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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 watch for.

Whether you’re at work or at home, sometimes you come across something that can interfere with the performance of your ear protection. That’s hard to deal with. You’re trying to do the right thing after all. When you go to a concert, you wear your earplugs; At work, you use earmuffs every day; and you do your best to steer clear of Uncle Joe who is always yelling in your ear.

The point is, it can be a bit discouraging when you’re doing everything correctly and still there are challenges. The nice thing is that once you know about some of these simple issues that can mess with your hearing protection, you can better prepare yourself. And that can ensure that your ear protection functions at peak efficiency even when you have some obstacles.

1. Wearing The Wrong Kind of Ear Protection

Hearing protection is available in two standard forms: earplugs and earmuffs. Earplugs are little and, as the name suggests, can be inserted straight into the ear canal. Earmuffs look like a set of 70’s headphones, but instead of tunes, they provide protection for your hearing by blocking outside sound.

  • Earplugs are encouraged when you’re in a setting where the sound is fairly continuous.
  • Earmuffs are recommended in instances 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 harder to do with earplugs than earmuffs. Earplugs are extremely easy to lose (particularly if they’re inexpensive and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a position where you remove an earplug, lose it, and then need it later.

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

2. Your Ear Protection Can be Impacted by Your Anatomy

Human anatomy is amazingly varied. That’s why your vocal cords are average sized compared to old Uncle Joe who has 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 t-shirt mindset: small, medium, and large (even sometimes one-size-fits-all). And so if you have especially tiny ear canals, you might have a difficult time making earplugs fit, causing you to give up completely and throw the earplugs away in frustration.

This can leave you open to risk, undermining the hearing protection you were attempting to provide for yourself. Another example of this is individuals with large ears who frequently have a tough time getting earmuffs to fit comfortably. If you’re in a noisy setting regularly, it may be worth investing in custom ear protection personalized to your ears.

3. Check Your Hearing Protection For Signs of Wear

If you’re wearing your hearing protection daily, you should give yourself a gold star. But that also means you need to monitor the wear and tear your hearing protection is experiencing.

  • Examine the band on earmuff protection. When the elastic is worn out and the band is no longer holding the earmuffs snug, it’s time to replace the band.
  • Replace cushions on earmuffs every once in a while (typically, when those cushions aren’t pliable, they’re ready to be replaced).
  • 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 clean your hearing protection thoroughly by taking them apart before you cleanse them. Be cautious not to drop your earplugs down the drain.

Ensuring you perform regular 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 take care of your hearing protection or want to know 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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