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Listen Up! It’s Time to Protect Your Hearing!

- September 9, 2018 by Pam McIntire, ARM (View all posts by Pam)

Although it is one of our most valuable senses, hearing is often taken for granted until we suffer a hearing loss. If you’ve ever had a head cold or illness where you feel as if your ears are plugged, you know the frustration you would feel if your hearing is reduced! While a head cold will eventually go away, hearing loss from constant exposure to loud noise is usually permanent.

Just like our eye sight can be protected with safety glasses or goggles, our hearing can be protected with earplugs or earmuffs. Earplugs may be disposable or reusable and are easy to carry from job to job.

Here are a few tips to remember about ear plugs:

It can be more advantageous to wear ear plugs vs. ear muffs if:

  • Working in a hot and humid environment
  • You wear other personal protective equipment such as safety glasses or a welding helmet

Ear plugs should not be worn if:

  • The wearer has an ear infection

Ear plug Maintenance:

  • Disposable ear plugs should be thrown away after each use
  • Reusable ear plugs should be cleaned in detergent and water and allowed to dry completely before the next use. Even after being washed, reusable ear plugs should not be shared.
  • If ear plugs loss their softness, shrink or become distorted, they need to be replaced
  • Ear plugs should be stored where they can be kept dry, clean and out of the sun
  • Record date of issue, maintenance, and visual checks in a PPE register
Here are a few tips about ear muff:
It can be more advantageous to wear ear muffs vs. ear plugs if:
  • Being able to view the hearing protection from afar is important
  • Employees are having difficulty inserting plugs properly.
  • Communication is critical. Muff can have technology built in allowing for better communication.

Ear Muffs should not be worn when:

  • Hard hats, safety glasses, or other personal protective equipment will interfere with the muff seal
Ear Muff Maintenance:
  • If the muffs have cracks or hardening in the cushions, replace them.
  • If the band brakes replace it
  • Clean muffs with a mild detergent using warm water. Do not submerge and get the sound-attenuating material inside the muff wet.  Always refer to the manufacturer’s directions, especially when caring for muffs with built in technology

The time to protect your hearing is now. Improve your chances of hearing well later in life. Wear hearing protection!