Scientific evidence has shown that frequent exposure to loud noises produced by woodworking tools can be dangerous to one’s hearing. For this reason, most audiologists will recommend people involved in industries with loud sounds use the best hearing protection for woodworking.
We have put together ten of the best-rated hearing protection for woodworking, from simple earplugs to more expensive Bluetooth headphones.
The Neiko 53925A Safety Earmuff is a dependable hearing safety device for woodworking because it is inexpensive and convenient to protect your ears from harmful sound levels. In addition to this, the earmuff can also protect you from loud noises produced around your home.
Also, it helps that it has an impressive noise reduction rating of 26 decibels. One of the most prominent qualities of the Neiko 53925A Safety Earmuff is the headband’s flexibility.
The headband also adjusts to give you a comfortable and perfect fit.
The ear cups are also soft enough to cradle your ears firmly to block out loud sounds without being too tight or uncomfortable. I should mention that it is easy to slide the ear cups up and down for a comfortable and universal fit, irrespective of your head’s size and shape.
Furthermore, the earmuff is made with lightweight materials that make wearing it for long periods comfortable. An outward bend on the headband allows you to wear the earmuff together with safety goggles and glasses, hard hats, ball caps, or any other type of form-fitting head covering.
Additionally, I like that the earmuffs are flexible enough for hearing protection in several scenarios, including shooting, grinding, mowing, and drilling.
However, an adult with an average or larger head may find it a tight fit, especially during its first use.
Ultimately, the benefits of using the Neiko 53925A Safety Earmuff far outweigh its one flaw, which makes it deserving of a position on this list.
Mpow 035 Noise Reduction Earmuff
Investing in the Mpow 035 Noise Reduction Earmuff for hearing protection in the woodworking industry will not be a bad idea. This is because there are various benefits to be enjoyed from the product. It can be trusted to muffle noises from guns, engines, loud machines, chainsaws, fireworks, drums, mowers, crowded areas, and loud talkers.
All of these noise-canceling benefits are due to its noise reduction rating of 28 decibels. I also noticed that the earmuff is made with dual-layered noise-dampening foam, a high sealing solid cup, and a unique double-shell. All of these great features provide maximum hearing protection to users.
I also appreciate that you can use it for a wide range of applications, including construction and woodworking. Additionally, the Mpow 035 Noise Reduction Earmuff is compact and portable, making it easy to store and carry around.
I also like that its overall foldable and lightweight design, alongside the included travel drawstring bag, enhances security, storage, and easy transportation. The ear cups can also be collapsed into the headband when not in use.
It is important to note that the headband is made from retractable stainless steel, allowing you to adjust the earmuff for a good fit.
Nonetheless, the earmuffs can be too tight at first, but it loosens up and becomes more comfortable once you have broken it in.
Overall, once you break in the earmuff, the Mpow 035 Noise Reduction Earmuff has many advantages to provide, including hearing protection, comfort, and portability.
3M 1100 Foam Earplug
Still, on the topic of the best hearing protection for woodworking, let me introduce the 3M 1100 Foam Earplug to you. It is a cost-effective investment to make as each box comes with 200 pairs of earplugs.
I also appreciate that the soft polyurethane foam material used in its construction ensures maximum comfort for users.
Furthermore, the used material is hypoallergenic, which increases the safety that each user benefits from using the earplugs.
Additionally, the uncorded foam earplug has a tapered design that promotes a natural and comfortable fit in your ears. Although it is only available in one size, users can be assured of comfort and a perfect fit. This is because the earplugs tend to conform to your every person’s unique ear shape and size. It also helps that the earplugs are easy and quick to insert into the ears.
I believe that the ease with which the earplugs roll down also contributes to its rapid and easy fitting. I also like how its smooth surface is dirt-resistant, promoting proper hygiene in the process.
However, one should remember that the earplugs are disposable and cannot be used more than once in most cases.
Notwithstanding, 200 pairs of earplugs per box still make the 3M 1100 Foam Earplug a worthy investment for hearing protection in the woodworking industry.
