Many people have trouble sleeping during the night, either because they are very light sleepers, have snoring spouses, noisy neighbours or live near a busy street. Regardless of the reason, lack of sound sleep has a negative effect on the overall mental and body condition of the individual. That is why in a number of cases, people start looking for ways to provide themselves with a peaceful and relaxing quiet environment so they can rest properly.
One of the ways to achieve that is using earplugs. Earplugs are a popular solution for blocking or lowering the volume of incoming outside noises and protecting the ear from dangerous environments such as a rock concert or heavy machinery. However, many people use them during the night to secure a good night sleep. While earplugs are quite useful, their application should be treated with care as they can cause problems ranging from discomfort and inconvenience to severe issues such as inner ear infections, tinnitus and hearing loss.
Earwax compaction and infections
To avoid ear problems, one of the most important habits everyone should have is proper ear hygiene and regular checks with a specialist. The natural way the ear protects itself is through a secretion of a substance called earwax that guards the delicate ear parts from dirt, dust and small particles and pushes them out of the ear canal. The wrong use of earplugs can block this process and cause earwax compaction, which in turn can reach the eardrum and damage it. To avoid such situations, it is important to insert the earplugs carefully and not push them too far in the ear canal. In addition, the earplugs do not let air come in and out of the ear and interfere with the natural drying process of the ear. Collection of moisture and warmth in the ear and in the soft foam of the earplug can be a perfect environment for bacteria and fungi growth that can lead to serious ear infections so it is imperative to always use clean earplugs.
Another very important issue to consider is the air pressure that is created in the ear canal especially during the night when pressing on the ear can push the earplug further inside. Increased pressure in the ear can cause discomfort and even pain. It is not recommended to remove the earplug right away, however, because quick change in pressure can damage the eardrum.
Tinnitus and hearing loss
In extreme cases, the inappropriate use of earplugs can lead to irritations and infections. In addition, if they have been inserted too deep in the ear canal, they can cause ringing in the ears (tinnitus), vertigo or even some degree of hearing loss if the inner ear has been affected.
Having a sound sleep is important but you should be careful when continuously using earplugs at night because it can create a dependency which may leave you unable to sleep again without them. Moreover, compromising your hearing ability can be dangerous in emergencies such as when you cannot hear a baby crying or a fire alarm.