Should one avoid daily usage of earplugs?

SteadyHealth writes:

Regardless, wearing these earplugs in the long run may prove to have certain health risks as well. The long-term earplugs may lead to excessive accumulation of earwax and debris inside the ear, possibly leading to the occurrence of tinnitus, hearing loss, ear discharge, pain or infections in the area. In order to avoid this, keep the ear and the earplug clean.

SpecSavers writes:

Continued use of ear plugs may interfere with the wax migration process and lead to a build-up of wax, which can cause temporary ear pain or dulled hearing.


The second possible consequence of continuous use of ear plugs is an increased risk of ear infection.

Are those concerns something that the average person should care about, or are they overblown? If the average person should care about it, what risk mitigation strategies should they follow?

  • I personally think they're overblown. I've been using earplugs every night for probably ten years and have noticed no ill effects. I use Hearos brand earplugs and never reuse them. They are quite soft. I already have tinnitus (nothing to do with earplugs), so wouldn't notice that.
    – BillDOe
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 5:29
  • 1
    Possible duplicate of Is long-term use of ear plugs harmful?
    – user7
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 11:40

1 Answer 1


High quality custom ear plugs (e.g., http://www.etymotic.com/consumer/hearing-protection/erme.html although all custom plug are essentially the same materials) are essentially identical to the molds used in some hearing aids. Hearing aid users are encouraged to use their aids all day every day. Increased build up of ear wax can be a problem, but can easily be treated at home. Cheaper foam ear plugs can deteriorate in the canal and add debris.

  • Why the downvote. Have I said something that requires a reference?
    – StrongBad
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 1:13

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