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 impede the effectiveness 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 wear earplugs when you go to a concert; and you stay away from your raucous Uncle Joe who is constantly yelling in your ears (although, perhaps you just don’t really enjoy Uncle Joe).

Here’s the point, when you’re doing everything right but you’re still having trouble, it can be frustrating. Fortunately, you can take some measures to protect yourself once you know what types of things can impede the performance of your ear protection. And this will keep your hearing protection working effectively even when you’re having a little difficulty.

1. Wearing The Wrong Type of Hearing Protection

There are two useful and standard categories of ear protection: earplugs and earmuffs. As the names might suggest, earplugs are small and can be pushed directly inside the ear canal. Earmuffs are like big headphones with no music (instead, they, you know, safeguard your hearing).

  • When you’re in a scenario where sound is fairly constant, earplugs are encouraged.
  • Earmuffs are advised in cases where loud sounds are more intermittent.

There’s a simple 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 extremely easy to lose (particularly if they’re cheap and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a position where you take out an earplug, lose it, and then need it later.

You will be okay if you wear the proper protection in the appropriate scenario.

2. Your Anatomy Can Affect Your Ear Protection

Human anatomy is amazingly diverse. That’s why your Uncle Joe has such large vocal cords and you have more normal-sized vocal cords. That’s also why you might have a smaller than average ear canal.

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

This can leave you open to risk, undercutting the hearing protection you were attempting to give yourself. The same thing can happen if, for instance, your ears are on the larger size, making earmuff style protectors uncomfortable. For individuals who work in loud settings, a custom fit pair of ear protection is a good investment.

3. Assess Your Hearing Protection For Signs of Wear

You should be commended if you manage to wear your hearing protection every day. But that also means you need to keep an eye on the wear and tear your hearing protection is experiencing.

  • Your hearing protection needs to be kept clean. Earwax serves a practical function in your body but it can also build up on your hearing protection. Just make sure that you wash properly; if you’re cleansing an earmuff set, take the earmuffs apart. Be mindful not to drop your earplugs into the drain.
  • When they lose their flexibility, replace the cushions on your earmuffs.
  • Check the band on earmuff protection. The band will need to be replaced if the elastic is worn out and no longer holds the earmuffs tight.

Ensuring you carry out routine maintenance on your hearing protection is vital 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 care for 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.