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

Despite your best efforts, you can sometimes run into things that can mess with your hearing protection, both at home and at work. That’s difficult to deal with. You’re attempting to do the right thing after all. You use your earmuffs every day while working; you wear earplugs when you attend a show; and you stay away from your raucous Uncle Joe who is always shouting in your ears (although, perhaps 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 discouraging. Fortunately, you can take a few measures to protect yourself once you understand what kinds of things can impede the performance of your ear protection. And this will keep your ear protection working effectively even when you’re experiencing a little difficulty.

1. Wearing The Wrong Kind of Ear Protection

Ear protection comes in two basic kinds: earplugs and earmuffs. Earplugs are little and, as the name indicates, can be inserted right into the ear canal. Earmuffs are like big headphones with no tunes (instead, they, you know, safeguard your ears).

  • Earplugs are recommended when you’re in an environment where the noise is comparatively constant.
  • When loud sounds are more intermittent, earmuffs are suggested.

There’s a simple explanation for that: when it’s quiet, you’ll want to remove you’re hearing protection which is more difficult to do with earplugs than earmuffs. Earplugs are incredibly easy to misplace (especially if they’re cheap and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a situation where you remove an earplug, lose it, and then need it later.

Use the right form of hearing protection in the right situation and you should be okay.

2. Your Ear Protection Can be Affected by Your Anatomy

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

And that can hinder your hearing protection. Disposable hearing protection is often a one size fits all mentality, or at best, a small, medium, large scenario. So, perhaps 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 trying to give yourself, leaving you at risk of hearing damage. The same thing can occur if, for instance, your ears are on the larger size, making earmuff style protectors uncomfortable. For people who work in noisy settings, a custom fit pair of ear protection is a smart investment.

3. Examine Your Hearing Protection For Wear And Tear

You should be commended if you manage to use your hearing protection every day. But day-to-day use will cause wear and tear to your hearing protection which you need to keep an eye on.

  • Replace cushions on earmuffs from time to time (generally, when those cushions aren’t pliable, they’re ready for the heave-ho).
  • Clean your hearing protection. Earwax serves a practical purpose in your body but it can also build up on your hearing protection. Just make sure that you wash correctly; if you’re cleaning a set of earmuffs, take the earmuffs apart. Be mindful not to drop your earplugs down the drain.
  • If you use earmuffs, examine the band. When the elastic is worn out and the band is no longer holding the earmuffs snug, it’s time to replace the band.

Making sure you perform regular maintenance on your hearing protection is essential 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 learn more about the things that can interfere with their performance.

Your hearing is vital. Taking the time to protect it properly is worthwhile.

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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.

Medical information dates as new research comes out all the time - if you have a concern about your hearing, please call us.

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