Construction workers are susceptible to many hazards, especially risks to their ears. Construction workers’ hearing might become permanently damaged by the loud noises that frequently occur on construction sites.
This is why the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) warns that exposure to noise exceeding 85 decibels may harm your ears. You might think that this noise level is quite low, but this is a pretty high frequency when you constantly hear this sound for 8-hours straight a day. It can be quite dangerous.
Choosing hearing protection devices can be difficult because of the variety of available options. When looking for earplugs, you can choose reusable silicone, foam, single-use, corded, slimmer ear cups, heavy-duty covers, electronic wiring, and even Bluetooth models. So how do you know the best one for you? Of course, you know that earmuffs and earplugs are the two basic types of hearing protection, but is that all there is to know?
Before we go ahead to recommend the best ear protection for construction workers, there are certain factors you should consider before making your pick.
5 Factors To Consider When Choosing Hearing Protection For Construction
Check the Noise Attenuation Level
The primary reason for purchasing hearing protection devices is to lower the noise that is usually associated with construction work. This is why the noise attenuation capacity is the most important feature of any hearing protection device you want to buy. Before purchasing any of such devices, always check for an NRR rating. The “NRR” stands for “Noise Reduction Rating.” This is the degree of noise reduction possible with a particular hearing protection device.
To pick the perfect level for you and your place of work, subtract the NRR from the daily or weekly average noise level recorded at the place of employment. This will allow you to get the accurate amount of acoustic pressure your ears must endure while working. Aim for a device with a higher NRR so that you can experience better noise attenuation.
Ensure That It Provides Comfort
Hearing protection must be comfortable if you are going to be wearing it during work. Be sure to choose ear plugs or muffs that feel comfortable in your ears and even around your neck. The most comfortable ear protection may be earplugs if inserting them into the ear canals feels comfortable. They are soft and lightweight, and some have a tiny strap, so you may wear them around your neck while not using them.
Semi-insert earplugs are a great alternative for comfort. The headbands apply only the slightest amount of pressure to keep the earplugs in place comfortably. They are lightweight and comfortable to wear around the neck when not in the ears. Finding a pair that comfortably fits the neck while not being uncomfortable or overheating is essential.
Ensure That It Is Compatible With Your Personal Protective Equipment
Ensuring that your hearing protection is compatible with your personal protective equipment (PPE) is crucial for many reasons. All PPE can be used with earplugs, making them universal. Semi-insert plugs provide a bit more of a challenge because the headband could tangle up with the straps of a respirator or your safety glasses.
The hardest item to use is over-the-ear earmuffs. Mostly because of the neck straps and the harness, they might not be compatible with a respirator. Additionally, safety glasses that fold under the muffs will allow sound to pass through, lowering the muffs’ actual NRR value.
Be Sure You Can Communicate Effectively When They Are On
You must always be aware of your environment at all times, especially if you have a hearing protection device plugged in. It can be crucial to remain safe in a workshop setting. Being able to hear and understand others in a workshop setting helps accelerate work and keep everyone safe.
Look Out Out For Any Additional Features That Are Important To You
There are a few other features you might consider while looking for the best hearing protection. Some people might choose earplugs that hang from a gentle neck cord. If you also want to listen to your favorite audio, a hearing protection device with Bluetooth might interest you.
5 Earmuffs And Earplugs To Choose From
Now that you know about the factors that should influence your choice, i here are some recommendations. Let’s look at 5 of the best ear protection devices.
The 3M Peltor Optime is top ear protection. It is equipped with a 30 dB NRR that makes it effective against noise up to 105 dB. It is equipped with padded foam ear cups and stainless steel headband for extra comfort. This headset is more durable than other models that employ an all-plastic construction because of the metal headband that keeps your ears covered without putting too much pressure on them. This model also has a cap-mount option that can be fastened directly to a hard helmet or protective headgear.
The 3M Peltor X Series is equipped to provide the best amount of attenuation to safeguard your priceless hearing against harmful noise levels in the workplace. This earmuff is at the top of its class for protection, comfort, and design. The wired headband is electrically insulated, and the dual headband, developed for optimal comfort, minimizes heat build-up while offering a continuous pressed fit and balance. In addition to minimizing heat and moisture build-up, the lightweight dual molded cup design and sealing ring foam technology is exceptionally comfortable. It performs well with eyewear and respirators.
The 3M E-A-R Classic Corded Ear Plugs are very popular hearing protection devices. These earplugs have remarkable benefits, including excellent protection with an NRR of 29dB. Its design is an easy-to-use cylindrical design, soft, low pressure for all-day comfort, and yellow for maximum visibility. The E-A-R Classic earplugs are a high-demand product in the market.
The cylindrical shape of these plugs has been found to provide superior protection to tapered plugs. The E-A-R ear plugs are one-of-a-kind because the producers specially manufacture the foam. This is why it can provide optimal and consistent performance. This is why they remain a top choice for customers.
The EarPeace Safety Ear Plugs are top-quality earplugs that provide various degrees of protection. It provides up to 26dB NRR. The earplugs may minimize outside noise while delivering true-to-life audio at safer levels for your hearing because of the Hi-Fi attenuation technology. They won’t interfere with any other safety equipment you could be using at work, such as safety glasses, thanks to their design. Due to the silicone material, they may be used for a longer period because of how easily they can be cleaned.
The Howard Leight Honeywell Impact Pro is a top ear protection device. It provides better protection against your workshop’s tools’ potentially lethal sound levels. Noise across all frequencies is reduced by airflow control technology. However, the directional microphones that increase the range of external sounds to safer levels will help you maintain situational awareness.
The telescopic headband on this headset allows the user to customize its fit. While working, you can also use the headphones for amusement. The headset has a wire and an AUX input connector so that it may be connected to audio equipment like an MP3 player.