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

Is your hearing protection failing to safeguard your hearing? Watch for these three things.

Whether you’re at work or at home, sometimes you encounter something that can impede the performance of your ear protection. That’s difficult to deal with. After all, you’re striving to do what you’re supposed to do! When you go to a concert, you use your earplugs; At work, you use earmuffs every day; and you make your best effort 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 difficulty, it can be discouraging. The good thing is that once you understand some of these simple issues that can interfere with your hearing protection, you can prepare yourself better. And this will keep your hearing protection working effectively even when you’re having a little trouble.

1. Using The Wrong Kind of Hearing Protection

Ear protection comes in two practical kinds: earmuffs and earplugs. Earplugs are small and, as the name suggests, can be inserted straight into the ear canal. Earmuffs are like big headphones with no sound (instead, they, you know, protect your ears).

  • When you’re in a situation where noise is relatively constant, earplugs are suggested.
  • When loud sounds are more sporadic, earmuffs are suggested.

The reasons for that are pretty obvious: you’ll want to remove your ear protection when it isn’t noisy, 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 kind of hearing protection in the appropriate scenario and you should be okay.

2. Your Ear Protection Can be Impacted by Your Anatomy

There are many variables in human anatomy from person to person. That’s why your vocal cords are average sized compared to old Uncle Joe’s larger vocal cords. It’s also why your ear canal may be smaller than the average person’s.

This can cause issues with your hearing protection. Disposable earplugs, for example, are made with a clothing mindset: small, medium, and large (even sometimes one-size-fits-all). So, perhaps you give up in frustration because you have small ear canals, and you quit using any ear protection.

This can leave you exposed to risk, undermining the hearing protection you were trying to provide for yourself. The same thing can occur if, for example, your ears are on the larger size, making earmuff style protectors awkward. If you’re in a noisy setting regularly, it may be worth investing in custom hearing protection personalized to your ears.

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

If you’re wearing your hearing protection daily, you should give yourself a pat on the back. But day-to-day usage will cause wear and tear to your hearing protection which you need to keep close track of.

  • If you use earmuffs, examine the band. When the elastic is worn out and the band is no longer holding the earmuffs snug, it’s time to exchange the band.
  • Clean your hearing protection. Earwax serves a practical purpose in your body but it can also build up on your hearing protection. Just make certain that you wash correctly; if you’re washing a set of earmuffs, take the earmuffs apart. If you’re washing earplugs, don’t drop them into the drain.
  • Replace cushions on earmuffs from time to time (generally, when those cushions are no longer pliable, they’re ready for the heave-ho).

Making sure you do routine maintenance on your hearing protection is imperative if you want to continue benefiting from that protection. It’s essential that you have a consultation with us if you have any questions on how to care for your hearing protection or want to know more about the things that can impede their performance.

Your hearing is vital. Taking the time to protect it properly is worthwhile.

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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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