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 encounter something that can interfere with the performance of your ear protection. And that can be aggravating. After all, you’re striving to do what you’re supposed to do! You use your earmuffs every day while working; you use earplugs when you go to a show; and you stay away from your loud Uncle Joe who is always shouting in your ears (although, maybe you just don’t really like Uncle Joe).
The point is, it can be kind of discouraging when you’re doing everything right and still there are issues. The nice thing is that once you know about some of these simple issues that can interfere with your hearing protection, you can better prepare yourself. And this will keep your hearing protection in a state of efficiency even when you’re having a bit of difficulty.
1. Using The Wrong Kind of Hearing Protection
There are two handy and basic categories of ear protection: earplugs and earmuffs. Earplugs are small and, as the name suggests, can be inserted straight into the ear canal. Earmuffs look like a set of 70’s headphones, but instead of music, they provide protection for your ears by blocking external sound.
- Earplugs are recommended when you’re in a place where the noise is comparatively continuous.
- When loud sounds are more sporadic, 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 more difficult to do with earplugs than earmuffs. Earplugs take a bit more work to put in and are easy to lose so you might find yourself needing to replace lost plugs when you need them most.
You will be fine if you use the proper protection in the right scenario.
2. Your Ear Protection Can be Affected by Your Anatomy
Human anatomy is extremely diverse. That’s why your Uncle Joe has such large vocal cords and you have more normal-sized vocal cords. It’s also why your ear canal may be smaller than the average individual’s.
And that can mess with your ear protection. Disposable earplugs, for example, are made with a t-shirt mentality: small, medium, and large (if not one-size-fits-all). And so if you have rather tiny ear canals, you might have a tough time getting those earplugs to fit, causing you to give up completely and throw the earplugs away in frustration.
This can leave you open to risk, undermining the hearing protection you were trying to give yourself. Another example of this is people with large ears who often 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 personalized to your ears.
3. Check Your Hearing Protection For Signs of Wear
If you’re using your hearing protection every day, you should give yourself a pat on the back. But day-to-day usage will result in wear and tear to your hearing protection which you need to monitor.
- When they lose their pliability, replace the cushions on your earmuffs.
- If you use earmuffs, examine the band. When the elastic is worn out and the band is no longer holding the earmuffs snug, it’s time to switch out the band.
- Your hearing protection needs to be kept clean. Ears aren’t really the cleanest part of your body (ear wax serves a good purpose and all, but it’s still kind of… yucky). Just make certain that you wash correctly; if you’re cleaning an earmuff set, take apart the earmuffs. Be mindful not to drop your earplugs into the drain.
If you want to get maximum benefit, you need to do routine maintenance on your hearing protection. It’s important 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 interfere with their performance.
Your hearing is important. It’s worth taking the time to protect it properly.