Can you reuse earplugs?

In this article, we discuss how one can reuse earplugs. Furthermore, we also discuss the methods how you can clean and use them in a safe manner.

Can you reuse earplugs?

Earplugs are typically meant to be disposable. However, they can be reused until earwax or dirt accumulates at the user’s choice. Then you should absolutely invest in a new pair.

What are earplugs and how are they useful

Earplugs are great for protecting your ears from loud noises, but they are also used by many individuals to sleep. For light sleepers or persons who live in a loud location, they can make a huge impact.

Even yet, there’s still controversy about whether sleeping with earplugs every night is safe. Continue reading to discover more about the advantages and disadvantages of sleeping with earplugs on a regular basis.

Sleeping using earplugs can enhance the quality of your sleep greatly. Earplugs are the sole option for many individuals to shut out noises while sleeping, such as traffic noise from a nearby freeway or a snoring companion.

This is important since the quality of your sleep is just as important as the quantity. Loud noises might jolt you up from a deep slumber.

Even if you merely wake up for a few seconds, the benefits are long-lasting. After a long day, it takes time for your body to recover to the deep sleep phase that it requires.

According to a 2006 reportTrusted Source, low-quality sleep over a long period of time may increase your risk of:

  • High blood pressure
  • Strokes
  • Diabetes
  • Heart attacks
  • Obesity
  • Depression

Poor sleep has also been related to inflammation and lowered immunological function, all of which are harmful to your health, according to another source from 2012.

Side effects of using earplugs

Because sleep is so important for your entire health, earplugs provide benefits that go far beyond merely having a good night’s sleep.

Earplugs are usually considered to be safe. They do, however, have a few possible adverse effects, especially if used often.

Earplugs can force earwax back into your ear, resulting in a buildup over time. This can result in a variety of issues, including tinnitus and temporary hearing loss.

You may either use ear drops to soften the wax or get it removed by your doctor to get rid of it.

Various types of earplugs

There are two types of earplugs: vented and non-vented. A small opening in the vented earplugs helps to equalise the pressure in your ear.

These are great for flying and scuba diving, but when it comes to sleeping, they’re no better than non-vented earplugs. Furthermore, vented earplugs are frequently classified according to their material:

  • Wax
  • Silicone
  • Foam

We shall discuss these in more detail.


Wax earplugs are simple to shape to your ear’s size. Because they’re waterproof, they’re ideal for both sleeping and swimming.


Hard silicone earplugs have the advantage of being reusable, but they’re typically hard to sleep with, especially if you sleep on your side.

Soft silicone earplugs are comparable to wax earplugs but are more pleasant to wear. However, some people feel that they aren’t as good as other sorts at masking noise.


The most affordable choice is foam earplugs. They’re also quite soft, making them ideal for napping. However, because of their porous nature, germs thrive in them, so you’ll need to change them frequently.

How to use earplugs

Using earplugs correctly can reduce your risk of having any side effects. Follow these steps to safely use earplugs:

  • With clean fingers, roll the earplug until it’s narrow enough to fit in your ear.
  • Pull your earlobe away from your ear and away from your head.
  • Just deep enough into the earplug to suppress sound. Push it in only as far as it will go, or you’ll irritate the lining of your eardrum.
  • Keep your palm over your ear using foam earplugs until the earplug swells to fill your ear.

Replace disposable earplugs, especially foam ones, every few days if you’re using them. You might try cleaning them every day in warm water with mild soap to lengthen their life. Just make sure they’re absolutely dry before you put them in.

Can you reuse earplugs?

Some earplugs are designed in such a way that they can be reused for a certain amount of period, after which it becomes necessary to discard them. 

This is because extensive use of the same earplugs can also cause growth of microorganisms in it, which can cause infections in the ear canal.

Furthermore, for some types of earplugs, such as the foam earplugs, with time, they start to swell up due to the buildup of water in them, which in turn would affect the way they fit into the ears, thereby not serving the purpose in an ideal manner.

Regardless of whether you bought your earplugs on the spur of the moment or on purpose, you are thrilled with them and can’t wait to put them to use.

We’ve covered earplugs with a filter in the two scenarios we’ve detailed, but how often can you wear these earplugs when sleeping or swimming, for example? The solution is given below.

Earplugs with filter

In this case, the earplug’s longevity is mostly determined by how often it is used. Simply simply, how frequently you wear earplugs.

If you go there once a year for vacation, a pair of earplugs may last you years. However, if you sleep with earplugs every night, a set will last you around three months.

As a result, it’s a good idea to assess how often you plan to use or have used the earplugs before deciding if they need to be changed.

Foam earplugs

Earplugs made of foam have a short lifetime. They’re designed to be used only once since they get filthy rapidly and become contaminated with bacteria. 

For sanitary reasons, it is not suggested to use the same disposable earplug more than once.

Custom-made earplugs

Custom-made earplugs have an average lifespan of 4 to 5 years. Because your ears continue to expand throughout your life, it’s a good idea to have a free leakage test every 2 to 3 years.

The ear moulds are comfortable to wear on a regular basis. It is also essential that they be kept clean and disinfected to ensure a longer lifespan.

How to dispose earplugs

After they’ve served their purpose, it is vital to dispose of your earplugs in a safe manner. This is because earplugs are made up of materials that cannot biodegrade.

Therefore, the option of dumping them in a landfill or in your background compost is not applicable in this case. 

Furthermore, if you were to discard them in a compost pile, chances are that the microorganisms present in the earplugs can affect the natural biota of the compost, and can also affect the quality of the compost in an adverse manner.

Keeping this in mind, you can follow the options mentioned below for disposing of your earplugs.


Some earplugs can be recycled. For example, if you have earplugs that are made of silicone, they can be recycled, since silicone is very recycle-friendly.

However, some materials, such as foam, are hard to recycle when it comes to your curbside recycling. Fortunately, there are other third party recycling companies (eg.: TerraCycle) which can help you to recycle such earplugs.

Before you do this, it is highly advised that you wash your earplugs before discarding. This helps to ensure that the recycling process becomes more convenient, as certain recycling plants do not use contaminated material for recycling.


You can dispose of your earplugs along with your rubbish pile. However, there is a good chance that your earplugs might end up in a landfill.

Given the nature of silicone and foam, the earplugs are highly resistant to environmental degradation, and can continue to persist for many years to come.


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