Is your hearing protection failing to safeguard your hearing? Look out for these three things.
Whether you’re at home or at work, sometimes you run into something that can interfere with the performance of your hearing protection. That’s difficult to cope with. You’re attempting to do the right thing after all. When you go to a concert, you wear your earplugs; At work, you use earmuffs every day; and you try to steer clear of Uncle Joe who is constantly shouting in your ear.
Here’s the point, when you’re doing everything correctly but you’re still having trouble, it can be discouraging. The nice thing is that once you know about some of these simple problems that can mess with your hearing protection, you can better prepare yourself. And this will keep your hearing protection in a state of efficiency even when you’re having a little difficulty.
1. Wearing The Wrong Kind of Ear Protection
There are two useful and basic categories of ear protection: earmuffs and earplugs. Earplugs are small and, as the name suggests, can be put right into the ear canal. Earmuffs look like a set of 70’s headphones, but instead of music, they provide protection for your ears by muting outside sound.
- When you’re in a situation where noise is fairly constant, earplugs are encouraged.
- When loud sounds are more intermittent, earmuffs are suggested.
There’s a simple reason 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 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.
You will be fine if you wear the correct protection in the appropriate scenario.
2. Your Ear Protection Can be Impacted by Your Anatomy
There are many differences in human anatomy from one individual to another. That’s why your Uncle Joe has such a large set of 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.
And that can mess with your hearing protection. Disposable earplugs, for instance, are made with a t-shirt mindset: small, medium, and large (even sometimes one-size-fits-all). And so if you have rather tiny ear canals, you may have a hard time making earplugs fit, causing you to give up entirely and throw the earplugs away in frustration.
If you find yourself in this situation, you might turn away from the hearing protection you were attempting to give yourself, leaving you at risk of hearing damage. The same thing can occur if, for instance, your ears are a bit larger, making earmuff style protectors awkward. For people who work in noisy environments, a custom fit pair of hearing protection is a good investment.
3. Check if There’s Any Wear And Tear on Your Hearing Protection
You should be commended if you manage to wear your hearing protection regularly. But that also means you need to keep an eye on the wear and tear your ear protection is experiencing.
- When they lose their flexibility, replace the cushions on your earmuffs.
- If you use earmuffs, examine the band. The band will need to be changed if the elastic is worn out and no longer holds the earmuffs tight.
- Your hearing protection should be kept clean. Ears aren’t really the cleanest part of your body (ear wax serves a practical purpose and all, but it’s still kind of… yucky). Just make sure that you wash correctly; if you’re cleansing a set of earmuffs, take the earmuffs apart. Be mindful not to drop your earplugs into the drain.
Ensuring you perform regular maintenance on your hearing protection is vital if you want to continue benefiting from that protection. If you have any questions or how to do that, or how to make sure you’re prepared 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 worthwhile.