How do I clean my earplugs and earmuffs?

It’s a question we are frequently asked – how do I clean my earplugs and earmuffs, along with how long can I wear them for?
 
It’s important to know how long you can use each type of hearing protection device (HPD) and how to care for it to maintain optimal hearing protection. In order to extend the lifespan of your HPD, proper use of it goes a long way – improper care of your earplugs may introduce a foreign substance and may not only pose a risk but might make insertion and/or retention harder.
 
The more often earplugs or earmuffs are worn it is possible that contaminants could build up, which leads to the importance of ensuring a clean HPD. The more often earplugs or earmuffs are worn, the higher the chances that contaminants are produced, which leads to the increased importance of preventing contaminants from entering the body. When it comes to earplugs especially, if chemicals that are hazardous to the skin are present on the surface of, or absorbed, into the body of a foam earplug, they may come into contact with your skin while you’re using the plug.

Earplugs

The chart on the next page describes how to clean different types of earplugs to help you extend their life while offering optimal hearing protection. In most cases, you should replace your earplugs when they are dirty, damaged or don’t return to their original shape.

Earplug chart

Earmuffs

The chart on the next page describes how to clean different parts of your earmuffs. It’s important to replace worn or damaged cushions and foam inserts with a hygiene kit. 3M recommends that the cushions and foam inserts are replaced at least twice a year in order to maintain acceptable noise reduction, hygiene and comfort. If you have electronic earmuffs, it’s important to manually turn them off before cleaning them or replacing the batteries.
Earmuff chart

When cleaning earmuffs

Do not immerse in water
Do not store in temperatures above 55ºC (130ºF), e. g., behind a windshield
Do not clean with solvents such as isopropyl alcohol (IPA), alcohol, acetone, or with waterless hand cleaners or products containing lanolin
Do not wet or dampen foam
 
To learn more visit 3M.ca/Hearing

Download the technical guide.

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