Louisville Family Audiology - Louisville, KY

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 look out for.

In spite of your best efforts, you can sometimes run into things that can hinder your hearing protection, both at home and at work. 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 problems, it can be aggravating. The good thing is that once you know about some of these simple challenges that can interfere with your hearing protection, you can prepare yourself better. And that can ensure that your hearing protection works at peak efficiency even when there’s a bump in the road.

1. Wearing The Wrong Kind of Hearing Protection

There are two convenient and standard categories of ear protection: earplugs and earmuffs. Earplugs are little and, as the name indicates, can be put right into the ear canal. Earmuffs are like big headphones with no sound (instead, they, you know, protect your ears).

  • Earplugs are suggested when you’re in a setting where the noise is fairly continuous.
  • Earmuffs are recommended in circumstances where loud sounds are more irregular.

The reasons for that are pretty 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 take a little more work to put in and are easy to lose track of so you may find yourself needing to replace lost plugs when you need them most.

Wear the proper kind of hearing protection in the right scenario and you should be okay.

2. Your Anatomy Can Impact Your Ear Protection

Human anatomy is amazingly varied. That’s why your Uncle Joe has such a large set of vocal cords and your vocal cords are more normal sized. That’s also why you may have a smaller than average ear canal.

This can cause issues with your ear protection. Disposable earplugs, for example, are made with a t-shirt 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 quit using any hearing protection.

If you find yourself in this scenario, you might forsake the hearing protection you were trying to give yourself, leaving you at risk of hearing damage. Another example of this is people with large ears who often have a tough time getting earmuffs to fit comfortably. If you’re in a noisy setting regularly, it might be worth investing in custom ear protection customized 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 ear protection is experiencing.

  • Wash your hearing protection. Earwax serves a practical purpose in your body but it can also collect on your hearing protection. Make sure you clean your hearing protection thoroughly by taking them apart before you clean them. Be mindful not to drop your earplugs into the drain.
  • Replace cushions on earmuffs every now and then (generally, when those cushions aren’t pliable, they’re ready to be replaced).
  • If you use earmuffs, examine the band. The band will need to be replaced if the elastic is worn out and doesn’t hold the earmuffs tight.

Ensuring you carry out routine maintenance on your hearing protection is essential if you want to continue benefiting from that protection. If you have any questions or how to do that, or how to ensure you’re ready for things that can hinder your hearing protection, it’s a smart idea to have a frank discussion with a highly qualified hearing professional.

Your hearing is vital. 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.
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