Is your hearing protection failing to protect your hearing? Here are 3 things to look out for.
Whether you’re at work or at home, sometimes you come across something that can interfere with the performance of your ear protection. And that can be aggravating. After all, you’re striving to do what you’re supposed to do! You use your earmuffs every day while working; you use earplugs when you go to a show; and you stay away from your loud Uncle Joe who is always yelling in your ears (although, maybe you just don’t really enjoy Uncle Joe).
The point is, it can be rather frustrating when you’re doing everything right and still there are difficulties. Luckily, you can take some steps to protect yourself once you learn what types of things can impede the performance of your hearing protection. And this will keep your hearing protection in a state of efficiency even when you’re having a little difficulty.
1. Wearing The Wrong Kind of Hearing Protection
Ear protection comes in two practical types: earmuffs and earplugs. As the names might suggest, earplugs are small and can be inserted directly into the ear canal. Earmuffs are like big headphones with no tunes (instead, they, you know, protect your hearing).
- Earplugs are suggested when you’re in an environment where the sound is relatively constant.
- When loud sounds are more intermittent, earmuffs are recommended.
There’s a simple explanation for that: when it’s quiet, you’ll want to remove you’re hearing protection which is harder to do with earplugs than earmuffs. Earplugs are extremely easy to misplace (especially if they’re cheap 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.
Use the correct kind of hearing protection in the appropriate situation and you should be okay.
2. Your Anatomy Can Affect Your Ear Protection
Human anatomy is extremely varied. That’s why your vocal cords are more normal sized compared to old Uncle Joe who has larger vocal cords. It’s also why your ear canal might be narrower than the average individual’s.
And that can interfere with your ear protection. Disposable hearing protection is often a one size fits all mindset, or at best, a small, medium, large situation. And so if you have especially tiny ear canals, you may have a difficult time getting those earplugs to fit, causing you to give up completely and throw the earplugs away in frustration.
If you find yourself in this scenario, you might turn away from the hearing protection you were trying to give yourself, leaving you in danger of hearing damage. Another example of this is individuals with large ears who often have a hard time getting earmuffs to fit comfortably. If you spend a lot of time in noisy environments, it may be worth investing in custom hearing protection tailored to your ears.
3. Assess Your Hearing Protection For Wear And Tear
You should be commended if you manage to use your hearing protection regularly. But that also means you need to keep close track of the wear and tear your hearing protection is experiencing.
- Check the band on earmuff protection. The band will need to be changed if the elastic is worn out and doesn’t hold the earmuffs tight.
- Your hearing protection needs to be kept clean. Ears aren’t exactly the cleanest part of your body (ear wax serves a practical purpose and all, but it’s still kind of… yucky). Just make sure that you wash properly; if you’re cleansing a set of earmuffs, take the earmuffs apart. If you’re washing earplugs, don’t drop them down the drain.
- Replace cushions on earmuffs every now and then (typically, when those cushions aren’t pliable, they’re ready to be replaced).
If you want to get the greatest possible benefit, you need to do routine maintenance on your hearing 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. It’s worth taking the time to protect it properly.