Is your hearing protection failing to protect your hearing? Look out for these three things.
In spite of your best attempts, you can sometimes run into things that can mess with your hearing protection, both at home and at the job. And that can be frustrating. You’re trying to do the right thing after all. You put on your earmuffs every day at work; you use earplugs when you attend a show; and you stay away from your raucous Uncle Joe who is always yelling in your ears (although, maybe you just don’t really enjoy Uncle Joe).
The point is, it can be kind of discouraging when you’re doing everything correctly and still there are obstacles. The nice thing is that once you understand some of these simple challenges that can mess with your hearing protection, you can prepare yourself better. And that can ensure that your ear protection works at peak effectiveness even when you have some obstacles.
1. Wearing The Wrong Kind of Ear Protection
Hearing protection is available in two basic forms: 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, safeguard your hearing).
- When you’re in a situation where noise is relatively constant, earplugs are suggested.
- When loud sounds are more sporadic, earmuffs are suggested.
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 take a bit more work to put in and are easy to lose so you may find yourself needing to replace lost plugs when you really need them.
Wear the correct kind of hearing protection in the right situation and you should be okay.
2. Your Ear Protection Can be Affected by Your Anatomy
Human anatomy is extremely varied. That’s why your vocal cords are more normal sized compared to old Uncle Joe’s larger vocal cords. It’s also why your ear canal may be smaller than the average individual’s.
And that can hinder your hearing protection. Disposable hearing protection is often a one size fits all mindset, or at best, a small, medium, large scenario. So, perhaps you give up in frustration because you have tiny ear canals, and you stop using any hearing protection.
If you find yourself in this scenario, you could turn away from the hearing protection you were trying to give yourself, leaving you at risk of hearing damage. The same thing can happen if, for example, your ears are on the larger size, making earmuff style protectors awkward. If you spend a lot of time in noisy environments, it may be worth investing in custom hearing protection tailored to your ears.
3. Check Your Hearing Protection For Wear And Tear
You should be commended if you manage to wear your hearing protection regularly. But that also means you need to keep close track of the wear and tear your hearing protection is experiencing.
- Wash your hearing protection. Earwax serves a practical purpose in your body but it can also collect on your hearing protection. Just make certain that you wash properly; if you’re cleansing an earmuff set, take the earmuffs apart. If you’re washing earplugs, don’t drop them 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 exchange the band.
- When they’re no longer pliable, replace the cushions on your earmuffs.
Making sure you perform regular maintenance on your hearing protection is vital 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 frank conversation with a highly qualified hearing professional.
You need your hearing. It’s worth taking the time to protect it properly.