Is your hearing protection failing to safeguard your hearing? 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 ear protection. And that can be discouraging. You’re trying to do the right thing after all. You use your earmuffs every day at work; you use earplugs when you go to a show; and you avoid your raucous Uncle Joe who is always yelling in your ears (although, perhaps you just don’t really enjoy Uncle Joe).
Here’s the point, when you’re doing everything right but you’re still having problems, it can be discouraging. Luckily, you can take a few steps to protect yourself once you learn what types of things can interfere with the performance of your hearing protection. And this will keep your hearing protection working effectively even when you’re experiencing a bit of trouble.
1. Using The Wrong Type of Hearing Protection
Hearing protection is available in two practical kinds: earmuffs and earplugs. Earplugs are small and, as the name indicates, can be put right into the ear canal. Earmuffs look like a pair of 70’s headphones, but instead of music, they provide protection for your hearing by muting external sound.
- When you’re in a scenario where sound is fairly constant, earplugs are encouraged.
- When loud sounds are more sporadic, earmuffs are recommended.
The reasons for that are pretty simple: you’ll want to remove your ear protection when it’s quiet, and that’s less difficult to do with earmuffs than earplugs. 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, lose it, and then need it later.
You will be okay if you wear the proper protection in the right scenario.
2. Your Ear Protection Can be Impacted by Your Anatomy
Human anatomy is extremely varied. That’s why your vocal cords are average sized compared to old Uncle Joe who has larger vocal cords. That’s also why you might have a smaller than normal ear canal.
This can cause complications with your ear protection. Disposable earplugs, for instance, are made with a clothing mindset: 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 scenario, you could forsake the hearing protection you were trying to give yourself, leaving you in danger of hearing damage. The same thing can occur if, for instance, your ears are a bit larger, making earmuff style protectors awkward. If you’re in a noisy setting regularly, it may be worth investing in custom hearing protection customized to your ears.
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 that also means you need to monitor the wear and tear your hearing protection is experiencing.
- Your hearing protection needs to be kept clean. Earwax serves a practical function in your body but it can also accumulate on your hearing protection. Be certain you wash your hearing protection thoroughly by taking them apart before you cleanse them. If you’re washing earplugs, don’t drop them into the drain.
- When they’re no longer pliable, replace the cushions on your earmuffs.
- If you use earmuffs, examine the band. The band will need to be exchanged if the elastic is worn out and doesn’t hold the earmuffs tight.
If you want to get maximum benefit, you need to do regular maintenance on your hearing 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 conversation with a highly qualified hearing professional.
Your hearing is important. It’s worth taking the time to protect it properly.