"Ear muff" style hearing protectors have two cups that surround the outer ears, connected by a headband or neckband. The cup shells contain acoustic foam that absorbs sound waves and reduces the level of sound that reaches the ears. Hearing protectors are common safety equipment in noisy occupational environments, and are readily available and affordable for anyone to use in noisy activities and settings.
Their advantages include:
They are easy to use correctly.
They are quick to put on and take off.
They do not irritate the ear canal or exacerbate ear infections.
They can be hot to wear.
If you have a beard, sideburns, or long hair, or if you wear glasses, the hearing protection may not be as effective. Wearing glasses reduces the noise reduction factor by 3-7 dB* or more.
If you need to wear a helmet or hardhat, safety glasses, and/or a face shield at the same time as the hearing protectors, you need to choose a model designed to be worn together with the additional gear.
When selecting a hearing protector, the main considerations are:
Fit: The ear cups should sit firm and flat against your head, with no gaps.
Comfort: They should feel firm but not too heavy or tight. The more comfortable they are, the more you will wear them, and the more protection they will provide.
Noise reduction rating (NRR): A typical ear muff hearing protector will have an NRR in the range of 25–30.
Other features you may be interested in are:
Folding style. These are more compact and portable, but may also break more easily and may be a bit more expensive.
For even greater noise reduction, you can wear
together with over-the-ear hearing protectors.
The combination of plugs and muffs
will typically increase the NRR by 4 to 8 dB over the better of the two devices.
You can find safety ear muffs at sporting goods stores and hardware safety supply shops. You can also buy them online at Amazon.com or the Ear Plug Superstore, which carries an extensive selection of ear muff hearing protectors in addition to their ear plugs. Depending on the brand quality and the features you choose, a set of ear muffs will typically cost $10 to $50 (US dollars).
Some of the links on this website are affiliate links, which means that I may earn a commission if you click on the link or make a purchase using the link. When you make a purchase, the price you pay will be the same whether you use the affiliate link or go directly to the vendor's website using a non-affiliate link. By using the affiliate links, you are helping support the noisehelp.com website, and I genuinely appreciate your support.