You are here:

FREE Newsletter

1920 Earplug - Baum
Newsletters & RSSEmail to a friendAdd to

Who Invented Ear Plugs?

From Mary Bellis,
Your Guide to Inventors.
FREE Newsletter. Sign Up Now!

Earplugs are protective devices (noise water dust) inserted into the ear canal.

The inventors below made landmark improvements to earplugs, however, it is impossible to determine who invented the very first ear plug. Many ancient peoples created homemade ear plugs from clay, or cotton and wax to reduce noise or protect the ears from the environment i.e. water.

Moldable Pure Silicone Ear Plugs

Ray and Cecilia Benner invented the first moldable pure silicone ear plugs in 1962. The ear plugs were valued by swimmers, as well as those avoiding noise, for their waterproof qualities. McKeon Products marketed the new ear plugs known as Mack's Pillow Soft Earplugs.

Classical musician, Ray Benner bought McKeon Products in 1962. At that time the company's sole product was Mack's Earplugs (named after the original owner). Mack's Earplugs were moldable clay ear plugs. The Benners designed new ear plugs made from silicone, a waterproof material, to help prevent swimmer's ear, an infection of the ear caused by exposure to water. Mack's Pillow Soft Earplugs are also great noise stoppers.

Foam Ear Plugs

Ross Gardner invented foam ear plugs in 1972. They were first marketed by the Cabot Safety Company as the E-A-R Classic. Gardner got his idea from the soft padding used in headphones. Disposable foam ear plugs found in drugstores can reduce noise levels by 25 decibels. Foam ear plugs are made from either polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyurethane.

Rating Ear Plugs

Earplugs are rated with an NRR (the acronym for Noise Reduction Rating). An NRR tells you how much noise reduction in decibels a set of ear plugs provides.

You can view several early or unusual patents for different ear plug styles in our Gallery of Famous Ear Plugs.

Important disclaimer information about this About site.

All Topics | Email Article | |
Our Story | Be a Guide | Advertising Info | News & Events | Work at About | Site Map | Reprints | Help
User Agreement | Ethics Policy | Patent Info. | Privacy Policy | Kids' Privacy Policy

©2006 About, Inc., A part of The New York Times Company. All rights reserved.
Mental Health

Depression Self-Test Vitamins for Depression? Bipolar Red Flags Coping With Disasters Celebrities With Bipolar

What's Hot

Gyroscopes - Elmer Sperry and Charles Stark Draper Gyroscope...Angel AlcalaThe History of the BikiniRusi Taleyarkhan Jack Johnson