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

What stops your hearing protection from working properly? Here are 3 things to look out for.

In spite of your best efforts, you can sometimes run into things that can hinder your hearing protection, both at home and at work. That’s hard to cope with. After all, you’re striving to do what you’re supposed to do! You wear your earmuffs every day while working; you use earplugs when you attend a show; and you avoid 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 discouraging when you’re doing everything right and still there are issues. The good thing is that once you understand a few of these simple problems that can interfere with your hearing protection, you can prepare yourself better. And this will keep your hearing protection in a state of efficiency even when you’re experiencing a little difficulty.

1. Wearing The Wrong Type of Ear Protection

There are two convenient and standard categories of hearing protection: earmuffs and earplugs. As the names might indicate, earplugs are compact and can be pushed directly into the ear canal. Earmuffs are like big headphones with no tunes (instead, they, you know, safeguard your hearing).

  • Earplugs are suggested when you’re in a place where the sound is relatively constant.
  • Earmuffs are recommended in instances where loud sounds are more irregular.

There’s a simple 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 bit 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 proper protection in the appropriate scenario.

2. Your Hearing Protection Can be Affected by Your Anatomy

Human anatomy is incredibly diverse. That’s why your vocal cords are average sized compared to old Uncle Joe’s larger vocal cords. It’s also why your ear canal might be narrower than the average person’s.

This can cause complications with your ear protection. Disposable earplugs, for example, are made with a clothing mindset: small, medium, and large (even sometimes one-size-fits-all). So, perhaps you give up in frustration because you have tiny ear canals, and you quit using any hearing protection.

If you find yourself in this scenario, you may forsake the hearing protection you were attempting to give yourself, leaving you in danger of hearing damage. Another instance of this is people with large ears who frequently have a hard time getting earmuffs to fit comfortably. For people who work in noisy settings, a custom fit pair of hearing protection is a good investment.

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

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.

  • Your hearing protection needs to be kept clean. Ears aren’t really the cleanest part of your body (ear wax serves a practical purpose and all, but it’s still kind of… gross). Make sure you wash your hearing protection thoroughly by taking them apart before you clean them. If you’re washing earplugs, don’t drop them down the drain.
  • If you use earmuffs, examine the band. The band will need to be changed if the elastic is worn out and doesn’t hold the earmuffs tight.
  • Replace cushions on earmuffs from time to time (generally, when those cushions are no longer pliable, they’re ready to be replaced).

Ensuring you conduct routine maintenance on your hearing protection is vital 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 vital. Taking the time to protect it right is worthwhile.

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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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