Hearing / Ear Protection - Any recommendations?

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
What does this mean? I'm pretty new to this but agree that the headsets don't work well with glasses and safety glasses. I have been looking for the small inserts with a band on them like the link above. Pretty sure I'll try the out next..
Google: Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)
They explain it better than I can.
I've been using the Peltor NRR29s for a decade at least. They're the best I've found for in the shop or on a busy range.
I've tried other muffs that came with a glorious sales pitch and the batteries were included. For me, it was a total waste of money.
The only time I install earbuds under the Peltor muffs is when I'm cutting grass. NEVER in the shop.
YMMV
 

Rwe2156

DrBob
Senior User
The only time I install earbuds under the Peltor muffs is when I'm cutting grass. NEVER in the shop.
YMMV
YES!! Too much hearing protection in the shop is not necessarily a good thing when you forget to turn a machine off. DAMHIKT.

I use 3M's in the shop and 3M Worktunes which I only use for mowing. While getting my grass therapy I listen to my favorite podcasts. :)
 

Craptastic

Matt
Corporate Member
What does this mean? I'm pretty new to this but agree that the headsets don't work well with glasses and safety glasses. I have been looking for the small inserts with a band on them like the link above. Pretty sure I'll try the out next..
Noise Reduction Rating (usually in decibels)
 

mkepke

Mark
Senior User
Noise Reduction Rating (usually in decibels)

This might be more what Westpacx3 is asking: Understanding Noise Reduction Ratings (NRR) - Listen Technologies

Here's a very important caveat about hearing protection noise-ratings.

"If subject fit data are not available, NIOSH recommends derating hearing protectors by a factor that corresponds to the available real-world data. Specifically, NIOSH recommends that the labeled NRRs be derated as follows:
  • Earmuffs – Subtract 25% from the manufacturer’s labeled NRR
  • Formable earplugs – Subtract 50% from the manufacturer’s labeled NRR
  • All other earplugs – Subtract 70% from the manufacturers labeled NRR"

Grossly speaking, it mirrors my experience with earplug-style protectors: they are very sensitive to fitment. Earmuff style much less so.

-Mark
 

charlessenf

(;harles
Senior User
This might be more what Westpacx3 is asking: Understanding Noise Reduction Ratings (NRR) - Listen Technologies

Here's a very important caveat about hearing protection noise-ratings.

"If subject fit data are not available, NIOSH recommends derating hearing protectors by a factor that corresponds to the available real-world data. Specifically, NIOSH recommends that the labeled NRRs be derated as follows:
  • Earmuffs – Subtract 25% from the manufacturer’s labeled NRR
  • Formable earplugs – Subtract 50% from the manufacturer’s labeled NRR
  • All other earplugs – Subtract 70% from the manufacturers labeled NRR"

Grossly speaking, it mirrors my experience with earplug-style protectors: they are very sensitive to fitment. Earmuff style much less so.

-Mark
This thread is doing very well! Thanks for these links.

Oooow, that chainsaw at three meters is a wakeup! How does one get three meter arms? ;)

Lots of variables! And a label to look for!
 

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charlessenf

(;harles
Senior User
Noise Reduction Rating (usually in decibels)
don't work well with glasses and safety glasses.

I saw Face Shields (for cheap) at Ollies yesterday and thought "Hmmm, that might work in lieu of Safety glasses/goggles." The pandemic might have brought us a reasonable alternative?

I have to wear eyeglasses to see the chainsaw or planer, Been wearing them so long - I've literally got grooves in the sides of my head from my ears forward about two inches! Between that and the hairdo, well . . . Oh, well.
 

mpholway

Board of Directors, Events Director
Matt
Staff member
Corporate Member
I use 3m and I love them. I can listen to the radio, bluetooth and also answer phone calls.

3M WorkTunes Connect + AM/FM Hearing Protector with Bluetooth Wireless Technology, Ear protection for Mowing, Snowblowing, Construction, Work Shops,Black​

 

charlessenf

(;harles
Senior User
I got a professional opinion this morning:

"I tend to like the ear muffs a bit more because they are easy to take on and off, easy to clean, are generally comfortable, and will last longer than the foam or flanged earplugs.

"These are a good example for daily use:
https://www.lowes.com/pd/3M-Plastic-Hearing-Protection-Earmuffs/5001638609

"There are other options for more specific environments like concerts, hunting/shooting, etc. Usually they are filtered in a specific way or are custom made for your ears. I generally start off with the muffs for most environments. If you are attending concerts regularly or going to the range/have a specific environment where custom molds would be beneficial please let me know.

"Hope that helps or provides a good start! If you have any questions I'm happy to help!

Thought to share.

And, thank all of you for sharing. I was out splitting firewood today and could not get three meters from it and still split wood! Awfully noisy machine!

I don't need the music, however. I have conversations in my head about such things as why the walnut doesn't cleave so nicely as does the poplar. Didn't the Walnut tree want to grow up to be fine furniture? Or, because he was at the edge of the woods with a Northern exposure, did he (not sure how I determined the gender) have to struggle in his youth to access sufficient sunlight? Was he bullied by Oak and outgrown by neighboring Poplar or Pine?

And the colonies of little (ants/termites/whatevers) my splitter exposed with a violent crush . . . what were they thinking as I ended their peaceful habitat? Running pell mell with their little white bundles knowing not where safety lay or if it was even possible.

I wondered if, from a distance, we shall appear so as temperatures settle in the triple digits (like SE Texas) and our politicians and those who can afford it scramble to higher, cooler grounds as the last of our species curses those who came before them - thinking Charlton Heston POTA.

Who needs Itunes or blue teeth?
 

