What prevents your hearing protection from working correctly? Here are 3 things to look out for.
In spite of your best attempts, you can sometimes encounter things that can hinder your hearing protection, both at home and at the job. And that can be frustrating. After all, you’re trying to do what you’re supposed to do! You put on your earmuffs every day at work; you use earplugs when you attend a concert; and you stay away from your raucous Uncle Joe who is constantly yelling in your ears (although, maybe you just don’t really enjoy Uncle Joe).
The point is, it can be a bit frustrating when you’re doing everything correctly and still there are challenges. The nice thing is that once you understand some of these simple problems that can mess with your hearing protection, you can better prepare yourself. And this will keep your ear protection in a state of efficiency even when you’re having a bit of trouble.
1. Wearing The Wrong Kind of Hearing Protection
Ear protection is available in two basic kinds: earmuffs and earplugs. Earplugs are small and, as the name indicates, can be inserted right into the ear canal. Earmuffs are like big headphones with no music (instead, they, you know, protect your ears).
- Earplugs are encouraged when you’re in an environment where the sound is comparatively constant.
- When loud sounds are more sporadic, earmuffs are recommended.
There’s a simple explanation for that: when there’s no noise, you’ll want to remove you’re hearing protection which is harder to do with earplugs than earmuffs. Earplugs are incredibly easy to lose (especially if they’re cheap and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a scenario where you take out an earplug, lose it, and then need it later.
Use the correct form of hearing protection in the right situation and you should be okay.
2. Your Hearing Protection Can be Affected by Your Anatomy
Human anatomy is incredibly varied. That’s why your Uncle Joe has such a large set of vocal cords and your vocal cords are more normal sized. It’s also why your ear canal might be narrower than the average person’s.
And that can hinder your hearing protection. Disposable hearing protection is frequently a one size fits all mindset, or at best, a small, medium, large scenario. So, maybe 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 trying to provide for yourself. The same thing can occur if, for example, your ears are a bit larger, making earmuff style protectors awkward. For people who work in noisy settings, a custom fit pair of hearing protection is a good investment.
3. Examine Your Hearing Protection For Wear And Tear
You should be commended if you manage to wear your hearing protection every day. But day-to-day use will lead to wear and tear to your hearing protection which you need to keep close track of.
- Replace cushions on earmuffs every now and then (generally, when those cushions are no longer pliable, they’re ready to be replaced).
- Your hearing protection needs to be kept clean. Earwax serves a practical purpose in your body but it can also accumulate on your hearing protection. Make sure you wash your hearing protection thoroughly by taking them apart before you cleanse them. Be mindful not to drop your earplugs down the drain.
- 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 replace the band.
Ensuring you perform regular maintenance on your hearing protection is essential 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 hinder your hearing protection, it’s a good idea to have a frank conversation with a highly qualified hearing professional.
Your hearing is important. It’s worth taking the time to protect it right.