McDonald Hearing Services - Grand Rapids, MI

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

Whether you’re at work or at home, sometimes you come across something that can interfere with the performance of your ear protection. And that can be discouraging. After all, you’re striving to do what you’re supposed to do! You wear your earmuffs every day while working; you wear earplugs when you attend a concert; and you stay away from your raucous Uncle Joe who is always shouting in your ears (although, maybe you just don’t really enjoy Uncle Joe).

The point is, it can be a bit discouraging when you’re doing everything correctly and still there are obstacles. Fortunately, you can take a few steps to protect yourself once you know what kinds of things can interfere with the performance of your ear protection. And that can ensure that your hearing protection works at peak effectiveness even when you have some obstacles.

1. Using The Wrong Type of Ear Protection

Hearing protection comes in two standard kinds: earplugs and earmuffs. As the names might imply, earplugs are compact and can be inserted directly into the ear canal. Earmuffs look like a pair of 70’s headphones, but instead of tunes, they offer protection for your ears by muting outside sound.

  • When you’re in a situation where noise is relatively constant, earplugs are encouraged.
  • When loud sounds are more sporadic, earmuffs are recommended.

The reasons for that are pretty simple: you’ll want to remove your ear protection when it’s quiet, 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.

You will be okay if you wear the proper protection in the appropriate situation.

2. Your Anatomy Can Affect Your Hearing Protection

There are many differences in human anatomy from person to person. That’s why your vocal cords are average sized compared to old Uncle Joe who has larger vocal cords. That’s also why you might have a smaller than average ear canal.

And that can interfere 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 rather tiny ear canals, you may have a difficult time making earplugs fit, causing you to give up entirely and in frustration, throw them away..

This can leave you exposed to risk, undermining the hearing protection you were attempting to provide for yourself. The same thing can happen if, for example, your ears are on the larger size, making earmuff style protectors uncomfortable. For individuals who work in loud environments, a custom fit pair of hearing protection is a smart investment.

3. Assess Your Hearing Protection For Wear And Tear

If you’re using your hearing protection daily, you should give yourself a gold star. But day-to-day usage will result in wear and tear to your hearing protection which you need to monitor.

  • When they’re no longer pliable, replace the cushions on your earmuffs.
  • 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.
  • Wash your hearing protection. Earwax serves a practical purpose in your body but it can also collect on your hearing protection. Just make certain that you wash properly; if you’re cleansing a set of earmuffs, take the earmuffs apart. Be cautious not to drop your earplugs into the drain.

Ensuring you carry out regular maintenance on your hearing protection is essential if you want to continue benefiting from that protection. It’s essential 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 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.