Often, we are exposed to unhealthy levels of noise in our day-to-day life and activities. The majority of this exposure to noise hazards happens without our awareness of how much damage they can cause. This is because most times, we are just breezing through from place to place. However, during specific tasks, we become more aware of damaging noise. One such specific task is woodworking. Generally speaking, exposure to unhealthy levels of noise can cause hearing damage which is permanent. It is even reported that occupational hearing loss is still the number one reported worker illness in manufacturing alone.
The danger noise poses and the permanence of its effect makes hearing protection more of a necessity than just a device. Hearing protection is currently the best way to protect your ears against the damaging effects of noise. For simplicity, it is a device that helps reduce the noise that can reach the inner ear and cause damage. Here, we would discuss the best hearing protection for woodworking.
Types of Hearing Protection for Woodworking
Although hearing protection helps with reducing noise during specific tasks, there isn’t any specific hearing protection for specific tasks. Hence, the types of hearing protection for woodworking are pretty much the general hearing protections that exist. However, we would still be going into these hearing protections briefly.
In terms of majorly clearing out damaging noise at low cost, earplugs appear to bring the best deal. Typically, earplugs are the cheapest kind of ear protection that can be gotten, and they are effective too. Also, they come in varieties, allowing for the luxury of choice regarding which can be used, depending on the situation. They are worn outside the ear canal to block the hazard noise from creeping in or causing damage. Their effectiveness primarily comes from how properly they are worn and how well into the ears they are fitted. They range from one use to reusable.
There is the foam earplug. These earplugs are the cheapest of the cheapest. In terms of price, they are at the base of the hierarchy. However, they are very effective too. Necessarily, they need to be tightly compressed to be used, so they can fit into the ear. Being made of foam, they are to be used just once. Because of their material, they can soak in some ear moisture which, if used again, can begin to cause ear irritation. Also, they are generally more likely to cause ear infection, particularly if your hands were dirty before putting them into your ears. Hence, they are not for reuse and should not be reused.
Th ere is the wax ball earplug too. These earplugs are like foam earplugs. Very effective and not so expensive, although they are more expensive than foam earplugs. They can be inserted without the need to compress like the foam earplugs. They also stay in the ear better than the foam earplugs. However, unless specifically stated, they should be used once too.
Then there is the reusable earplug. Although these are typically the most expensive kind of earplugs, they are a better economic choice in the long run. They are usually effective also and require less constant replacement. Some of them have additional features like cords for support.
This hearing protection is popular for its ease of usage and its variety of models as well. Also, its variations are much more than that of earplugs. They are more specific in terms of protection and comfort. They can be placed over the head like helmets, they can be adjusted, and earmuffs are typically reusable.
Where properly used and taken care of, an earmuff can be used for several weeks, if not months and a few years. This translates to cost efficiency. While they can cause ear irritation, chances are lesser than that of earplugs. They are usually more comfortable and mostly keep you in tune with the outside world.
Hearing protection can also be custom made, in which case this is self-explanatory. People can, based on the uniqueness of their ears or medical condition, request special hearing protection. This is consistent with people that have special medical needs and popular among some particular groups like musicians. You can also make one for yourself if you can shoulder the costs.
These are generally the kinds of hearing protection that exist. There might be some more, but it is most likely a variation of the ones listed.
Our Overall #1 Rated Pick
Regarding the best hearing protection for woodworking, our overall #1 pick is Noise Reduction Safety Ear Muffs. Its protection range and great features help your ears and hearing through damaging noise, particularly ones from woodworking. Here is the important information regarding the product.
- Over-the-head earmuff
- Protection range of 31 decibels
This earmuff is an over-the-head earmuff. This simply means that it is designed in a way as to rest over your head when using it, for extra support. Hence, the earmuff is fitted and removes the problem of your protection possibly falling off. Additionally, the earcups can be adjusted to your preference by tilting them. This helps you adjust your hearing preference, particularly if you would like to hear something or someone properly.
It is also comfortable and lightweight. The earmuff has been assembled already, so there is no need to find how to piece it together. You can use it once you get it.
Furthermore, the earmuff is dielectric. This is a special feature that ensures it does not serve as an electrical conductor. Essentially, when wearing this earmuff, if it comes in contact with electricity, you can rest assured your head is not getting fried. It can also protect you from noise as high as 36 decibels.
- Comfortable and lightweight
- Already assembled
- Protection is not beyond 31 decibels
The Best Hearing Protection for Woodworking
The top best product [hide]
This makes the earmuff well fitted. In addition to its fitness to the head, it is also lightweight and comfortable. Hence, the head is not under too much stress while acting as a support. Additionally, it is dielectric, meaning it is not an electrical conductor. Therefore, if during usage, the earmuff comes in contact with electricity, you are safe. Its NRR is 36 decibels.
Lightweight and comfortable
The earmuff is fashionable, having a good overall design. Hence, it can be taken to festivals and concerts and even hanged over the neck when not in use. It is also relatively durable. While the manufacturer specification puts its NRR at 34 decibels, this fact is uncertain. However, it gives decent protection to your ears. Overall, it makes for good woodworking ear protection.
Decent ear protection (manufacturer’s specification of 34 decibels)
Its NRR is put at 34 decibels. However, it is made primarily to be used in shooting ranges. Hence, they would be enjoyed more in such an area and there might be a shift in its effectiveness in other areas. The earmuff also comes in a variety of sizes. Hence, there are sizes that are fitting both for children and adults.
