What hinders your hearing protection from working correctly? Here are 3 things to look out for.
Whether you’re at work or at home, sometimes you come across something that can impede the effectiveness of your hearing protection. That’s difficult to cope 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 try to steer clear of Uncle Joe who is always yelling in your ear.
The point is, it can be kind of aggravating when you’re doing everything correctly and still there are issues. The good thing is that once you know about some of these simple issues that can mess with your hearing protection, you can prepare yourself better. And that can ensure that your ear protection works at peak efficiency even when you have some obstacles.
1. Using The Wrong Type of Hearing Protection
There are two convenient and standard categories of hearing protection: earplugs and earmuffs. As the names may imply, earplugs are small and can be pushed directly inside the ear canal. Earmuffs are like large headphones with no tunes (instead, they, you know, safeguard your ears).
- Earplugs are encouraged when you’re in a place where the sound is relatively continuous.
- Earmuffs are advised in cases where loud sounds are more irregular.
The reasons for that are fairly simple: you’ll want to remove your ear protection when it isn’t noisy, and that’s less difficult to do with earmuffs than earplugs. Earplugs take a little more work to put in and are easy to lose so you could find yourself needing to replace lost plugs when you need them most.
Wear the correct kind of hearing protection in the right situation and you should be okay.
2. Your Anatomy Can Affect Your Ear Protection
Human anatomy is extremely varied. 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 smaller than the average individual’s.
And that can interfere with your ear 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 hard time getting those earplugs to fit, causing you to give up entirely and in frustration, throw them away..
This can leave you exposed to risk, undermining the hearing protection you were attempting to give yourself. Another example of this is people with large ears who frequently have a hard time getting earmuffs to fit comfortably. For individuals who work in noisy settings, a custom fit pair of hearing protection is a good investment.
3. Examine Your Hearing Protection For Signs of Wear
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.
- Examine the band on earmuff protection. The band will need to be changed if the elastic is worn out and doesn’t hold the earmuffs tight.
- Replace cushions on earmuffs every once in a while (generally, when those cushions aren’t pliable, they’re ready for the heave-ho).
- Clean your hearing protection. Ears aren’t really the cleanest part of your body (ear wax serves a good purpose and all, but it’s still kind of… gross). Just make certain that you wash correctly; if you’re cleaning an earmuff set, take the earmuffs apart. Be careful not to drop your earplugs down the drain.
Ensuring you do 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 mess with your hearing protection, it’s a good idea to have a frank discussion with a highly qualified hearing professional.
Your hearing is important. It’s worth taking the time to protect it properly.