Shop Friendly Headphones

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Blog entry by Chase posted 07-14-2013 11:59 PM 1441 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I thought about doing this as a product review, but it doesn’t fit the mold considering it isn’t a woodworking tool at all. I like to listen to podcasts and music while I work the wood. Maybe it is a younger generation thing, but I always like to have tunes/news/podcasts/lectures around.

Previously I had setup speakers, which didn’t work with hearing protection. I have hearing protection that lets you plug in an audio cable, so if I was just sanding I could cord myself up. That didn’t work when i was doing anything more dangerous than that though. I didn’t like the idea of an MP3 player because the cord would be dangerous dangling around. I eventually settled on a pair of bluetooth earbud headphones.

I have an older generation tablet in the shop. It is mostly sealed, so sawdust isn’t an issue. Having access to email, music, spreadsheets, notes, calculators, and being able to look things up online is nice. The bluetooth function lets me stream my music, youtube, or whatever to my headphones while I work.

If you have a laptop/tablet with bluetooth, this is perfect! The ear buds do a decent job of blocking out some noise from tools. For example, drilling is often quiet enough to not need further hearing protection. If you do need more, I find that ear muffs fit right over buds with out disturbing anything. I can run my nosiest tools and still hear my music, even on low volume. It is very comfortable around your neck, and they never come off. I haven’t had any issues with them being a safety issues, your face shouldn’t be that close to the saw for any reason. Lastly, the range is good enough to hear everywhere in my 2 car wood shop, and battery life is good enough to get me through an all day shop session.

If you want to buy some amazon has them for about 50 bucks.

-- Every neighborhood has an eccentric neighbor. I wondered for years "who was ours?" Then I realized it was me.

8 comments so far

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2947 days

#1 posted 07-15-2013 11:47 AM

Other than using earmuffs when using my planing mill, I prefer not to use hearing protection for most things in the shop. I consider them a safety hazard. JMHO

-- Life is good.

View Bahremu's profile


21 posts in 3425 days

#2 posted 07-16-2013 05:16 PM

what about the professional ear pieces musicians use for concerts? Those are molded to the ear and provide good hearing protection and allow wireless connection to a sound source. Might be an expesive route though.

View Chase's profile


448 posts in 3050 days

#3 posted 07-16-2013 10:18 PM

i guess the professional ones would work, but these were only 50 bucks.


-- Every neighborhood has an eccentric neighbor. I wondered for years "who was ours?" Then I realized it was me.

View Buckethead's profile


3194 posts in 1892 days

#4 posted 07-16-2013 11:33 PM

I like to hear that you’re using hearing protection.

Punny. :-) I’ve had a circular saw (etc…) in my ear for decades. My hearing is diminishing, and I’m only 29. I mean… 39… Whatever.

Prolonged usage of headphones seems like it would negate the benefits gained by using the hearing protection.

Breaking even. It’s like smoking while cycling.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2947 days

#5 posted 07-17-2013 12:23 PM


-- Life is good.

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2134 days

#6 posted 07-17-2013 03:09 PM

I LOVE these... Used with the foam version of plug.

The sound quality is not on par with great earbuds, but the protection level is so good that the level can be quite low. I find them a lot more comfortable than muffs, the NRR (29) is much better than muffs that play audio, and the cord is very light, and able to be tucked inside clothing to avoid snags.

Personally, I think good ear protection enhances my ability to hear bad cuts, binding, tearout, bad bearings or motor problems… Our ears hear different frequencies at different levels. Lowering the overall volume allows us to still hear smaller artifacts that are masked at higher volumes. There is research to back this up. When I was a sound guy, we would don muffs over plugs to find PA drivers that were failing at high power. You could clearly hear a problem that was normally only audible from a distance, but at a distance you couldn’t pick out the guilty driver.

Also, constant loud noise is proven to create fatigue. I remember clearly experiencing this myself, as a pilot, when switching from a poor quality headset to a very high quality example. Even the practice of wearing ear plugs as a passenger in a jet can allow you to experience a lot less fatigue when traveling, which is why the practice is so common with frequent fliers.

View Chase's profile


448 posts in 3050 days

#7 posted 07-17-2013 10:32 PM

wow, good stuff Barry. I thought about the ear bud route, but was not comfortable with cords hanging around. maybe if I tucked them into my shirt it would be as big of a deal.


-- Every neighborhood has an eccentric neighbor. I wondered for years "who was ours?" Then I realized it was me.

View leonardchurch's profile


3 posts in 476 days

#8 posted 02-28-2017 08:44 AM

Those seem to be good. When working, anyone would need something that reduces the external noises and plays the music properly. I have a friend who got a pair of cheap noise isolating headphones that operate in bluetooth and prevents the surrounding distractions providing high quality sound at an affordable price. He uses them while working as well as while doing other activities.

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