The Biggest Mistake in Buying Foam Earplugs for Hearing Protection

For many people, foam hearing protection earplugs are an important part of their daily routine. The single-use disposable foam earplug remains the most common type of noise protection in use today, being commercially introduced over 40 years ago. Despite their low price, there are some serious environmental, health and cost implications to take into consideration.

The Snugs Noise Protection product range offers an environmentally friendly alternative to foam earplugs. Saving money for regular users and also contributing to improved ear health and comfort.

Earplugs contribute to waste production and landfill

Foam plugs are very rarely biodegradable and the amount of landfill created by each company and employer is staggering.

A company of 100 workers will dispose of 100,000 foam earplugs a year to landfill, assuming each worker uses 2 pairs a day, for 250 days a year.

SnugsShield (Work) are made from a medical grade silicone which are re-usable and will last for years. By choosing Snugs over disposable earplugs, you can contribute to the global effort of reducing the amount of waste going into landfill, or as waste exported to less affluent countries and piled unceremoniously. This landfill waste is further compounded when you include the earplugs packaging of a box or individual plastic wrappers.

On average, each employee will dispose of 1,000 foam earplugs to landfill, per year, making Snugs the eco-friendly alternative to foam earplugs.

Disposables Earplugs Vs. Snugs – Financial Cost Scenario

Single-use disposable ear plugs prevail because they’re perceived to be inexpensive – they are not. Disposables are not cheap in terms of financial cost, let alone environment impact when compared to Snugs Custom-Fit Earplugs.

A worker should use 4 pairs of disposable hearing protection each day as they should never be reinserted once removed, to comply with H&S regulations (allowing for lunch and 2 breaks).Foam disposable noise protection can be purchased for about 25 pence in small quantities and for about 15 pence per pair when bulk buying.

A pair of Snugs from our Hearing Protection range will cost the equivalent of a year’s supply of foam plugs (even when only changing the foam plugs at a lesser frequency of twice a day). A one-time purchase of custom fit hearing protection holds greater economic value than cheap, one-time use purchase when spread over a year.

To verify the cost saving yourself, use our Cost Saving Calculator

Snugs are extremely durable and will last years when regularly cleaned. This makes for substantial cost savings, year-on-year, against foam plugs.

Other financial benefits:

  • Snugs are more hygienic, so there is a decreased risk of ear infections from using earplugs and subsequent time-off work
  • Investing in “optimum performance” PPE equipment for valued staff lowers liability insurance premium with Health & Safety Insurers
  • No waste disposable costs or need to offset carbon footprint of landfill use
  • Due to being custom fitted, your employees will no longer complain about the discomfort of your present noise protection solution. Ensuring higher level of health and safety compliance within the workplace.

Additional benefits of Snugs vs. Foam Plugs

Snugs feature a unique venturi shaped filter (25dB attenuated filter) embedded into the plug. This enables the wearer to clearly hear conversations while reducing harmful sounds. The filter allows air to constantly flow into the ear; this ventilation minimises the sound occlusion effect and avoids irritation within the ear canal. Foam plugs on the other hand do not ventilate the ear canal and conversational sounds are acoustically muffled and un-clear.

Foam earplugs can be a breeding ground for bacteria, thanks to the combination of moisture, warmth and dirt in the ear. Re-using dirty earplugs can lead to serious ear infections, meaning that it’s good practice to throw them away after a single use. Employees should always be reminded that they are single use only, even though this is written on the packaging for liability reasons.

Some people will wash their plugs in soapy water, however this is no guarantee of removing the nasties and can also lead to degradation of the material. If the plugs harden, or don’t return to their original shape when squeezed, then they’ll no longer be effective at blocking out sounds and will need to be thrown away anyway.

So, the financial cost of foam plugs can soon add up, when used correctly as single-use consumables (akin to a syringe), and that’s before considering the environmental costs of using disposable plugs.

Regular users can have all the advantages of Snugs Custom Fit Earplugs, which can pay for themselves in a matter of months and present a clear environmentally friendly option.

Snugs are made from medical-grade silicone, are hypoallergenic, non-flammable and are recyclable. Of great importance is the fact the Snugs Earplugs are re-usable for years and years. Snugs can be wiped down between uses to keep them in tip-top condition.

Additional Benefits in relation to SnugsShield (Work)

  • SnugsShield (Work) are supplied with a lanyard, ensuring they are kept together as one unit and easier to keep safe. Also supplied with handy case to store them in between uses.
  • One fitting required to create a customers unique ear file – handy for reordering in the future if required. Reorder price as an existing customer is cheaper too, bringing the cost per use down
  • Snugs Custom-Fits Earplugs offer the best-in-class user comfort – ensuring user acceptance of hearing protection and employee compliance. This is all for the good of the health, safety and welfare of employees.

Snugs vs. Disposable Plugs

  • Snugs are re-usable and recyclable.
  • Each employee will dispose of 1,000 foam earplugs to landfill, per year !!!
  • Snugs cost will equal or be less than the years cost of foam plugs
  • Snugs fit each employee’s ear exactly for optimum comfort and fit security
  • Snugs offer the best seal from noise, dirt, dust, liquid and water
  • Attenuated filters eliminate ear pressure and discomfort
  • Allows for communication in noisy environment on the phone or in conversation
  • Allows the employee to better hear warning sounds
  • Manufactured with hypoallergenic, non-flammable silicone
  • Certifiable to US (Ansi) & EU (CE) Standards

Snugs Custom-Fit Hearing Protection Earplugs can save regular wearers money in the medium term, as well as reducing the chance of infection and helping to reduce the number of single-use earplugs.

Snugs can save companies and employers the financial costs in under a year, depending on how often employees comply to disposing of their foam plugs, let alone how many you buy in bulk. Additional waste disposal costs, insurance liability premiums are also saved, as is the planet.

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