What hinders your hearing protection from working correctly? Here are 3 things to watch for.
Whether you’re at home or at work, sometimes you come across something that can impede the effectiveness of your ear protection. And that can be discouraging. After all, you’re trying to do what you’re supposed to do! When you go to a concert, you wear your earplugs; At work, you use earmuffs every day; and you try to steer clear of Uncle Joe who is always yelling in your ear.
Here’s the point, when you’re doing everything right but you’re still having difficulty, it can be aggravating. The nice thing is that once you understand a few of these simple problems that can interfere with your hearing protection, you can better prepare yourself. And that can ensure that your hearing protection works at peak effectiveness even when there’s a bump in the road.
1. Using The Wrong Type of Ear Protection
Hearing protection is available in two practical forms: earplugs and earmuffs. As the names might indicate, earplugs are small and can be pushed directly inside the ear canal. Earmuffs are like large headphones with no sound (instead, they, you know, safeguard your hearing).
- Earplugs are suggested when you’re in a place where the noise is comparatively continuous.
- When loud sounds are more intermittent, earmuffs are suggested.
The reasons for that are pretty obvious: you’ll want to remove your ear protection when it isn’t noisy, and that’s less difficult to do with earmuffs than earplugs. 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 need them most.
Wear the right kind of hearing protection in the appropriate situation and you should be fine.
2. Your Hearing Protection Can be Affected by Your Anatomy
There are many differences in human anatomy from person to person. That’s why your vocal cords are average 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 often a one size fits all mindset, or at best, a small, medium, large situation. And so if you have especially tiny ear canals, you may have a difficult time making earplugs fit, causing you to give up completely and in frustration, throw them away..
This can leave you open to risk, undercutting the hearing protection you were trying to provide for yourself. Another instance of this is people with large ears who frequently have a difficult 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 customized to your ears.
3. Assess if There’s Any Wear And Tear on Your Hearing Protection
You should be commended if you manage to use your hearing protection regularly. But that also means you need to keep an eye on the wear and tear your ear protection is experiencing.
- Replace cushions on earmuffs every now and then (typically, when those cushions aren’t pliable, they’re ready to be replaced).
- Check the band on earmuff protection. The band will need to be changed if the elastic is worn out and no longer holds the earmuffs tight.
- Wash your hearing protection. Earwax serves a practical purpose in your body but it can also accumulate on your hearing protection. Just make sure that you wash correctly; if you’re washing an earmuff set, take apart the earmuffs. Be mindful not to drop your earplugs down the drain.
If you want to get the greatest possible benefit, you need to do routine maintenance on your hearing protection. If you have any questions or how to do that, or how to ensure you’re prepared for things that can hinder your hearing protection, it’s a good idea to have a frank discussion with a highly qualified hearing professional.
Your hearing is important. Taking the time to protect it right is essential.