Is your hearing protection failing to safeguard your hearing? Here are 3 things to look out for.
Whether you’re at work or at home, sometimes you come across something that can interfere with the effectiveness of your ear protection. That’s difficult to deal with. After all, you’re trying to do what you’re supposed to do! When you go to a concert, you wear your earplugs; At work, you wear earmuffs every day; and you do your best to steer clear of Uncle Joe who is always shouting in your ear.
Here’s the point, when you’re doing everything correctly but you’re still having problems, it can be aggravating. Luckily, you can take a few measures to protect yourself once you understand what kinds of things can impede the performance of your ear protection. And that can ensure that your ear protection works at peak efficiency even when you have some obstacles.
1. Using The Wrong Kind of Hearing Protection
Hearing protection comes in two basic kinds: earmuffs and earplugs. Earplugs are little and, as the name indicates, can be inserted right into the ear canal. Earmuffs look like a pair of 70’s headphones, but instead of music, they offer protection for your ears by muting outside sound.
- When you’re in a scenario where sound is fairly constant, earplugs are suggested.
- When loud sounds are more sporadic, earmuffs are recommended.
There’s an obvious explanation 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 take a little more work to put in and are easy to lose track of so you might find yourself needing to replace lost plugs when you need them most.
Wear the right form of hearing protection in the appropriate scenario and you should be okay.
2. Your Anatomy Can Impact Your Hearing Protection
There are many differences in human anatomy from person to person. That’s why your vocal cords are average sized compared to old Uncle Joe’s larger vocal cords. That’s also why you might have a smaller than average ear canal.
This can cause complications with your ear protection. Disposable earplugs, for example, are made with a clothing mindset: small, medium, and large (if not one-size-fits-all). And so if you have especially tiny ear canals, you may have a tough time getting those earplugs to fit, causing you to give up entirely and throw the earplugs away in frustration.
This can leave you exposed to risk, undermining the hearing protection you were trying to provide for yourself. Another example of this is individuals with large ears who often have a difficult time getting earmuffs to fit comfortably. For people who work in loud settings, a custom fit pair of ear protection is a smart investment.
3. Check if There’s Any Wear And Tear on Your Hearing Protection
If you’re wearing your hearing protection daily, you should give yourself a pat on the back. But day-to-day use will result in wear and tear to your hearing protection which you need to monitor.
- Check the band on earmuff protection. When the elastic is worn out and the band is no longer holding the earmuffs snug, it’s time to exchange the band.
- Replace cushions on earmuffs every now and then (typically, when those cushions are no longer pliable, they’re ready to be replaced).
- Your hearing protection needs to be kept clean. Ears aren’t really the cleanest part of your body (ear wax serves a good purpose and all, but it’s still kind of… yucky). Make sure you clean your hearing protection completely by taking them apart before you cleanse them. Be careful not to drop your earplugs down the drain.
If you want to get maximum benefit, you need to perform routine maintenance on your hearing protection. If you have any questions or how to do that, or how to make sure you’re ready for things that can hinder your hearing protection, it’s a smart idea to have a frank discussion with a highly qualified hearing professional.
You need your hearing. Taking the time to protect it properly is worthwhile.