You know how important it is to protect your eyes when working on home improvement projects and to wear gloves for hand protection — but do you also protect your ears? You may think the drill or saw will only be running for a short time, but this isn’t an excuse to skip ear protection.
Why? Because noise-induced hearing loss can occur over time as you perform each noisy home improvement task. And hearing loss is permanent. Thankfully, you have some good choices in hearing protection that range in price protection. Here’s a quick rundown.
Disposable ear plugs are one of the least costly types of hearing protection. You can choose from one-time-use earplugs or multiple-use types. Both may be difficult to fit properly, but they are convenient and comfortable.
One-time-use earplugs are a more hygienic option because you use them once before throwing them in the trash. Multiple-use disposable ear plugs can be used a few times before being thrown away, but you must practice good hygiene when using them. Washing your hands before handling the earplugs can help keep them clean so you don’t insert dirt or germs inside the ear canal.
Both types can cause ear irritation, but they are available in a variety of shapes and sizes to help you get a comfortable fit.
Custom ear plugs are similar to disposable ones, but they are more comfortable because they’re made for your particular ear canal shape. You can use these for years and may notice less irritation than you would have with a disposable pair. The cost is higher, but if you plan to do many home improvement projects they can be worth the investment.
Like other ear plugs, you must keep them clean to avoid getting germs and bacteria into your ear. Plus, this kind of routine maintenance will help them last longer and postpone replacement.
You can find a wide variety of ear muffs — they’re pretty ubiquitous in industries that depend on durable hearing protection. Some even snap onto hard hats for doing more heavy-duty jobs; so consider these when using tools powered by an air compressor.
Earmuffs cover your entire ear, so you may find it difficult to hear when people are speaking to you while wearing them. You may also find they become hot and uncomfortable to wear when working on longer projects.
Some good points include the fact that they’re more hygienic, since you don’t put them directly inside your ear canal. This also means earmuffs are easier to use, because you just place them over your ears — plus, they can be shared more easily as needed, unlike earplugs. You can expect earmuffs to last longer than other hearing protection options.
Electronic ear muffs are often used by gun enthusiasts to protect their ears from gun blasts, but you can use them to protect your ears from loud noises when working on home projects.
You’ll find they vary in price depending on technology, but even the most basic pair works by using a microphone inside the ear muffs to pick up softer sounds, like speech, so you can hear and react to them. At the same time, it blocks louder sounds to keep your ears safe.
They’re ideal if you want to hear and talk to someone without having to remove your ear protection. You can choose from a variety of types and colors, so you can pick a pair that’s most comfortable for you to wear.
They can be costly, but if you plan on doing a great deal of noisy work, they can be worth it. They last for a long time and shouldn’t cause any irritation to the ears.
Wax balls are not new. People have used these for many decades to help protect their ears. They’re a combination of cotton, Vaseline and paraffin wax. You can easily remove the cotton and the wax is soft and formable, making them very comfortable to insert and wear in the ear canal. You just roll the wax in your fingers before inserting it into the ear.
While you can only wear them once, but the cost is low. Wax balls are recommended for use when doing DIY projects around the home.
You can choose any type of ear protection that’s most comfortable for you. The main point when it comes to protecting your hearing from loud noises is to wear some type of protection and then stick with it. After you’ve made wearing it second-nature, you’ll never want to risk hearing loss again for the sake of convenience.