3 Things You Should Understand About Hearing Protection

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

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

Whether you’re at home or at work, sometimes you encounter something that can interfere with the effectiveness of your hearing protection. That’s hard to cope with. You’re attempting to do the right thing after all. When you go to a show, you use your earplugs; At work, you wear earmuffs every day; and you try to steer clear of Uncle Joe who is constantly yelling in your ear.

Here’s the point, when you’re doing everything right but you’re still having problems, it can be discouraging. Luckily, you can take some steps to protect yourself once you understand what types of things can impede the performance of your hearing protection. And this will keep your ear protection in a state of efficiency even when you’re having a little trouble.

1. Wearing The Wrong Type of Ear Protection

Hearing protection comes in two practical types: earmuffs and earplugs. Earplugs are small and, as the name indicates, can be inserted straight into the ear canal. Earmuffs look like a pair of 70’s headphones, but instead of music, they offer protection for your ears by blocking external sound.

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

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 incredibly easy to misplace (particularly if they’re cheap and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a position where you remove an earplug, misplace it, and then need it later.

Use the proper form of hearing protection in the appropriate situation and you should be fine.

2. Your Anatomy Can Affect Your Hearing Protection

There are many variables in human anatomy from person to person. That’s why your vocal cords are more normal sized compared to old Uncle Joe’s larger vocal cords. It’s also why your ear canal might be smaller than the average individual’s.

And that can hinder your hearing protection. Disposable earplugs, for example, are made with a t-shirt mindset: small, medium, and large (even sometimes one-size-fits-all). So, maybe you give up in frustration because you have tiny ear canals, and you stop using any hearing protection.

This can leave you open to risk, undermining the hearing protection you were trying to provide for yourself. Another example of this is individuals with large ears who often have a tough time getting earmuffs to fit comfortably. If you spend a lot of time in noisy environments, it might be worth investing in custom ear protection personalized to your ears.

3. Assess Your Hearing Protection For Signs of Wear

If you’re using your hearing protection daily, you should give yourself a pat on the back. But day-to-day use will result in wear and tear to your hearing protection which you need to monitor.

  • When they lose their flexibility, replace the cushions on your earmuffs.
  • Your hearing protection should 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 washing earplugs, don’t drop them down the drain.
  • Examine the band on earmuff protection. The band will need to be replaced if the elastic is worn out and doesn’t hold the earmuffs tight.

Making sure you conduct regular maintenance on your hearing protection is essential 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 know more about the things that can impede their performance.

Your hearing is vital. Taking the time to protect it right is essential.

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.