What prevents your hearing protection from working properly? Here are 3 things to look out for.
Whether you’re at home or at work, sometimes you run into something that can impede the performance of your hearing protection. 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 wear 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 a bit discouraging when you’re doing everything right and still there are difficulties. Fortunately, you can take some 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 having a little trouble.
1. Wearing The Wrong Kind of Ear Protection
There are two convenient and standard categories of hearing protection: earmuffs and earplugs. As the names may suggest, earplugs are compact and can be pushed directly inside the ear canal. Earmuffs are like large headphones with no music (instead, they, you know, safeguard your ears).
- When you’re in a scenario where sound is relatively constant, earplugs are recommended.
- When loud sounds are more intermittent, earmuffs are suggested.
There’s a simple 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 inexpensive and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a position where you remove an earplug, lose it, and then need it later.
Wear the correct kind of hearing protection in the right scenario and you should be fine.
2. Your Hearing Protection Can be Affected by Your Anatomy
There are many variables in human anatomy from person to person. That’s why your Uncle Joe has such large vocal cords and your vocal cords are more normal sized. That’s also why you might have a smaller than average ear canal.
And that can interfere with your hearing protection. Disposable hearing protection is frequently a one size fits all mentality, or at best, a small, medium, large situation. And so if you have especially tiny ear canals, you might have a hard time getting those earplugs to 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. Another instance 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 hearing protection personalized to your ears.
3. Assess if There’s Any Wear And Tear on Your Hearing Protection
If you’re wearing your hearing protection every day, you should give yourself a gold star. But day-to-day usage will cause wear and tear to your hearing protection which you need to monitor.
- When they’re no longer pliable, replace the cushions on your earmuffs.
- Check 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.
- Clean your hearing protection. Earwax serves a practical purpose in your body but it can also collect on your hearing protection. Make certain you wash your hearing protection completely by taking them apart before you clean them. Be careful not to drop your earplugs into the drain.
If you want to get the greatest possible benefit, you need to perform regular maintenance on your hearing protection. If you have any questions or how to do that, or how to ensure you’re prepared for things that can hinder your hearing protection, it’s a smart idea to have a candid conversation with a highly qualified hearing professional.
Your hearing is vital. Taking the time to protect it right is essential.