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Do you often find yourself in an environment with loud background noise? If the answer is yes, a pair of ear defenders could be the answer to all of your problems.
Our ears are very sensitive and delicate organs, therefore it is super important that we protect them from loud noises. Failing to do so can affect our hearing and cause lasting damage.
Ear defenders are typically worn to protect your ears when noise levels exceed 85 decibels. They are a form of PPE that should always be worn, especially if you often work in an environment with loud machinery. They are also effective in protecting your ears from other noises too.
Have you struggled to find a good pair of ear defenders that will protect your ears from the harshness of noise pollution?
If so, we’ve found some of the best ear defenders on that market and created a guide with all of the things to look out for before you purchase.
Are you in a hurry? Then we’ve chosen our top pick for you below.
In a hurry? This is our winner!
Best Ear Defenders – Comparison Table
Best Ear Defenders – Reviews
Best Ear Defenders – Buyer’s Guide
Most ear defenders will come with very similar features and serve the same purpose – to reduce noise to a safe level. You will find some that are more basic in terms of design and functions and others that are more advanced in what they can offer you.
Below we have listed some different features to help you make the correct buying choice.
The first thing to consider is comfort. If you are going to be wearing ear defenders regularly then you will want a pair that are going to sit comfortably without causing irritation.
Most ear defenders are made up of similar materials. The outer covering and headband is typically made from thermoplastic or metal, whilst the inside is made with an acoustic foam padding.
This acoustic foam absorbs the sound waves by increasing air resistance, but this also makes the ear defenders a lot more comfortable to wear.
Different brands of ear defenders will have different capabilities in how well they minimise noise levels.
Some will be capable of reducing noise at higher decibels than others. If you often find yourself in an environment with a lot of noise pollution, then having an understanding of the noise levels that you are regularly exposed to will help you to find the best ear defenders for this setting.
Another feature that you will find on some ear defenders is an adjustable headband. This is a great feature which means that the length of the ear defenders can be adjusted to suit different head sizes.
Some will also come with 360 degree clips at the end of the ear muffs. This allows you to rotate them to a position that is most comfortable for you.
Having a compact pair of ear protectors is a must if you don’t need to wear them all day. Simply take them off and slip them in your pocket. The design of some protectors don’t easily allow this, so ensure that you take this into consideration.
You will find that some come with a foldable feature, this way you can fold them away once you are finished with them and they are easier to carry around. This is also ideal if you are likely to use them for travelling.
It is likely that the more basic ear defenders will be cheaper in price because their features aren’t as advanced as those that are slightly more expensive.
Those with slightly higher price tags are likely to be more durable and have a better build quality.. Regardless of this, you may find that the cheaper ear defenders work fine for most situations.
In this guide we have included examples from different price ranges to show you the variety available on the market.
The Importance of wearing Ear Defenders
As mentioned above, exposure to loud noises can have a damaging effect on our ears and hearing. If you are regularly in an environment where you are exposed to potentially harmful noises then wearing the correct PPE, including ear protection, is really important.
If you work in an industrial setting and are often using loud machinery, it is essential to make sure that ear defenders are a part of your uniform.
Frequently asked Questions
Will ear defenders completely block out sound?
Ear defenders aren’t intended to completely block out all sound. The aim is to reduce the sound levels to a safe and comfortable range instead.
In fact, you won’t find ear defenders that are going to claim to completely block out all sounds. However, you may find some that are more effective in reducing noise than others.
What does SNR and NRR mean?
SNR refers to a single number rating and this gives you an indication of the insulation value averaged over relevant frequencies.
NRR refers to noise reduction rating. This is a unit of measurement that is more commonly used to determine the effectiveness of hearing protection at decreasing sound exposure within noisy environments.
You will tend to come across both of these measurements when looking into the descriptions of the effectiveness of different hearing equipment.
How long will a pair of ear defenders last?
Ear defenders come with soft cushion inserts which provide your ears with the comfort and protection that they need in loud environments. With some brands, these cushion inserts will be removable so that you can take them out to replace them.
It is recommended that these are changed every 6-8 months. However, if you wear your ear defenders frequently on a daily basis then it is recommended that you change them every 3-4 months to keep them hygienically clean.
In terms of the durability of the actual headband, this is dependent on their design and may differ between brands. Those made with cheaper materials may be prone to breaking quicker.
What can I use ear defenders for?
You can wear ear defenders in a number of different environments if your ears are being exposed to a lot of loud noise. This may be reducing sound levels of music, disruptive neighbours, machinery, fireworks etc.
Some people even sleep in ear defenders to help block out the sound of a partner snoring. This may be uncomfortable for some and it is recommended that you sleep on your back if you chose to wear them for this reason.
How do you wear ear defenders?
Ear defenders can be worn directly over your head. However, if you work in a construction site and wear a PPE hard hat then you can simply wear your ear defenders over your hat for effective noise cancellation. You may also find detachable options, where the ear defenders can be directly attached to your work hat.
Are expensive ear defenders better?
The effectiveness of ear defenders is very much dependent on what you will be using them for and isn’t always based on the price. You may find some cheaper ones that work just as well as more expensive ones. The performance of ear defenders may be based on personal preference and the levels of noise that you are dealing with. It is important to bare this in mind and choose the ear defenders that work well in reducing the noise levels that you are exposed to.