- Why do I need to use earmuffs for noise reduction?
- 5 Best Earmuffs for Noise Reduction
- How to choose earmuffs for noise reduction
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final words
Whether you’re using shooting or operating a chainsaw, you need the best earmuffs for noise reduction. These accessories will protect your ears against the risk of deafness, especially if you’re working on a noisy job site.
Aside from muffling the noise around you, many modern earmuffs are now equipped with electronic functions. This includes stereo radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and even microphones for answering calls.
But beyond the added features, the goal of this accessory is to keep your ears safe from irreversible damages due to loud sounds.
Below, I reviewed 5 of the most reliable earmuffs that will dampen the noise wherever you are. Check which one suits you best:
Why do I need to use earmuffs for noise reduction?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), exposure to noise louder than 70 dB for extended periods can cause hearing damage. Meanwhile, noise that’s above 120 dB is enough to cause immediate damage to a person’s ears.
You may not notice it, but many household items and other mechanical objects can produce such loud sounds.
For example, the sound of a motorcycle can reach 95 dB while sirens emit up to 120 dB or more. Meanwhile, the likes of chainsaw, snowmobile, and leaf blowers can produce up to 115 dB of loud noise.
And if you’re into shooting, each gunshot can range from 140 dB to 165 dB. Imagine pulling the trigger without wearing earmuffs. It will cause ringing in the ears and even immediately rupture your eardrums.
If you’re going to be exposed to any loud sounds, it’s best to wear earmuffs. This should be taken seriously since about 40 million adult Americans are now suffering from some degree of hearing loss due to noise exposure.
The best and most convenient way to protect your ears is by wearing hearing protectors. Earmuffs can be purchased in many stores, making them a very accessible solution.
Below, I reviewed five options that will surely provide ample protection for your ears.
5 Best Earmuffs for Noise Reduction
OUR #1 CHOICE
OUR TOP PICK: 3M WorkTunes Connect Hearing Protector Muffs
Product Name: 3M WorkTunes Connect Hearing Protector Muffs
Product Description: If you’re looking for the best earmuffs for noise reduction, you’ll never go wrong with the 3M WorkTunes Connect Hearing Protector Muffs. This is made with super soft and premium gel cushions that will keep your ears comfy even during long periods of wearing. This is the ideal choice for construction, woodworking, lawn mowing, and other loud environments that could harm your ears. It has a 23 dB noise reduction rating, which is more than decent for most applications. Aside from that, these earmuffs also have built-in high-fidelity speakers. You can stream music while dampening the noise around. So while your surroundings are clattering and pounding, you’re enjoying your favorite music through a Bluetooth connection.
Offer price: $$$
Value for Money
My favorite feature here is its integrated microphone. You can sync your phone to these earmuffs so that you can answer phone calls hands-free. It’s the perfect choice for outdoor activities where you’re exposed to excessive noise.
Moreover, these hearing protectors have a vented headband for added comfort. It’s also compatible with hard hats so that you can use it just about anywhere.
Be it for work, leisure, or outdoor adventures, these earmuffs are an excellent choice.
23 dB of noise reduction rating
Built-in speakers and microphone
Premium gel ear cushions
The speaker quality isn’t spectacular since it’s not a pair of headphones.
Howard Leight R-02531 Electronic Shooting Earmuffs
Another pair of earmuffs I swear by for noise reduction is the Howard Leight R-02531. It has a 22 dB noise reduction rating on its sleek and stylish design.
These earmuffs have a low-profile ear cup suitable for shooting. The headband is also padded for added comfort, so it doesn’t pull on the hair as well.
Aside from that, there are snap-on ear cushions if you want further comfort. I also like that the earmuffs can be folded for easy storage, especially if you’re traveling.
Moreover, the Howard Leight R-02531 has recessed controls and a rifle cutaway to help you with aiming.
Like the one from 3M, the Howard Leight hearing protectors are equipped with speakers. However, it uses an AUX jack connection and not wireless Bluetooth technology. Nevertheless, it’s just a small gripe for its excellent noise dampening benefit.
