Home Hearing Protection The Best Hearing Protection for Construction (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021

The Best Hearing Protection for Construction (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021

by demo0048

The use of personal protective equipment is an essential part of a construction worker’s daily routine. However, most workers pay more attention to the eyes and head, with only a few paying attention to their ears.

It has left countless construction workers suffering from hearing defects. The human’s ear limits the loudness of a sound that it can listen to without suffering damage, temporary or permanent. The constant, high-pitched noise common to construction sites exposes the ears to a very high risk of harm.

The loudest sound level safe for the ears is about 85 decibels (dB), and you can only be exposed for only eight hours a day. Also, the time limit of safe exposure drastically reduces as the loudness increases.

Hearing protection is essential in the construction industry, so we have reviewed the best construction earmuffs, earplugs, headphones, and other hearing protection types capable of blocking harmful noises from damaging the ear. We’ll take an in-depth look at their pros and cons, making it easier for you to decide which best suits you.

Capable of protecting the ear from a noise level of 98 decibels, the Peltor Optime 98 Over-the-Head Earmuffs are very suitable for you if you work in an environment with an extremely high level of noise.

I like its stainless-steel body because it provides strength and durability, yet it’s lightweight, ensuring comfort for the wearer. I also appreciate that this comfort is enhanced further by its liquid/foam cushions and the tilted pivot points on the ear cups.

A product of 3M, the Peltor Optime 98 Over-the-Head Earmuffs is ideal for offering protection in various applications, including heavy equipment operations, drilling, sanding, chiseling, sawing, and welding. One prominent feature I noticed about these earmuffs is their versatility. You can find them useful in the construction, automobile, pharmaceutical, agricultural, and general manufacturing industries.

These earmuffs also fit all shapes and sizes of heads perfectly while offering enough space for the ears. However, one downside to this earmuff is that it’s not breathable, meaning that the wearer sweats a bit after several hours of use. If you need one of the best hearing protection gears explicitly designed to muffle the loud noises produced on construction sites, then the 3M Peltor Optime 98 Over-the-Head Earmuffs are your best bet.

Decibel Defense Professional Safety Earmuff

The Decibel Defense Professional Safety Earmuff is another piece that will appear on my list because it offers reliable hearing protection from hazardous noise levels.

Although Decibel Defense manufactured it primarily for shooting and industrial purposes, it is versatile enough to find uses in other industries like construction.

Built with a sturdy look, I like that the Decibel Defense has the added advantage of being compact and foldable, allowing it to fit perfectly inside tool cases or gun bags, making it convenient for work or recreational purposes.

Its sturdy and compact design also makes it easy to bring to workplaces with even the harshest environments. Furthermore, the headband’s padded and smooth cell design provides the wearer with extreme comfort. It ensures that it is worn for a more extended period with no form of discomfort.

Offering a noise rating of 37 decibels, Decibel Defense Professional Safety Earmuffs can quickly reduce noises as high as 120 decibels to below the 85-decibel threshold, which is enough to protect the ears.

I find it impressive because the Decibel Defense’s versatility extends to it being usable by kids. Therefore, if you take your kid to work for any reason, you can safely protect their hearing with it. This piece boasts good durability because of its quality materials and stitching.

However, this pair of earmuffs can be challenging to use when you wear glasses, which is a significant disadvantage.

Ultimately, the Decibel Defense Professional Safety Earmuff provides a decent hearing protection experience for both adults and kids alike due to its impressive noise reduction rating and comfortable design.

3M Peltor Optime 105 Over-the-Head Earmuff

The Decibel Defense Professional Safety Earmuff is another piece that will appear on my list because it offers reliable hearing protection from hazardous noise levels.

Although Decibel Defense manufactured it primarily for shooting and industrial purposes, it is versatile enough to find uses in other industries like construction.

Built with a sturdy look, I like that the Decibel Defense has the added advantage of being compact and foldable, allowing it to fit perfectly inside tool cases or gun bags, making it convenient for work or recreational purposes.

