What prevents your hearing protection from working properly? Here are 3 things to look out for.
In spite of your best efforts, you can sometimes encounter things that can hinder your hearing protection, both at home and at work. And that can be discouraging. After all, you’re striving to do what you’re supposed to do! When you go to a concert, you use your earplugs; At work, you use 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 kind of aggravating when you’re doing everything correctly and still there are obstacles. Fortunately, you can take a few measures to protect yourself once you learn what types of things can interfere with the performance of your hearing protection. And this will keep your ear protection in a state of efficiency even when you’re having a bit of difficulty.
1. Wearing The Wrong Type of Ear Protection
There are two convenient and basic categories of ear protection: earmuffs and earplugs. As the names might indicate, earplugs are compact and can be inserted directly inside the ear canal. Earmuffs look like a set of 70’s headphones, but instead of tunes, they offer protection for your ears by blocking external sound.
- Earplugs are recommended when you’re in a setting where the noise is relatively continuous.
- Earmuffs are recommended in circumstances where loud sounds are more intermittent.
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 are very easy to misplace (especially if they’re cheap and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a position where you take out an earplug, misplace it, and then need it later.
You will be fine if you wear the correct protection in the appropriate scenario.
2. Your Hearing 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 more normal sized compared to old Uncle Joe who has larger vocal cords. It’s also why your ear canal might be smaller than the average person’s.
This can cause complications with your ear protection. Disposable earplugs, for instance, are made with a t-shirt mentality: small, medium, and large (even sometimes one-size-fits-all). And so if you have especially tiny ear canals, you may have a difficult time getting those earplugs to fit, causing you to give up completely and in frustration, throw them away..
This can leave you exposed to risk, undercutting the hearing protection you were trying to provide for yourself. Another instance of this is individuals with large ears who frequently have a tough time getting earmuffs to fit comfortably. For individuals who work in noisy settings, a custom fit pair of ear protection is a smart investment.
3. Examine Your Hearing Protection For Wear And Tear
If you’re using your hearing protection every day, you should give yourself a gold star. But that also means you need to monitor the wear and tear your hearing protection is experiencing.
- Clean your hearing protection. Earwax serves a practical function in your body but it can also accumulate on your hearing protection. Just make certain that you wash properly; if you’re washing a set of earmuffs, take apart the earmuffs. Be cautious not to drop your earplugs into the drain.
- Replace cushions on earmuffs every now and then (generally, when those cushions aren’t pliable, they’re ready to be replaced).
- Examine the band on earmuff protection. 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 routine maintenance on your hearing protection. It’s essential that you have a consultation with us if you have any questions on how to take care of your hearing protection or want to learn more about the things that can impede their performance.
You need your hearing. It’s worth taking the time to protect it right.