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.
For our top pick we have chosen the 3M Peltor Optime III earmuffs, which come in a headband or neckband style. These ear defenders are ideal for any industrial work setting, airports, power stations, or basically anywhere where you are likely to be exposed to loud noises.
They have a nice sturdy design and the large cup helps to reduce moisture and prevent heat build up – a great feature so that you don’t have to worry about sweating when you are working in warm environments.
These ear defenders are comfortable to wear thanks to the soft wide cushions which reduce the pressure on your ears. After all, what can be more uncomfortable than having a tough surface putting pressure directly onto your ears.
The double casing technology works to minimise the resonance effect.
The different style options mean that you can choose the ones that you find more comfortable to wear.
The removable cushions and inserts make them an hygienic option, as they can easily be replaced after a few uses.
They are easy to wear thanks to their comfortable design.
They work well against harsh noises in different environments.
These ear defenders retail for a good affordable price.
They can feel tight until your ears adjust to them properly which some people may find uncomfortable.
Some customers found that the padding began ripping after wearing them a few times.
These Mpow foldable ear defenders are great for providing your ears with plenty of protection, whether this be from construction machinery, in an industrial environment, shooting or using fireworks. Basically, they are a great fit for pretty much any activity where you need ear protection.
These 32db noise reduction ear defenders are designed with two layers of soft noise dampening foam ear cups, giving you maximum comfort whilst you wear them. They also boast a high sealing solid cup and a unique double shell.
These Mpow ear defenders aim to reduce the noise levels in your environment to a safe and comfortable level.
They have a modern and compact lightweight design and the foldable feature is great for when you are not using them. Impressively these ear muffs also come with a travel bag so that you can store them away when you aren’t using them – helping to keep them in good condition for longer.
The adjustable headband feature allows you to adjust them to the size that is comfortable to wear.
These are comfortable enough to be worn for hours without causing any irritation to your ears.
Raving reviews show that these ear defenders are very good at blocking out harsh background noise, but you are still able to hear conversations.
The travel bag is a very handy addition for carrying these ear defenders around.
Some customers found that the headband clips were flimsy and broke easily.
Reviews also show that some customers found these ear defenders too tight.
These compact ear defenders by Vanderfields cater to the needs of men, women, teenagers and children and come in a variety of different colours.
These high quality and solidly built ear defenders have an official 26db NRR but can reduce noise up to an amazing 125db. They are such good quality, that they are often used by the military too. They also come with double shell sound cancelling technology, guaranteed to reduce all of that unwanted background noise.
These are ideal for a number of situations where you might find yourself exposed to noise pollution. This may be loud music, machinery, chainsaws or woodwork and they are suitable for everyday wear.
They are nice and compact as you can fold them away once you have finished using them.
The ear and headband sections come with soft memory foam padding to provide you with plenty of comfort whilst you are wearing them.
The adjustable feature makes them suitable for everyone to wear as you can find the right size for you.
The foldable feature makes them a nice compact option and also makes them a lot easier to carry around when you aren’t using them.
They are produced by a brand that is renowned for their high production standards so you know that you are going to be receiving a good quality product.
They are durable and solidly built.
Some customers felt that these ear defenders were too tight and uncomfortable around their heads.
They are slightly more expensive than other ones on the market.
Next, we have chosen the Portwest classic design lightweight ear defenders. They are available in two size options; a standard one size and a regular size. Both come with the option of adjustable length. These are a great option for catering to different head sizes.
They are slightly more basic than some we have mentioned, however they are a neat option with a lightweight and robust design.
These ear defenders will provide you with all day comfort without feeling like you have something heavy pressing down onto your ears. They also have an excellent attenuation rate and an NRR of 22db.
They are great value for money and extremely affordable for those on a budget.
They are effective at reducing different noises in different environments, not just in work.
They have a good quality, lightweight design.
Reviews show that some customers found these ear defenders uncomfortable after wearing them for longer periods of time.
They are a lot more basic than some other ear defenders that you can purchase.
Our next choice is the Procase ear defenders. These sound cancelling defenders have an NRR of 28db and are built to withstand daily bumps courtesy of their solid shell and flexible headband.
The thick cushioned noise dampening foam and imitation leather provides you with maximum comfort and stops you from feeling any pressure on your head. The tight soundproof seal around your ears is an added bonus in blocking out those unwanted background noises.
The stainless steel adjustment feature at the end of the ear muffs allows you to alter the ear cups to different sizes and choose a position that is comfortable for you.
They are a good affordable price for those on a budget.
The different adjustment features enable you to choose the most comfortable size for your head.
They help to reduce the noise in many settings whether this be hunting, operating loud machinery, garden trimmers, lawn mowers or chain saws.
Customers who have purchased these ear defenders were impressed with the quality of the product that they received.
Some people found these ear defenders to be too small and unsuitable for those with bigger sized heads.
Finally we have chosen ear defenders by Tacklife. These high quality ear muffs provide great protection against high SNR 34db noise.
They are made with comfort in mind thanks to their 15mm thick memory foam ear cups and soft leather covering, making them suitable for long term wear by adults and children.
The adjustable headband feature is made with retractable stainless steel and 360 degree rotatable ear cups, great for catering to different head sizes and shapes.
They effectively reduce noise reduction and have passed EU laboratory standard tests.
They are a comfortable fit for larger heads too.
They aren’t expensive and retail at a good price.
They are good quality with a tough and sturdy build. They are lightweight and comfortable to wear.
Some customers didn’t find these very effective in terms of noise reduction.
Despite having an adjustable headband some customers found them too small and uncomfortable.
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.
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