Man wearing hearing protection in his workshop to protect his hearing.

Is your hearing protection failing to safeguard your hearing? Here are 3 things to watch for.

Whether you’re at work or at home, sometimes you encounter something that can impede the effectiveness of your ear protection. And that can be aggravating. You’re attempting to do the right thing after all. When you go to a concert, you use your earplugs; At work, you wear earmuffs every day; and you try to steer clear of Uncle Joe who is always yelling in your ear.

Here’s the point, when you’re doing everything right but you’re still having problems, it can be discouraging. Luckily, you can take some steps to protect yourself once you understand what kinds of things can impede the performance of your hearing protection. And that can ensure that your ear protection functions at peak effectiveness even when there’s a bump in the road.

1. Using The Wrong Kind of Ear Protection

Ear protection comes in two standard kinds: earmuffs and earplugs. As the names might imply, earplugs are compact and can be pushed directly inside the ear canal. Earmuffs are like large headphones with no tunes (instead, they, you know, protect your hearing).

  • Earplugs are suggested when you’re in an environment where the noise is comparatively constant.
  • When loud sounds are more intermittent, earmuffs are recommended.

The reasons for that are pretty obvious: you’ll want to remove your ear protection when it’s quiet, and that’s less difficult to do with earmuffs than earplugs. Earplugs take a little more work to put in and are easy to lose track of so you may find yourself needing to replace lost plugs when you really need them.

Wear the right form of hearing protection in the appropriate situation and you should be okay.

2. Your Hearing Protection Can be Impacted by Your Anatomy

Human anatomy is extremely diverse. That’s why your vocal cords are more normal sized compared to old Uncle Joe’s larger vocal cords. That’s also why you might have a smaller than normal ear canal.

This can cause issues with your ear protection. Disposable hearing protection is frequently a one size fits all mindset, or at best, a small, medium, large situation. And so if you have particularly tiny ear canals, you may have a hard time getting those earplugs to fit, causing you to give up entirely and throw the earplugs away in frustration.

This can leave you exposed to risk, undermining the hearing protection you were attempting to provide for yourself. The same thing can happen if, for instance, your ears are a bit larger, making earmuff style protectors uncomfortable. If you spend a lot of time in noisy environments, it might be worth investing in custom hearing protection customized to your ears.

3. Assess if There’s Any Wear And Tear on Your Hearing Protection

You should be commended if you manage to wear your hearing protection regularly. But that also means you need to keep an eye on the wear and tear your hearing protection is experiencing.

  • Your hearing protection needs to be kept clean. Ears aren’t exactly the cleanest part of your body (ear wax serves a practical purpose and all, but it’s still kind of… yucky). Just make sure that you wash properly; if you’re cleaning a set of earmuffs, take the earmuffs apart. Be careful not to drop your earplugs down the drain.
  • If you use earmuffs, check the band. The band will need to be changed if the elastic is worn out and no longer holds the earmuffs tight.
  • Replace cushions on earmuffs every once in a while (generally, when those cushions are no longer pliable, they’re ready for the heave-ho).

If you want to get optimum benefit, you need to do regular maintenance on your hearing protection. It’s essential that you have a consultation with us if you have any questions on how to take care of your hearing protection or want to learn more about the things that can interfere with their performance.

Your hearing is vital. It’s worth taking the time to protect it properly.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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