People who work in an environment that constantly exposes them to noise will need to consider buying the best radio headphones to protect their ears. Constant exposure to loud sounds may cause irreversible damage to your ears, leading to hearing loss even before old age.
There are people in different fields who would benefit from getting the best radio headphones. They include factory workers, mechanics, carpenters, traffic police, landscapers, loggers, woodworkers, blacksmiths, and many more. People in these fields are at the risk of developing irreparable hearing damage because of the loud noises they are exposed to constantly. Workers in any of these environments can rest assured that the best radio headphones will provide proper hearing protection as they go about their daily duties.
Do not worry if you have no clue where to begin, as we have compiled a list of the top 10 radio headphones on the market and created a buying guide just for you.
The ZOHAN EM042 AM/FM Radio Headphone appears next on my list primarily because of its impressive speakers. The headphones have excellent sound quality with deep bass tones that you would expect from premium headphones instead of work headphones.
Furthermore, the headphones are National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) certified and have a 24-decibel noise reduction rating. The ZOHAN EM042 AM/FM Radio Headphone appears next on my list primarily because of its impressive speakers.
The headphones have excellent sound quality with deep bass tones that you would expect from premium headphones instead of work headphones.
Furthermore, the headphones are National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) certified and have a 24-decibel noise reduction rating.
Additionally, its effective noise-blocking features allow it to work correctly even when listening to music at home. Durability is also assured as these headphones are made with premium materials.
ZOHAN offers a one-year warranty. Unfortunately, like the 3M WorkTunes Connect, the ZOHAN EM042 AM/FM Radio Headphone uses analog radio technology.
Although it is pretty disappointing that these headphones do not use digital radio technology. The ZOHAN EM042 AM/FM Radio Headphone still has many benefits that its user will stand to enjoy, including hearing protection and great sounds.
The Honeywell Sync Digital AM/FM/MP3 Earmuff
The first thing I will rave about the Honeywell Sync Digital AM/FM/MP3 Earmuff is its built-in digital radio feature, which seems understandably fair. After all, digital radios have clearer and better audio quality compared to analog. Additionally, its noise reduction rating of 25 decibels is an extra advantage to take note of when considering this product. Its lightweight structure ensures that the Honeywell Sync Digital AM/FM/MP3 Earmuff remains comfortable to wear, even for extended wear.
When you combine that with its thick foam padding, it feels like you are wearing almost nothing.
Like the WorkTunes Connect, these headphones have an auxiliary input jack and a free aux cord.
I found the Honeywell Sync Digital AM/FM/MP3 Earmuff band too tight, as it gave me a headache after wearing it for more than a couple of hours. However, it loosens up with constant use.
3M WorkTunes Connect Pro
f you want to enjoy the best of comfort, entertainment, and hearing protection, then the 3M WorkTunes Connect Pro is a great choice to make. Apart from protecting your ears, the headphones are a great pair of audio headphones to own in general.
The ear cups are designed with a thick foam padding that conforms to your ear’s shape and forms an excellent seal that muffles most outside noises.
I also noticed that the headphones’ noise-isolating ability allows you to appreciate the hi-fi speakers’ quality sound.
The audio sound quality produced by the headphones is well above just average.
Additionally, the 3M WorkTunes Connect Pro has a digital radio that produces better sound quality than traditional analog radio. You can also use the auxiliary jack to connect the headphones to other audio devices like smartphones, MP3 players, or tablets.
If you would rather go wireless, then the headphones cover you with their Bluetooth connectivity.
However, my one complaint is that the Bluetooth does not have a great range. It automatically disconnects from your audio device when you walk too far away and won’t automatically reconnect when in range.
In summary, if you can overlook the limited Bluetooth range, the 3M WorkTunes Connect Pro is a solid choice for hearing protection. They have great features for your comfort, entertainment, and hearing safety.
3M WorkTunes Connect Hearing Protector
I will kick off my list with the 3M WorkTunes Connect Hearing Protector. I like this radio headphone because it has a 24-decibel noise reduction rating, which I find adequate to provide hearing protection for most environments. I also like the well-designed buttons and knobs that control this AM/FM headphone. They are large enough for you to grip and operate even while wearing thick work gloves.
Thanks to this product’s multi-purpose feature, you can switch between listening to the built-in radio feature or an auxiliary input jack.
This feature allows you to connect them to other audio devices like your smartphone.
Additionally, I appreciate the sound quality produced by the headset due to its Bass Boost feature.
However, I wish we weren’t stuck with the ancient analog radio style and included a digital radio while building the headset. Overall, these radio headphones have many benefits that will make you forget their disappointing old-school analog radio style.
SAS Safety 6108 Digital Earmuff
It won’t be a bad idea to invest in the SAS Safety 6108 Digital Earmuff, primarily due to its noise reduction rating of 25 decibels.
