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

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

Whether you’re at home or at work, sometimes you run into something that can interfere with the performance of your ear protection. That’s difficult to deal with. After all, you’re striving to do what you’re supposed to do! You put on your earmuffs every day at work; you use earplugs when you attend a show; and you avoid your raucous 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 rather aggravating when you’re doing everything correctly and still there are obstacles. The nice thing is that once you understand some of these simple problems that can interfere with your hearing protection, you can prepare yourself better. And that can ensure that your ear protection works at peak efficiency even when you have some obstacles.

1. Wearing The Wrong Type of Hearing Protection

Hearing protection is available in two basic forms: earplugs and earmuffs. Earplugs are little and, as the name suggests, can be put right into the ear canal. Earmuffs look like a set of 70’s headphones, but instead of music, they offer protection for your hearing by blocking external sound.

  • Earplugs are recommended when you’re in an environment where the sound is fairly constant.
  • When loud sounds are more sporadic, earmuffs are recommended.

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 are extremely easy to lose (especially if they’re cheap 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.

Wear the proper kind of hearing protection in the appropriate situation and you should be fine.

2. Your Hearing Protection Can be Impacted by Your Anatomy

There are many variables in human anatomy from one individual to another. 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 may be smaller than the average person’s.

And that can hinder your ear protection. Disposable hearing protection is often a one size fits all mentality, or at best, a small, medium, large scenario. And so if you have particularly tiny ear canals, you might have a hard time getting those earplugs to fit, causing you to give up entirely and throw the earplugs away in frustration.

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

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

If you’re using your hearing protection every day, you should give yourself a gold star. But that also means you need to keep close track of the wear and tear your ear protection is experiencing.

  • Replace cushions on earmuffs every now and then (typically, when those cushions are no longer pliable, they’re ready for the heave-ho).
  • 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.
  • Your hearing protection should be kept clean. Earwax serves a practical purpose in your body but it can also build up on your hearing protection. Just make sure that you wash properly; if you’re washing an earmuff set, take apart the earmuffs. If you’re rinsing earplugs, don’t drop them into the drain.

Ensuring you perform regular 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 vital. It’s worth taking the time to protect it properly.

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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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