Is your hearing protection failing to safeguard your hearing? Here are 3 things to look out for.
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 aggravating. After all, you’re striving to do what you’re supposed to do! When you go to a concert, you use your earplugs; At work, you wear earmuffs every day; and you try to steer clear of Uncle Joe who is constantly yelling in your ear.
Here’s the point, when you’re doing everything correctly but you’re still having difficulty, it can be frustrating. The good thing is that once you know about a few of these simple issues that can interfere with your hearing protection, you can better prepare yourself. And this will keep your ear protection in a state of efficiency even when you’re experiencing a little trouble.
1. Wearing The Wrong Type of Ear Protection
Ear protection is available in two standard forms: earmuffs and earplugs. Earplugs are little and, as the name suggests, can be inserted right into the ear canal. Earmuffs are like large headphones with no tunes (instead, they, you know, protect your hearing).
- When you’re in a scenario where sound is fairly constant, earplugs are recommended.
- When loud sounds are more intermittent, earmuffs are recommended.
The reasons for that are relatively simple: you’ll want to remove your hearing protection when it’s quiet, and that’s easier to do with earmuffs than earplugs. Earplugs are very easy to misplace (particularly if they’re inexpensive and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a position where you take out an earplug, lose it, and then need it later.
Use the right form of hearing protection in the right situation and you should be okay.
2. Your Anatomy Can Affect Your Ear Protection
Human anatomy is incredibly diverse. That’s why your Uncle Joe has such a large set of vocal cords and you have more normal-sized vocal cords. That’s also why you may have a smaller than normal ear canal.
This can cause complications with your ear protection. Disposable hearing protection is often a one size fits all mentality, 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 provide for yourself. The same thing can occur if, for example, your ears are on the larger size, making earmuff style protectors awkward. For people who work in loud 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 use your hearing protection regularly. But day-to-day use will lead to wear and tear to your hearing protection which you need to keep an eye on.
- When they lose their flexibility, replace the cushions on your earmuffs.
- Your hearing protection needs to be kept clean. Earwax serves a practical purpose in your body but it can also collect on your hearing protection. Make certain you wash your hearing protection thoroughly by taking them apart before you clean them. Be cautious not to drop your earplugs into the drain.
- Examine the band on earmuff protection. The band will need to be replaced if the elastic is worn out and no longer holds the earmuffs tight.
Ensuring you conduct 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 make sure you’re prepared for things that can mess with your hearing protection, it’s a good idea to have a frank conversation with a highly qualified hearing professional.
Your hearing is important. It’s worth taking the time to protect it right.