Is your hearing protection failing to protect your hearing? Here are 3 things to watch for.
Whether you’re at work or at home, sometimes you run into something that can interfere with the effectiveness of your hearing protection. That’s difficult to deal with. After all, you’re striving to do what you’re supposed to do! When you go to a concert, you use your earplugs; At work, you wear earmuffs every day; and you do your best to steer clear of Uncle Joe who is constantly shouting in your ear.
Here’s the point, when you’re doing everything right but you’re still having difficulty, it can be frustrating. Luckily, you can take some steps to protect yourself once you learn what types of things can interfere with the performance of your hearing protection. And this will keep your ear protection in a state of efficiency even when you’re experiencing a bit of difficulty.
1. Wearing The Wrong Kind of Hearing Protection
There are two useful and basic categories of hearing protection: earmuffs and earplugs. Earplugs are small and, as the name indicates, can be put straight into the ear canal. Earmuffs are like big headphones with no tunes (instead, they, you know, safeguard your hearing).
- When you’re in a situation where sound is fairly constant, earplugs are recommended.
- When loud sounds are more sporadic, earmuffs are suggested.
The reasons for that are fairly obvious: you’ll want to remove your hearing protection when it’s quiet, and that’s easier to do with earmuffs than earplugs. Earplugs are extremely easy to lose (especially if they’re inexpensive 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 right form of hearing protection in the right scenario and you should be fine.
2. Your Ear Protection Can be Impacted by Your Anatomy
There are many differences in human anatomy from one individual to another. That’s why your vocal cords are more normal sized compared to old Uncle Joe’s larger vocal cords. That’s also why you might have a smaller than average ear canal.
This can cause complications with your ear protection. Disposable earplugs, for instance, are made with a clothing mindset: small, medium, and large (even sometimes one-size-fits-all). And so if you have particularly tiny ear canals, you may have a tough time making earplugs fit, causing you to give up entirely and throw the earplugs away in frustration.
This can leave you exposed to risk, undermining the hearing protection you were attempting to provide for yourself. Another example of this is individuals with large ears who often have a hard time getting earmuffs to fit comfortably. For people who work in loud settings, a custom fit pair of ear protection is a smart investment.
3. Check if There’s Any Wear And Tear on Your Hearing Protection
If you’re wearing your hearing protection every day, you should give yourself a pat on the back. 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 exchange the band.
- When they lose their flexibility, replace the cushions on your earmuffs.
- 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… gross). Just make sure that you wash properly; if you’re cleansing an earmuff set, take the earmuffs apart. If you’re rinsing earplugs, don’t drop them down the drain.
If you want to get the greatest possible benefit, you need to perform regular maintenance on your hearing protection. It’s important that you have a consultation with us if you have any questions on how to care for your hearing protection or want to learn more about the things that can interfere with their performance.
Your hearing is important. Taking the time to protect it right is essential.