Hearing Health Blog

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

What stops your hearing protection from working correctly? Here are 3 things to watch for.

Whether you’re at home or at work, sometimes you encounter something that can interfere with the effectiveness of your hearing protection. And that can be discouraging. 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 shouting in your ears (although, perhaps you just don’t really enjoy Uncle Joe).

The point is, it can be rather frustrating when you’re doing everything right and still there are challenges. The good thing is that once you know about a few of these simple challenges that can mess with your hearing protection, you can prepare yourself better. And that can ensure that your ear protection functions at peak effectiveness even when there’s a bump in the road.

1. Using The Wrong Kind of Ear Protection

Hearing protection is available in two practical kinds: earmuffs and earplugs. As the names might suggest, earplugs are small and can be inserted directly inside the ear canal. Earmuffs are like large headphones with no sound (instead, they, you know, protect your ears).

  • Earplugs are recommended when you’re in a setting where the sound is comparatively constant.
  • When loud sounds are more intermittent, earmuffs are recommended.

The reasons for that are fairly obvious: 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 incredibly easy to misplace (particularly if they’re inexpensive and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a situation where you remove an earplug, misplace it, and then need it later.

Use the correct kind of hearing protection in the right situation and you should be fine.

2. Your Hearing Protection Can be Impacted by Your Anatomy

Human anatomy is amazingly varied. That’s why your Uncle Joe has such a large set of vocal cords and you have more normal-sized vocal cords. It’s also why your ear canal might be narrower than the average person’s.

And that can hinder your hearing protection. Disposable earplugs, for example, are made with a clothing mentality: small, medium, and large (even sometimes one-size-fits-all). 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 example, your ears are a bit larger, making earmuff style protectors uncomfortable. If you spend a lot of time in noisy environments, it might be worth investing in custom ear protection personalized to your ears.

3. Check Your Hearing Protection For Wear And Tear

If you’re using your hearing protection daily, you should give yourself a pat on the back. But that also means you need to keep close track of the wear and tear your ear protection is experiencing.

  • Check the band on earmuff protection. When the elastic is worn out and the band is failing to hold the earmuffs snug, it’s time to replace the band.
  • 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… yucky). Make certain you clean your hearing protection thoroughly by taking them apart before you cleanse them. Be mindful not to drop your earplugs down the drain.
  • When they’re no longer pliable, replace the cushions on your earmuffs.

If you want to get optimum benefit, you need to perform routine maintenance on your hearing 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 impede their performance.

You need your hearing. Taking the time to protect it properly is essential.

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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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