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What hinders your hearing protection from working correctly? Look out for these three things.

In spite of your best efforts, you can sometimes run into things that can mess with your hearing protection, both at home and at the job. And that can be aggravating. After all, you’re trying to do what you’re supposed to do! When you go to a show, you wear your earplugs; At work, you wear earmuffs every day; and you make your best effort to steer clear of Uncle Joe who is constantly shouting in your ear.

Here’s the point, when you’re doing everything right but you’re still having difficulty, it can be discouraging. The good thing is that once you find out about some of these simple issues that can interfere with your hearing protection, you can better prepare yourself. And this will keep your hearing protection in a state of efficiency even when you’re experiencing a little trouble.

1. Wearing The Wrong Kind of Hearing Protection

Hearing protection comes in two basic forms: earplugs and earmuffs. As the names might suggest, earplugs are small and can be pushed directly into the ear canal. Earmuffs look like a pair of 70’s headphones, but instead of music, they offer protection for your ears by muting external sound.

  • When you’re in a setting where sound is relatively constant, earplugs are encouraged.
  • Earmuffs are recommended in instances where loud sounds are more intermittent.

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

Wear the proper form of hearing protection in the appropriate scenario and you should be okay.

2. Your Hearing Protection Can be Affected by Your Anatomy

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

This can cause complications with your ear protection. Disposable hearing protection is frequently a one size fits all mindset, or at best, a small, medium, large scenario. And so if you have especially tiny ear canals, you may 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, undercutting the hearing protection you were attempting to give yourself. Another example of this is individuals with large ears who frequently have a tough time getting earmuffs to fit comfortably. If you spend a lot of time in noisy environments, it may be worth investing in custom hearing protection customized to your ears.

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

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

  • Replace cushions on earmuffs every once in a while (typically, when those cushions aren’t pliable, they’re ready to be replaced).
  • 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 exchange the band.
  • Wash your hearing protection. Ears aren’t exactly the cleanest part of your body (ear wax serves a practical purpose and all, but it’s still kind of… yucky). Just make certain that you wash properly; if you’re cleansing a set of earmuffs, take the earmuffs apart. If you’re rinsing earplugs, don’t drop them into the drain.

Ensuring you conduct routine maintenance on your hearing protection is vital if you want to continue benefiting from that protection. If you have any questions or how to do that, or how to make sure you’re prepared for things that can hinder your hearing protection, it’s a smart idea to have a candid conversation with a highly qualified hearing professional.

Your hearing is vital. Taking the time to protect it right is essential.

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