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

What stops your hearing protection from working correctly? 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 deal with. After all, you’re trying to do what you’re supposed to do! You use your earmuffs every day at work; you use earplugs when you attend a show; and you avoid your loud Uncle Joe who is constantly shouting in your ears (although, maybe you just don’t really like Uncle Joe).

Here’s the point, when you’re doing everything correctly but you’re still having problems, it can be aggravating. The nice thing is that once you understand some of these simple challenges that can interfere with your hearing protection, you can better prepare yourself. And that can ensure that your hearing protection functions at peak efficiency even when there’s a bump in the road.

1. Wearing The Wrong Type of Hearing Protection

Ear protection is available in two basic forms: earmuffs and earplugs. 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 provide protection for your hearing by muting external sound.

  • Earplugs are encouraged when you’re in a place where the sound is relatively constant.
  • When loud sounds are more sporadic, earmuffs are suggested.

The reasons for that are fairly simple: you’ll want to remove your hearing protection when it isn’t noisy, and that’s easier to do with earmuffs than earplugs. Earplugs are extremely easy to lose (especially if they’re cheap and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a position where you take out an earplug, misplace it, and then need it later.

You will be okay if you use the correct protection in the right scenario.

2. Your Anatomy Can Affect Your Ear Protection

There are many differences in human anatomy from person to person. That’s why your Uncle Joe has such large vocal cords and your vocal cords are more normal sized. That’s also why you may have a smaller than normal ear canal.

This can cause problems with your ear protection. Disposable hearing protection is often a one size fits all mentality, or at best, a small, medium, large situation. So, maybe you give up in frustration because you have tiny ear canals, and you stop using any hearing protection.

If you find yourself in this situation, you could turn away from the hearing protection you were attempting to give yourself, leaving you in danger of hearing damage. Another example of this is individuals with large ears who frequently have a tough time getting earmuffs to fit comfortably. For people who work in loud settings, a custom fit pair of ear protection is a good investment.

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

You should be commended if you manage to use your hearing protection regularly. But day-to-day use will lead to wear and tear to your hearing protection which you need to monitor.

  • If you use earmuffs, examine the band. The band will need to be replaced if the elastic is worn out and no longer holds the earmuffs tight.
  • When they lose their pliability, replace the cushions on your earmuffs.
  • Clean your hearing protection. Ears aren’t exactly the cleanest part of your body (ear wax serves a good purpose and all, but it’s still kind of… yucky). Make sure you wash your hearing protection completely by taking them apart before you clean them. Be mindful not to drop your earplugs down the drain.

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

Your hearing is vital. It’s worth taking the time to protect it right.

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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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