Is your hearing protection failing to safeguard your hearing? Watch for these three things.
Whether you’re at home or at work, sometimes you encounter something that can interfere with the effectiveness of your hearing protection. That’s difficult to deal with. After all, you’re trying to do what you’re supposed to do! When you go to a show, you use your earplugs; At work, you use earmuffs every day; and you try 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. The nice thing is that once you know about some of these simple problems that can interfere with your hearing protection, you can better prepare yourself. And this will keep your hearing protection working effectively even when you’re having a bit of difficulty.
1. Using The Wrong Type of Ear Protection
Hearing protection comes in two basic forms: earplugs and earmuffs. Earplugs are small and, as the name suggests, can be put straight into the ear canal. Earmuffs are like large headphones with no tunes (instead, they, you know, protect your hearing).
- When you’re in a situation where noise is fairly constant, earplugs are recommended.
- Earmuffs are recommended in instances where loud sounds are more intermittent.
The reasons for that are pretty simple: you’ll want to remove your ear protection when it isn’t noisy, and that’s easier to do with earmuffs than earplugs. Earplugs are extremely easy to misplace (especially if they’re inexpensive and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a scenario where you remove an earplug, lose it, and then need it later.
You will be okay if you wear the correct protection in the right situation.
2. Your Hearing Protection Can be Impacted by Your Anatomy
There are many variables in human anatomy from one individual to another. That’s why your vocal cords are average sized compared to old Uncle Joe’s 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 example, are made with a t-shirt mentality: small, medium, and large (even sometimes one-size-fits-all). And so if you have rather tiny ear canals, you might have a tough time making earplugs fit, causing you to give up entirely and in frustration, throw them away..
This can leave you open to risk, undercutting the hearing protection you were attempting to provide for yourself. The same thing can happen if, for example, your ears are on the larger size, making earmuff style protectors awkward. For individuals who work in noisy settings, a custom fit pair of hearing protection is a good investment.
3. Check if There’s Any Wear And Tear on Your Hearing Protection
You should be commended if you manage to wear your hearing protection every day. But day-to-day use will result in wear and tear to your hearing protection which you need to keep an eye on.
- If you use earmuffs, examine the band. The band will need to be changed if the elastic is worn out and doesn’t hold the earmuffs tight.
- Your hearing protection should 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). Be sure you wash your hearing protection completely by taking them apart before you cleanse them. If you’re rinsing earplugs, don’t drop them down the drain.
- Replace cushions on earmuffs every now and then (generally, when those cushions aren’t pliable, they’re ready for the heave-ho).
Ensuring you do routine maintenance on your hearing protection is essential if you want to continue benefiting from that 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 properly.