I like that the earmuff is designed like a gaming headset. It features a headband made of stainless steel to distribute weight efficiently and provides a low-pressure, snug fit across the head. Like its Peltor Optime 98 counterpart, I can assure you that this earmuff also withstands bending and warping.

Moreover, the ear cups are filled with liquid and soft foam and have pivot points that tilt for better comfort. Besides all these, the Peltor Optime 105 also features a double shell, making it more effective in hearing protection.

Its noise-reducing capability is adjustable to suit the environment. The design is lightweight and durable enough to provide high-quality hearing protection
in construction sites, industrial areas, shooting, lawn mowing, or any other activity with high noise levels.

Notwithstanding, I find the 3M Peltor Optime 105 Over-the-Head Earmuff a little bulky.

In conclusion, the 3M Peltor Optime 105 Over-the-Head Earmuff is an excellent hit in the construction field for people that don’t mind its slight bulkiness because of its outstanding noise-canceling performance.

ClearArmor 141001 Hearing Protection Safety Earmuffs

Next on my list is the ClearArmor 141001 Hearing Protection Safety Earmuffs designed for Maximum Comfort while still protecting the ears from harmful noise levels. With its SnugFit design, ClearArmor 141001 is one pair of earmuffs that you can use for hours, as it is also breathable.

Its sturdy build adds extra appeal to it. 

I find it impressive that it can effectively cancel any external noise, thanks to its tight fit with the ears, essentially forming a soundproof seal.

Besides these, it is adjustable to fit different sizes and shapes of heads to ensure comfort and protection. It is also foldable, meaning that you have no problem fitting it in your tool bag.

I am partial to the ClearArmor 141001 Hearing Protection Safety Earmuffs headband because it is padded, which further enhances the comfort and makes it easier to clean after use. Users can be assured of its sturdiness and durability due to its industrial-grade fabrication and assembly, which uses screws instead of glue.

Also, its ear cups are incredibly soft, yet they grip the ears well enough to make sure they stay on, even when you bend, and it’s also lightweight. I appreciate that these earmuffs are versatile for different purposes, including in construction sites, when operating industrial machines, during shooting, or any other activity with harmful noise levels.

However, I find the ClearArmor 141001 Hearing Protection Safety Earmuffs quite bulky.

Since the ClearArmor 141001 Hearing Protection Safety Earmuffs’ bulkiness does not cause any discomfort to the user, it is still a worthwhile investment to make for a construction hearing protection gear.

Vebe QB2HYG Hearing Bands

The Vebe QB2HYG Hearing Bands is a set of budget-friendly and ergonomic earbuds that are lightweight and fit perfectly into the ear canal. I can call this one of the most comfortable hearing protection available in the market today because they have soft pads on the earplugs that make them sit comfortably in the ears. I can affirm that with a noise reduction rating of 25 decibels, they offer excellent noise protection.

The ergonomic design of the QB2HYG Hearing Bands allows it to be usable by people of different head sizes and shapes. Additionally, its bright orange color makes it visible, irrespective of the environment.

I like that its aural design keeps the Vebe QB2HYG Hearing Bands hygienic, as the earbuds do not touch any contaminated surfaces. This hearing protection banded feature means that you can remove it and hang it around your neck when not in use and easily plug them in when needed.

However, the Vebe QB2HYG Hearing Bands have rough edges, a flaw that produces audible scratching noise when in contact with any object.

Overall, the Vebe QB2HYG Hearing Bands scores high when it comes to pricing, usability, durability, safety, efficient hearing protection, and design, making it a must-have for anyone interested in hearing protection for construction.

3M 90716-80025T Corded Reusable Earplug

The first feature of the 3M 90716-80025T Corded Reusable Earplugs made me give it some good points. They are washable, making them great for long-term use. The earplugs have a Tri-Flange design which enhances their snug fit and helps in providing effective noise reduction.

Furthermore, the cord attached to the two earplugs ensures you are less likely to lose them as you can always allow them to dangle around your neck.