Westpacx3

Jim
Corporate Member
This might be more what Westpacx3 is asking: Understanding Noise Reduction Ratings (NRR) - Listen Technologies

Here's a very important caveat about hearing protection noise-ratings.

"If subject fit data are not available, NIOSH recommends derating hearing protectors by a factor that corresponds to the available real-world data. Specifically, NIOSH recommends that the labeled NRRs be derated as follows:
  • Earmuffs – Subtract 25% from the manufacturer’s labeled NRR
  • Formable earplugs – Subtract 50% from the manufacturer’s labeled NRR
  • All other earplugs – Subtract 70% from the manufacturers labeled NRR"

Grossly speaking, it mirrors my experience with earplug-style protectors: they are very sensitive to fitment. Earmuff style much less so.

-Mark
Thanks Mark, exactly what I was looking for but the other links helped as well. I used to work on aircraft and now my daily work deals with noise as well where headsets are fine and now with woodworking where I put it on and take it off frequently I feel I need good protection but convenient and manageable so I will use it for the 1 or 2 cuts.

Thanks,
 

iclark

Ivan
User
What does this mean? I'm pretty new to this but agree that the headsets don't work well with glasses and safety glasses. I have been looking for the small inserts with a band on them like the link above. Pretty sure I'll try the out next..
The NRR number is a measure of how well noise is blocked across the hearing spectrum. The number is logarithmic. The higher the number, the more noise is reduced before it gets to the hearing part of your ear. When I talked to the safety folks at work about a combo safety glasses with noise-reducing ear plugs (25 NRR), they told me that they did not consider anything lower than 27 for use in high noise environments at work.

That NRR of 30 linked above is probably the best that I have seen. It looks to be a passive noise attenuation system. So, the concerns raised above about possibly blocking too much of the noises that we need to hear in the shop (like your wife calling you to dinner) could be a consideration.

Active noise protection systems use a microphone to sense the noise environment and augment the passive noise reduction with active (out of phase) noise cancellation. Active systems can be tuned by the manufacturer to not interfere with some frequencies (like human voices) or couple to your phone or a music source. One should not assume that any given manufacturer does that without doing some research first, though.

I ordered a set of the ISOtunes IT-03 PRO Earbud Hearing Protectors from Lee Valley when they had a Special Buy on them a few weeks ago. I haven't had a chance to test them out yet.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
Corporate Member
I have had many. My favorite are branded Huscavarna I got at Home Despot. I can't stand in ear. I like traditional muffs.

There is a limit on how much sound any muff can stop. I think it is 32 dB. Past that, you get more through your skull than your ears. Just about all muffs block about the same, so fit and comfort. Of course convenience, so I have 3 pairs around the shop so I don't get lazy.

I play music through normal speakers. If using a power tool, I don't want to be distracted anyway.
 

Westpacx3

Jim
Corporate Member
The NRR number is a measure of how well noise is blocked across the hearing spectrum. The number is logarithmic. The higher the number, the more noise is reduced before it gets to the hearing part of your ear. When I talked to the safety folks at work about a combo safety glasses with noise-reducing ear plugs (25 NRR), they told me that they did not consider anything lower than 27 for use in high noise environments at work.

That NRR of 30 linked above is probably the best that I have seen. It looks to be a passive noise attenuation system. So, the concerns raised above about possibly blocking too much of the noises that we need to hear in the shop (like your wife calling you to dinner) could be a consideration.

Active noise protection systems use a microphone to sense the noise environment and augment the passive noise reduction with active (out of phase) noise cancellation. Active systems can be tuned by the manufacturer to not interfere with some frequencies (like human voices) or couple to your phone or a music source. One should not assume that any given manufacturer does that without doing some research first, though.

I ordered a set of the ISOtunes IT-03 PRO Earbud Hearing Protectors from Lee Valley when they had a Special Buy on them a few weeks ago. I haven't had a chance to test them out yet.
I also have an iso tune brand headset. I don't recall the model, It came from klingspor. They are Bluetooth, fit great and work well until I put on safety glasses and open up the leading edge of the ear foam. I only use the Bluetooth part while on the mower. However I figured to find something maybe not as good but good enough that not as bulky, and can hang on the neck when not used that blocks enough. There maybe no great option and right now it's a wishlist item. I always use them but at times pull the eye protection off so I get better noise protection which is not real smart.
 

woodlaker2

Ray
Corporate Member
+1 on Peltor and 3M over-the ear muff varieties. Knocks down more noise by at least partially covering your mastoid bone through which your ears receive sound. While I have used several music/radio ear muffs I have come to just using the "plain" non-musical muffs. Can hear enough to monitor machinery motors while also enjoying a level of "serenity" that adds to my enjoyment of woodworking as a whole.
 

Bill J

Bill
User
I have hearing aids and use the 3M over the ear. They work great. The hearing aids can connect to my phone to play music so no need for any music in the earmuffs.
 

LeftyTom

Tom
Corporate Member
How often do you replace over ear muffs? I have a pair of Pelitor N98 which are several years old.
 
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Gofor

Mark
Corporate Member
How often do you replace over ear muffs? I have a pair of Pelitor N98 which are several years old.
I replace mine when then the foam inside the cups starts disintegrating or gets heavily soiled. I have replaced the outer seals upon occasion as they tend to wear out or not seal more rapidly than the inner foam. Pelitor does have replacement outer seals.
 

TBone

Tommy
Senior User
3M Worktunes

I use these and also wear glasses. The foam is thick enough that the glasses don't change protection much. They are very comfortable. Very pleased. I tried a cheaper pair and they died after about a year. I usually listen to music when cutting grass, but not when in shop.
 

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