3M Peltor X-Series CapMount Earmuff
The 3M Peltor X-Series CapMount Earmuff features next on my list because it offers an excellent 25-decibel noise reduction rating. A rating of 25db is more than sufficient to ensure your ears remain protected from moderate to loud damaging sounds.
I am also pleased that the earmuff was built to be compatible with various industrial safety hard hats. Also, the stainless steel headband enhances the strength and durability of this hearing safety device. The design helps to resists and prevents warping and bending.
The ear cups’ low-profile design also improves their compatibility with other personal protective equipment (PPE). Also noteworthy is that the ear cups can be tilted, which provides a comfortable pressure and adjustable fit for prolonged wearing.
The ear cups can adjust to three comfortable positions, namely usage, standby, and storage. Also, it uses advanced ear cushions, modernly designed spacers, and distinctively formulated and replaceable foam liners to improve attenuation, comfort, and hygiene.
Although I quite dislike the bulky nature of this earmuff, you can rest assured that it will not be too bothersome once your ears get used to it.
Despite its bulkiness, the 3M Peltor X-Series CapMount Earmuff remains one of my recommendations. This is because of its efficiency and promise to deliver maximum hearing protection to your ears.
Disposable Honeywell Howard Leight MAX Corded Foam Earplug
If you are looking for disposable hearing protection while woodworking, then the Honeywell Howard Leight MAX Corded Foam Earplug might be the answer. I am positively delighted with its noise reduction rating of 33 decibels, arguably one of the highest from any of the disposable earplugs currently on the market.
I also like how the soft PE foam material used in making the earplugs provides high comfort levels when worn for long periods. The earplug also has a corded design that enhances comfort because it rests comfortably on your neck.
The earmuffs are also versatile for various industries, including construction, military, mining, metal, and law enforcement.
Additionally, the earplug’s bell shape allows it to effortlessly fit into your ear canals to provide the ultimate hearing protection from loud and dangerous noises. It is also made from smooth, soft, closed-cell foam skin resistant to soiling and prevents dirt accumulation.
Although there is one disadvantage: the earplugs can be stiff at first, but, fortunately, this goes away once it is broken in.
Overall, you would immensely enjoy investing in the Honeywell Howard Leight MAX Corded Foam Earplug because of its high-quality noise reduction level.
- Flexible for use in various industries apart from woodworking and construction
- Closed-cell foam skin is resistant to soiling and prevents the build-up of dirt
- Bell shape allows it to fit perfectly in the ear canal
- Incredible noise reduction rating ensures maximum hearing protection
The 3M WorkTunes Connect + AM/FM Hearing Protector
3M WorkTunes Connect & AM/FM Hearing Protector is an excellent option for those who love entertainment while at work. Thanks to the noise reduction level of 24-decibels which provides the ultimate hearing protection.
I particularly like the WorkTunes feature that has a vented design to give users extreme comfort. The design also helps to release heat and has enough space for additional padding if required. I also like that the AM/FM radio added can host up to 50 radio stations, providing some of the best of entertainment while working.
Additionally, the earmuff has an audio assist technology that I find useful for adjusting settings because I don’t have to remove it to do that. Ultimately, users do not have to worry about safety because the earmuff is designed to adjust the radio sound levels automatically when the environment gets too loud. It also uses Bluetooth technology to stream from your preferred Bluetooth-enabled device, including your smartphone.
Nevertheless, I find the 3M WorkTunes Connect + AM/FM Hearing Protector expensive, especially when compared to others in the market.
Even though the 3M WorkTunes Connect + AM/FM Hearing Protector is somewhat expensive, all the excellent features on the earmuff make it worth the price.
Honeywell Howard Leight Quiet Band Earplug
Finally, the Honeywell Howard Leight Quiet Band Earplug appears on my list because it provides hearing protection for a wide range of uses, including woodworking, shooting, and hunting. Its noise reduction rating of 25 decibels ensures your ears remain protected from harmful noises.
