Is your hearing protection failing to protect your hearing? Look out for these three things.
Despite your best efforts, you can sometimes run into things that can hinder your hearing protection, both at home and at work. That’s difficult to cope with. After all, you’re trying to do what you’re supposed to do! When you go to a concert, you wear your earplugs; At work, you wear earmuffs every day; and you make your best effort to steer clear of Uncle Joe who is constantly shouting in your ear.
The point is, it can be kind of discouraging when you’re doing everything right and still there are challenges. 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 that can ensure that your ear protection works at peak effectiveness even when you have some obstacles.
1. Using The Wrong Kind of Hearing Protection
There are two handy and basic categories of hearing protection: earplugs and earmuffs. Earplugs are small and, as the name suggests, can be inserted right into the ear canal. Earmuffs are like big headphones with no sound (instead, they, you know, safeguard your hearing).
- Earplugs are recommended when you’re in a setting where the sound is relatively constant.
- Earmuffs are advised in cases where loud sounds are more irregular.
There’s an obvious reason for that: when it’s quiet, you’ll want to remove you’re hearing protection which is more difficult to do with earplugs than earmuffs. Earplugs take a little more work to put in and are easy to lose so you may find yourself needing to replace lost plugs when you really need them.
Wear the proper form of hearing protection in the right scenario and you should be okay.
2. Your Anatomy Can Impact Your Ear Protection
There are many differences in human anatomy from one individual to another. That’s why your Uncle Joe has such a large set of vocal cords and your vocal cords are more normal sized. It’s also why your ear canal might be smaller than the average individual’s.
This can cause issues with your hearing protection. Disposable hearing protection is frequently a one size fits all mindset, or at best, a small, medium, large situation. So, perhaps you give up in frustration because you have small ear canals, and you stop using any ear protection.
This can leave you exposed to risk, undercutting the hearing protection you were attempting to give yourself. Another example of this is people with large ears who often have a hard time getting earmuffs to fit comfortably. If you’re in a noisy setting regularly, it might be worth investing in custom ear protection tailored to your ears.
3. Assess if There’s Any Wear And Tear on Your Hearing Protection
If you’re using 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.
- Clean your hearing protection. Earwax serves a practical function in your body but it can also accumulate on your hearing protection. Make sure you wash your hearing protection thoroughly by taking them apart before you clean them. If you’re rinsing earplugs, don’t drop them down the drain.
- Replace cushions on earmuffs from time to time (generally, when those cushions aren’t pliable, they’re ready to be replaced).
- If you use earmuffs, check the band. When the elastic is worn out and the band is no longer holding the earmuffs snug, it’s time to exchange the band.
Making sure you do routine maintenance on your hearing protection is imperative 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 care for your hearing protection or want to learn more about the things that can impede their performance.
Your hearing is important. Taking the time to protect it properly is worthwhile.