Additionally, the ear cups have soft, adequate padding that muffles noise while keeping you comfortable. I like these mainly because it has a built-in digital radio receiver.
When I don’t feel like listening to the radio, the headphones come equipped with an aux input jack. This feature provides an easy connection to my smartphone or any other audio device.
I also love that this padded headset is lightweight enough not to cause any discomfort.
On the flip side, my biggest issue with the headphones is that the wires used are too thin. If you accidentally pull one out, you might be able to reattach it.
Ultimately, as long as you are careful while using the headphones, the SAS Safety 6108 Digital Earmuff is a fine piece of an affordable hearing protection device.
Honeywell Howard Leight Sync Hi-Visibility Digital Earmuff
The bright color design of the Honeywell Howard Leight Sync Hi-Visibility Digital Earmuff is the first thing I noticed about this model. The color gives it a stylish look while promoting the highest level of visibility.
High visibility in workspaces is essential for safety because it makes the worker easy to spot by heavy machinery operators. Additionally, the headphone’s headband has a reflexive strip that provides extra visibility. I also like that the headset has a built-in digital radio that rapidly scans for available stations.
It also has a clear, large LCD screen that shows you the frequency you are tuned into so you can save the stations.
Furthermore, because the radio is digital, expect to enjoy superior audio quality compared to analog radios. For me, the most important feature is the Noise reduction rating of 25 decibels; without it, the headphones lose their ability to protect the ears.
What’s more, is that the ear cups are padded with light foam to conform to the ears for a complete seal for sound muffling while providing maximum comfort in the process.
Unfortunately, I discovered that these headphones might be too small to fit people with larger heads unless they lower the headband towards the back of the head.
Ultimately, the Honeywell Howard Leight Sync Hi-Visibility Digital Earmuff is a good choice of radio headphones for those with the right fit because of its many benefits and features.
PIXNOR Foldable Wireless Headphone
When I first saw the PIXNOR Foldable Wireless Headphone, my first thought was that it was highly affordable, especially compared to other radio headphones. I was a bit skeptical because of that, but I couldn’t be more wrong. Don’t let its low price trick you as these offer fantastic benefits and features.
One of the PIXNOR Foldable Wireless Headphone features is its built-in digital radio that provides excellent sound quality in hi-fi audio.
I also love that the headband is extremely flexible. Although it isn’t padded, it still provides comfort to its wearer.
When adjusted properly, the headphones give the right amount of pressure to keep the ear cups in place without causing pain.
Similarly, the headband isn’t padded; the ear cups have adequate padding to protect the ears from harmful outside noises.
However, you should know that these headphones do an adequate job of providing hearing protection; they are not working headphones. Without a NIOSH certification, there’s no way to know its noise reduction rating.
Even though the PIXNOR Foldable Wireless Headphone is not certified as a hearing protection device, you can still use it to do simple tasks around the house. It also doesn’t hurt that it is cheap enough to purchase.
Stanley Sync AM/FM/MP3 Radio Digital Earmuff
The Stanley Sync AM/FM/MP3 Radio Digital Earmuff appears next on my list because it has a good noise reduction rating of 25 decibels. Asides from the hearing protection it provides, I also like the built-in digital radio because it has excellent reception.
The Stanley Sync AM/FM/MP3 Radio Digital Earmuff uses Air Flow technology to provide maximum hearing protection. This technology blocks out the most dangerous sound frequencies while allowing normal conversational voices to pass through.
This technology makes the design of the ear cups relatively lightweight and thinner than those from other brands.
Besides having lightweight ear cups, the whole earmuff is also light. Still, it has enough padding on the headband and ear cups to ensure comfort for extended wear.
It’s worth remembering that the foam ear cups on the Stanley Sync AM/FM/MP3 Radio Digital Earmuff are only kept in place by tiny tabs. These tabs can quickly come undone, allowing the foam padding to fall out.
Despite its minor flaw, the Stanley Sync AM/FM/MP3 Radio Digital Earmuff provides some high-quality sounds and excellent hearing protection against harmful noises.
Walker's AM/FM Radio Muff
Last but not least is Walker’s AM/FM Radio Muff, which I love because of its padded and extra-wide headband. The headband design distributes weight to a broader area. It prevents the wearer from being uncomfortable or developing headaches due to pressure.
Furthermore, the headphones are very lightweight as they only need 2 AAA batteries to work. AAA batteries are almost half the size and weight of the more commonly used AA batteries.
The volume knobs and buttons are also large enough to grab even when wearing thick work gloves.
Although these other features are great, the headphones wouldn’t be of much use as a hearing protection device if they didn’t have a noise reduction rating of 25 decibels.
