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

What stops your hearing protection from working properly? Watch for these three things.

Despite your best efforts, you can sometimes encounter things that can mess with your hearing protection, both at home and at work. And that can be frustrating. After all, you’re striving to do what you’re supposed to do! When you go to a concert, you wear your earplugs; At work, you wear earmuffs every day; and you make your best effort to steer clear of Uncle Joe who is constantly shouting in your ear.

Here’s the point, when you’re doing everything right but you’re still having problems, it can be aggravating. Fortunately, you can take a few steps to protect yourself once you know what kinds of things can impede the performance of your hearing protection. And this will keep your hearing protection in a state of efficiency even when you’re having a little trouble.

1. Wearing The Wrong Kind of Hearing Protection

There are two handy and standard categories of ear protection: earmuffs and earplugs. As the names might indicate, earplugs are compact and can be pushed directly into the ear canal. Earmuffs look like a set of 70’s headphones, but instead of music, they provide protection for your hearing by blocking external sound.

  • When you’re in a scenario where noise is relatively constant, earplugs are suggested.
  • Earmuffs are advised in instances where loud sounds are more sporadic.

There’s a simple reason for that: when there’s no noise, you’ll want to remove you’re hearing protection which is harder to do with earplugs than earmuffs. Earplugs are very easy to lose (particularly if they’re inexpensive and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a situation where you remove an earplug, lose it, and then need it later.

Use the proper kind of hearing protection in the appropriate scenario and you should be fine.

2. Your Anatomy Can Affect Your Ear Protection

There are many variables in human anatomy from person to person. That’s why your Uncle Joe has such a large set of vocal cords and you have more normal-sized vocal cords. It’s also why your ear canal might be smaller than the average individual’s.

And that can mess with your hearing protection. Disposable earplugs, for example, are made with a clothing mentality: small, medium, and large (even sometimes one-size-fits-all). And so if you have especially tiny ear canals, you might have a hard time making earplugs fit, causing you to give up entirely and in frustration, throw them away..

This can leave you open to risk, undermining the hearing protection you were trying to provide for yourself. The same thing can happen if, for instance, your ears are a bit larger, making earmuff style protectors awkward. For people who work in loud settings, a custom fit pair of ear protection is a good investment.

3. Examine Your Hearing Protection For Signs of Wear

You should be commended if you manage to use your hearing protection every day. But day-to-day usage will lead to wear and tear to your hearing protection which you need to keep an eye on.

  • 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 replace 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 sure that you wash correctly; if you’re cleaning an earmuff set, take the earmuffs apart. Be cautious not to drop your earplugs down the drain.
  • Replace cushions on earmuffs every once in a while (generally, when those cushions are no longer pliable, they’re ready for the heave-ho).

Ensuring you carry out regular maintenance on your hearing protection is vital if you want to continue benefiting from that 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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