Ear Plugs

Protect your staff against excessive noise in the workplace with EN approved hearing protection from Cromwell. We stock a huge selection of ear plugs and ear plug dispensers to suit every need, including disposable and reusable ear plugs made from a range of foams and elastomer to achieve easy fitting and a good seal against noise.

Ergonomic designs ensure a good fit for all sizes of ear canal, while accessories like head bands, cords and belt-mounted storage make ear plugs an easy solution for most staff.

Cromwell stocks ear plugs from a range of quality brands, like 3M™, Moldex® and Honeywell®.

What are ear plugs?

Ear plugs are designed to sit inside the ear canal and act as a buffer against loud work environments. They come in a variety of shapes and materials to ease insertion and user comfort during prolonged use, expanding in the ear to create a seal against noises.

Why ear plugs?

In 2006, The Control of Noise at Work Regulations, 2005 became applicable in Britain. In line with this regulation, employers must protect workers against excessive noise exposure using ear protection that conforms with EN 352 standards.

When are ear plugs used?

Under the noise regulations mentioned above, once an employee is personally subjected to 85 decibels or above in their working environment, employers must provide hearing protection and it must be worn. Employees who are subjected to lower noise levels between 80 to 85 decibels are entitled to request suitable hearing protection from their employer, which must then be provided.

Ear plug types

There are four types of ear plugs on the market. These have several variations in design and material to ensure ease of use, comfort and protection. It's important that a workplace complies with The Control of Noise at Work Regulations, 2005, so ear plugs must always conform to European standards, EN 352-2:2002 and be CE marked.

• Disposable   -   Low-cost foam ear plugs that can be thrown away after use

• Reusable   -   Often made from soft plastics, like elastomer, these plugs can be washed for reuse

• Corded   -   Supplied with a cord that allows ear plugs to be carried around the neck when not in use

• Banded   -   A stiff band that supplies even pressure to plugs, can be worn over the head or under the chin

Considerations when choosing ear plugs

Fitting - It's important to achieve a good seal for ear plugs to work correctly. There are a number of options available to achieve a good fit, including ear plugs that sit just inside the ear for those who dislike full insertion.

Attenuation - the ear plugs you choose must provide the correct sound protection for the environment. The maximum amount of noise a worker can be exposed to is 87dB with or without ear protection. Check the assumed protection value (APVf) on the datasheet for this number.

Type - Choose between disposable ear plugs that are cheaper in the short term or reusable ones that will save money over a longer period.

Ear plug jargon buster

We want to make our range easy for you to browse, so here is a key standard that will help you understand the products and applications a little better

What does the hearing protection standard EN 352-2:2002 mean?

EN 352-2:2002 covers the technical specifications of production and markings and performance of ear protection, including ear defenders and ear plugs.

Let's break it down...

• EN - This is the current applicable standard across Europe

• 352 - This is the assigned legislation number

• -2 - this is the section of the legislation pertaining to ear plugs

• 2002 - This is the year the safety standard around ear protection was updated in accordance with the Noise at Work Regulations, 1989.


Is it healthy to use ear plugs?

Yes, ear plugs are generally safe and effective. However, repeatedly wearing the same pair of ear plugs without frequent washing can cause a build-up of bacteria on the plugs, which inevitably transfers to the ear canal, and can cause ear infections. To prevent this, use disposable ear plugs or wash reusable ones after every use. It's also good practice to handle ear plugs with clean hands when inserting and removing them.

Are there any ear plugs that completely block all noise?

Hearing relies on the vibrations passed to the eardrum from tiny hairs in the middle and inner ear canal, as well as vibrations from the cranial bone. Noise can be muffled (attenuated), but never entirely blocked with an ear plug.

For more information on ear plugs see our Hearing Protection Guide... https://www.cromwell.co.uk/info/safety-technical-hearing-protection

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