I also like how the earplug’s structure is lightweight and portable, making it hassle-free to carry around. It’s versatile enough for use in any environment with noise hazards.
If you are constantly exposed to hazardous sounds, you might benefit from its use.
Furthermore, its ergonomic, soft, and smoothly designed foam pads offer a perfect balance of comfort and safety. The headband is also designed to comfortably rest on your neck, promoting convenience and preventing dirt accumulation.
I can assure you that you would love how convenient, easy, and fast it is to fit and remove this earplug from your ear. However, I observed that the headband has a few sharp edges. Not to worry, as they eventually smoothen out with regular use.
Despite its minor flaw, the Honeywell Howard Leight Quiet Band Earplug is still an excellent choice for anyone looking for affordable, comfortable, and adequate hearing protection for woodworking.
3M Peltor X-Series Over-the-Head Earmuff
The 3M Peltor X-Series Over-the-Head Earmuff is one of the best choices for quality hearing protection for woodworking because it has a noise reduction rating of 31 decibels.
It muffles out moderate to loud noises in industrial environments like construction and woodworking. Aside from this, the earmuff is also versatile enough for use in other areas where hearing protection is needed.
I am delighted about the comfortable twin headband because it lessens heat build-up, making it convenient to wear in hot and warm seasons without the fear of discomfort.
I also observed that the protective earmuff has the right balance. This weight is distributed over a large surface area on the user’s head, making them more comfortable in the process.
Additionally, I find the electrical insulation to the headband pleasing; they are great for preventing electrical hazard exposure while working.
Another remarkable feature is its soft foam cushioning that provides a high level of sound insulation and all-day-long comfort. Its strength and durability are assured because the internal wires are constructed from stainless steel with a plastic coating.
Its tilting and pivoting ear cups allow you to adjust the earmuff to match your comfort level. However, the earmuff is quite bulky and can be bothersome to some users. Ultimately, the 3M Peltor X-Series Over-the-Head Earmuff is a good buy for hearing protection for woodworking because it is affordable and provides maximum hearing protection.
Pro For Sho Safety Ear Protection
The Pro For Sho Safety Ear Protection has so many qualities that make it deserving of a spot on my list. First, it has an excellent 34-decibel noise reduction rating that effectively muffles dangerous noise levels.
I also like that the industrial-grade materials used to make this earmuff contributes to its lightweight but solid structure. It boosts the earmuff’s ability to provide comfortable hearing protection when studying, hunting, shooting, or woodworking. I am also happy with the Pro For Sho Safety Ear Protection versatility as it is useful in many applications.
Its compactness also makes it easy to carry around in your bag without worrying about bulkiness.
Additionally, it is made with a scratch-resistant and solid plastic material that ensures durability. Its black theme is also quite noticeable from a distance. Be that as it may, you find the ear cushions a little stiff than those from other earmuffs and worry about the comfort it provides. Summarily, the Pro For Sho Safety Ear Protection works well for noise-canceling headphones and is compact for easy transportation.
3M Peltor X-Series CapMount Earmuff
Next on my list is the 3M Peltor X-Series CapMount Earmuff. I genuinely believe that this model delivers excellent hearing protection due to its noise reduction rating of 24 decibels.
I also noticed that the earmuff is effective in protecting against both moderate and loud noises. What first caught my attention was its twin headband design because it allowed even distribution of weight while preventing heat build-up.
The headband provides comfort and convenient pressure for long hours of use. Its one-size-fits-all design also ensures that a wide range of head sizes and shapes can benefit from using the earmuff.
I also like its striking yellow and stylish black finish because it promotes visibility and safety while working.
I can assure users that the earmuff’s ergonomic design and comfortable foam padding will provide the utmost comfort. Also, its electrical parts are insulated to lower the risks of electrical hazards.
However, I noticed that people with small heads might have difficulty getting the earmuff to remain on their heads.