Overall, these earmuffs have comfortable decibel reduction even if the sound function is off. Take note that this uses removable batteries, which you’ll need to replace if you’re keen on using the audio feature.
If you have a narrow face, you may find the slim ear cups less comfortable than usual.
Husqvarna Professional Headband Hearing Protectors
If you’re looking for the best earmuffs for noise reduction on a job site, the Husqvarna Professional Headband Hearing Protectors are a good choice. It has a 25 dB noise reduction rating perfect for DIY woodworking, industrial use, and cutting wood with a chainsaw.
These Husqvarna noise reduction earmuffs have a flexible padded headband and pressure-adjusting fit. Just note that this isn’t compatible with hard hats.
Moreover, these earmuffs are light and easy on the ears. It also works for those with large ears without compromising comfort.
I use this to ride my loud lawnmower, and I’ve been very comfortable ever since. And even though it has excellent noise cancellation, I can still hear someone speaking once I turn the engine off. There’s no need to remove the muffs to talk to someone.
Just note that the Husqvarna hearing protectors don’t have headphone functions. Nevertheless, it’s just a minor issue since I’m here for topnotch noise protection.
Overall, these are quiet, but it feels a little tight. Still, it’s not borderline uncomfortable, so it’s just a small niggle I can live with.
DEWALT Bluetooth Hearing Protector
If you want 25 dB-rated earmuffs with headphone functions, your best bet is the DEWALT Bluetooth Hearing Protector. Aside from its topnotch noise cancellation feature, it’s also equipped with an integrated microphone and a Bluetooth connection.
While dampening the noise, these earmuffs also allow you to listen to your favorite music. It has high-fidelity speakers but with an 85 dB sound limit to prevent hurting your ears.
Aside from that, the headband of these earmuffs is adjustable for comfort. I also like the cushioned ear cup that prevents noise from leaking when used in loud outdoor environments.
These earmuffs come with a charging cable to power up the built-in batteries. And by the way, the batteries hold a lot of power, so you can use this on long tasks without having to recharge it frequently.
If you’re working on a woodshop or doing yard work, these might be the best earmuffs to reduce noise. However, the ear pads can get sweaty during a hot day.
As for the sound quality of the speakers, I can say that it’s pretty decent. It’s not a pair of Beats, so I don’t really consider it a major deal-breaker.
PROTEAR Hearing Protector with Stereo Radio
My last pick for this roundup is the PROTEAR Hearing Protector with Stereo Radio. This has a 25 dB noise reduction rating that effectively dampens loud noises that could damage your eardrums.
Aside from that, this is equipped with a digital AM/FM radio, so you can tune in to your favorite station while working. There’s also a digital display on one of the muffs where you can see what station you’re in. It’s also equipped with a built-in antenna for stable reception.
Moreover, this hearing protector has an adjustable volume while preventing you from going overboard. You can also connect this to an audio device using the included MP3 cord in the package.
This is also fitted with a padded headband that you can easily adjust to suit your desired fit. Meanwhile, the ear cups have soft padding. It felt tight the first time I wore these muffs, but it remained comfortable for hours of use.
What I really like about the PROTEAR earmuffs is their over-ear design that prevents noise leaks. Whether you’re car racing, hunting, shooting, and going to noisy places, you should consider bringing these earmuffs with you.
How to choose earmuffs for noise reduction
Earmuffs for noise reduction aren’t made equal. To make sure that you’re getting the best value for your money, you should consider the following points:
✔️Noise reduction rating
The most important feature of noise-canceling earmuffs is their noise reduction rating or NRR. This is measured by decibels and represents the effectiveness of a hearing protection device.
The higher the NRR is, the better noise reduction the earmuffs have. Industrial-grade earmuffs or hearing protectors have 30 dB and up NRR. This is made to protect the ears from the deafening noise of heavy equipment and extremely noisy job sites.
If you’re looking for earmuffs to dampen the noise of snow blowers, leaf blowers, and similarly small machinery, an NRR of 22 dB to 25 dB will suffice. Such a rating can protect your ears from woodworking tools that produce unbearable noise.
