Having the best safety ear muffs is a vital PPE (personal protection equipment) to have on you if you are always in an environment with lots of noise. People working especially in factories or construction industries will find it very useful. According to the CDC, prolonged exposure to repeated sound at or above 70 dB can lead to hearing loss. Exposure to noise above 120 dB can cause immediate hearing loss. In this article, we would be talking about all you need to know about earmuffs. We would discuss things like what are safety ear muffs, buying guides, and everything in-between. Without wasting any more time, let’s get right into it.
Types of safety ear muffs?
Earmuffs are not only used in achieving noise cancellation. Some earmuffs are useful in keeping us warm in a cold-weather condition. There are two basic kinds of earmuffs, namely:
Thermal ear muffs
Thermal earmuff is a type of earmuffs worn to protect the body against cold. In cold environments, an ergonomically well-fit earmuff will help keep the body warm. These safety ear muffs work in keeping your ears warm as it has either a pad of furs or cloths.
Acoustic ear muffs
The acoustic earmuffs are safety works ear muffs mainly aimed at noise cancellation. Ear defenders, or acoustic earmuffs, deadens sound with a cup-lined material. Acoustic earmuffs may be in the form of a headband or clipped on to the sides of a hard hat. Some manufacturers of earmuffs add audio devices to the earmuffs, making it easier for workers to communicate. There are two main types of acoustic earmuffs, namely:
- Passive ear muffs: This type of earmuff attenuates the sound that gets into the ear canal based on the material used in making the earmuff. Passive earmuffs are made out of materials like hard plastic cups coated with foam. This device will block sound because of its dampening and thick properties, thereby decreasing the level of noise.
- Active ear muffs: Active earmuffs come with an electronic component like microphones and earphones. An active earmuff blocks out sound from the outside, but with the microphones and earphones, workers can still hear the sound of the surrounding. The main difference is that the sound is lower.
Our Overall #1 Rated Pick
Peltor Sport Ultimate Hearing Protector is one of the best safety ear muffs in the industry suitable for woodworking, construction, automotive, and even mining. Made with wire headband, which makes it comfortable to wear for a prolonged period. Peltor Sport Ultimate Hearing Protector belongs to the X Series of earmuffs, which has electrical insulation properties referred to as dielectric.
The metal components in the X Series of earmuffs are coated with non-conductive materials. In other words, the X5A can protect wearers from electric hazards less than 440 V A.C. Also, the X5A belongs to the NRR31 dB CSA Class AL, which is a very high attenuation, making it suitable for high noise exposure application. The ABS plastic cups are durable. Peltor Sport Ultimate Hearing Protector comes with replaceable cushions, which helps keep them clean at all times.
- Ergonomic design
- NRR 30 dB
- Wire headband offers comfort
- Tilting cup for comfort
- Electrically insulated (dielectric)
- Comfortable to wear
- Capable of protecting against an electric hazard
- Durable earmuff
- Comes with replaceable cushions or HYX5 Hygiene Kit
- May not be suitable for everyone
- Weighing about 12 ounces which is a bit heavier than most earmuff in its class
Safety Ear Muffs – Buying guide
Before you purchase one safety ear muffs you like, here are some few things you need to understand:
Safety ear muffs are all about weight. When the weight is right, the earmuffs will be more comfortable to wear. No one wants to carry an extra load while working. So, when choosing what safety works, earmuffs will best work for you, always target lightweight. As much as you might want to get the lightest earmuff you can lay your hands on, do not compromise on quality. There are so many lightweight earmuffs on the market you can get, and we would review some of the best later in this article.
Another interesting information about the weight of an earmuff you choose to get is that when it is light, you would be able to wear it for a more extended time. Working who find themselves working in a noisy environment will especially find lightweight earmuffs more appealing. Bluetooth safety ear muffs are mainly the best for workers who spend most of the day with an earmuff on, enabling them to at least have some entertainment or communication while they work. In summary, when you step into a tools store to get an earmuff, the first thing you ought to check is the weight. If you must, try it on, just to have a feel of it on your head.
Ease of cleaning
Another essential critical guide that will help you get the best value out of an earmuff you purchase is how easy it is to clean. Because most times, people who use earmuffs are workers, sweating is part of the job. So, safety ear muffs that are difficult to clean are not necessarily the best hygiene-wise earmuffs you can get. Some earmuffs come with a replacement kit, giving you the freedom to change it when it’s dirty. For others, you may have to disassemble the earmuffs for cleaning. Whatever the case may be, it should be relatively easy or at least possible, giving you more value for your money.
