Is your hearing protection failing to protect your hearing? Watch for these three things.
In spite of your best efforts, you can sometimes encounter things that can mess with your hearing protection, both at home and at work. And that can be aggravating. After all, you’re trying to do what you’re supposed to do! When you go to a concert, 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 always shouting in your ear.
The point is, it can be kind of aggravating when you’re doing everything correctly and still there are issues. The good thing is that once you understand some of these simple issues that can interfere with your hearing protection, you can prepare yourself better. And that can ensure that your hearing protection works at peak effectiveness even when you have some obstacles.
1. Wearing The Wrong Kind of Hearing Protection
Ear protection is available in two standard kinds: earplugs and earmuffs. As the names might suggest, earplugs are compact and can be inserted directly into the ear canal. Earmuffs look like a pair of 70’s headphones, but instead of tunes, they provide protection for your hearing by blocking external sound.
- Earplugs are encouraged when you’re in an environment where the sound is comparatively constant.
- When loud sounds are more intermittent, earmuffs are recommended.
There’s a simple explanation 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 take a bit more work to put in and are easy to lose track of so you may find yourself needing to replace lost plugs when you need them most.
You will be okay if you use the correct protection in the right scenario.
2. Your Hearing Protection Can be Impacted by Your Anatomy
Human anatomy is amazingly varied. That’s why your vocal cords are more normal sized compared to old Uncle Joe who has larger vocal cords. That’s also why you might have a smaller than average ear canal.
And that can mess with your ear protection. Disposable earplugs, for example, are made with a clothing mentality: small, medium, and large (if not one-size-fits-all). So, maybe you give up in frustration because you have tiny ear canals, and you quit using any ear protection.
This can leave you exposed to risk, undermining the hearing protection you were trying to provide for yourself. The same thing can happen if, for example, your ears are a bit larger, making earmuff style protectors uncomfortable. For people who work in loud environments, a custom fit pair of hearing protection is a good 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 day-to-day usage will result in wear and tear to your hearing protection which you need to keep an eye on.
- Replace cushions on earmuffs every once in a while (generally, when those cushions aren’t pliable, they’re ready to be replaced).
- 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 replace the band.
- 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… yucky). Just make sure that you wash properly; if you’re cleaning an earmuff set, take the earmuffs apart. Be mindful not to drop your earplugs down the drain.
Ensuring you conduct regular 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 learn more about the things that can interfere with their performance.
You need your hearing. Taking the time to protect it properly is worthwhile.