It’s very important to protect your children’s ears to prevent long-term damage that might affect their hearing for the rest of their lives. It may not be the first thing you think about, but there are multiple external environments which can harm your child’s ears.
In addition to protecting your children’s hearing at loud events such as gigs and fireworks displays, you also want to protect their ears from the painful and uncomfortable effects of water when swimming and changes in air pressure when flying.
Keep reading to find out which ear plugs are best for protecting your child’s ears in these different circumstances.
Children’s Earplugs for Swimming
When your little one is learning to swim, it can be important to protect their ears from any damage that can occur under water. Whilst swimming, water can enter your ear canal and be problematic if this water does not come out properly. There are children who have medical conditions which they cannot allow water to enter the ear.
‘Glue ear’ is a common in childhood condition causing a child to need grommets fitted; small tubes which help to drain fluid from the ear to maintain the correct air pressure. If water were to enter the ear of a child with grommets, it would cause them discomfort and pain, so it is always necessary for these children to protect their ears and earplugs are the perfect way to do this.
Age Range: Not recommended for children under the age of 2
NRR: 20-22 dB
Putty Buddies are soft silicone earplugs that help keep water out of the ear canal. These ear plugs are bright in colour and also float, so if they happen to be dropped or become dislodged, they can be spotted very easily. Putty Buddies also come with a little case so you can keep them safe!
They can be used by children who have grommets as they cover the ear effectively, but it is suggested that a swimming headband is worn to make sure they stay put.
The plugs are used over the ear opening and are not to be pushed into the ear! An adult should always do this for a child and supervise the child while the earplugs are in use. The earplugs are non-toxic if swallowed but would become dangerous if they get stuck in the ears.
Children’s Earplugs for Flying
Most of us have been on a plane with a screaming child who does not seem to relent throughout most of the flight. This is due to the change in air pressure affecting the child’s ears. Adults often complain of earache after a flight, so imagine a child’s more delicate ears enduring the same effects.
As adults we know of ways to try and release this pressure, such as sucking a boiled sweet or inhaling and swallowing whilst nipping our noses, but these can sometimes be hard to convey to a child.
The best way to combat or at least relieve the problem of air pressure is to use specially made earplugs.
Age Range: No recommendations, but due to directions for use, probably 2+ years
NRR: 20 dB
These earplugs have been specially developed to help reduce the effects of air pressure in the ear whilst on a plane. Earplane Kids are formed from silicone and feature a ceramic pressure regulator. The silicone means the earplug forms an airtight seal in the ear canal and the ceramic pressure regulator acts as a filter to control the flow of air.
The reduction in air pressure makes for a comfortable flight for your child and means there’ll be smiles all round when you reach your destination. Earplane Kids work for short and long-haul flights, as they are recommended to be placed in the ear 1 hour before landing, but they can be used for the entire flight if you wish.
Children’s Earplugs for Concerts
We’ve all come out of a gig or nightclub with dull or ringing ears which can sometimes continue into the next day. This is because the loud noise causes damage to the sensitive cells of the cochlea in your inner ear.
Children’s ears are more sensitive than our own, and younger children are still in their development stages, so any damage caused can be more serious. Continued exposure to loud noises causes tinnitus, which can lead to hearing loss down the line.
If your child has a love of music and often attends their favourite pop-stars’ concerts, then ear plugs could be a great option to keep their ears safe.
Ohropax Mini Soft Earplugs for Smaller Ears
Age Range: More based on ear size than age (smaller ears)
NRR: Up to 35db
Ohropax have created these great mini earplugs for children to protect their ears from exposure to loud sounds. They’re perfect for wearing at a pop concert or a fireworks display! Their soft foam earplugs are reusable and cancel out around 35db of noise, which is very high for earplugs.
The gentle, soft foam is kind to children’s delicate skin and comfortable to wear, which is great for extended use when necessary. They come with a handy, plastic carry case which can be popped into the car or a handbag for on-the-go use!
Children’s Earplugs for Sleeping
As stated above, loud noises can be detrimental to your child’s hearing. Noises of any sort can also be detrimental to your child’s sleep quality.
We’ve all heard of parents tip-toeing around upstairs once the kids are in bed from fear of waking them up. If your child is a light sleeper, it may be a good idea to try out some ear plugs to see if it’s external noises stopping your child from falling into full REM sleep.
Mack’s Safesound Soft Foam Slim Fit Earplugs
Age Range: Not specified
Mack’s Safesound earplugs are made from soft foam, cancel up to 29 decibels and are recommended by doctors. The slim fit of these earplugs makes them perfect for children’s small ears and more comfortable to wear, which is perfect for sleeping. If your kids share a room, earplugs could be a great way to ensure they don’t disturb each other when bedtime rolls around.
Their super low pressure, soft foam is state-of-the-art, releasing slowly once compressed to place into the ears. Low pressure means there’ll be no achy ears in the morning, making for a happy kid who’s had some great, undisturbed sleep!
When it comes to earplugs for children, it is definitely best to try a few products to see which suit your child the best. Everyone’s ears are different, so something that suits one person may not suit another. If you are unsure about whether your child should wear earplugs, then do consult your GP with any questions.