I am impressed that the 3M 90716-80025T Corded Reusable Earplugs’ simplistic design makes it easy to combine with other safety gadgets like goggles and helmets.

Although the earplugs can be washed and reused, I find the process involved draining.

To sum it up, the 3M 90716-80025T Corded Reusable Earplug is cost-effective and an excellent option for construction work because of its effective noise reduction capabilities.

3M Peltor X-Series Over-the-Head Earmuff

The 3M Peltor X-series Over-the-Head Safety Earmuff is designed to provide a high comfort level in any work environment. I noticed that they come with comfortable ear cushions that can be removed and washed periodically, and replaced entirely with new ones.

I also like that these cushions are breathable, preventing the user from sweating from prolonged usage. 

Boasting a noise reduction rating of 28 decibels, 3M Peltor X-series Over-the-Head Safety Earmuffs easily block all harmful noises during construction work.

Additionally, it is versatile enough to be used during woodwork, shooting, operating heavy machines, and other outdoor activities. I discovered that because their earcups can be tilted to allow for easy adjustment, these pair of earmuffs fit perfectly on any ear, irrespective of the head size.

However, I do not particularly like that the 3M Peltor X-Series Over-the-Head Earmuff is bulky.

If you can overlook its bulky structure, the 3M Peltor X-Series Over-the-Head Earmuff has some of the best features that guarantee users of ultimate hearing protection and comfort while at the construction site.

3M WorkTunes Connect Hearing Protector

The 3M WorkTunes connect Hearing Protector is another product from the 3M brand that I love. It offers a fun and exciting way to protect your ears from harmful levels of noise by allowing you to listen to your favorite radio station.

This model was designed to be comfortable. Thanks to its cup cushions made to be breathable, ensuring that you stay sweat-free and they fit snugly.

With a noise cancelation rating of 24 decibels, 3M WorkTunes connect Hearing Protector does not fail in its primary purpose, which is to protect the ears from the noise.

Also, it is equipped with Bluetooth technology, allowing you to connect with your smartphones, tabs or iPods, and listen to your favorite playlist.

It has a safe volume feature that allows you to adjust the volume by granting you complete control of the volume to listen at a level healthy to your ears. You can also preset the radio to your favorite channels and switch them at your convenience. Furthermore, the radio can receive both AM and FM signals, and the speakers have an incredible bass boost.

Despite the above, I find it annoying that it experiences delays before broadcasting the station when you tune in to a radio frequency.

Once again, 3M have outdone themselves with their WorkTunes Connect Hearing Protector as it combines the best of hearing protection and entertainment.

Honeywell Howard Leight Laser Lite Earplugs

Honeywell Howard Leight Laser Lite Corded Hi-Visibility Earplugs is a pair of disposable earplugs built to give the wearer maximum comfort besides noise reduction.

Constructed with closed-cell foam, soil-resistant skin, these earplugs have a T- shape that makes them fit perfectly in any ear size, ensuring excellent noise protection.

They boast of a noise cancelation rating of 32 decibels. Honeywell Howard Leight Laser Lite Corded Hi-Visibility Earplugs have bright yellow and magenta colors, making the wearers visible even from afar. The earplugs are connected by a cord, reducing the chances of misplacing them. They are also useful in other industries like manufacturing, mining, and other outdoor activities.

However, these earplugs are disposable and cannot be used more than once.

In summary, the Honeywell Howard Leight Laser Lite Earplugs are the ultimate hearing protection earplugs for construction with their perfect blend of comfort, noise reduction, and convenience.

3M Peltor H6A\V Optime 95 Earmuff

Finally, on my list is the Peltor H6A\V Optime 95 Noise Reduction Earmuffs, another product from the 3M brand. It stood out for me because it boasted a noise cancelation rating of 21 decibels.

This budget-friendly hearing protection features a stainless-steel headband, making it pretty durable. 3M H6A/V Peltor H6A\V Optime 95 noise reduction earmuffs feature soft ear cups and well-padded earmuffs, ensuring comfort for the wearer. 

