Is your hearing protection failing to protect your hearing? Here are 3 things to watch for.
In spite of your best efforts, you can sometimes run into things that can mess with your hearing protection, both at home and at the job. That’s difficult to cope with. You’re trying to do the right thing after all. When you go to a show, you use 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 problems, it can be frustrating. Luckily, you can take a few steps to protect yourself once you learn what kinds of things can interfere with the performance of your hearing protection. And that can ensure that your ear protection functions at peak effectiveness even when there’s a bump in the road.
1. Wearing The Wrong Kind of Ear Protection
There are two handy and basic categories of hearing protection: earmuffs and earplugs. As the names might indicate, earplugs are small and can be pushed directly into the ear canal. Earmuffs are like big headphones with no tunes (instead, they, you know, protect your ears).
- When you’re in a scenario where noise is relatively constant, earplugs are recommended.
- When loud sounds are more sporadic, earmuffs are suggested.
There’s an obvious reason for that: when it’s quiet, you’ll want to remove you’re hearing protection which is more difficult to do with earplugs than earmuffs. Earplugs are incredibly easy to lose (especially 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.
You will be okay if you use the proper protection in the appropriate situation.
2. Your Anatomy Can Impact Your Ear Protection
Human anatomy is extremely diverse. 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 may be narrower than the average person’s.
This can cause problems with your hearing protection. Disposable earplugs, for example, are made with a clothing mentality: small, medium, and large (even sometimes one-size-fits-all). And so if you have particularly tiny ear canals, you may have a tough time getting those earplugs to fit, causing you to give up entirely and in frustration, throw them away..
If you find yourself in this scenario, you may forsake the hearing protection you were trying to give yourself, leaving you in danger of hearing damage. Another example of this is people with large ears who often have a tough time getting earmuffs to fit comfortably. For people who work in noisy settings, a custom fit pair of hearing protection is a smart investment.
3. Check if There’s Any Wear And Tear on Your Hearing Protection
You should be commended if you manage to use 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.
- Your hearing protection should be kept clean. Earwax serves a practical function in your body but it can also accumulate on your hearing protection. Make certain you clean your hearing protection thoroughly by taking them apart before you clean them. If you’re washing earplugs, don’t drop them down the drain.
- When they lose their pliability, replace the cushions on your earmuffs.
- Check 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.
Ensuring you carry out routine 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 properly is worthwhile.