Earplugs FAQ

The hearing protector packaging on earplugs displays other rating numbers (SNR, NNR). What do these rating numbers mean?

SNR [Single Number Rating] – This rating number is used by the European Union and affiliated countries.2 Tests are conducted at independent testing laboratories, using test frequencies which are slightly different than those used for the earplug NRR rating. In addition to an overall rating, the SNR further rates protectors in terms of the particular noise environments in which the earplugs will be used – H for high-frequency noise environments, M for mid-frequency, and L for low-frequency. Note that the HML designation does not refer to noise level, rather the spectrum of the noise. For example, a set of earplugs might be designated with SNR 26, H=32,M=23, L=14.The estimated attenuation changes according to the noise spectrum of the environment in which the earplugs are to be worn.

NRR [Noise Reduction Rating] – This earplug rating is used in the United States.

Why do the SNR differ for the same product

Customers should not be concerned when they see several different attenuation ratings on a package. Each rating number is based upon differing test standards, test frequencies and calculation methods, and any given earplugs generates different numbers depending on the rating method used. For example, the Howard Leight® LaserLite® single-use earplug displays the following ratings:

NRR 32
SNR 35 (H=34, M=32, L=31)
SLC80 25.0 (Class 4)

What is the difference between re-usable and disposable earplugs?

Disposable earplugs are single use. An economical and convenient choice for work situations that demand a high degree of comfort, frequent changes, or where hygiene presents a problem for reuse.

Single-Use doesn’t mean single choice. Howard Leight, Moldex and 3M offers a comprehensive range of Single-Use Earplugs that include the comfort features your employees deserve in a range of attenuation ratings.

Re-usable earplugs are ideal for environments where workers can retain and store earplugs for reuse over time - reducing waste and saving money.

Multiple-Use Earplugs last for weeks, reduce waste and save money. They can be easily cleaned with soap and water. Ideal for environments where workers can retain and store earplugs for reuse.

How do I maintain my earplugs?

  • Inspect earplugs prior to wear for dirt, damage or hardness – discard immediately if compromised
  • For proper hygiene, discard Single-Use earplugs after use
  • With proper maintenance, Multiple-Use earplugs can last for 2-4 weeks; clean with mild soap/water and store in a case when not in use
  • Clean and replace pods on Banded earplugs regularly

Do’s and Don’ts of Earplugs

Proper Fit
If either or both earplugs do not seem to be fitted properly, remove the earplug and reinsert.

Gently twist earplug while slowly pulling in an outward motion for removal.

Acoustical Check
In a noisy environment, with earplugs inserted, cup your hands over your ears and release. Earplugs should block enough noise so that covering your ears with your hands should not result in a significant noise difference.

Please Note:

Earplugs should only be used in conjunction with the manufacturer's instructions. Failure to follow such instructions could result in serious injury including diminution or loss of hearing.

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