Is your hearing protection failing to safeguard your hearing? Here are 3 things to watch for.
Despite 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 cope with. After all, you’re striving to do what you’re supposed to do! You use your earmuffs every day at work; you use earplugs when you go to a show; and you stay away from your loud Uncle Joe who is always yelling in your ears (although, maybe you just don’t really enjoy Uncle Joe).
Here’s the point, when you’re doing everything right but you’re still having trouble, it can be discouraging. The nice thing is that once you know about some of these simple problems that can interfere with your hearing protection, you can prepare yourself better. And this will keep your hearing protection in a state of efficiency even when you’re having a little trouble.
1. Using The Wrong Type of Ear Protection
There are two useful and standard categories of hearing protection: earplugs and earmuffs. As the names may suggest, earplugs are small and can be inserted directly inside the ear canal. Earmuffs are like large headphones with no tunes (instead, they, you know, safeguard your hearing).
- When you’re in a scenario where sound is fairly constant, earplugs are suggested.
- When loud sounds are more intermittent, earmuffs are suggested.
The reasons for that are pretty obvious: you’ll want to remove your hearing protection when it’s quiet, and that’s easier to do with earmuffs than earplugs. Earplugs are extremely easy to misplace (especially if they’re inexpensive and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a situation where you take out an earplug, misplace it, and then need it later.
You will be fine if you use the correct protection in the right scenario.
2. Your Anatomy Can Impact Your Hearing Protection
There are many differences in human anatomy from one individual to another. 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.
And that can mess with your hearing protection. Disposable hearing protection is often a one size fits all mentality, or at best, a small, medium, large scenario. So, maybe you give up in frustration because you have tiny ear canals, and you stop using any ear protection.
If you find yourself in this situation, you might forsake the hearing protection you were attempting to give yourself, leaving you in danger of hearing damage. Another instance of this is people with large ears who frequently have a hard time getting earmuffs to fit comfortably. For people who work in noisy environments, a custom fit pair of ear protection is a good investment.
3. Assess Your Hearing Protection For Wear And Tear
If you’re wearing your hearing protection daily, you should give yourself a gold star. But day-to-day use will result in wear and tear to your hearing protection which you need to monitor.
- Examine the band on earmuff protection. When the elastic is worn out and the band is failing to hold the earmuffs snug, it’s time to exchange the band.
- Replace cushions on earmuffs every once in a while (typically, when those cushions are no longer pliable, they’re ready to be replaced).
- Wash your hearing protection. Earwax serves a practical function in your body but it can also build up on your hearing protection. Be certain you clean your hearing protection thoroughly by taking them apart before you cleanse them. Be careful not to drop your earplugs into the drain.
If you want to get optimum 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 frank conversation with a highly qualified hearing professional.
Your hearing is important. It’s worth taking the time to protect it properly.