Is your hearing protection failing to protect your hearing? Here are 3 things to watch for.
In spite of your best efforts, you can sometimes encounter things that can hinder your hearing protection, both at home and at the job. That’s difficult to deal with. After all, you’re trying to do what you’re supposed to do! You put on your earmuffs every day while working; you wear earplugs when you go to a show; and you stay away from your loud Uncle Joe who is always shouting in your ears (although, maybe you just don’t really enjoy Uncle Joe).
The point is, it can be a bit aggravating when you’re doing everything right and still there are challenges. Fortunately, you can take a few steps to protect yourself once you understand what kinds of things can interfere with the performance of your ear protection. And that can ensure that your ear protection functions at peak efficiency even when there’s a bump in the road.
1. Using The Wrong Kind of Ear Protection
There are two useful and basic categories of ear protection: earplugs and earmuffs. Earplugs are small and, as the name indicates, can be put right into the ear canal. Earmuffs are like big headphones with no tunes (instead, they, you know, protect your ears).
- When you’re in a scenario where sound is relatively constant, earplugs are recommended.
- When loud sounds are more intermittent, earmuffs are suggested.
There’s an obvious explanation for that: when there’s no noise, you’ll want to remove you’re hearing protection which is more difficult to do with earplugs than earmuffs. 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.
Use the proper form of hearing protection in the right scenario and you should be okay.
2. Your Anatomy Can Affect Your Hearing Protection
Human anatomy is amazingly varied. 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 might have a smaller than average ear canal.
This can cause complications with your ear protection. Disposable earplugs, for instance, are made with a clothing mindset: 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 getting those earplugs to fit, causing you to give up completely and in frustration, throw them away..
If you find yourself in this situation, you could forsake the hearing protection you were trying to give yourself, leaving you at risk of hearing damage. The same thing can occur if, for example, your ears are on the larger size, making earmuff style protectors awkward. For individuals who work in loud environments, a custom fit pair of hearing protection is a smart investment.
3. Check Your Hearing Protection For Wear And Tear
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.
- If you use earmuffs, examine the band. When the elastic is worn out and the band is failing to hold the earmuffs snug, it’s time to switch out the band.
- Clean your hearing protection. Ears aren’t really the cleanest part of your body (ear wax serves a good purpose and all, but it’s still kind of… yucky). Just make sure that you wash correctly; if you’re cleaning a set of earmuffs, take the earmuffs apart. Be cautious not to drop your earplugs into the drain.
- Replace cushions on earmuffs every once in a while (typically, when those cushions are no longer pliable, they’re ready to be replaced).
If you want to get optimum benefit, you need to perform routine maintenance on your hearing 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 learn more about the things that can interfere with their performance.
You need your hearing. It’s worth taking the time to protect it properly.