What hinders your hearing protection from working properly? Look out for these three things.
Despite your best attempts, you can sometimes encounter things that can mess with 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 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.
Here’s the point, when you’re doing everything right but you’re still having trouble, it can be frustrating. The nice thing is that once you find out about some of these simple challenges that can interfere with your hearing protection, you can prepare yourself better. And that can ensure that your hearing protection functions at peak effectiveness even when you have some obstacles.
1. Wearing The Wrong Type of Hearing Protection
There are two convenient and standard categories of hearing protection: earplugs and earmuffs. Earplugs are little and, as the name indicates, can be inserted straight into the ear canal. Earmuffs look like a pair of 70’s headphones, but instead of tunes, they offer protection for your hearing by muting external sound.
- When you’re in a scenario where sound is relatively constant, earplugs are recommended.
- Earmuffs are recommended in circumstances where loud sounds are more irregular.
The reasons for that are fairly obvious: you’ll want to remove your ear protection when it’s quiet, and that’s easier to do with earmuffs than earplugs. Earplugs take a bit more work to put in and are easy to lose so you might find yourself needing to replace lost plugs when you really need them.
Use the correct form of hearing protection in the right scenario and you should be fine.
2. Your Anatomy Can Affect Your Ear Protection
There are many variables in human anatomy from person to person. 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 might have a smaller than average ear canal.
This can cause complications with your ear protection. Disposable hearing protection is often a one size fits all mentality, or at best, a small, medium, large situation. So, perhaps you give up in frustration because you have small ear canals, and you stop using any hearing protection.
This can leave you exposed to risk, undercutting the hearing protection you were attempting to give yourself. Another instance of this is individuals with large ears who frequently have a difficult time getting earmuffs to fit comfortably. For people who work in noisy environments, a custom fit pair of ear protection is a smart investment.
3. Check Your Hearing Protection For Wear And Tear
You should be commended if you manage to wear your hearing protection every day. But that also means you need to monitor the wear and tear your hearing protection is experiencing.
- Check the band on earmuff protection. The band will need to be replaced if the elastic is worn out and doesn’t hold the earmuffs tight.
- Your hearing protection should 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 certain you clean your hearing protection completely by taking them apart before you cleanse them. If you’re washing earplugs, don’t drop them down the drain.
- Replace cushions on earmuffs every once in a while (typically, when those cushions aren’t pliable, they’re ready for the heave-ho).
If you want to get optimum benefit, you need to perform routine maintenance on your hearing protection. If you have any questions or how to do that, or how to ensure you’re prepared for things that can mess with your hearing protection, it’s a smart idea to have a candid discussion with a highly qualified hearing professional.
Your hearing is vital. Taking the time to protect it properly is essential.