Is your hearing protection failing to protect your hearing? Look out for these three things.
Whether you’re at work or at home, sometimes you encounter something that can impede the performance of your ear protection. And that can be aggravating. After all, you’re trying to do what you’re supposed to do! You wear your earmuffs every day at work; you use earplugs when you go to a concert; and you avoid your raucous Uncle Joe who is constantly yelling in your ears (although, maybe you just don’t really like Uncle Joe).
Here’s the point, when you’re doing everything right but you’re still having difficulty, it can be aggravating. The nice thing is that once you find out about some of these simple issues that can mess with your hearing protection, you can prepare yourself better. And that can ensure that your hearing protection functions at peak effectiveness even when there’s a bump in the road.
1. Using The Wrong Kind of Hearing Protection
Hearing protection comes in two standard types: earmuffs and earplugs. Earplugs are little and, as the name indicates, can be inserted straight into the ear canal. Earmuffs are like large headphones with no tunes (instead, they, you know, safeguard your hearing).
- When you’re in a situation where noise is fairly constant, earplugs are suggested.
- Earmuffs are recommended in cases where loud sounds are more sporadic.
There’s a simple 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 take a bit more work to put in and are easy to lose so you may find yourself needing to replace lost plugs when you need them most.
Wear the proper form of hearing protection in the appropriate situation and you should be fine.
2. Your Ear Protection Can be Impacted by Your Anatomy
Human anatomy is amazingly varied. That’s why your Uncle Joe has such a large set of vocal cords and your vocal cords are more normal sized. It’s also why your ear canal might be narrower than the average individual’s.
This can cause complications with your hearing protection. Disposable hearing protection is often a one size fits all mindset, or at best, a small, medium, large situation. And so if you have particularly tiny ear canals, you might have a tough time making earplugs fit, causing you to give up entirely and throw the earplugs away in frustration.
This can leave you exposed to risk, undercutting the hearing protection you were attempting to give yourself. The same thing can happen if, for example, 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 ear protection customized to your ears.
3. Assess if There’s Any Wear And Tear on Your Hearing Protection
You should be commended if you manage to use your hearing protection regularly. But that also means you need to monitor the wear and tear your ear protection is experiencing.
- When they lose their flexibility, replace the cushions on your earmuffs.
- Check the band on earmuff protection. When the elastic is worn out and the band is failing to hold the earmuffs snug, it’s time to replace the band.
- Wash your hearing protection. Ears aren’t really the cleanest part of your body (ear wax serves a practical purpose and all, but it’s still kind of… gross). Be certain you clean your hearing protection completely by taking them apart before you clean them. Be cautious not to drop your earplugs into the drain.
Ensuring you do routine 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 ensure 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.
You need your hearing. Taking the time to protect it properly is worthwhile.