Working on construction sites or near loud machinery can be hazardous to your hearing. Being exposed to noise at levels above the recommended amounts can result in minor to major hearing loss. Responsible employers should monitor the noise level and provide the best protection. Both Employers and employees have a duty of care to look after workers exposed to noise levels that compromise health.
Ear Muffs can provide the right level of protection to workers who are exposed to noisy environments. Safety Workwear Guide looks at the Best Ear Muffs for Hearing Protection.
It is important that you take advice from trained safety representatives who can advise on noise levels and whether the protection you have is adequate. They can also provide training on the correct way to wear ear defenders.
According to OSHA excessive noise is described as exposure to 85 decibels or more over an 8 hour period. Hearing protection is required for all employees is this noise level is surrounding them.
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Best Ear Muffs 2021
3M Peltor X5A
Our No 1 choice for best ear Muff for Hearing protection was the 3M Peltor X5A based on:
- Comfortable to wear
- Built to last- durable
- High Noise level protection- 31 dB CSA Class AL
- Hygenic replaceable earpieces
- Compatible with other PPE- available in a hard hat model
We like the build quality of these hearing protectors. They are well built and this comes across in the thickness of the earpieces on these sets of earmuffs. These set of over the head earmuffs are ideal for those who work in maintenance, manufacturing, construction and other industrial areas that are in contact with noise levels.
Our View: They come from a global leader in PPE and these are well built. The hearing protection was as advertised and the comfort wasn’t compromised whilst wearing for long periods.
Top 7 Ear Muffs
|Manufacturer & Model||Level of Protection||Uses|
|3M PELTOR X5A||NRR 31 dB||Industrial & Occupational use only|
|Pro For Sho||NRR 34 dB||Domestic- available for both kids and adults in a variety of settings.|
|Decibel Defence 37dB||NRR 37dB||Industrial and commercial|
|Mpow Ear Protection NRR28dB||NRR 28dB||Industrial and Domestic|
|3M Peltor X2A||NRR 24dB||Industrial and construction|
|Neiko 53925A||NRR 26dB||Construction and DIY|
|G&F 12010||NRR 31dB||Construction and DIY|
Pro For Sho
These are available in a range of colors. At the time we reviewed these there were 9 different colors available
The box that the muffs are supplied in also doubles as a hold for the ear protectors to ensure that the right amount of elasticity is available when wearing.
When folded up they are compact and fit neatly into our coat pocket which was ideal for transportation when working.
They adjusted well to ensure that they fitted in the correct position.
Safety Workwear View:
These are a very well-made product although we found them more suited for DIY projects and domestic jobs rather in commercial and industrial use.
Decibel Defence 37dB NRR
These sturdy pair of Ear Muffs are ideal for industrial jobs and shooting (we only tested in a construction setting)
The Good Points: Protect to 37 dB NRR but OSHA certified to 34dB NRR rating.
They are available in a range of colors.
Padding around the ears is sturdy.
We wore these for a few hours whilst operating loud machinery and they did their job well.
Mpow Ear Protection NRR28dB
These Mpow Ear Muffs are ideal for construction, woodworking and lawn mowing. They are rated to NRR 28dB and ANSI S3
The headband is padded to offer a more comfortable fit. These can be adjusted to fit the size of the wearers head.
We found that the earpiece was well-padded, soft and comfortable to wear whilst operating louder tools.
These earmuffs come in a two-pack. The hearing protectors can be folded for easier transport and are provided with a carry case to keep clean. They are fairly lightweight at 1.5 pounds.
3M Peltor X2A
These pair of 3M Peltor over the head earmuffs are industrial grade and ideal for construction, maintenance and manufacturing jobs. They offer an NRR 24 dB rating and class and suited for moderate to high noise exposure.
- Replaceable cushions and inserts
- Earcups tilt for comfort
- Has a double wire headband for the best pressure to keep contact with ears and head.
Neiko 53925A Safety Ear Muffs
These Neiko Safety Ear Muffs offer hearing protection to NRR 26dB. They are a one size fits all type.
- Entry-level budget ear muffs.
