ear infection. Also, there are a lot bigger and as such, the possibility of them slipping into the delicate parts of your ear are non existent.
- White noise/sound machines
While these machines do not technically block out the snoring sounds and other noises in the background, they can help to neutralize them. These machines are designed to play calming sounds such as white noise, ocean waves, waterfalls and rainfall to help you relax and eventually sleep.
Like the sound machines, a fan will not block off the noise completely but it can muffle the bothersome sounds you do not want hear while circulating the air around to help you sleep better.
The truth is that when used properly, earplugs might be your best bet at blocking out unwanted noise and getting that beauty sleep you want. However, the problem arises when you use them consistently and incorrectly.
Using your earplugs incorrectly can cause damages to the delicate mechanisms of your ear and depending on the severity of the damage, you might be left with a minor ear infection or worst case scenario, permanent loss of hearing. This is surely not the result you want!
Thus, try your best to avoid going to bed with earplugs, and if you must, then ensure that you are absolutely comfortable with them and cut down your frequency of use to the barest minimum.
You can also consider using customized earplugs made out of soft silicone and are designed to fit your ears. However, if the cause of the bothersome noise is a snoring partner, always remember that nothing beats SomnoDent. It is effective, portable, comfortable to use and only requires minimal care. You can read up more information about the SomnoDent oral appliance here.
With so many high-quality, scientifically-validated devices to choose from for treating snoring, sleep apnea, bruxism, and more, Somnomed’s reliability is clear!
If you’re struggling to get a good night’s rest, don’t suffer any longer. At Advanced Sleep Centers of Virginia, our team of highly-trained sleep professionals can help you determine if oral appliance therapy is right for you.
Our specialists make the process of diagnosing and treating obstructive sleep apnea, snoring, and other sleep disorders simple with at-home sleep tests, online scheduling, smartpone applications and a secure telemedicine portal where you can communicate with sleep professionals privately and quickly.
Is you are your loved one suffering from a sleep disorder? Ready to ditch the earplugs? We’re here to help! You can schedule an appointment online or call us today at (703) 689-2480.