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 encounter something that can interfere with the effectiveness of your hearing protection. And that can be discouraging. You’re trying to do the right thing after all. When you go to a show, you use 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 a bit aggravating when you’re doing everything correctly and still there are challenges. The nice thing is that once you understand a few of these simple challenges that can mess with your hearing protection, you can prepare yourself better. And this will keep your hearing protection in a state of efficiency even when you’re experiencing a little difficulty.
1. Wearing The Wrong Type of Ear Protection
Ear protection is available in two practical kinds: earplugs and earmuffs. As the names might imply, earplugs are small and can be pushed directly inside the ear canal. Earmuffs are like big headphones with no tunes (instead, they, you know, protect your ears).
- When you’re in a setting where sound is relatively constant, earplugs are recommended.
- When loud sounds are more intermittent, earmuffs are recommended.
There’s an obvious explanation 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 are incredibly easy to lose (particularly if they’re cheap and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a scenario where you take out an earplug, misplace it, and then need it later.
Use the proper form of hearing protection in the appropriate scenario and you should be okay.
2. Your Hearing Protection Can be Impacted by Your Anatomy
Human anatomy is incredibly diverse. That’s why your Uncle Joe has such a large set of vocal cords and you have more normal-sized vocal cords. It’s also why your ear canal might be smaller than the average person’s.
This can cause complications with your ear protection. Disposable earplugs, for example, are made with a clothing mentality: small, medium, and large (if not one-size-fits-all). And so if you have especially tiny ear canals, you might have a difficult time making earplugs fit, causing you to give up completely and in frustration, throw them away..
If you find yourself in this situation, you might turn away from the hearing protection you were trying to give yourself, leaving you at risk of hearing damage. The same thing can happen if, for instance, your ears are on the larger size, making earmuff style protectors uncomfortable. For individuals who work in noisy 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 daily, you should give yourself a gold star. But that also means you need to keep close track of the wear and tear your hearing protection is experiencing.
- Your hearing protection should be kept clean. Earwax serves a practical function in your body but it can also collect on your hearing protection. Just make certain that you wash properly; if you’re washing a set of earmuffs, take apart the earmuffs. If you’re rinsing earplugs, don’t drop them into the drain.
- When they’re no longer pliable, replace the cushions on your earmuffs.
- If you use earmuffs, check the band. The band will need to be changed if the elastic is worn out and no longer holds the earmuffs tight.
Ensuring you perform routine maintenance on your hearing protection is vital 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 care for your hearing protection or want to know more about the things that can impede their performance.
You need your hearing. Taking the time to protect it right is essential.