Yet, it effectively blocks out up to 95 decibels of sound.

I also like that these earmuffs can be used by kids and adults and have a slim design that allows usage in tight spaces.

Nonetheless, I wouldn’t say I like that these earmuffs are not entirely foldable.

In conclusion, the 3M Peltor H6A\V Optime 95 Earmuff guarantees ultimate protection for users, especially on construction sites.

What Are Hearing Protection for Construction Workers?

Hearing protection for construction workers are devices used by construction workers to protect their ears from the harmful noise of construction tools and equipment like drills, power tools, and even cranes that emit noise levels as high as 100 decibels.

Construction workers use various equipment that produces high-intensity noise, damaging to the ears. Some people think that all that is required is a pair of regular headphones, and they just increase the volume of their music to drown out the loud noises in the background. This, however, does more harm than good, as high levels of sound will damage the ears, irrespective of where the source.

Instead of these regular headphones, go for noise-canceling headphones because they block out all noises from the background, allowing you to play your music choice at a healthy and comfortable volume. And if you prefer absolute silence, go for good earplugs.

How They Work

Hearing protection for construction workers can be classified into passive or suppression devices and noise-canceling devices.

Passive devices, which can be headphones or earplugs, basically block all noises entering the ears. The aim is to prevent either some or all noise from entering the ears and causing damage.

Headphones achieve this by covering the whole ears, while earplugs focus on just the ear holes. The disadvantage of these types of headphones is that they block all the noise and block the sound of conversations, meaning that you cannot hear people talking to you.

Noise-canceling headphones, however, produce the inverse sound waves of the noise, essentially canceling them out. These noise-canceling headphones can analyze the incoming sound and counter sounds of high frequency while allowing low-frequency sounds. This ensures that you can listen to a conversation with your colleague while using the headphones.

 

Types

There are different types of hearing protection for construction work to choose from for various worksites. They all have their strengths and weaknesses, and it is up to you to decide which one will best suit your use.

Earplugs-The earplug shapes allow them to be inserted into the ear canal but not deep enough to cause damage. Earplugs are made with dense yet soft foam materials. You wear them by pinching the foam until it is small enough to pass through the ear canal. Once inside, they expand and completely seal off the ear opening to prevent outside sounds from entering the ears.

However, most earplugs, especially if made with foam, are usually disposable and discarded after one use.

Earmuffs- These hearing protection devices go over the ears, unlike earplugs. They look like regular headphones but without the audio drivers and speakers. In place of these components, earmuffs have paddings and ear cups that create a seal over the ears to prevent sounds from getting in.

Noise-canceling earphones or headphones- These are hearing safety gear that has an electronic sound reproduction system. When the microphone picks up the background sound on the ear cups, it passes through to the speaker in the muff cup to a processor that analyzes the sound and creates an equal but inverse soundwave to cancel it out.

This mechanism is different from earmuffs that only absorb and block the sounds. Unlike earmuffs, noise-canceling headphones cancel out the background noise to maintain relative silence.

Earmuffs with built-in communication radio- Some hearing protection offers an in-built two-way communication system that allows the user to listen and speak to other workers wearing the same gadget or on other radios on the same frequency.

Why Construction Workers Need Hearing Protection

A construction site is full of loud equipment. Most of this equipment produces sounds that reach levels that are harmful to the human ear, to the point of causing permanent hearing damage. The upper threshold of sound safe for the human ear is 85 decibels, a value exceeded by a lot of equipment in a construction site.
Here is an analysis of the noise levels of some construction equipment.
85 decibels: welding machine, air compressor
94 decibels: All kinds of power tools
95 decibels: a jigsaw, a belt sander
96 decibels: impact drill used on concrete, a rip saw
97 decibels: an angle grinder
99 decibels: a bench grinder, a circular saw
102 decibels: a crane in operation

If you are constantly exposed to any of these, you need to use high-quality and well-made hearing protection. As a construction worker, it is essential always to use hearing protection while operating any tool that emits high noise levels.