In a situation where you are getting an earmuff that uses electronic devices with little or no water resistance capacity, then you should be able to replace the cushions in the cup. If you notice the earmuffs you have eyes on are hard to clean, consider getting another one. Picture it this way; if the earmuff is hard to clean, then it would eventually get so dirty from accumulated sweat mixed with all sorts of particles. And at a point, it would be so dirty it wouldn’t be hygienic for you to use, which means you’d have to dispose of it.
Just like the weight of the earmuff is essential, the nature of the material used in making the band is also essential. If the band material is too stiff with little elasticity, it will clip too tight to the ear. In other words, prolonged wearing of such ear muffs will cause your ear to hurt. Similarly, if the nature of the band material is too weak, you would find it somewhat challenging to work with the earmuff as it would keep falling off. Since most manufacturers do not indicate any unit of measurement for this vital information, it makes it hard to determine what band material will feel most comfortable for you.
One of the best ways of getting the right band material that will feel comfortable on you is to test the earmuffs before purchasing it. Although earmuffs might not be the most expensive PPE, examining it before making a purchase will save you a lot of hassle later on. When you wear the earmuffs, keep it on for a few minutes so you can accurately assess if it would hurt when you wear it for hours.
Last but not least, what you also need to check out is the cup. The cup size, type of material used in making the cup, and design of the cup are all important. The cup of an earmuff is the most critical piece as it is where the real action is happening. The cup needs to have a solid material build and fits ergonomically on your ear.
The Best Safety Ear muffs
The top best product [hide]
Comfortable to wear
Capable of protecting against an electric hazard
Comes with replaceable cushions or HYX5 Hygiene Kit
Weighing about 12 ounces which is a bit heavier than most earmuff in its class
Pivoting point earcups
Low-pressure fit earmuff
Made with plastic material
Ideal earmuff for heavy duty
Affordable bad lightweight
Hygiene kit for replacement of cushion and foam liners for extended life
Feels bulky on the head
Furthermore, the soft padded foam cushion on the ear cups provide comfort for long-wearing. The snap-in design of the T3 earmuff makes it easy and quick to replace the earcups cushion. This tough Honeywell T3 earmuff comes with an NRR of 30 dB, making it suitable for even the toughest job sites.
Made with high quality materials
Industrial grade earmuff
Not so cheap
The earcups pivot can tilt, coupled with the wire headbands helps provide consistent pressure for prolonged wearing. You can also easily and quickly replace the earcups cushions of Mpow Noise Reduction Safety Ear Muffs. It can also protect against electric hazard less than 440 V A.C.
Perfect earmuff for prolonged wearing
Can protect against electric hazard
Made with high-quality material like a two-layer soundproofing foam and solid earcup approximately 0.64 inches thick. This certified ANSI S3.19 CE EN 352-1 earmuff comes with the NRR sound technology (SoundBlocker shell, Acoustic foam, and SoundRing).
Built with high quality materials
Durale headband made with wire and leather
Industrial grade earmuff
Foldable for a more compact storage
High quality earmuff with an NRR of 34 dB
Feels a bit heavy to wear
This earmuff comes with Bluetooth version 4.3 and a microphone for communication. Thanks to it's Bluetooth compatibility, you can listen to your favorite music without the restriction of cords and also make phone calls while your phone is still in your pocket. The Protear Ear Defense is a CE SNR 30 dB certified earmuff.
SNR 30 dB certified earmuff
Large 12000 mAh rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery
Feels a bit heavy on the head
Noise canceling earmuff with an NRR of 22 dB
Uses two AAA alkaline battery that can last for hours
Not very affordable
Safety Ear Muffs FAQ
Which is better: earplugs or earmuffs?
What is the highest dB for earplugs?
How much noise do earmuffs block?
Is there an alternative to earplugs?
Why is 194 dB the loudest sound possible?
Are silicone or foam earplugs better?
3M Peltor X5A
If you're in a hurry, feel free to choose our pick of the 3M Peltor X5A. It is affordable and built with high-quality materials. We also love the X5A because of its very high attenuation, which makes it suitable for high noise exposure. Its lightweight nature, earcups cushion, earcups pivot points, and wire headband offers excellent comfortable pressure.
The X5A also comes in a combination of new technologies that allow for more room inside the ear cup, providing a snug fit over a wide range of ear sizes. Furthermore, the Peltor X5A has an NRR of 31 dB.
In conclusion, the best safety ear muffs are an essential person protection equipment needed for ear protection. There are many earmuffs in the market. So, this article points you in the right perspective of what to search. We put into consideration all we listed in the buying guide section, plus quality and price, to bring you this list of best earmuffs. If you feel you want something extra, then that’s what our buying guide is for, to guide you to make the right decision. Feel free to leave a comment below; we’d love to hear your thoughts.