What stops your hearing protection from working correctly? Here are 3 things to look out for.
Whether you’re at home or at work, sometimes you encounter something that can impede the performance of your hearing protection. And that can be aggravating. You’re trying to do the right thing after all. You wear your earmuffs every day at work; you wear earplugs when you attend a show; and you avoid your raucous Uncle Joe who is always yelling in your ears (although, maybe you just don’t really like Uncle Joe).
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 find out about a few of these simple issues that can mess with your hearing protection, you can prepare yourself better. And that can ensure that your ear protection works at peak effectiveness even when there’s a bump in the road.
1. Wearing The Wrong Type of Ear Protection
Hearing protection is available in two standard types: earplugs and earmuffs. As the names may imply, earplugs are compact and can be inserted directly inside the ear canal. Earmuffs look like a pair of 70’s headphones, but instead of tunes, they provide protection for your hearing by blocking outside sound.
- When you’re in a situation where noise is relatively constant, earplugs are recommended.
- Earmuffs are advised in instances where loud sounds are more irregular.
There’s an obvious reason for that: when there’s no noise, you’ll want to remove you’re hearing protection which is harder to do with earplugs than earmuffs. Earplugs are extremely easy to lose (particularly if they’re cheap and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a scenario where you remove an earplug, misplace it, and then need it later.
Use the right kind of hearing protection in the appropriate situation and you should be okay.
2. Your Ear Protection Can be Affected 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. That’s also why you may have a smaller than normal ear canal.
And that can mess with your hearing protection. Disposable hearing protection is frequently a one size fits all mentality, or at best, a small, medium, large scenario. So, maybe you give up in frustration because you have tiny ear canals, and you stop using any ear protection.
This can leave you open to risk, undercutting the hearing protection you were attempting to provide for yourself. Another example of this is individuals with large ears who often have a tough time getting earmuffs to fit comfortably. If you’re in a noisy setting regularly, it might be worth investing in custom ear protection personalized to your ears.
3. Assess Your Hearing Protection For Signs of Wear
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 hearing protection is experiencing.
- Examine the band on earmuff protection. The band will need to be changed if the elastic is worn out and no longer holds the earmuffs tight.
- Your hearing protection should be kept clean. Earwax serves a practical purpose in your body but it can also collect on your hearing protection. Just make sure that you wash properly; if you’re cleansing a set of earmuffs, take the earmuffs apart. If you’re rinsing earplugs, don’t drop them into the drain.
- When they lose their pliability, replace the cushions on your earmuffs.
If you want to get optimum benefit, you need to perform regular maintenance on your hearing protection. If you have any questions or how to do that, or how to make sure you’re prepared for things that can hinder your hearing protection, it’s a good idea to have a frank discussion with a highly qualified hearing professional.
You need your hearing. It’s worth taking the time to protect it properly.