In the construction industry, there are a lot of things that can happen at a job site. That means there are a hundred things that could become hazardous. One of those things that could harm workers is the loud noise on-site. Your hearing should always be protected. Let’s look at why this is important, as well as the top four products for protecting your hearing at a construction site.
Why Hearing Protection is Important
Protecting your hearing is very important. There are a lot of loud noises going on at a construction site, and any one of them could damage your ears. When this is happening every day for weeks, months, or years, that damage compounds until your ears can’t take it anymore. You could end up with shattered eardrums, or simply gradual hearing loss over time. It’s important to prevent this damage early on before you have to deal with hearing loss that could lead to deafness later on, or even serious ear infections that require medical attention. Having to see a doctor for these issues also impacts your income, since you won’t be able to work during visits, hospital stays, or treatments. Keeping your ears safe and healthy not only keeps you in good health, it also keeps you on the job.
You may think that you are seldom near the loud machinery, so you don’t need to worry. But the construction industry can be unpredictable. You shouldn’t count on your situation always remaining the same. Before you know it, you could end up right in the middle of the noisiest section of the job site – you might even be the one working that loud machinery. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and you will definitely be sorry if you don’t take safety measures from the start.
Your contractor or company may also require you to wear safety equipment so that they will not be liable for damage incurred on the job. You may not be able to work if you do not have the proper equipment. This typically involves steel toe boots and safety glasses, but it could also include equipment to protect your hearing. If you are not equipped, the company could become liable, and so they will not allow you to work, and you will lose income.
Safety equipment meant to protect your hearing typically comes in three forms: earplugs, earmuffs, and earbuds or headphones. Earbuds provide protection once they have been inserted into the ear canal, creating a seal with an airtight fitting. Earbuds and headphones don’t really provide protection, since the music needs to be at a certain decibel to block loud noises, and then it’s the music damaging your ears instead of the equipment. Earmuffs are by far the best option. They are placed on the outside surface of the ear and held in place with an adjustable band. They are sealed over the outside surface of the ear and don’t need to come into contact with the ear canal to provide protection. This keeps them from causing any damage, while still protecting you from whatever’s happening on the job.
The 4 Best Earmuffs to Provide Hearing Protection for Construction 2019
The Professional Safety Earmuffs from Decibel Defense are meant to be very comfortable and protected. They are rated for 37 decibels, the highest rating for any work earmuffs. They feature a comfortable band with a padded cell design and fabric stitching that provides ultimate comfort. This allows you to wear the earmuffs for long periods at a time. They are foldable, so you can carry them or stow them in a tool case without a problem. They are constructed to be very sturdy, so you don’t have to worry about buying a new pair anytime soon.
In Certified Ear Protection tests, they were rated for a very high 37 decibels. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, actually rates them at 34 decibels, but according to the company, OSHA subtracts three decibels for their approval rating in order to give the consumer a safety net. Even this lower rating is impressive.
- The 37-decibel rating is the highest on the market. This will protect you from any kind of noise you may encounter on the job.
- The headband features a padded cell design and fabric stitching. These features make it both very comfortable and durable. This is important if you might be wearing them for at least half of every work day.
- The earmuffs are compact and can fold up for easy transport and storage.
- They are easily adjusted for both smaller and larger heads.
- They are compatible with hard hats.
- They fit comfortably over safety glasses.
- Though the earmuffs are not totally waterproof, the plastic cups would be able to withstand water, such as rain.
- The earmuffs cannot be adjusted to block select frequencies, as they are intended to block all noise and do not contain any internal sound system.
- The earmuffs are not waterproof, as there is foam on the inside of the cups that will absorb water. However, the foam would dry out quickly if removed from the water and aired out immediately.
- The earmuffs can become very sweaty after only about half an hour of use.
- Consumers with smaller heads may find that they fit very tightly.
- The ear cushions can be hard and hurt the head.
The Impact Sport Sound Amplification Electronic Earmuffs from Howard Leight are compact, adjustable, and feature technology that allows you to choose what to hear and what to block. The headband is adjustable and padded for comfort and a secure fit. The earmuffs fold up for easy carrying and storage. They feature built-in microphones that listen to ambient sounds and amplify certain sounds it picks up, such as voices. This allows you to hear commands, warnings, and conversations while still blocking loud destructive noises. The earmuffs automatically block out these ambient sounds once they reach 82 decibels, preventing them from causing damage. The cups have a low-profile design which was intended for firearm stock clearance, but also works well for use with hard hats and equipment you might need to carry on your shoulder. The earmuffs carry a Noise Reduction Rating of 22 decibels. A connection cord is included for use with MP3 players and scanners. The earmuffs automatically shut off after four hours of use to extend battery life. The cushions snap in and out for easy replacement.
- The earmuffs are compact and fold easily.
