Is your hearing protection failing to safeguard your hearing? Watch for these three things.
Whether you’re at work or at home, sometimes you run into something that can interfere with 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 use your earmuffs every day at work; you use earplugs when you attend a show; and you avoid your loud Uncle Joe who is constantly shouting in your ears (although, maybe you just don’t really enjoy Uncle Joe).
Here’s the point, when you’re doing everything right but you’re still having difficulty, it can be frustrating. Luckily, you can take some measures to protect yourself once you understand what types of things can interfere with the performance of your ear protection. And this will keep your hearing protection in a state of efficiency even when you’re having a little difficulty.
1. Using The Wrong Kind of Hearing Protection
Hearing protection comes in two practical kinds: earplugs and earmuffs. Earplugs are small and, as the name indicates, can be inserted straight into the ear canal. Earmuffs look like a pair of 70’s headphones, but instead of music, they offer protection for your hearing by blocking external sound.
- When you’re in a scenario where sound is fairly constant, earplugs are suggested.
- Earmuffs are recommended in circumstances where loud sounds are more sporadic.
There’s an obvious reason for that: when it’s quiet, you’ll want to remove you’re hearing protection which is harder to do with earplugs than earmuffs. Earplugs are incredibly easy to misplace (particularly if they’re cheap and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a situation where you take out an earplug, misplace it, and then need it later.
Wear the proper kind of hearing protection in the right situation and you should be okay.
2. Your Hearing Protection Can be Impacted by Your Anatomy
There are many variables in human anatomy from one individual to another. That’s why your Uncle Joe has such large vocal cords and you have more normal-sized vocal cords. It’s also why your ear canal might be smaller than the average person’s.
This can cause issues with your hearing protection. Disposable earplugs, for example, are made with a clothing mentality: small, medium, and large (even sometimes one-size-fits-all). So, perhaps you give up in frustration because you have tiny ear canals, and you stop using any ear protection.
This can leave you exposed to risk, undercutting the hearing protection you were attempting to give yourself. The same thing can happen if, for instance, your ears are a bit larger, making earmuff style protectors uncomfortable. If you spend a lot of time in noisy environments, it might be worth investing in custom hearing protection personalized 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.
- When they’re no longer pliable, replace the cushions on your earmuffs.
- Clean 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… gross). Make sure you clean your hearing protection completely by taking them apart before you cleanse them. If you’re washing earplugs, don’t drop them into the drain.
- 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 switch out the band.
If you want to get maximum 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 ready for things that can mess with your hearing protection, it’s a good idea to have a candid discussion with a highly qualified hearing professional.
Your hearing is important. It’s worth taking the time to protect it properly.