Fitted and comfortable
Good hear protection
NRR of 27 decibels
Protection range of 27 decibels
NRR of 23 decibels
Bluetooth wireless technology
NRR of 23 decibels
Fit, comfortable, and lightweight
Integrated LED lamp
Sound Reduction Rating (SNR) of 25 decibels
SNR of 25 decibels
Waterproof microphones and good sound quality
AUX cord port
Bluetooth wireless technology
NRR of 26 decibels
Noise filtration technology
Dynamic suppression time
Hearing Protection for Woodworking: Buyer’s Guide
Hearing protection generally aims at protecting your ears from hazardous noises; noises that can be damaging. While their utility is pretty much the same, the range of protection of each hearing protection does vary. Also, some hearing protection can have special features included. One such hearing protection are those that are Bluetooth enabled.
However, some hearing protections are great for woodworking. But it can be difficult knowing how to get them. This section is a buyer’s guide. It won’t lead you directly or teach you how to get the best hearing protection for woodworking, but it will serve a guide.
Typically, getting the best woodworking hearing protection is dependent on some factors. Some of these said factors include:
This is important. There are different categories and types of hearing protection for woodworking. Knowing them will help you to understand which is best for you. While these categories have been briefly discussed above, they include: earplugs; earmuffs; and custom made hearing protection.
Typically, each of them does have its pros and cons. For example, earplugs are usually the cheapest of the categories, with some exceptions. However, some of them are to be used once. Even the ones that allow for multiple usages cannot be reused many times. Also, they can shut out noise from the outside world which can be dangerous. Earmuffs are expensive, but not as expensive as the custom made hearing protection, with some exceptions. Earmuffs can be reused for a longer period and many have filtration technologies that keep you in tune with the outside world. On and on.
Hence, knowing the category of hearing protection can help with your decision in getting them. For example, if you do not usually woodwork and you are doing it just this once, you might want to get earplugs. However, if you would be doing it a lot of times, you might want to get earplugs. This is because earmuffs are economically better in the long run and usage of earplugs consistently brings the burden of how to dispose of it.
This has to do with how long you would be woodworking. This is also important as some hearing protections are better in the short term, but not in the long term. Therefore, knowing the consistency of your woodworking endeavor transforms into a guide as to which is best to get. Have in mind that the best hearing protection should also be viewed in terms of cost.
Deciding which hearing protection is best in terms of cost is also an important factor. Typically, this will partly be dependent on your budget and partly dependent on the type of hearing protection you want. As the types of hearing protection vary, so do their prices. It is also necessary to have in mind that manufacturers have prices of their own, particularly if the hearing protection has special features. However, if you want to get an earmuff, you might need to up your budget a little bit.
There are barely average price ranges for hearing protection. For example, while earplugs might appear to have a price average, the number of earplugs in each product are vastly different. As for earmuffs, while there appears to be an average price, their noise protection range can be vastly different. You can develop an average price list by checking different prospective hearing protection you might want to get.
Special considerations include special features of the hearing protection and special features as pertaining to you. In terms of special features, some have become popular. For example, if you would like to listen to songs while having your hearing protected, you can opt for Bluetooth hearing protection for woodworking. Perhaps you just want to listen to the news, then you can opt for an FM radio enabled hearing protection for woodworking. Most special features related to hearing protection – like the ones stated above – are found in earmuffs.
Special features pertaining to you, on the other hand, can be vast. For example, if you are someone using glasses, you would opt to get hearing protection for glass wearers. Also, if you are the kind that easily gets irritated or might have issues with most hearing protection, you might opt for a recommended hearing protection for woodworking. These are special features as pertaining to you. They are also important as they, to a large extent, determine whether the hearing protection can be usable. For example, even if you get the best hearing protection there is and it disturbs your glasses, it’s not usable. Then there is no point to it. On another hand, special features on an earmuff that lets you vibe to your songs can be extra morale for productivity. This is the importance of special considerations and why they should be taken rather seriously.
Some special considerations should be taken into account. One of such is the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of the prospective hearing protection.
These are some of the major factors that are to help you in determining which hearing protection is best for you. These factors are not representative of all the factors that exist. Rather, they serve as a guide. Through them, you can come across other factors that are of equal importance. Alternatively, these can be enough for you and lead you to very good hearing protection. Protection your ear is a necessity and we are trying to help you towards that goal.
Below are the best hearing protection devices for woodworking.
How to select and use hearing protection you can watch in this video:
Hearing Protection for Woodworking: FAQs
Are all hearing protection Bluetooth enabled?
What level of hearing protection do I need for woodworking?
What is an NRR?
Are all earmuffs adjustable?
Can all hearing protection be worn with glasses?
Noise Reduction Safety Ear Muffs
Our overall pick, the Noise Reduction Safety Ear Muffs, remains one of the best bet in terms of great hearing protection. It is comfortable and lightweight. It is also adjustable, dielectric, and fitted, with an NRR of 36 decibels. Its effective 36-decibel NRR makes it great enough for ear protection.
The threshold for noise pain is a burst of 140 decibels. This can cause permanent hearing damage. However, continuous exposure to lower decibels, say 70 decibels, can also cause permanent hearing damage. The key thing here is the permanence of hearing damage. Hence, it is important to have your hearing protected and this can be done through hearing protection.