What prevents your hearing protection from working properly? Here are 3 things to watch for.
Whether you’re at home or at work, sometimes you come across something that can interfere with the performance of your hearing protection. And that can be frustrating. You’re trying to do the right thing after all. You wear your earmuffs every day at work; you use earplugs when you go to a concert; and you avoid your raucous Uncle Joe who is always shouting in your ears (although, perhaps you just don’t really enjoy Uncle Joe).
Here’s the point, when you’re doing everything correctly but you’re still having problems, it can be frustrating. The nice thing is that once you find out about a few of these simple challenges that can mess with your hearing protection, you can prepare yourself better. And that can ensure that your hearing protection functions at peak effectiveness even when there’s a bump in the road.
1. Using The Wrong Kind of Hearing Protection
There are two convenient and basic categories of hearing protection: earmuffs and earplugs. Earplugs are small and, as the name indicates, can be inserted straight into the ear canal. Earmuffs are like large headphones with no music (instead, they, you know, safeguard your ears).
- Earplugs are suggested when you’re in a place where the sound is comparatively continuous.
- Earmuffs are advised in cases where loud sounds are more intermittent.
There’s an obvious explanation for that: when it’s quiet, you’ll want to remove you’re hearing protection which is harder to do with earplugs than earmuffs. Earplugs take a bit more work to put in and are easy to lose so you could find yourself needing to replace lost plugs when you really need them.
Wear the proper form of hearing protection in the appropriate situation and you should be okay.
2. Your Hearing Protection Can be Affected by Your Anatomy
Human anatomy is incredibly diverse. That’s why your vocal cords are average sized compared to old Uncle Joe’s larger vocal cords. That’s also why you may have a smaller than normal ear canal.
This can cause complications with your hearing protection. Disposable earplugs, for example, are made with a t-shirt mentality: small, medium, and large (if not one-size-fits-all). So, maybe you give up in frustration because you have tiny ear canals, and you stop using any ear protection.
This can leave you exposed to risk, undercutting the hearing protection you were trying to give yourself. Another example of this is individuals with large ears who often have a tough time getting earmuffs to fit comfortably. For individuals who work in loud environments, a custom fit pair of hearing protection is a good investment.
3. Assess Your Hearing Protection For Wear And Tear
If you’re using your hearing protection daily, you should give yourself a pat on the back. But that also means you need to monitor the wear and tear your hearing protection is experiencing.
- Check the band on earmuff protection. The band will need to be exchanged if the elastic is worn out and doesn’t hold the earmuffs tight.
- Replace cushions on earmuffs every now and then (generally, when those cushions are no longer pliable, they’re ready to be replaced).
- Clean your hearing protection. Earwax serves a practical purpose in your body but it can also accumulate on your hearing protection. Just make certain that you wash correctly; if you’re cleansing an earmuff set, take apart the earmuffs. Be careful not to drop your earplugs into the drain.
Making sure you perform regular maintenance on your hearing protection is essential 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 frank conversation with a highly qualified hearing professional.
Your hearing is important. Taking the time to protect it right is worthwhile.