Is your hearing protection failing to protect your hearing? Here are 3 things to look out for.
Despite your best attempts, you can sometimes run into things that can hinder your hearing protection, both at home and at work. That’s hard to deal with. You’re trying to do the right thing after all. You wear your earmuffs every day while working; you wear earplugs when you go to a concert; and you avoid your loud Uncle Joe who is always yelling in your ears (although, perhaps you just don’t really like Uncle Joe).
Here’s the point, when you’re doing everything right but you’re still having difficulty, it can be aggravating. Luckily, you can take a few steps to protect yourself once you understand what types of things can interfere with the performance of your ear protection. And that can ensure that your hearing protection functions at peak effectiveness even when you have some obstacles.
1. Using The Wrong Kind of Ear Protection
Hearing protection is available in two basic forms: earplugs and earmuffs. As the names might indicate, earplugs are small and can be pushed directly into the ear canal. Earmuffs are like big headphones with no sound (instead, they, you know, protect your hearing).
- Earplugs are suggested when you’re in a setting where the noise is comparatively constant.
- Earmuffs are advised in cases where loud sounds are more intermittent.
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 very easy to lose (particularly if they’re cheap and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a situation where you remove an earplug, lose it, and then need it later.
Wear the right form of hearing protection in the right situation and you should be fine.
2. Your Ear Protection Can be Impacted by Your Anatomy
Human anatomy is incredibly diverse. That’s why your vocal cords are average sized compared to old Uncle Joe’s larger vocal cords. That’s also why you may have a smaller than average ear canal.
And that can interfere with your hearing protection. Disposable earplugs, for example, are made with a t-shirt mindset: small, medium, and large (even sometimes one-size-fits-all). So, maybe you give up in frustration because you have tiny ear canals, and you quit using any ear 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 hard time getting earmuffs to fit comfortably. If you spend a lot of time in noisy environments, it might be worth investing in custom hearing protection tailored to your ears.
3. Assess 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 an eye on.
- Wash your hearing protection. Ears aren’t really the cleanest part of your body (ear wax serves a practical purpose and all, but it’s still kind of… yucky). Make certain you wash your hearing protection completely by taking them apart before you clean them. If you’re rinsing earplugs, don’t drop them down the drain.
- 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.
- Replace cushions on earmuffs every now and then (typically, when those cushions aren’t pliable, they’re ready to be replaced).
Ensuring you carry out regular maintenance on your hearing protection is imperative if you want to continue benefiting from that protection. It’s essential that you have a consultation with us if you have any questions on how to care for your hearing protection or want to know more about the things that can impede their performance.
Your hearing is vital. It’s worth taking the time to protect it properly.