- Ideal for construction, drilling and DIY tasks
- ANSI S3.19-1974 NRR 26dB
- Lightweight Design
G & F 12010
These professional-level earmuffs offer 31dB NRR rating.
- Ideal for construction, maintenance and DIY jobs
- Adjustable design allows the headband to be altered to fit the wearers head
- Compact and foldable for ease of transportation.
- Solid design
Ear Muff Buying Guide
Your hearing is essential and can be lost easier than you might think. Outside noise can permanently damage your hearing and this includes constant loud sounds at work. On some job sites protective hearing gear is required by OSHA regulations. If this applies to you or you’re just worried about potential hearing loss a pair of ear muffs can give you the protection you need. However, not all ear muffs provide hearing protection which is why you need to know how to find the right pair.
What are Ear Muffs?
Earmuffs are generally considered to be the most comfortable type of hearing loss prevention aids and you can find them in a variety of styles. Some have bands that go across your head, while others have straps that are fastened behind your neck. Some earmuffs can also be clipped to a hard hat. What all ear muffs have in common is their ability to protect you from hearing loss.
All earmuffs have a cup that fits over your ear. The cups are generally constructed from plastic or a combination of plastic and metal. This keeps the earmuffs lightweight and more comfortable to wear for an extended time. There are cushions around the cup that help it seal to your ear so external noise is effectively blocked out. The cushioning around the cup also adds to the wearer’s comfort.
Why Are They Important for Protecting Hearing?
There is a reason why OSHA requires employees in certain fields to wear ear muffs on the job. The cushioned cups can prevent hearing loss. Exposure to loud noises over an extended time is responsible for more cases of hearing loss than old age. Hearing loss from noise exposure is preventable with earmuffs.
Your safety can also be comprised if you lose your hearing. Vocal warnings might not be heard. You might also find it difficult to hear emergency sirens. Hearing loss can also affect your relationships with others. It’s hard to participate in conversations when you can’t hear what’s being said.
Simply by wearing a pair of safety-standard ear muffs, you can prevent hearing loss.
Types of Ear Muffs
All ear muffs have the same basic cushioned cup design. They can differ in how they’re worn to accommodate various types of work uniforms. The level of noise protection earmuffs provides also varies between low and high-grade protection. Lower protection earmuffs are generally worn around noises with a 110 dB level or if the sound exposure is less than four hours. Any noise level over 110 dB usually requires earmuffs with a higher degree of protection.
You can also find protective earmuffs with builtin AM/FM radios. If you have a stationary, repetitive job the radio can help the time pass quicker. Noise-intermittent earmuffs are another option. These earmuffs protect against loud noises while still allowing you to hear warning signals. There are also earmuffs with both of these options.
Care & Maintenance
How you clean and maintain your earmuffs is important. Even in a relatively clean work environment earmuffs will still get dirty and this can affect how well they’re able to protect your hearing. You don’t have to clean your earmuffs every day – unless necessary – once a week is usually enough.
The first step in caring and maintaining your earmuffs is disassembling them. Most pairs came with the manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean the cup material. A damp cloth is almost always safe. A gentle dishwashing liquid can also be used to clean stubborn dirt. It is important not to get the cushions wet since this could degrade the sound protection material.
A soft brush can be used on the cushions to remove dirt and grime. It’s not uncommon for dirt to collect in the ear cushions and harden. Don’t use a hard-bristled brush to scrub tough dirt stains, it could tear the material.
Once the dirt is gone and you’ve dried the cups off, reassemble the earmuffs and store them in a cool, dry place until needed. The reason you want to store the earmuffs in a dry place is that prolonged exposure to heat and humidity can cause the cushions to degrade. This means that you’ll be replacing them more frequently. High-quality protective earmuffs typically last up to 6-months before the cushions need to be replaced if they are properly maintained and stored.
If you are worried about hearing loss or are required to wear protection, earmuffs are a great choice. They are comfortable to wear, available in a variety of styles, and provide plenty of protection. Earmuffs are also simple to maintain, it only takes a few minutes once a week. Your hearing is important and you can protect it just by wearing a pair of protective earmuffs.
You may be interested in our Ultimate PPE Guide