All the same, my one issue with the headphones is that the headband is too tight. It may not be tight enough to cause a headache but become an annoying inconvenience after a few hours of use.
Overlooking this minor inconvenience of the headband’s tight fit, Walker’s AM/FM Radio Muff Is an incredibly great piece of hearing protection gear to buy.
Retekess TR101 Walkman Headphone
Next on my list is the Retekess TR101 Walkman Headphone that I find delightful because it is foldable for easy storage and transport. Although the headphones only have an analog radio built-in, the signal is fantastic, ensuring that you get quality sounds from your favorite radio stations.
I completely love the clear LCD screen that shows the current preset slot and the radio’s frequency. This feature makes it easy to browse through the airwaves to save the stations you like.
I also like that the headphones allow you to choose the type of audio output you want, whether mono or stereo.
However, like the PIXNOR Foldable Wireless Headphone, the Retekess TR101 Walkman Headphone is not certified as a hearing protection device even though they muffle a reasonable amount of noise. You can use them at home for noisy chores like lawn mowing.
Summarily, even though the Retekess TR101 Walkman Headphone is not certified for hearing protection, it still provides a degree of protection from loud damaging noises to its users.
What is a Radio Headphone?
A radio headphone, simply put, is a work earmuff that provides audio from their built-in radio in addition to hearing protection. Instead of having empty ear cans like regular earmuffs, each space is used to house the built-in radio receiver and battery pack. These headphones are entirely different from the ones solely used to listen to music.
The significant difference between regular headphones and radio headphones is that they do not have noise reduction ratings. This makes them uncertified for active worksites, unlike radio headphones.
Also, both headphones’ sound quality is different – radio headphones have decent to average audio sound quality.
Radio headphones are meant to provide hearing protection for light to moderate levels of noise.
Unfortunately, they cannot provide adequate protection against extremely loud environments because they don’t have enough noise reduction abilities to work it. Some examples of activities that can be done using a radio headphone include shooting range, watching live races, or mowing with a ride-on mower.
How Does a Radio Headphone Work?
Radio headphones are not noise-canceling devices. Instead, they are noise-isolating devices. While both terms may sound similar and interchangeable, their mode of operation is quite different.
Noise-isolating headphones rely on physical barriers to limit the amount of noise that reaches the user’s ears. The types of physical obstacles used can be thick foam padding or snug-fitting earcups that form an airtight seal around the ears to muffle the environment’s sounds.
On the other hand, noise-canceling headphones use advanced miniature electronics to counteract surrounding sounds and cancel them. Although they also use thick foam paddings and snug-fitting ear cups.
Types of Radio Headphones
In terms of looks and function, radio headphones are mostly similar. The only thing that probably sets them apart is their NIOSH certification or any other equivalent certifying body.
Many radio headphones can effectively block out surrounding noise but have not been certified with a noise reduction rating by the appropriate organization.
As a result, they cannot be sold as hearing protective devices but as regular audio listening devices. On the other hand, hearing protection headphones have gone through many testing to determine if they can effectively block an acceptable amount of noise.
Why Do You Need Radio Headphones?
Still undecided on whether you need to invest in some radio headphones for hearing protection? Then this part is for you.
According to OSHA, exposure to sounds as low as 85 decibels over an average of 8 hours daily is enough to cause irreparable damage to the ears. For context, the average volume of everyday conversations is 60 decibels. Suppose you are the type to blast music from your earphones at the loudest volume. In that case, you are probably directly exposing your ears to over 100 decibels of sound.
Here’s the tricky part, once hit the 85-decibel limit, every three decibels added will cause hearing damage in half the time. For example, suppose it will take 4 hours to cause considerable damage at a noise level of 88 decibels. In that case, it will only take 15 minutes for 100 decibels to generate the same amount of damage.
Having to work in an environment that exposes you to this level of noise requires you to get hearing protection for your ears. A working air compressor 3 feet away from you can produce up to 92 decibels of noise, meaning if you expose yourself to 2 hours of this noise, it could damage your ears.
Electric drills produce up to 98 decibels, putting their time for causing damage at just 30 minutes.
During production hours, a typical factory can produce at least 100 decibels. Table saws and band saws can have up to 110 decibels of noise. Suppose you work in an environment that creates these sound levels. In that case, there is the chance that you have already done considerable damage to your ears.
Before shopping for your preferred radio headphones, here are some things to consider.
Price – Always be on the lookout for some of the best quality radio headphones that match your budget. Luckily, a lot of them are affordable.
Input Sound Quality – Looking for an affordable headphone does not mean you have to sacrifice audio quality. Do not settle for the mediocre, especially if you are an avid listener.
