Silicone ear plugs come in two main variations of hard silicone and soft silicone, each of which have their own benefits. Hard silicone ear plugs have the added benefit of being reusable, making them cost-efficient, but they can be uncomfortable if the sizes don't quite match your ear canal so it's important to ensure you have the right size. Soft silicone ear plugs work similarly to wax ones and provide a more comfortable fit due to being more mouldable to fit the ear canal better.
Ear plugs are designed to help protect your ears from the effects of noise and as such are commonly used in construction, engineering and manufacturing industries to protect workers. However, it is important to remember that while ear plugs help protect your ears they are not to be used as an alternative to controlling noise. They must fit properly and must be worn correctly for them to effectively do the job of protecting your ears and reducing the noise level. Under the control of noise at work regulation all employers must provide suitable hearing protection to employees where noise exceeds 80 dB (A).
The SNR value is a European standard wherein the higher the SNR, the higher the level of noise attenuation provided by the earplugs. Remember that the SNR value is a guide only. Independent laboratories test ear plugs to determine their SNR value. The SNR value can be used to compare the level of noise attenuation offered by different hearing protectors.