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

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

In spite of your best efforts, you can sometimes encounter things that can mess with your hearing protection, both at home and at the job. That’s hard to deal with. You’re trying to do the right thing after all. You wear your earmuffs every day at work; you wear earplugs when you attend a concert; and you stay away from your raucous Uncle Joe who is always yelling in your ears (although, maybe you just don’t really enjoy Uncle Joe).

The point is, it can be kind of aggravating when you’re doing everything right and still there are difficulties. Luckily, you can take a few steps to protect yourself once you learn what types of things can interfere with the performance of your hearing protection. And this will keep your ear protection in a state of efficiency even when you’re having a bit of trouble.

1. Wearing The Wrong Kind of Hearing Protection

Hearing protection is available in two standard kinds: earplugs and earmuffs. Earplugs are little and, as the name indicates, can be put right into the ear canal. Earmuffs are like large headphones with no sound (instead, they, you know, safeguard your ears).

  • When you’re in a scenario where noise is fairly constant, earplugs are recommended.
  • When loud sounds are more sporadic, earmuffs are recommended.

There’s an obvious explanation for that: when it’s quiet, 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 so you may find yourself needing to replace lost plugs when you need them most.

You will be okay if you wear the correct protection in the right situation.

2. Your Anatomy Can Impact Your Hearing Protection

There are many differences 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 may be smaller than the average person’s.

This can cause problems with your ear protection. Disposable earplugs, for example, are made with a t-shirt mentality: 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 hearing protection.

This can leave you open to risk, undercutting the hearing protection you were attempting to give yourself. Another instance of this is individuals with large ears who often have a hard time getting earmuffs to fit comfortably. For individuals who work in loud environments, a custom fit pair of hearing protection is a smart investment.

3. Examine Your Hearing Protection For Wear And Tear

You should be commended if you manage to wear your hearing protection every day. But day-to-day usage will result in wear and tear to your hearing protection which you need to monitor.

  • When they lose their pliability, replace the cushions on your earmuffs.
  • Check 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.
  • Wash your hearing protection. Ears aren’t exactly the cleanest part of your body (ear wax serves a practical purpose and all, but it’s still kind of… yucky). Just make certain that you wash properly; if you’re cleaning a set of earmuffs, take the earmuffs apart. If you’re rinsing earplugs, don’t drop them down the drain.

Making sure you carry out 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 learn more about the things that can interfere with their performance.

Your hearing is important. It’s worth taking the time to protect it right.

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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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