Ear Loops vs Head Straps: How do they compare? A guide for individuals, parents, and employers.
These two face mask styles each have their own benefits and drawbacks. Let's look at the differences!
The "head strap" style consists of 2 elastic bands: the first band goes from one side of the mask, around the head, above the ears, and back to the opposite side of the mask. The second band runs behind your neck, below your ears.
Head Strap Pro's
- Fits A Wider Range Of Head Sizes: Each elastic band can be shortened with a plastic cord stop, allowing for more adjustability than ear loops.
- Doesn't Hurt Ears: The elastic bands don't touch your ears at all, so the common issues with wearing ear loops for long periods of time (chafing, soreness) are avoided completely with head straps.
- Good For Repeatedly Taking your Mask On And Off: The mask can be worn around your neck while not in use, so it's really easy to get your mask back in place quickly. Just pull the upper strap back into place above your ears, and your mask is back on. No more dangling your mask from one ear or keeping it in your pocket while you are not wearing it. This makes head straps an ideal choice for employees and school children who wear masks for long periods of time.
Head Strap Con's
- Long Hair Worn Down: Head straps do not work well for some people with long hair worn down or other styles of hair, because the straps interfere with their hair.
- Takes Longer To Put On For A Short One Time Use: Though head strap masks are quicker to take off and put back on over and over again, they take 1-2 seconds longer to put on the first time. Once it's around your neck though, head straps are much quicker than ear loops.
The "ear loop" style consists of two elastic cords or stretchy hemmed fabric: The first cord goes from the upper-right side of the mask, around the right ear and back to the lower-right side of the mask. The second cord goes from the upper-left side of the mask, around the left ear, and back to the lower-left side of the mask.
Ear Loop Pro's
- Long Hair Worn Down: Ear loops are the preferred face mask elastic for some people with long hair worn down or other styles of hair because the head straps interfere with their hair.
- Quicker To Put On For A One Time Use: Ear loops are easier for a quick one time use, such as going into the grocery store.
Ear Loop Con's
- Less Size Adjustability: Because the elastic hooks onto the ears, ear loops tend to do worse in the "one size fits all" category.
- Can Cause Ear Pain and Discomfort: Issues with wearing ear loops for long periods of time (chafing, soreness) are common.
- Mask Storage While Momentarily Not In Use: We've all seen and probably tried dangling your mask from one ear while momentarily not wearing it. It's a bit precarious and looks awkward. Keeping it in your pocket while you are not wearing it is another option with ear loops, but it is not as convenient to put back on quickly as head straps are.
Something For Everyone
Each individual will have their own tastes when choosing the right mask for themselves. I hope this explanation helped you figure out what will work best for you.