What prevents your hearing protection from working properly? Watch for these three things.
Despite your best attempts, 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! You use your earmuffs every day while working; you use earplugs when you attend a concert; and you stay away from your raucous Uncle Joe who is constantly yelling in your ears (although, maybe you just don’t really like Uncle Joe).
The point is, it can be kind of frustrating when you’re doing everything correctly and still there are issues. Fortunately, you can take a few steps to protect yourself once you learn what kinds of things can impede the performance of your hearing protection. And that can ensure that your ear protection functions at peak efficiency even when you have some obstacles.
1. Using The Wrong Kind of Hearing Protection
There are two useful and standard categories of hearing protection: earmuffs and earplugs. As the names may indicate, earplugs are small and can be pushed 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 outside sound.
- When you’re in a situation where noise is relatively constant, earplugs are recommended.
- When loud sounds are more intermittent, earmuffs are recommended.
There’s an obvious explanation for that: when there’s no noise, you’ll want to remove you’re hearing protection which is more difficult to do with earplugs than earmuffs. Earplugs are very easy to lose (particularly if they’re cheap 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.
Use the right form of hearing protection in the right scenario and you should be fine.
2. Your Ear Protection Can be Impacted by Your Anatomy
There are many differences in human anatomy from person to person. That’s why your Uncle Joe has such large vocal cords and you have more normal-sized vocal cords. That’s also why you may have a smaller than average ear canal.
And that can interfere with your ear protection. Disposable hearing protection is often 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 scenario, you could forsake the hearing protection you were attempting to give yourself, leaving you at risk of hearing damage. The same thing can happen if, for instance, your ears are on the larger size, making earmuff style protectors uncomfortable. If you’re in a noisy setting regularly, it may be worth investing in custom ear protection personalized to your ears.
3. Examine Your Hearing Protection For Signs of Wear
You should be commended if you manage to use your hearing protection every day. But that also means you need to monitor the wear and tear your hearing protection is experiencing.
- Check the band on earmuff protection. The band will need to be changed if the elastic is worn out and doesn’t hold the earmuffs tight.
- Replace cushions on earmuffs from time to time (typically, when those cushions aren’t pliable, they’re ready to be replaced).
- Clean your hearing protection. Earwax serves a practical purpose in your body but it can also build up on your hearing protection. Make sure you clean your hearing protection completely by taking them apart before you cleanse them. If you’re rinsing earplugs, don’t drop them into the drain.
Ensuring you carry out regular maintenance on your hearing protection is essential 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 good idea to have a frank conversation with a highly qualified hearing professional.
Your hearing is vital. Taking the time to protect it right is essential.