What hinders your hearing protection from working properly? Look out for these three things.
Whether you’re at home or at work, sometimes you run into something that can interfere with the effectiveness of your hearing protection. 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 use earmuffs every day; and you do your best to steer clear of Uncle Joe who is always shouting in your ear.
Here’s the point, when you’re doing everything right but you’re still having trouble, it can be discouraging. The good thing is that once you find out about a few of these simple problems 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. Wearing The Wrong Kind of Hearing Protection
Hearing protection is available in two basic types: earplugs and earmuffs. As the names might indicate, earplugs are compact and can be pushed directly inside the ear canal. Earmuffs look like a pair of 70’s headphones, but instead of tunes, they offer protection for your hearing by muting outside sound.
- Earplugs are suggested when you’re in an environment where the noise is fairly continuous.
- When loud sounds are more sporadic, earmuffs are recommended.
There’s a simple reason 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 very easy to lose (particularly 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.
You will be fine if you wear the correct protection in the right situation.
2. Your Anatomy Can Affect Your Ear Protection
There are many variables in human anatomy from one individual to another. That’s why your vocal cords are more normal sized compared to old Uncle Joe’s larger vocal cords. 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 frequently a one size fits all mindset, or at best, a small, medium, large situation. And so if you have particularly tiny ear canals, you might have a difficult time making earplugs fit, causing you to give up completely and in frustration, throw them away..
If you find yourself in this scenario, you could forsake the hearing protection you were attempting to give yourself, leaving you at risk of hearing damage. Another instance of this is individuals with large ears who frequently have a difficult time getting earmuffs to fit comfortably. For individuals who work in noisy environments, a custom fit pair of hearing protection is a smart investment.
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 every day. But day-to-day usage will lead to wear and tear to your hearing protection which you need to keep an eye on.
- Wash your hearing protection. Ears aren’t exactly the cleanest part of your body (ear wax serves a practical purpose and all, but it’s still kind of… yucky). Make sure you wash your hearing protection thoroughly by taking them apart before you clean them. If you’re rinsing earplugs, don’t drop them into the drain.
- When they’re no longer pliable, replace the cushions on your earmuffs.
- If you use earmuffs, check the band. The band will need to be changed if the elastic is worn out and doesn’t hold the earmuffs tight.
Ensuring you carry out regular 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 frank discussion with a highly qualified hearing professional.
You need your hearing. It’s worth taking the time to protect it properly.