3 Things You Should Understand About Hearing Protection

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 come across something that can impede the performance of your ear protection. That’s hard to deal with. You’re trying to do the right thing after all. You use your earmuffs every day at work; you use earplugs when you attend a concert; and you avoid your loud Uncle Joe who is constantly yelling in your ears (although, perhaps you just don’t really like Uncle Joe).

The point is, it can be kind of frustrating when you’re doing everything correctly and still there are challenges. The nice thing is that once you know about some of these simple challenges that can mess with your hearing protection, you can better prepare yourself. And this will keep your ear protection in a state of efficiency even when you’re experiencing a bit of difficulty.

1. Wearing The Wrong Type of Hearing Protection

Ear protection comes in two basic types: earplugs and earmuffs. As the names might indicate, earplugs are compact and can be pushed directly into the ear canal. Earmuffs are like large headphones with no tunes (instead, they, you know, protect your ears).

  • When you’re in a scenario where noise is fairly constant, earplugs are recommended.
  • Earmuffs are advised in instances where loud sounds are more irregular.

The reasons for that are fairly obvious: you’ll want to remove your hearing protection when it isn’t noisy, and that’s less difficult to do with earmuffs than earplugs. Earplugs take a bit more work to put in and are easy to lose track of so you may find yourself needing to replace lost plugs when you need them most.

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

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 average sized compared to old Uncle Joe’s larger vocal cords. It’s also why your ear canal may be narrower than the average individual’s.

And that can interfere 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 particularly tiny ear canals, you may have a difficult time making earplugs fit, causing you to give up entirely and in frustration, throw them away..

If you find yourself in this situation, you could forsake the hearing protection you were attempting to give yourself, leaving you in danger of hearing damage. The same thing can occur if, for example, your ears are on the larger size, making earmuff style protectors uncomfortable. If you spend a lot of time in noisy environments, it may be worth investing in custom hearing protection tailored to your ears.

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

If you’re using your hearing protection daily, you should give yourself a gold star. But day-to-day usage will result in wear and tear to your hearing protection which you need to keep close track of.

  • If you use earmuffs, check the band. When the elastic is worn out and the band is no longer holding the earmuffs snug, it’s time to exchange the band.
  • Wash your hearing protection. Ears aren’t really the cleanest part of your body (ear wax serves a good purpose and all, but it’s still kind of… yucky). Just make sure that you wash correctly; if you’re washing a set of earmuffs, take apart the earmuffs. If you’re rinsing earplugs, don’t drop them into the drain.
  • When they lose their flexibility, replace the cushions on your earmuffs.

If you want to get the greatest possible benefit, you need to do regular maintenance on your hearing 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 learn more about the things that can impede their performance.

You need your hearing. It’s worth taking the time to protect it right.

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.