Texas Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists, LLP - Bedford, Grapevine, Southlake, and Flower Mound, TX


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

Despite your best attempts, you can sometimes run into things that can hinder your hearing protection, both at home and at the job. That’s hard to deal with. After all, you’re trying to do what you’re supposed to do! When you go to a concert, you wear your earplugs; At work, you use earmuffs every day; and you make your best effort to steer clear of Uncle Joe who is constantly yelling in your ear.

Here’s the point, when you’re doing everything correctly but you’re still having difficulty, it can be discouraging. The nice thing is that once you find out about some of these simple issues that can mess with your hearing protection, you can better prepare yourself. And that can ensure that your ear protection works at peak effectiveness even when you have some obstacles.

1. Wearing The Wrong Type of Ear Protection

Ear protection is available in two practical kinds: earplugs and earmuffs. As the names might imply, earplugs are compact and can be pushed directly into the ear canal. Earmuffs look like a pair of 70’s headphones, but instead of tunes, they provide protection for your ears by blocking outside sound.

  • Earplugs are encouraged when you’re in an environment where the sound is fairly continuous.
  • When loud sounds are more intermittent, earmuffs are suggested.

The reasons for that are fairly simple: you’ll want to remove your hearing protection when it isn’t noisy, and that’s less difficult to do with earmuffs than earplugs. Earplugs are very easy to lose (particularly if they’re cheap and disposable anyway), so you don’t want to be in a position where you take out an earplug, lose it, and then need it later.

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

2. Your Ear Protection Can be Affected by Your Anatomy

Human anatomy is incredibly varied. That’s why your vocal cords are more normal sized compared to old Uncle Joe’s larger vocal cords. That’s also why you might have a smaller than normal ear canal.

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 situation. So, perhaps you give up in frustration because you have small ear canals, and you stop using any hearing protection.

This can leave you open to risk, undermining the hearing protection you were trying to give yourself. Another instance of this is people 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 hearing protection customized to your ears.

3. Check Your Hearing Protection For Wear And Tear

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 ear protection is experiencing.

  • Replace cushions on earmuffs every once in a while (generally, when those cushions aren’t pliable, they’re ready for the heave-ho).
  • Your hearing protection should be kept clean. 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 cleansing a set of earmuffs, take the earmuffs apart. Be mindful not to drop your earplugs into the drain.
  • If you use earmuffs, examine the band. The band will need to be exchanged if the elastic is worn out and no longer holds the earmuffs tight.

Making sure you perform regular maintenance on your hearing protection is imperative 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 mess with your hearing protection, it’s a good idea to have a candid discussion with a highly qualified hearing professional.

Your hearing is important. Taking the time to protect it right 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.