- The headband has padded for comfort.
- The headband is adjustable to fit most heads.
- Built-in microphones actively listen so they can amplify voices and other ambient sounds and block out the destructive noise. The ambient sounds are blocked when they reach 82 decibels.
- The ear cups are slim, so they don’t get in the way.
- The earmuffs can be used with audio devices like MP3 players.
- The cushions snap in and out easily, making replacing them a breeze.
- The amplification technology shuts off after four hours of use, which extends the life of the battery. You will still be able to block noise, but there will be no amplification of ambient sounds.
- The earmuffs continue to perform well in damp, humid, and foggy conditions.
- The power/volume switch is large and easy to access, even while wearing the earmuffs.
- The amplification will only last about half of an eight-hour work day.
- The Noise Reduction Rating on the earmuffs is 22 decibels, which is lower than other models.
- They are not waterproof and should not be used in persistent rain or drizzle.
- The slim, low-profile design of the cups makes them small, which might pinch those with larger ears.
The Sound Earmuffs Hearing Protection Ear Defenders from Homitt are adjustable, lightweight, and comfortable. They are rated for 34 decibels, making them one of the highest rated earmuffs on this list. They are optimized for comfort with an adjustable padded headband, 360-degree swivel ear cups, double shell cups, and soft memory foam padding. The padding is half an inch thick and provides a comfortable, tight seal. The earmuffs are both compact and lightweight, making it easy to carry and store them in the included travel pouch.
- The headband is adjustable to fit most users and padded for comfort. The ear cups also swivel up to 360 degrees, providing more flexibility.
- The earmuffs are rated for an impressive 34 decibels.
- Padding on the headband and half-inch-thick memory foam padding on the ear covers provide extra comfort.
- Double shell cups provide stability and durability.
- The earmuffs are very compact and are easily carried in the travel pouch.
- The earmuffs are a bit short and may not fit everyone.
- They are too tight for all-day use.
- They are a bit too bulky.
- They are not truly noise-canceling, since they are not battery-powered.
- They sometimes do not extend enough to cover both ears.
- They seem to reduce light noises the best.
The Hearing Protection Safety Earmuffs from ClearArmor are compact, adjustable, comfortable, and durable. They fold easily into a compact size for easy carrying and storage. They can fit all sizes, due to vertical adjustment on both sides. The headband has half an inch of padding for comfort, and feature easy-to-clean synthetic leather. The earmuffs fit snugly for a secure and comfortable fit. The ear cups feature a swivel design for flexibility. The earmuffs are built of industrial grade materials and are guaranteed for durability. They are composed of two layers of ClearArmor’s proprietary noise-dampening foam, ¼-inch-thick ear cups, and screws instead of glue. Foam cushions provide both comfort and a tight seal. The earmuffs are rated for 31 decibels.
- The earmuffs are easy to transport and store due to their compact size and easy folding ability.
- There are vertical adjustments on both sides, allowing for anyone to wear the earmuffs, regardless of the size of their head.
- Half an inch of padding on the headband and foam cushions provide comfort.
- Synthetic leather on the headband is easy to wipe down to clean.
- The earmuffs feature a snug fit.
- The ear cups are ¼ inch thick and have a swivel design.
- The earmuffs are durable due to their industrial-grade construction.
- They are assembled using screws rather than glue. This makes them very stable and durable.
- Noise is blocked via noise-dampening foam cushions, which are both comfortable and provide a tight, sound-proof seal.
- The earmuffs have a Noise Reduction Rating of 31 decibels, which is about mid-range for hearing protection earmuffs.
- The earmuffs reduce and block noise, but they don’t amplify ambient sounds.
- Their rating of 31 decibels is somewhere in the middle – it’s not the highest rating you could find, but it’s not the lowest, either.
- Those with larger heads may find that the earmuffs become uncomfortable after about half an hour of use.
- They get very hot after brief use.
- The top of the headband does not adjust well enough to accommodate larger heads.
- The earmuffs create pressure on the ears, which can be uncomfortable.
- They don’t work well with glasses.
- The ear cups often slide down on those with smaller heads.
- Initially, they are very tight on most heads and need to be stretched out constantly.
- The memory foam can feel hard rather than comfortable.
Which Earmuffs Are Best to Protect Your Ears?
Protecting your ears while at a construction job site is very important. It could affect your present and future health, as well as your financial future. Earmuffs are the best option for protecting your hearing. But within that category, there are many products to choose from. If you’re looking for a high rating, you could choose the Decibel Defense Professional Safety Earmuffs or Homitt Sound Earmuffs Hearing Protection Ear Defenders. The Howard Leight Impact Sport Sound Amplification Electronic Earmuffs are a good choice for their noise-canceling capabilities. Whatever your needs, you’re sure to find a great pair of hearing protection earmuffs for construction!