Best Hearing Protection: Avoid Bursting Your Ear Drums
Prevent early hearing loss with some of the best ear protection headphones, muffs, and foam plugs
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PUBLISHED ON December 19, 2019
If you have sensitive ears, want to drown out the noise, work in construction, or hunt, you should make hearing protection a priority. Whether it’s a sturdy pair of earmuffs, headphones, or earplugs, they keep your eardrums safe from loud noises. To help you choose the best hearing protection, we’ve put together a list of a few top contenders to check out.
- Best OverallPeltor Sport Tactical 100 Electric Hearing ProtectorSummarySummary
A versatile pair of electronic hearing protection that functions great indoors and outdoors and comes with volume control.ProsPros
Noise reduction rating of 22 decibels. Reduces echoes with variable suppression time technology. Adaptive frequency response reduces background noises and wind noise. Adjustable for a comfortable fit. Runs on AAA batteries. Long battery life.ConsCons
You may need to double up on hearing protection indoors with a pair of earplugs underneath the muffs. Slow to return to normal hearing.
- Best Value3M WorkTunes Connect Hearing ProtectorSummarySummary
This pair of high-visibility ear protection feature audio assist technology to automatically reduces loud noises for the wearer.ProsPros
They include an auto-shutoff noise reduction rating of 24 decibels, an AM/FM radio tuner, and a headphone jack for music. Comfortable and easy to operate. Voice-assisted technology to hear conversations more clearly.ConsCons
The music feature could be louder. Snug fit. It can be hot in the summer. Accessing batteries can be a hassle.
- Honorable MentionWalker’s Razor Slim Electric MuffSummarySummary
An ultra-low-profile pair of headphones with two omnidirectional microphones and a full dynamic range of HD speakers.ProsPros
This headset features a noise reduction rating of 23 decibels. A quick .02 second response time to reduce loud noises to a safe level. They fold up compactly and easily. Include a soft and padded headband that is fully adjustable.ConsCons
Mono sound system. Smaller earcups. Sound quality for music could be louder.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
- To help reduce loud noises, select a brand of safety earmuffs that let you play or stream music.
- Brightly colored headphones will be more visible and will allow other people to see you better. This is very useful for contractors or those who work in construction.
- There are several types of hearing protection, such as earplugs, headphones, earmuffs and semi-insert earplugs. Earplugs are typically made out of a moldable foam material that can be inserted into the ear canal, while muffs and phones go directly over your ears.
- Many headphones are foldable and can be fit into a compact space for added convenience.
- Ear protectors should be comfortable so look for ones with large padded earpieces that act as protective ear cushions. By using the adjustable headband, they should be able to conform to any size head with ease.
Q: What is a dangerous decibel level?
A: When you are choosing hearing protection, consider the noise levels that need to be filtered out. For instance, a conversation is about 60 decibels (dB), while sounds at 85 dB or above are considered dangerous for your ears. Heavy machinery, motors, and construction sites tend to be between 70 to 90 dB. Mowing the lawn or riding a motorcycle can reach up to 120 dB. Gunshots are rated in the 140s and maybe even louder at an indoor shooting range.
Q: What can I do to take care of my hearing protection products?
A: For more robust and heavy-duty protection like headphones or muffs, keep them in a case when they are not in use. If you notice any cracking or splitting in the earmuffs, you should replace them. Foam earplugs tend to not last as long and may only last a few hours at most. They aren’t particularly comfortable and can deform more easily. They should come with a case, and make sure your hands and ears are clean so the product lasts longer.
Q: How often should my hearing be tested?
A: If you work around a lot of loud hazardous noises, you should have your hearing checked annually. If you spend long periods of time around dangerous sound levels, it could lead to hearing damage. You should also get your hearing checked if you develop consistent ringing in your ears. This may be tinnitus, and you should go to the doctor immediately.
To better protect your ears and hear more clearly on the job, consider electronic earmuffs such as the Peltor Sport Tactical 100 Electric Hearing Protector.
You can also save a bit of cash and check out the 3M WorkTunes Connect Hearing Protector for its high noise reduction rating and lower cost.