Types of Tunnel Plugs

Posted December 21, 2021 by in Fashion
woman with ear gauges

Body modification has a rich cultural history, tradition, and belief system before it became associated with alternative fashion and lifestyles. Nowadays, it’s taking more space in the mainstream culture.

Of course, everyone is familiar with the classic dangling earring. In contrast, not everyone knows about the nuances of using an earlobe-stretching plug or tunnel plugs. As a result of this, there is some misunderstanding as to the distinction between a tunnel and a plug.

But, no worries. You’ve come to the right place.

Keep on reading for our full breakdown of the different types of tunnel plugs, as well as the differences between plugs and tunnels:

Woman with tunnel plugs in her ears

Understanding the Distinction Between the Tunnel and the Plug

The words ‘ear plugs’ and ‘ear tunnels’ are frequently used interchangeably and so give the impression that they are more or less the same. Although they exhibit similarities there is a significant difference.

The biggest distinction is in the look of the jewelry. A tunnel (as you might expect) is hollow within. You can see through the jewelry and this is accentuated within the piercing cavity. 

However, plugs are made of metal that fills the piercing cavity. However, despite how simple this differentiation may seem, it may be difficult to tell the two apart at times. A decorative plate on the front of many tunnels obscures most of the empty inside, so you can only view a small portion of it. Which one of them is it?

Even if the discussion on this subject may go on and on, there is a clear distinction. A ‘coiled up sheet’ that is a hollow tube is the best way to describe a tunnel. Even though jewelers paint the hollow tube within the tunnel with concepts and trends, the tunnel itself remains transparent. Through the piercing chamber, the plug is a solid, one-piece piece of jewelry.

Now, it’s time to explore the wide variety and types of tunnel plugs on the market. But, you’ll want to know all about ear gauge sizes first, so make sure to check out this chart before making a purchase. 

The Most Common Type of Tunnel Plugs: The No Flare Plug

When referring to a tunnel or plug, the term “no flare plug” is often used. This ‘flare’ may be perceived as a ‘ridge,’ according to your own preferences. A no-flare tunnel or plug is irrational since it has no edges. As a result of their flat design, those tunnels or plugs are easier to slide into the piercing chamber. Two O-rings are included to ensure that a no-flare tunnel or plug does not fall out of place.

Basically, an O-ring is a microscopic rubber band. Earlobe plugs and no-flare tunnels are always longer than the average earlobe width. As a consequence, it sticks out in both directions.

In order for the O-rings to be snug against the earlobe, they must be placed just so. It will remain in place if this happens on both sides. For this reason, it is more common to employ single-flare, double-flare, or screw-fit piercings rather than no-flare tunnels or plug O-rings.

Using a no-flare tunnel or plug has the primary advantage of being able to be driven through the piercing hole easily and comfortably. Because the piercing cavity does not need to be completely healed before placing the piercing, no pressure is required.

The Single Flare Plug

The single flared plug varies from a non-flare tunnel or plugs on just one side. The ridge usually forms around the entrance of a piercing. Plugs and tunnels with a single flare may be put into the cavity with ease. Make sure the front border of the earlobe is in contact with the end of the piercing.

Once the larger portion of the plug is attached to the O-rings, the plug may be put into the ear canal. It’s impossible for the piercing tunnel or plug to escape the chamber on its own if this occurs. The lack of just an O-ring on the front of the single flared tunnel or plug distinguishes between the no-flare and single-flare designs.

The single-flare plug or tunnel, like the no-flare plug or tunnel, is easy to insert and does not cause any pain. When installing this kind of plug or tunnel, the piercing cavity does not have to be completely healed.

The Double-Flared Plug

Logically the double-flared plug is double flared on both sides indicating that it has elevated edges on each side. As a consequence, the O-rings are unnecessary, and the piercing doesn’t look any different without them.

When putting a double-flared tunnel or plug you must guarantee that one of the upright edges is being forced against the piercing cavity.

This demands a soft touch and considerable ductility of the piercing cavity. Only completely healed pierced cavities may benefit from double-flared tunnels or plugs, so don’t get them if you’ve just extended your lobes.

The Screw-Fit Plug

A double flared plug is only acceptable for completely healed piercing holes. Yet what if you have just expanded your earlobe but want the appearance of a double flared tunnel or plug? Then the screw-fit tunnel or plug is a perfect option.

You can remove the rear of a screw-fit tunnel or plug, unlike a double flared plug. You can unscrew this rear piece; the screw-fit (similarly to the single or no-flare), you can put through the earlobe. This should be effortless and without pressure or discomfort. You may then screw back on the tunnel or plug.

When inserting the screw-fit plug it will appear the same as the double-flared tunnel or plug but does not need entirely healed piercing holes.

Tunnel Plugs Guide: Unlocked

The wide world of body art and modifications can be rather overwhelming for the uninitiated. Hopefully, our guide has shed some light on the different options you have for tunnel plugs and even explored a couple of common tunnel plugs tips.

And, if you liked reading our article, then you’ll want to take a look at our fashion and lifestyle sections for all the additional tips and tricks you could possibly need.