Audiology Associates of North Florida - Tallahassee, FL

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

What hinders your hearing protection from working properly? Watch for these three things.

Whether you’re at work or at home, sometimes you come across something that can interfere with the effectiveness of your ear protection. That’s hard to cope with. You’re attempting to do the right thing after all. When you go to a show, you use your earplugs; At work, you use earmuffs every day; and you make your best effort to steer clear of Uncle Joe who is always shouting in your ear.

The point is, it can be a bit discouraging when you’re doing everything correctly and still there are difficulties. Fortunately, you can take some steps to protect yourself once you know what types of things can interfere with the performance of your hearing protection. And this will keep your hearing protection working effectively even when you’re experiencing a bit of difficulty.

1. Wearing The Wrong Type of Ear Protection

There are two handy and standard categories of ear protection: earplugs and earmuffs. As the names might indicate, earplugs are compact and can be inserted directly into the ear canal. Earmuffs look like a set of 70’s headphones, but instead of tunes, they offer protection for your hearing by muting external sound.

  • Earplugs are suggested when you’re in a setting where the sound is comparatively continuous.
  • When loud sounds are more sporadic, earmuffs are suggested.

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

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

2. Your Hearing Protection Can be Impacted by Your Anatomy

Human anatomy is amazingly diverse. That’s why your vocal cords are average sized compared to old Uncle Joe’s larger vocal cords. It’s also why your ear canal may be narrower than the average person’s.

And that can hinder your ear 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 scenario, you could turn away from the hearing protection you were attempting to give yourself, leaving you in danger of hearing damage. Another instance of this is individuals with large ears who often have a hard time getting earmuffs to fit comfortably. If you spend a lot of time in noisy environments, it may be worth investing in custom ear protection tailored to your ears.

3. Examine Your Hearing Protection For Wear And Tear

If you’re wearing your hearing protection every day, 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 hearing protection is experiencing.

  • 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… gross). Just make certain that you wash properly; if you’re cleansing an earmuff set, take the earmuffs apart. If you’re washing earplugs, don’t drop them down the drain.
  • If you use earmuffs, examine the band. The band will need to be changed if the elastic is worn out and doesn’t hold the earmuffs tight.
  • When they’re no longer pliable, replace the cushions on your earmuffs.

If you want to get maximum benefit, you need to perform regular maintenance on your hearing protection. It’s essential 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 important. 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.
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