But how does noise reduction rating works? Here’s a quick guide on the calculation:
- Step 1. Subtract 7 dB to the noise reduction rating of the earmuffs
- Step 2. Next, subtract the result from Step 1 with the noise you’re trying to dampen.
25 dB NRR – 7 dB = 18 dB (noise reduction)
95 dB (constant noise) – 18 dB = 77 dB
With this, a person wearing hearing protectors with 25 dB NRR would hear a 77 dB sound if exposed to a 95 dB noise. Take note that these are just rough calculations, and results will vary based on the specific earmuffs you’re going to buy.
The simple rule of thumb is this: the higher the noise, the higher the NRR should be.
✔️Size and fit
While most hearing protecting earmuffs have a one-size-fits-all design, you can still find some with different sizing options. This is very important if you have a small or bigger head than most.
Adjustability is the key if you’re worried about the fit. Make sure that the ear cups can be angled differently and that the headband can be adjusted in different lengths.
✔️Hard hat compatibility
Another thing you should consider is whether the hearing protectors or earmuffs are made to be compatible with hard hats. This is crucial, especially if you’re working on hazardous job sites like construction, manufacturing, and tree cutting.
The ear padding will impact the comfort and efficacy of the earmuffs in canceling noise. Make sure that the padding is comfortable and contours well on your ears.
The only challenge with most earmuffs for noise reduction is it tends to get hot on a warm day. I consider this normal since the ear cups need to cling tight to your ears for better noise-canceling effects.
Next, you should also check the style of the headband. It should be equally padded to prevent pulling your hair.
Most headbands fitted on hearing protectors are force adjustable or telescoping for your convenience. Just make sure that it’s comfortable and stays in place even as you move around.
Sound functions add a noise-canceling effect to hearing protectors. Still, don’t expect these features to have crystal clear sounds since earmuffs for noise aren’t Beats headphones. As long as the audio quality is enjoyable to listen to, it will be worth the price.
Take note that the added sound function on noise-canceling earmuffs is either Bluetooth-powered or wired. Choose which one you find most comfortable. But if you don’t want to fuss about choosing your music, earmuffs with stereo radio would also be a good choice.
✔️Price and warranty
Lastly, consider the price of the earmuffs you’re going to buy. It should be proportionate to the noise-reducing abilities together with added features.
Nevertheless, a return or replacement guarantee will protect your purchase in case the earmuffs failed to live up to expectations. Also, you should look for decent warranty terms if you’re splurging on expensive earmuff models.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How much noise can the human ear endure?
A: The human ear can only stand up to 85 dB, but the range is still not comfortable or safe. Try to aim for a 60 to 70 dB noise level to prevent the risk of hearing loss. But if you can’t avoid loud noises, especially when working on noisy job sites, you should use earmuffs or any form of hearing protectors.
Q: How do I prevent hearing loss from loud noise?
A: To prevent hearing loss from loud noises, you should use hearing protectors. Earplugs are a good start, but you can also use earmuffs for better protection. It blocks out noise completely by covering your outer ear. Aside from that, you’ll enjoy electronic features to further block background noise.
Q: Do I still have to wear earmuffs if I’m nearly deaf?
A: Those who are already suffering from advanced hearing loss should still wear hearing protectors. Exposure to loud sounds will cause further hearing damage, which is something no one would like. Besides, most job sites require wearing one as part of their safety protocols.
Q: Can I wear earmuffs on a hard hat?
A: Many earmuffs made for job sites are designed to accommodate hard hats and other head protection. Make sure that you check the size and fit to prevent discomfort, especially if you’re wearing it for extended periods.
Q: Can a noisy leaf blower make me deaf?
A: Exposure to any loud noise over 70 dB can cause serious damages to your hearing over time. Using leaf blowers frequently will take its toll on your hearing. See to it that you wear hearing protectors like noise-canceling earmuffs to dampen the noise.
The best earmuffs for noise reduction will protect your ears from potential hearing loss. Whether you’re doing DIY projects, working on a noisy job site, or exploring noisy outdoor environments, a pair of these hearing protectors are a must. Daily exposure to loud sounds can take its toll on your ears, so you shouldn’t wait before the symptoms surface.
What do you think of these earmuffs? Share your thoughts below!