Wax Ear Plugs or Foam Ear Plugs: Which Should You Choose?

Wax Ear Plugs or Foam Ear Plugs: Which Should You Choose?

When looking for earplugs, you will face a variety of choices available on the market. The most popular options are wax ear plugs and foam ear plugs, so if you’re hesitating about which ones to choose, here we’ll take a deeper look at how each type of ear plugs can serve your needs best.

wax vs foam pq earplugs

Wax vs Foam Earplugs: Considering the Difference


The first type of earplugs available on the market were the wax ones. In 1907, Maximilian Negwer of the German company Ohropax first sold a beeswax version. Following up his invention, Ray and Cecilia Benner took a step forward and produced earplugs made from pure silicone, a waterproof material that resists heat melting, in 1962. 

Foam earplugs are the cheapest and most common type. They are usually made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyurethane (PU), the latter also known as memory foam. The first memory foam earplugs were used in 1972.

Are wax earplugs safe?”, “Can earplugs cause tinnitus?”, “Can earplugs cause vertigo?” are among the most frequently asked questions regarding earplugs. Both wax and foam earplugs from most brands out there are safe to use, but if you’re prone to allergies, mind using foam plugs that don’t contain PVC ‒ this material can cause irritation or even allergic contact dermatitis.

What Do You Need Earplugs for?

Getting specific with the situations where you might need noise reduction will help you make a better buying choice. Below is a list of such common situations for you to consider.

I need earplugs...

  • for sleeping;
  • for concentrating in a noisy environment;
  • for working;
  • for working with tools (chainsaw, lawnmower);
  • for swimming (foam plugs are not an option here);
  • for parties, concerts, disco;
  • for shooting;
  • for flights.

When you’ve made your decision, picture yourself in the situations you’ve picked and think which earplugs will be the most comfortable for you to wear in those environments.

girl working on laptop with a dog

Comfort Level

The main purpose of earplugs is to provide comfortable noise cancellation. That’s why it’s important to understand how you feel about having these goodies in your ear. Are you ready to insert the earplugs all the way into the ear canal? If yes, foam plugs it is. Would you rather have them cover your ear opening without pushing them further? Then wax plugs are an option for you.


To continue on the matter of comfort, the size of the plugs is also an important feature to consider. Wax plugs are moldable and, therefore, will fit any ear shape ‒ if the putty is too big, you can simply split it in half. Regular foam plugs, however, usually cause a lot of pressure and are uncomfortable to sleep with, so you might want to try small foam ear plugs.


Are wax earplugs reusable?” and “Are foam earplugs reusable?” are the two most commonly asked questions. Without further ado, the answer is “yes,” but there’s a condition: hygiene. Some ears produce excessive amounts of earwax, and it will obviously stay on the earplugs, the same as dust. A pair of wax earplugs can be used for up to 10 times until they lose their stickiness and become dirty, while foam plugs can last for up to 20 uses or more. Storing your earplugs in a holding case will help to keep them clean.

girl laying

How to Use Wax Ear Plugs

Wax earplugs are usually packed in a protective plastic case. Figuring out how to put in silicone ear plugs might be tricky if the case comes without instructions, but we’ve got you covered. So before use, the earplug must be formed into a ball, placed at the entrance to the ear canal and pressed to fill the outer ear around the canal. 

Here’s a video instruction for a better understanding:

How to Insert Foam Earplugs

Most of the foam earplugs available today are made of memory foam. This means that the earplug must be rolled into your ear using a roll-up method: roll it up as if you were twirling a towel so that the earplug is squeezed into the tube, then insert into your ear and hold it in place until it feels like it has fully expanded. This sensation causes some discomfort as the foam creates little pressure pushing air into the ear. When fully expanded, it blocks out external sound.

Here’s a video instruction on how to insert foam earplugs:


Whether you’re looking for earplugs to sleep, concentrate or work, both wax and foam earplugs will fit your needs. Here at pq earplugs online store you can find such high-quality plugs or, if you’re hesitating, get a personal consultation to help you make your choice.


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