Is your hearing protection failing to safeguard your hearing? Look out for these three things.
Despite your best attempts, you can sometimes run into things that can hinder your hearing protection, both at home and at work. And that can be frustrating. After all, you’re striving to do what you’re supposed to do! You wear your earmuffs every day while working; you wear earplugs when you attend a concert; and you stay away from your loud Uncle Joe who is constantly shouting in your ears (although, maybe you just don’t really enjoy Uncle Joe).
Here’s the point, when you’re doing everything right but you’re still having problems, it can be aggravating. Luckily, you can take a few steps to protect yourself once you understand what kinds of things can interfere with the performance of your hearing protection. And this will keep your hearing protection in a state of efficiency even when you’re experiencing a bit of trouble.
1. Wearing The Wrong Kind of Hearing Protection
There are two handy and basic categories of ear protection: earplugs and earmuffs. Earplugs are little and, as the name suggests, can be put straight into the ear canal. Earmuffs are like big headphones with no tunes (instead, they, you know, protect your hearing).
- Earplugs are encouraged when you’re in a setting where the sound is relatively constant.
- When loud sounds are more intermittent, earmuffs are suggested.
There’s an obvious explanation for that: when it’s quiet, you’ll want to remove you’re hearing protection which is harder to do with earplugs than earmuffs. Earplugs are incredibly easy to misplace (particularly if they’re cheap and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a position where you remove an earplug, lose it, and then need it later.
Use the right kind of hearing protection in the right scenario and you should be okay.
2. Your Hearing Protection Can be Affected by Your Anatomy
There are many differences in human anatomy from one individual to another. That’s why your vocal cords are average sized compared to old Uncle Joe who has larger vocal cords. It’s also why your ear canal may be smaller than the average individual’s.
This can cause problems with your ear protection. Disposable hearing protection is frequently a one size fits all mindset, or at best, a small, medium, large situation. So, maybe 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 attempting to give yourself. Another instance of this is individuals with large ears who often have a difficult time getting earmuffs to fit comfortably. If you’re in a noisy setting regularly, it might be worth investing in custom ear protection tailored to your ears.
3. Assess Your Hearing Protection For Signs of Wear
You should be commended if you manage to use your hearing protection every day. 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 purpose in your body but it can also build up on your hearing protection. Just make sure that you wash correctly; if you’re cleaning an earmuff set, take the earmuffs apart. 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 replaced 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 hinder your hearing protection, it’s a good idea to have a candid discussion with a highly qualified hearing professional.
You need your hearing. It’s worth taking the time to protect it right.