Is your hearing protection failing to safeguard your hearing? Here are 3 things to watch for.
Whether you’re at work or at home, sometimes you run into something that can impede the performance of your hearing protection. And that can be frustrating. After all, you’re trying to do what you’re supposed to do! You put on your earmuffs every day at work; you wear earplugs when you attend a show; and you avoid your loud Uncle Joe who is constantly yelling in your ears (although, perhaps you just don’t really enjoy Uncle Joe).
The point is, it can be rather aggravating when you’re doing everything correctly and still there are issues. Luckily, you can take a few steps to protect yourself once you learn what types of things can impede the performance of your ear protection. And this will keep your hearing protection working effectively even when you’re having a little trouble.
1. Using The Wrong Type of Ear Protection
There are two handy and standard categories of hearing protection: earmuffs and earplugs. As the names may indicate, earplugs are small and can be pushed directly inside the ear canal. Earmuffs look like a set of 70’s headphones, but instead of tunes, they offer protection for your hearing by muting external sound.
- Earplugs are suggested when you’re in a place where the sound is fairly constant.
- When loud sounds are more intermittent, earmuffs are recommended.
The reasons for that are fairly obvious: you’ll want to remove your hearing protection when it isn’t noisy, and that’s less difficult to do with earmuffs than earplugs. Earplugs are incredibly easy to lose (especially if they’re cheap and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a scenario where you take out an earplug, lose it, and then need it later.
Use the proper kind of hearing protection in the right scenario and you should be okay.
2. Your Anatomy Can Affect Your Ear Protection
There are many differences in human anatomy from one individual to another. That’s why your Uncle Joe has such large vocal cords and your vocal cords are more normal sized. That’s also why you may have a smaller than average ear canal.
And that can hinder your hearing protection. Disposable earplugs, for example, are made with a t-shirt mentality: small, medium, and large (if not one-size-fits-all). So, maybe you give up in frustration because you have tiny ear canals, and you quit using any ear protection.
If you find yourself in this scenario, you could forsake the hearing protection you were trying to give yourself, leaving you at risk of hearing damage. The same thing can occur if, for example, your ears are a bit larger, making earmuff style protectors awkward. If you spend a lot of time in noisy environments, it might be worth investing in custom hearing protection tailored to your ears.
3. Assess if There’s Any Wear And Tear on Your Hearing Protection
You should be commended if you manage to wear your hearing protection regularly. But day-to-day use will cause wear and tear to your hearing protection which you need to keep close track of.
- 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.
- Replace cushions on earmuffs every once in a while (typically, when those cushions aren’t pliable, they’re ready to be replaced).
- Clean your hearing protection. Ears aren’t really the cleanest part of your body (ear wax serves a good purpose and all, but it’s still kind of… yucky). Just make sure that you wash properly; if you’re cleaning an earmuff set, take the earmuffs apart. Be careful not to drop your earplugs down the drain.
Making sure you conduct routine maintenance on your hearing protection is essential if you want to continue benefiting from that protection. It’s important 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. Taking the time to protect it right is essential.