Is your hearing protection failing to protect your hearing? Here are 3 things to watch for.
Despite your best efforts, you can sometimes run into things that can mess with your hearing protection, both at home and at work. That’s difficult to deal with. After all, you’re striving to do what you’re supposed to do! You put on your earmuffs every day at work; you wear earplugs when you attend a show; and you stay away from your loud Uncle Joe who is always shouting in your ears (although, maybe you just don’t really enjoy Uncle Joe).
The point is, it can be rather frustrating when you’re doing everything correctly and still there are issues. The good thing is that once you find out about some of these simple issues that can interfere with your hearing protection, you can better prepare yourself. And this will keep your ear protection in a state of efficiency even when you’re experiencing a little difficulty.
1. Using The Wrong Type of Hearing Protection
There are two useful and basic categories of hearing protection: earmuffs and earplugs. Earplugs are little and, as the name suggests, can be inserted straight into the ear canal. Earmuffs look like a set of 70’s headphones, but instead of tunes, they provide protection for your ears by blocking external sound.
- Earplugs are suggested when you’re in a place where the sound is comparatively constant.
- When loud sounds are more intermittent, earmuffs are suggested.
The reasons for that are pretty obvious: you’ll want to remove your ear protection when it’s quiet, and that’s less difficult to do with earmuffs than earplugs. Earplugs take a bit more work to put in and are easy to lose track of so you might find yourself needing to replace lost plugs when you really need them.
You will be fine if you use the proper protection in the appropriate scenario.
2. Your Ear Protection Can be Affected by Your Anatomy
There are many differences in human anatomy from person to person. That’s why your Uncle Joe has such a large set of vocal cords and you have more normal-sized vocal cords. That’s also why you might have a smaller than normal ear canal.
This can cause issues with your ear protection. Disposable hearing protection is frequently a one size fits all mindset, or at best, a small, medium, large scenario. So, perhaps you give up in frustration because you have small ear canals, and you quit using any hearing protection.
If you find yourself in this situation, you might forsake the hearing protection you were attempting to give yourself, leaving you in danger of hearing damage. The same thing can happen if, for instance, your ears are on the larger size, 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. Check Your Hearing Protection For Wear And Tear
You should be commended if you manage to wear your hearing protection every day. But that also means you need to keep close track of the wear and tear your ear protection is experiencing.
- Wash your hearing protection. 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). Be certain you clean your hearing protection completely by taking them apart before you cleanse them. Be cautious not to drop your earplugs into the drain.
- When they’re no longer pliable, replace the cushions on your earmuffs.
- If you use earmuffs, check the band. 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. If you have any questions or how to do that, or how to ensure you’re prepared for things that can mess with your hearing protection, it’s a good idea to have a candid conversation with a highly qualified hearing professional.
You need your hearing. It’s worth taking the time to protect it properly.