Overall, the 3M Peltor X-Series CapMount Earmuff is one of the best performing hearing protection for woodworking on the market, which makes it an excellent investment to make.
What is a Hearing Protection for Woodworking
Unless no one is working, a woodworking studio is always a source of loud noises. As a woodworker, you are constantly exposed to all sorts of hazardous noises that are dangerous to your hearing. The power tools used in woodworking alone are loud and damaging enough to require protection.
A single hand drill produces about 85 decibels of loud noise, which can damage the ears. Can you imagine the decibel level created by a table saw? Consider what it would be like to be exposed to these hazardous sounds for hours on end without hearing protection.
There are many types of hearing protection for woodworking to choose from, and it all depends on your requirements. The most important thing is that your ears get the comfortable hearing protection that it deserves.
How Does It Work?
The best hearing protection for woodworking prevents a large percentage of loud noises from reaching your ears. They employ different methods depending on hearing protection type, but the basic principle is still the same.
Foam or flanged earplugs plug the ear canals’ opening, so noise does not have any space left to pass through. This option is excellent for those seeking to block out a bit of noise or reduce it to tolerable levels.
Earmuffs or buffering headsets provide a bit more protection by blocking your entire ear. The foam padding forms a seal around the ear and prevents more noise from getting in than an earplug would.
If you want to enjoy the most protection, then noise-canceling headphones are your best bet.
They work like regular headphones but have additional sensors and drivers that create soundwaves inverse to the external noise to cancel them out. If you aren’t playing music on headphones, you will find yourself in a completely silent world.
Types of Hearing Protection for Woodworking
There are varieties of hearing protection devices that can protect you while woodworking, some of them include:
Disposable earplug – They are made from dense foam and connected by a string to prevent you from losing them. Generally, you can only use a disposable earplug once, except in rare cases when you don’t have another pair for replacement.
Flanged rubber earplug – Unlike the disposable foam earplugs made from foam, these are made with soft silicone rubber that makes them reusable and washable.
However, the amount of time you can reuse them is limited. The earplug is shaped like an elongated earbud but with 2-3 rubber flanges to create multiple seal layers to keep sound out.
Earmuff – An earmuff is better at muffling sounds than an earplug because it completely covers the ears, including the earlobes, to create a seal. However, they are bulkier and can get hot when the weather gets warmer.
Noise-canceling headphones- These are high-end hearing protection devices that can play music and any form of audio. They usually come with a microphone and sensor that listens for background noise and produces an inversely proportional soundwave to counteract the background noise. However, they need electrical power to work, so you would need to plug it into a music player or smartphone.
Also available are wireless options that use Bluetooth technology to connect to audio devices. However, these may be heavier than their counterparts, and their batteries require a constant recharge.
Why Do You Need a Hearing Protection Device for Woodworking
There are several reasons why a woodworker will need a hearing protection device. Some of them include the following.
It protects your hearing – Continuous exposure to loud noises can damage the microscopic hairs that transmit vibrations produced by sound waves in your ears. Unfortunately, when this happens, the damaged hair cannot regenerate. If you lose enough hairs, you develop Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL).
It allows you to concentrate better – Annoying sounds produced during woodworking can be irritating or distracting, which will interrupt your work efficiency. With hearing protection, you can focus better on work and finish your projects faster.
It keeps you warm – This is particularly true with a good pair of earmuffs. Woodworkers in colder regions or seasons can benefit from wearing noise muffling earmuffs to protect themselves from loud noises and cold.
As you may have noticed, you are not spoiled for choice when picking hearing protection for woodworking, but you have to consider if your choice is the right one for you. Without that, you would just waste money on something you never get to use. That said, here are some valuable pieces of information to help you make the most out of your purchase.
Fit and comfort – Your hearing protection device should be easy to put on and remove and should also be comfortable for long hours of wear.
Amount of decibels removed – This should be a top consideration in your list. Why else would you buy hearing protection if it does not protect anything? Be on the lookout for the most affordable ones that can give you more significant noise reduction.
