What prevents your hearing protection from working properly? Watch for these three things.
Whether you’re at work or at home, sometimes you encounter something that can impede the performance 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 show, you wear your earplugs; At work, you wear earmuffs every day; and you try to steer clear of Uncle Joe who is constantly yelling in your ear.
The point is, it can be a bit discouraging when you’re doing everything right and still there are challenges. Luckily, you can take some measures to protect yourself once you learn 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 Type of Hearing Protection
There are two convenient and standard categories of ear protection: earplugs and earmuffs. As the names may suggest, earplugs are compact and can be pushed directly into the ear canal. Earmuffs are like large headphones with no music (instead, they, you know, safeguard your ears).
- Earplugs are encouraged when you’re in a place where the sound is relatively constant.
- Earmuffs are advised in instances where loud sounds are more sporadic.
There’s an obvious reason for that: when there’s no noise, you’ll want to remove you’re hearing protection which is more difficult to do with earplugs than earmuffs. Earplugs are incredibly easy to misplace (especially if they’re cheap and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a position where you remove an earplug, misplace it, and then need it later.
You will be fine if you use the correct protection in the right situation.
2. Your Hearing Protection Can be Affected by Your Anatomy
Human anatomy is amazingly varied. 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 normal ear canal.
And that can interfere with your ear protection. Disposable earplugs, for example, are made with a t-shirt mentality: small, medium, and large (if not one-size-fits-all). 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, undercutting the hearing protection you were trying to provide for yourself. The same thing can happen if, for instance, your ears are on the larger size, making earmuff style protectors uncomfortable. If you’re in a noisy setting regularly, it might be worth investing in custom ear protection tailored to your ears.
3. Assess if There’s Any Wear And Tear on Your Hearing Protection
You should be commended if you manage to wear your hearing protection regularly. But that also means you need to monitor the wear and tear your ear protection is experiencing.
- If you use earmuffs, examine the band. The band will need to be changed if the elastic is worn out and doesn’t hold the earmuffs tight.
- When they lose their pliability, replace the cushions on your earmuffs.
- Your hearing protection should be kept clean. Ears aren’t exactly the cleanest part of your body (ear wax serves a good purpose and all, but it’s still kind of… gross). Make sure you clean your hearing protection completely by taking them apart before you cleanse them. If you’re rinsing earplugs, don’t drop them into the drain.
Making sure you conduct routine maintenance on your hearing protection is imperative if you want to continue benefiting from that protection. If you have any questions or how to do that, or how to ensure you’re ready for things that can mess with your hearing protection, it’s a good idea to have a candid discussion with a highly qualified hearing professional.
Your hearing is vital. It’s worth taking the time to protect it properly.