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

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

Whether you’re at home or at work, sometimes you encounter something that can impede the performance of your hearing protection. That’s hard to cope with. After all, you’re trying to do what you’re supposed to do! When you go to a show, you use your earplugs; At work, you wear earmuffs every day; and you do your best 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 problems, it can be discouraging. Luckily, you can take some steps to protect yourself once you learn what kinds of things can interfere with the performance of your hearing protection. And this will keep your hearing protection working effectively even when you’re having a bit of difficulty.

1. Using The Wrong Type of Hearing Protection

There are two handy and basic categories of ear protection: earmuffs and earplugs. As the names may indicate, earplugs are small and can be pushed directly inside the ear canal. Earmuffs look like a pair of 70’s headphones, but instead of tunes, they provide protection for your hearing by muting external sound.

  • Earplugs are recommended when you’re in a place where the sound is comparatively continuous.
  • When loud sounds are more intermittent, earmuffs are recommended.

The reasons for that are fairly obvious: you’ll want to remove your ear protection when it isn’t noisy, and that’s easier 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 need them most.

Use the correct form of hearing protection in the right scenario and you should be okay.

2. Your Hearing Protection Can be Impacted by Your Anatomy

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. That’s also why you may have a smaller than average ear canal.

This can cause issues 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 small ear canals, and you quit using any hearing protection.

If you find yourself in this scenario, you might turn away from the hearing protection you were trying to give yourself, leaving you in danger of hearing damage. Another example of this is individuals 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 hearing protection is a smart investment.

3. Check Your Hearing Protection For Signs of Wear

If you’re wearing your hearing protection daily, you should give yourself a gold star. But day-to-day usage will cause wear and tear to your hearing protection which you need to keep an eye on.

  • Check the band on earmuff protection. The band will need to be replaced if the elastic is worn out and no longer holds the earmuffs tight.
  • Replace cushions on earmuffs every once in a while (typically, when those cushions are no longer pliable, they’re ready to be replaced).
  • Your hearing protection needs to be kept clean. Earwax serves a practical function in your body but it can also build up on your hearing protection. Be sure you wash your hearing protection completely by taking them apart before you clean them. Be cautious not to drop your earplugs down the drain.

If you want to get maximum benefit, you need to perform regular maintenance on your hearing protection. It’s important that you have a consultation with us if you have any questions on how to care for your hearing protection or want to learn more about the things that can impede their performance.

You need your hearing. 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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