Weight and portability – Your hearing protection should be lightweight not to cause strain on your neck and promote comfort. It should also be portable and compact enough to carry around with ease.
Type of hearing protection you need – The type of hearing protection you need will determine which of them to buy. For example, earplugs work well with small tools like hand drills and other handheld devices. To an extent, earmuffs will muffle sounds from large equipment like table or band saw belt sander or other woodworking tools. While noise-canceling headphones completely block out sound. Your choice depends on your protection needs.
Durability – If you are not buying disposable earplugs, then consider chosen hearing protection that is durable, especially compared to the price you paid for it.
Care and Maintenance
Proper care and maintenance could help you enjoy using your hearing protection device for a long time. Here are easy ways to care for and maintain them.
Earplugs – As mentioned before, you should always dispose of your disposable foam plugs after one use. But there are those rare instances where you run out and cannot immediately get more.
Rubber flanges earplugs- on the other hand, should be cleaned after each use. Rinse the rubber earplugs with lukewarm water and brush with an old soft-bristle toothbrush. Although reusable, be sure to replace the rubber earplugs every month.
Earmuffs and noise-canceling headphones – All you need to do is clean accumulated dirt and dust from the headband and the outside of the foam cups. The best way to achieve this is to use a piece of soft cloth or microfiber towel moistened with water and rubbing alcohol. Be careful when cleaning the foam cover, and don’t rub too hard, or you may damage it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What brands of hearing protection are the most popular for woodworking?
Some of the most popular and trustworthy hearing protection brands for woodworking include Neiko, Mpow, 3M, Pro For Sho, and Honeywell.
Where to buy hearing protection for woodworking?
Most woodworking specialty and local hardware stores should have hearing protection for woodworking. However, your range of choices might be limited. Brick and mortar stores have limited space for a wide variety of goods.
They cannot afford to stock many hearing protection brands alone.
On the other hand, online stores have a wide range of choices to pick from when shopping. You can easily browse through several different catalogs from different stores to compare. Another advantage that online stores have over brick-and-mortar stores is finding cheaper and affordable hearing protection options.
How much noise is considered dangerous?
As said, the ears are super-delicate and constant exposure to noise can cause hearing damage. Brief exposure to sounds as high as 140 decibels is enough to cause permanent damage to your ears. For context, 140 decibels is the amount of noise you would hear if you stood beside a jet during takeoff.
On the flip side, an electric hand drill can produce up to 85 decibels of sound while punching a hole through concrete. It may seem like a manageable noise level. Still, continuous exposure to this noise level is more than enough to give you temporary or permanent hearing damage.
Do you need complete silence when woodworking?
Unless you are using noise-canceling headphones, you cannot eliminate all the sounds produced in your environment. Earmuffs and earplugs only muffle or minimize the level of sounds that get to your ears, meaning you will still hear the sounds produced, but they won’t be as loud. You can still function on the level of sound heard.
When woodworking, you do not need complete silence.
Muffled sounds can be helpful in some instances. For example, when you need to turn wood on a lathe, the sounds will let you know when your gouging tool snags on the wood. Additionally, you may find listening to muffled sounds from your work tools relaxing.
How much muffling works best?
You can never go wrong with buying hearing protection with the highest noise reduction you can find. Even if the hearing protection provides up to 80 decibels noise reduction, buy it. You can never have too much muffling. However, the issue is that specialized hearing equipment with such high decibel reduction is usually rare and expensive.
That said, any hearing protection that reduces noise to a manageable decibel for safety is probably good enough for your needs. Although you can still hear some of the noise, it won’t be enough to cause harm to your hearing.
Woodworking is a noisy business. Almost all the woodworking tools are known to raise a racket, from power sanders to hand drills, belt sanders, band saws, and other power tools.
Constant exposure to the noise levels generated by these devices is capable of causing gradual damage to your hearing.
However, using appropriate hearing protection can reduce your exposure to such damaging noise levels and save your hearing in the process.