Speaker – The speaker driver produces the sounds that get to your ears. As it stands, the size and quality of the driver, the better sound it has. Additionally, the speakers should also be large enough to keep up with the sounds the drivers make.
Portability – This is important, especially if you have to commute or travel to work. Your preferred radio headphones should be lightweight and compact enough not to cause problems with moving them. An excellent way to know if your headphones are portable for your use is to try folding them into your work bag.
Weight/Comfort – These go together as lightweight headphones provide more comfort to their user and vice versa. You will be wearing the headphones on your head for hours on end, so you might as well be comfortable with their weight.
However, you should know that most lightweight radio headphones have more inferior sound quality and noise muffling abilities.
Connectivity – Leave your options open by getting radio headphones with Bluetooth connectivity to allow you to play music from your phone or other audio devices.
Durability – Accidents always happen at the workplace. Some of those accidents may include dropping your headphones. Ensure that the headphones you buy can withstand a little rough use without malfunctioning.
Warranty – Granted that radio headphones are primarily cheap, nobody wants to waste money on something that will stop working correctly within a short time. When shopping, look out for radio headphones with more than a 30-day guarantee.
Care and Maintenance
Radio headphones do not require a lot of care and maintenance. However, here are some tips to ensure you enjoy using your product for a long time.
After each workday, wipe down the whole headphones with a soft, clean rag to get rid of the day’s sweat and dirt. You can also spray a little disinfectant to kill germs and freshen up the smell. However, try not to get any liquid into the speakers, or you will damage them.
If you notice that the foam padding on the ear cups is getting dry or cracking, replace them with new ones. Don’t try to repair them with tapes that won’t do much to fix their noise reduction ability.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some of the most popular radio headphone brands to buy?
The most popular brands that produce the best radio headphones include Honeywell, 3M, SAS, ZOHAN, PIXNOR, Stanley, Walker’s, and Retekess.
What are some of the best headphones for radio broadcasting?
The best radio headphone for broadcasting usually has a built-in digital AM/FM radio. Headphones with analog ratios are okay if you just need something to break the monotony of work. Still, if you are an avid listener, the sound quality is not as good as digital radios.
That said, you should ensure that your radio headphones have a great-sounding speaker to appreciate the audio quality from using digital radio entirely.
How Safe are radio frequency headphones?
As long as the environment’s noise is not more than 110 decibels, most radio headphones are safe enough to provide hearing protection. This is because most of them have a noise reduction rating of 25 decibels and are NIOSH-approved.
That said, try to make sure that any work headphones you buy are NIOSH-certified. If not, there is no way to know its noise reduction rating and how much safety it guarantees.
Can wireless headphones connect to a radio?
As most of these devices come equipped with built-in radio receivers, they can connect to the radio without buying an external radio device. Some have aux input jacks or Bluetooth technology to connect to your phone or other audios devices.
How do I set up and use radio headphones?
Luckily, the only setup that a radio headphone needs are searching and saving your favorite radio stations. How this is done depends on the headphones’ brand, but generally, they come with directions. Some radio headphones set aside different buttons for preset stations, while others will have you cycle through already saved presets.
To connect your headphones to other audio devices, you can either connect one end of an aux cord to the 3.5mm audio jack of your audio device and the other end to the headphones’ auxiliary input jack.
What is the warranty?
Most radio headphone brands have a 30-day warranty against factory defects. Some guarantees cover user errors while others do not. You can always read the fine print on the user manual to determine if your preferred brand does.
Also, note that the user takes responsibility for shipping and the cost of returning the item. Some other brands also give their customers satisfaction guarantees as a show of good faith. This means that if you are not satisfied with your headphones, you can return them for a refund, no questions asked. Products with this type of warranty are usually of superior quality, so be on the lookout for them.
Where to buy Radio Headphones?
Online stores provide you with a wide range of choices and allow you to compare the specifications and prices of several popular brands to enjoy the best deals.
However, the one downside is that it may take weeks, sometimes months, before receiving your item. This means that you cannot use online shopping platforms if the headphones are an urgent need.
On the other hand, if you need to grab a pair of headphones quickly, then your closest large hardware outlet or big box store might be your best bet. The one problem is that your choices are usually limited because physical stores do not have space to store products from all the different brands. However, you can do a little test run with your headphones to see if they meet your needs before paying for them.
The rate at which daily exposure to loud noises can cause irreversible damage to your ears is alarming, especially if you work in environments that produce loud noises. Therefore, hearing protection is an important thing to consider while working.
Apart from providing comfortable hearing protection, radio headphones have the added advantage of providing entertainment while working. People with a repetitive or monotonous jobs, such as assembly line workers, stand to benefit a lot from this feature.
That said, your ears will thank you later when you are older and retired for investing in some of the best hearing protection gears in your youth.