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

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

Whether you’re at work or at home, sometimes you encounter something that can interfere with the effectiveness of your hearing protection. And that can be aggravating. You’re trying to do the right thing after all. You put on your earmuffs every day while working; you use earplugs when you go to a show; and you stay away from your loud Uncle Joe who is constantly shouting in your ears (although, maybe you just don’t really enjoy Uncle Joe).

The point is, it can be kind of 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 this will keep your hearing protection working effectively even when you’re experiencing a bit of trouble.

1. Using The Wrong Type of Hearing Protection

Hearing protection is available in two standard forms: earmuffs and earplugs. Earplugs are small and, as the name indicates, can be put straight into the ear canal. Earmuffs look like a set of 70’s headphones, but instead of music, they provide protection for your hearing by muting external sound.

  • When you’re in a situation where noise is fairly constant, earplugs are encouraged.
  • Earmuffs are recommended in cases where loud sounds are more sporadic.

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 are very easy to lose (especially if they’re cheap and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a position where you take out an earplug, misplace it, and then need it later.

You will be fine if you wear the proper protection in the right situation.

2. Your Anatomy Can Impact Your Ear Protection

Human anatomy is extremely varied. That’s why your Uncle Joe has such large vocal cords and your vocal cords are more normal sized. It’s also why your ear canal might be smaller than the average person’s.

And that can hinder your hearing protection. Disposable earplugs, for instance, 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 stop using any hearing protection.

If you find yourself in this scenario, you could forsake the hearing protection you were trying to give yourself, leaving you in danger of hearing damage. Another example of this is individuals with large ears who often have a difficult time getting earmuffs to fit comfortably. If you’re in a noisy setting regularly, it may be worth investing in custom ear protection tailored to your ears.

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

You should be commended if you manage to use your hearing protection regularly. But day-to-day use will result in wear and tear to your hearing protection which you need to keep close track of.

  • Replace cushions on earmuffs every now and then (typically, when those cushions aren’t pliable, they’re ready to be replaced).
  • Clean your hearing protection. Earwax serves a practical function in your body but it can also accumulate on your hearing protection. Make certain you clean your hearing protection thoroughly by taking them apart before you cleanse them. Be mindful not to drop your earplugs down the drain.
  • If you use earmuffs, examine the band. The band will need to be exchanged if the elastic is worn out and doesn’t hold the earmuffs tight.

Ensuring you conduct routine maintenance on your hearing protection is imperative 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 know more about the things that can impede 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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