Is your hearing protection failing to safeguard your hearing? Here are 3 things to look out for.
In spite of your best attempts, you can sometimes run into things that can hinder your hearing protection, both at home and at work. That’s difficult to deal with. After all, you’re trying to do what you’re supposed to do! You use your earmuffs every day at work; you use earplugs when you attend a concert; and you avoid your loud Uncle Joe who is always shouting in your ears (although, maybe you just don’t really like Uncle Joe).
The point is, it can be a bit frustrating when you’re doing everything right and still there are challenges. Luckily, you can take a few steps to protect yourself once you understand what kinds of things can interfere with the performance of your hearing protection. And that can ensure that your ear protection works at peak efficiency even when there’s a bump in the road.
1. Using The Wrong Type of Ear Protection
Hearing protection is available in two basic kinds: earmuffs and earplugs. As the names may suggest, earplugs are compact and can be inserted directly into the ear canal. Earmuffs are like large headphones with no tunes (instead, they, you know, protect your ears).
- When you’re in a situation where sound is fairly constant, earplugs are suggested.
- Earmuffs are recommended in cases where loud sounds are more intermittent.
There’s a simple explanation for that: when there’s no noise, you’ll want to remove you’re hearing protection which is more difficult to do with earplugs than earmuffs. Earplugs are extremely easy to lose (particularly if they’re inexpensive and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a position where you remove an earplug, misplace it, and then need it later.
Wear the proper kind of hearing protection in the right situation and you should be okay.
2. Your Hearing Protection Can be Affected by Your Anatomy
There are many variables in human anatomy from person to person. That’s why your vocal cords are average sized compared to old Uncle Joe who has larger vocal cords. It’s also why your ear canal may be smaller than the average individual’s.
And that can interfere with your ear protection. Disposable earplugs, for instance, are made with a t-shirt mentality: small, medium, and large (if not one-size-fits-all). And so if you have especially tiny ear canals, you may have a tough time getting those earplugs to fit, causing you to give up entirely and in frustration, throw them away..
This can leave you exposed to risk, undercutting the hearing protection you were trying to give yourself. The same thing can happen if, for instance, your ears are on the larger size, making earmuff style protectors uncomfortable. If you spend a lot of time in noisy environments, it might be worth investing in custom hearing protection personalized to your ears.
3. Assess Your Hearing Protection For Wear And Tear
You should be commended if you manage to wear your hearing protection every day. But that also means you need to monitor the wear and tear your ear protection is experiencing.
- If you use earmuffs, examine the band. When the elastic is worn out and the band is failing to hold the earmuffs snug, it’s time to replace the band.
- When they’re no longer pliable, replace the cushions on your earmuffs.
- Wash your hearing protection. Earwax serves a practical function in your body but it can also build up on your hearing protection. Make sure you clean your hearing protection completely by taking them apart before you clean them. Be cautious not to drop your earplugs down the drain.
If you want to get the greatest possible benefit, you need to do routine maintenance on your hearing protection. It’s essential that you have a consultation with us if you have any questions on how to take care of your hearing protection or want to learn more about the things that can impede their performance.
You need your hearing. It’s worth taking the time to protect it right.