Is your hearing protection failing to safeguard your hearing? Here are 3 things to look out for.
In spite of your best efforts, you can sometimes encounter things that can hinder your hearing protection, both at home and at work. That’s difficult to deal with. You’re attempting 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 try to steer clear of Uncle Joe who is always yelling in your ear.
The point is, it can be kind of discouraging when you’re doing everything correctly and still there are issues. The nice thing is that once you find out about some of these simple issues that can interfere with your hearing protection, you can better prepare yourself. And that can ensure that your ear protection works at peak efficiency even when you have some obstacles.
1. Wearing The Wrong Type of Hearing Protection
There are two convenient and basic categories of hearing protection: earplugs and earmuffs. Earplugs are small and, as the name indicates, can be inserted straight into the ear canal. Earmuffs look like a pair of 70’s headphones, but instead of music, they offer protection for your ears by blocking outside sound.
- When you’re in a situation where noise is relatively constant, earplugs are suggested.
- Earmuffs are advised in cases where loud sounds are more sporadic.
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 are very easy to misplace (especially if they’re cheap and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a situation where you remove an earplug, misplace it, and then need it later.
Wear the right kind of hearing protection in the appropriate situation and you should be okay.
2. Your Hearing Protection Can be Impacted by Your Anatomy
There are many variables in human anatomy from person to person. 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 person’s.
And that can interfere with your hearing protection. Disposable hearing protection is often a one size fits all mentality, or at best, a small, medium, large situation. So, perhaps you give up in frustration because you have small ear canals, and you quit using any hearing protection.
This can leave you open to risk, undercutting the hearing protection you were trying to provide for yourself. Another instance 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 may be worth investing in custom hearing protection personalized to your ears.
3. Check if There’s Any Wear And Tear on Your Hearing Protection
If you’re using your hearing protection daily, you should give yourself a gold star. But that also means you need to keep an eye on the wear and tear your ear protection is experiencing.
- Examine the band on earmuff protection. When the elastic is worn out and the band is no longer holding the earmuffs snug, it’s time to switch out the band.
- Replace cushions on earmuffs from time to time (typically, when those cushions aren’t pliable, they’re ready for the heave-ho).
- 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… gross). Make certain you wash your hearing protection thoroughly by taking them apart before you cleanse them. If you’re rinsing earplugs, don’t drop them down the drain.
Making sure you perform regular maintenance on your hearing protection is imperative if you want to continue benefiting from that protection. If you have any questions or how to do that, or how to make sure you’re ready for things that can hinder your hearing protection, it’s a smart idea to have a frank discussion with a highly qualified hearing professional.
Your hearing is vital. Taking the time to protect it properly is essential.