To decipher if your choice of hearing protection is good enough, Subtract its noise reduction rating from the total noise emitted by the equipment. For example, suppose you are to operate a circular saw (rated 99 decibels) and use headphones rated for 40 decibels.

In that case, the result is that the amount of noise that reaches your ears is reduced to only 59 decibels, which is a healthy noise level.

However, it is still necessary to take a break every hour, despite a reduced noise level, because continuous exposure is harmful to your hearing and may lead to irreversible damage.

 

Buying Guide

Suppose you are thinking of getting yourself hearing protection for construction work. In that case, it should be clear to you by now that there are a variety of options available in the market. And from the few gadgets reviewed above, it is evident that each comes with its advantages and disadvantages. To help you decide properly, here are some factors to consider before you shop for a pair of hearing protection.

Type- There are various types of hearing protection for construction work, ranging from noise-canceling earmuffs to acoustic earmuffs, earplugs, and radio headphones. Your choice should be the one that you think will be most convenient for you.
Comfort- While hearing protection for construction work is to protect the ears from extreme noise, it is also essential that the device is comfortable to wear, mainly when used for most of the day. It has to be tight enough to seal the ears from noise, yet not too tight that you get a headache after wearing it for a while.
The Noise Reduction Rating- This is one of the essential qualities of hearing protection. It plays a vital role in the choice you make. The noise reduction rating (NRR) is always written on the packaging of these gadgets so that the buyer knows their choice capability.
Quality- It is important to consider the quality of the material used to fabricate hearing protection and its durability before buying it. You should also check if it has a warranty and the duration of it.
Price- Most of the best quality hearing protection is expensive. However, there various hearing protection at different prices, which means you can always find hearing protection that suits you and yet won’t take a sizeable chunk of your budget. You should first compare prices from different sellers before you make your choice.

Care and Maintenance
It is essential to take good care of your hearing protection if you want them to last for as long as possible. So here are a few pointers to help you take care of your hearing protection.
Disposable earplugs- These should never be used more than once, except in extreme circumstances, and even then, you shouldn’t use them more than three times. Washing is not advisable for these gadgets as this might disintegrate the material used to fabricate them.
Reusable earplugs- Use only mild detergents to wash reusable earplugs. Use a soft brush, and make sure you wash them after each daily use and air-dry them overnight.
Earmuffs- Clean them with a towel dampened with water and rubbing alcohol.
Noise-canceling headphones- You can use the same method used for earmuffs, but you have to be careful not to let water get into the cups, as it may affect the electronic components.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best hearing protection for construction work?
It can be hard to determine the best hearing protection for construction work because they all have limitations and uses. However, the best hearing protection for you would be the one whose functionality meets all your needs.

What is the suitable noise reduction rating of hearing protection for a construction worker?
The hearing protection for a construction worker should have a minimum noise reduction rating of 25 decibels. This will comfortably reduce the noise produced by equipment in the construction site to a level that is below the 85-decibel threshold.

Where to buy it?
You can buy hearing protection wherever construction supplies and safety gears are sold. However, your options might be limited because brick-and-mortar stores do not have enough space to stock all the different types, brands, and models of hearing protection.

However, the advantage of buying from physical stores is that you can try out the products before paying for them. Also, your purchase and delivery are instant.

Alternatively, you can shop online for your preferred hearing protection device. Online stores have a more extensive catalog, and you can find some of your favorite brands and models there. The best part is that you can compare several brands and models until you find one that is a good bargain.

There are also reviews from other users who have purchased the product. However, the disadvantage is that it may take several weeks before you get your purchase.

Conclusion

Many construction workers do not protect themselves from the hazardous noises common to their work environment. They protect their heads, hands, feet, eyes, and every other delicate part of their body except their ears. Operate heavy machinery throughout the day. You must protect your ears with the best hearing protection so that your work becomes more bearable.

There are various kinds of hearing protection for construction workers, each with its advantages. Take out time to assess your specific needs and get hearing protection that meets those needs. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that your ears will be much better off for it.

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