Keeping your ears well protected is an important part of life for a number of people, from those who work in loud environments to those who attend a lot of concerts. Being exposed to noise over a certain decibel level can be problematic and lead to hearing loss, whether temporarily or in the longer term. This makes it all the more important that you consider how you will best be protected if you are likely to find yourself experiencing a lot of noise – even on a one-off basis.

There are different types of hearing protection, which vary mostly between different types of earplugs and earmuffs. The former sit inside the ear and block sound from entering the ear canal and can be disposable or potentially made for more permanent use, earmuffs, meanwhile, sit over the ear itself. They may be connected by a strap that sits over the wearer’s head or integrated into headwear that is worn as part of personal protective equipment for work.

To understand how to choose hearing protection, and how to get the best use from it, it is useful to know the following essential information.

Wearing the Wrong Kind of Ear Protection Can Cause Problems

Both earplugs and earmuffs have their uses for people seeking to protect their hearing. Picking the right one for your purposes depends on one question above all, which is what is your reason for needing ear protection?

If you are seeking ear protection because you will be exposed to noise that will be intermittent, then earmuffs are the better choice. When the noise dies down, you will often want to remove your ear protection for one reason or another. Earmuffs are much easier to remove and put back on than earplugs, and much easier to keep track of once they have been removed.

If however the noise is going to be more continuous, earplugs are the better choice, as you can just leave them in until the noise is over once and for all. For obvious reasons, though, they should be carefully looked after, as they are hard to find once you lose track of them.

It is Important to Check Your Ear Protection Before and After Each Use

One of the vital provisions of ear protection is that it blocks out sound indiscriminately, protecting your hearing from excessive volumes of noise. It does this by creating a seal between your inner ear and the source of noise. Hearing protection can be vulnerable to wear and tear, especially when it is used often, and so it is vital that you check your ear protection for any signs of damage before and after every use.

Wearing damaged ear protection will offer less of a guard against excessive noise, and could result in you experiencing hearing loss, especially if it is worn on more than one occasion. It is important to replace any damaged ear protection as soon as you are aware of an issue. If you experience any hearing loss in the aftermath of wearing incorrect ear protection, it is essential to make an appointment with an audiologist to ascertain the extent of the loss. This is also your opportunity to ask any questions about hearing protection you may have.

Make Sure Your Ear Protection Works for You

When it comes to protective equipment such as hearing protection, it is of vital importance to verify that it fits you properly. It’s not a case of finding something that fits enough; if you wear earmuffs that are not the right size for your head, then you may find that they don’t properly sit over the ear and therefore they allow noise to get in. Equally, if you try to insert a larger earplug into your ear canal when it’s too small for the plug, you may find that the earplug has a harder time sitting in there and it may eventually be pushed out.

Finding ear protection that fits your anatomy is far more than simply an aesthetic or convenience matter. It is inescapably more important than that, as the wrong ear protection can increase the chance of you losing hearing in the short or long term. Although it may be better than nothing in the short run, it is essential to remember that the wrong ear protection will not work and could end up doing more harm than good, particularly if you behave as though your ears were fully protected when they clearly were not.

It is important to take things seriously when it comes to protecting your hearing. Taking the above information into account is one way to be sure that you will continue to get the best from your hearing protection. To learn more about Baker Audiology & Hearing Aids, call us today at (605) 610-3466.

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