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

Is your hearing protection failing to protect your hearing? Here are 3 things to look out for.

In spite of your best attempts, you can sometimes encounter things that can hinder your hearing protection, both at home and at work. And that can be discouraging. After all, you’re trying to do what you’re supposed to do! When you go to a show, you use your earplugs; At work, you use earmuffs every day; and you make your best effort to steer clear of Uncle Joe who is constantly yelling in your ear.

The point is, it can be kind of aggravating when you’re doing everything correctly and still there are challenges. The nice thing is that once you understand some of these simple challenges that can mess 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 having a bit of difficulty.

1. Wearing The Wrong Kind of Ear Protection

Hearing protection is available in two standard types: earplugs and earmuffs. Earplugs are small and, as the name suggests, can be inserted straight into the ear canal. Earmuffs are like big headphones with no tunes (instead, they, you know, protect your hearing).

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

There’s an obvious reason for that: when there’s no noise, you’ll want to remove you’re hearing protection which is harder 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 correct kind of hearing protection in the right situation and you should be fine.

2. Your Hearing Protection Can be Impacted by Your Anatomy

There are many differences in human anatomy from person to person. That’s why your vocal cords are average sized compared to old Uncle Joe who has larger vocal cords. That’s also why you may have a smaller than normal ear canal.

This can cause issues with your hearing protection. Disposable earplugs, for instance, are made with a clothing mentality: small, medium, and large (even sometimes one-size-fits-all). And so if you have rather tiny ear canals, you may have a difficult time making earplugs fit, causing you to give up completely and in frustration, throw them away..

If you find yourself in this scenario, you may turn away from the hearing protection you were trying to give yourself, leaving you in danger of hearing damage. The same thing can occur if, for instance, your ears are on the larger size, making earmuff style protectors awkward. If you spend a lot of time in noisy environments, it might be worth investing in custom ear protection customized to your ears.

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

If you’re wearing your hearing protection daily, you should give yourself a gold star. But day-to-day usage will cause wear and tear to your hearing protection which you need to keep an eye on.

  • Your hearing protection needs to be kept clean. Ears aren’t exactly the cleanest part of your body (ear wax serves a practical purpose and all, but it’s still kind of… gross). Just make certain that you wash properly; if you’re washing an earmuff set, take apart the earmuffs. If you’re rinsing earplugs, don’t drop them down the drain.
  • Replace cushions on earmuffs every once in a while (generally, when those cushions are no longer pliable, they’re ready for the heave-ho).
  • If you use earmuffs, check the band. The band will need to be exchanged if the elastic is worn out and doesn’t hold the earmuffs tight.

Ensuring you carry out 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 take care of 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.

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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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