What hinders your hearing protection from working correctly? Watch for these three things.
Whether you’re at work or at home, sometimes you come across something that can interfere with the performance of your ear protection. That’s hard to cope with. After all, you’re striving to do what you’re supposed to do! You use your earmuffs every day while working; you wear earplugs when you go to a concert; and you avoid your raucous Uncle Joe who is constantly yelling in your ears (although, perhaps you just don’t really like Uncle Joe).
The point is, it can be rather frustrating when you’re doing everything correctly and still there are difficulties. Luckily, you can take some measures to protect yourself once you learn what kinds of things can interfere with the performance of your ear protection. And that can ensure that your hearing protection works at peak effectiveness even when there’s a bump in the road.
1. Using The Wrong Type of Hearing Protection
Ear protection is available in two basic types: earmuffs and earplugs. Earplugs are small and, as the name indicates, can be put right into the ear canal. Earmuffs are like large headphones with no tunes (instead, they, you know, protect your ears).
- Earplugs are recommended when you’re in an environment where the sound is comparatively continuous.
- When loud sounds are more intermittent, earmuffs are suggested.
There’s an obvious 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 misplace (particularly if they’re inexpensive and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a situation where you take out an earplug, lose it, and then need it later.
Use the right kind of hearing protection in the right scenario and you should be okay.
2. Your Anatomy Can Impact Your Hearing Protection
Human anatomy is incredibly diverse. That’s why your vocal cords are average sized compared to old Uncle Joe who has larger vocal cords. It’s also why your ear canal may be narrower than the average individual’s.
This can cause issues 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 rather tiny ear canals, you might have a hard time making earplugs fit, causing you to give up completely and in frustration, throw them away..
This can leave you exposed to risk, undermining the hearing protection you were trying to give yourself. Another instance of this is individuals with large ears who often have a difficult time getting earmuffs to fit comfortably. If you spend a lot of time in noisy environments, it might be worth investing in custom hearing protection tailored to your ears.
3. Examine Your Hearing Protection For Signs of Wear
You should be commended if you manage to use your hearing protection every day. But that also means you need to monitor the wear and tear your ear protection is experiencing.
- Replace cushions on earmuffs every now and then (generally, when those cushions aren’t pliable, they’re ready for the heave-ho).
- Your hearing protection should be kept clean. Ears aren’t exactly the cleanest part of your body (ear wax serves a good purpose and all, but it’s still kind of… yucky). Make sure you wash your hearing protection completely by taking them apart before you cleanse them. Be careful not to drop your earplugs into the drain.
- If you use earmuffs, check the band. When the elastic is worn out and the band is failing to hold the earmuffs snug, it’s time to replace the band.
If you want to get optimum benefit, you need to perform regular maintenance on your hearing protection. If you have any questions or how to do that, or how to make sure you’re ready for things that can mess with your hearing protection, it’s a good idea to have a candid discussion with a highly qualified hearing professional.
You need your hearing. It’s worth taking the time to protect it right.