What stops your hearing protection from working properly? Here are 3 things to watch for.
In spite of your best attempts, you can sometimes run into things that can hinder your hearing protection, both at home and at the job. And that can be frustrating. You’re trying to do the right thing after all. When you go to a show, you use your earplugs; At work, you wear 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 right but you’re still having problems, it can be aggravating. The nice thing is that once you find out about some of these simple issues 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 Hearing Protection
There are two useful and standard categories of ear protection: earmuffs and earplugs. As the names may imply, earplugs are compact and can be inserted directly inside the ear canal. Earmuffs look like a pair of 70’s headphones, but instead of tunes, they provide protection for your ears by muting external sound.
- When you’re in a situation where noise is relatively constant, earplugs are encouraged.
- Earmuffs are advised in circumstances where loud sounds are more irregular.
The reasons for that are relatively simple: you’ll want to remove your hearing protection when it’s quiet, and that’s less difficult to do with earmuffs than earplugs. Earplugs are extremely easy to misplace (especially if they’re inexpensive and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a situation where you remove an earplug, lose it, and then need it later.
Use the correct form of hearing protection in the appropriate situation and you should be fine.
2. Your Hearing Protection Can be Impacted by Your Anatomy
Human anatomy is extremely varied. That’s why your Uncle Joe has such a large set of vocal cords and your vocal cords are more normal sized. That’s also why you may have a smaller than average ear canal.
And that can interfere with your ear protection. Disposable hearing protection is often a one size fits all mindset, or at best, a small, medium, large situation. So, perhaps you give up in frustration because you have small ear canals, and you quit using any hearing protection.
This can leave you open to risk, undermining the hearing protection you were trying to provide for yourself. Another instance of this is individuals with large ears who often have a difficult time getting earmuffs to fit comfortably. For individuals who work in loud environments, a custom fit pair of hearing protection is a smart investment.
3. Assess Your Hearing Protection For Wear And Tear
You should be commended if you manage to wear your hearing protection regularly. But that also means you need to keep close track of the wear and tear your ear protection is experiencing.
- Clean your hearing protection. Earwax serves a practical function in your body but it can also build up on your hearing protection. Be certain you clean your hearing protection completely by taking them apart before you clean them. Be mindful not to drop your earplugs down the drain.
- When they’re no longer pliable, 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.
Making sure you perform routine maintenance on your hearing protection is essential if you want to continue benefiting from that protection. It’s essential that you have a consultation with us if you have any questions on how to care for your hearing protection or want to learn more about the things that can impede their performance.
You need your hearing. It’s worth taking the time to protect it right.