Is your hearing protection failing to protect your hearing? Here are 3 things to watch for.
In spite of your best attempts, you can sometimes encounter things that can mess with your hearing protection, both at home and at the job. That’s difficult to deal with. You’re trying to do the right thing after all. When you go to a show, 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 discouraging. The good thing is that once you understand some of these simple issues that can mess with your hearing protection, you can prepare yourself better. And that can ensure that your hearing protection works at peak efficiency even when there’s a bump in the road.
1. Using The Wrong Type of Hearing Protection
Ear protection comes in two standard kinds: earmuffs and earplugs. Earplugs are little and, as the name indicates, can be inserted right into the ear canal. Earmuffs are like large headphones with no tunes (instead, they, you know, safeguard your hearing).
- Earplugs are encouraged when you’re in an environment where the noise is fairly constant.
- Earmuffs are recommended in instances where loud sounds are more sporadic.
The reasons for that are fairly simple: you’ll want to remove your hearing protection when it isn’t noisy, and that’s easier to do with earmuffs than earplugs. Earplugs are extremely easy to lose (particularly if they’re cheap and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a position where you remove an earplug, misplace it, and then need it later.
You will be fine if you wear the correct protection in the appropriate situation.
2. Your Anatomy Can Impact Your Ear Protection
There are many variables in human anatomy from one individual to another. That’s why your Uncle Joe has such a large set of vocal cords and your vocal cords are more normal sized. It’s also why your ear canal may be narrower than the average person’s.
And that can mess with 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 small ear canals, and you quit using any hearing protection.
If you find yourself in this scenario, you could forsake the hearing protection you were attempting to give yourself, leaving you at risk of hearing damage. Another instance of this is people with large ears who often have a hard time getting earmuffs to fit comfortably. For individuals who work in loud settings, a custom fit pair of hearing protection is a smart investment.
3. Check Your Hearing Protection For Wear And Tear
You should be commended if you manage to wear your hearing protection every day. But that also means you need to keep an eye on the wear and tear your ear protection is experiencing.
- Check the band on earmuff protection. The band will need to be exchanged if the elastic is worn out and no longer holds the earmuffs tight.
- When they lose their flexibility, replace the cushions on your earmuffs.
- Your hearing protection needs to be kept clean. Earwax serves a practical function in your body but it can also collect on your hearing protection. Make certain you clean your hearing protection completely by taking them apart before you clean them. Be cautious 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. If you have any questions or how to do that, or how to ensure you’re prepared for things that can mess with your hearing protection, it’s a good idea to have a candid conversation with a highly qualified hearing professional.
Your hearing is important. Taking the time to protect it right is worthwhile.