When you were in high school or college, you might have read it. Homer’s “The Odyssey”. This sequel to his “The Iliad” is focused on Odysseus and his road home after the Trojan War. There were many characters introduced in this story, one set of them being the Sirens. It was told that these creatures would play music and sing enchanting tunes which would cause the sailors to lose control of their boats, be shipwrecked on the island with the Sirens, and the sailors would ultimately succumb to their deaths. In order to avoid this, as the men are about to pass the island they are advised to plug their ears with wax, thus keeping out the songs from the Sirens and not being lured by them. Written towards the end of the 8th century B.C., this is the first recorded documentation of earplugs.
After “The Odyssey” was written, earplugs have certainly advanced. There are four main types of earplugs: Foam, Wax, Silicone, and Custom Molded. There are many uses for earplugs, as well. People who are around loud noises, such as any workers who will be near machinery, should always block out excess noise. It could take just one exposure to loud noise to cause hearing loss. Prolonged exposure to noise can kill cells in the ear, which can also lead to hearing issues. Swimmers use earplugs to keep water out of their ears to prevent otitis externa, also known as swimmer’s ear. And then there are earplugs to help us sleep.