Is your hearing protection failing to protect 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 work. That’s difficult to cope with. After all, you’re trying to do what you’re supposed to do! When you go to a concert, you use your earplugs; At work, you use earmuffs every day; and you try to steer clear of Uncle Joe who is constantly yelling in your ear.
The point is, it can be rather frustrating when you’re doing everything right and still there are obstacles. Fortunately, you can take a few steps to protect yourself once you know what kinds of things can interfere with the performance of your hearing protection. And this will keep your ear protection in a state of efficiency even when you’re experiencing a bit of difficulty.
1. Using The Wrong Kind of Ear Protection
Hearing protection is available in two standard kinds: earplugs and earmuffs. Earplugs are small and, as the name indicates, can be put right into the ear canal. Earmuffs are like large headphones with no sound (instead, they, you know, protect your ears).
- When you’re in a setting where noise is relatively constant, earplugs are suggested.
- When loud sounds are more sporadic, earmuffs are recommended.
There’s a simple 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 are very easy to lose (especially if they’re cheap and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a situation where you remove an earplug, misplace it, and then need it later.
You will be okay if you use the correct protection in the right situation.
2. Your Anatomy Can Affect Your Ear Protection
There are many variables in human anatomy from one individual to another. 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 might be smaller than the average individual’s.
This can cause problems with your ear protection. Disposable hearing protection is often a one size fits all mentality, or at best, a small, medium, large scenario. And so if you have particularly tiny ear canals, you might have a tough time getting those earplugs to fit, causing you to give up entirely and throw the earplugs away in frustration.
If you find yourself in this situation, you might turn away from the hearing protection you were attempting to give yourself, leaving you in danger of hearing damage. Another instance of this is individuals with large ears who frequently have a hard time getting earmuffs to fit comfortably. For individuals who work in loud environments, a custom fit pair of ear protection is a smart investment.
3. Check Your Hearing Protection For Wear And Tear
You should be commended if you manage to use your hearing protection regularly. But day-to-day usage will cause wear and tear to your hearing protection which you need to keep close track of.
- If you use earmuffs, examine the band. The band will need to be changed if the elastic is worn out and no longer holds the earmuffs tight.
- Your hearing protection should be kept clean. Earwax serves a practical function in your body but it can also accumulate on your hearing protection. Be sure you clean your hearing protection thoroughly by taking them apart before you clean them. If you’re washing earplugs, don’t drop them into the drain.
- Replace cushions on earmuffs from time to time (typically, when those cushions aren’t pliable, they’re ready for the heave-ho).
Ensuring 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 smart idea to have a candid discussion with a highly qualified hearing professional.
You need your hearing. It’s worth taking the time to protect it properly.