shop hearing protection - what's the best?

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Forum topic by thewoodmaster posted 04-06-2016 05:15 AM 1430 views 0 times favorited 52 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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62 posts in 2609 days

04-06-2016 05:15 AM

I’m looking for some good hearing protection to use in the shop. Possibly something with electronic noise canceling What do you use?

-- dan "insert pithy woodworking coment here"

52 replies so far

View robscastle's profile


3279 posts in 1620 days

#1 posted 04-06-2016 05:32 AM


but seriously there are some good electronic ones about, check out your local wooworking supply outlets.
Mind you you may not be able to hear The Shop Stereo.

-- Regards Robert

View rance's profile


4243 posts in 2577 days

#2 posted 04-06-2016 06:00 AM

Peltor Optime 105.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View JeffP's profile


573 posts in 808 days

#3 posted 04-06-2016 10:36 AM

In my view, the “best one” is the one you will actually use.

For me, that means a pair of wireless headphones that I like to wear anyway. Crank up some good jazz and make sawdust.

If you pick something that seems more like an “oh crap, got to go get the earplugs before I make this cut…”, you are much more likely to only use them for occasional extended noise-making sessions.

In that sense, it is a lot like safety glasses for me. I can’t see beans without glasses anymore, so as a result, I almost always have them on…including the many times when I would normally say to myself “well, I’m just going to touch up this tool on the grinder for a few seconds…what could go wrong?”.

All kinds of safety work best when they are “built-in” rather than requiring a special extra effort “when you do something dangerous”.

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

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Fred Hargis

3835 posts in 1909 days

#4 posted 04-06-2016 11:03 AM

Jeff, I’ve often thought about getting some of those, but do you find the music might be distracting (serious question)? Anyway, to the OP. I’ve always used ear plugs, but when I had a day job I had to wear them (and safety glasses) anytime I was on the factory floor so I was used to putting them in. But it used to be that my planer would make so much noise with the DC on, I had to use my shooting muffs because it was so loud.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View OSU55's profile


1039 posts in 1406 days

#5 posted 04-06-2016 11:25 AM

Muffs or earplugs, your choice. The higher the db rating the better. I wear muffs when needed, because they are much easier to put on and take off.

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2263 posts in 1786 days

#6 posted 04-06-2016 12:44 PM

I use a plain old pair of green Remington shooting earmuffs, I’ve had them for probably 7 or 8 years now. They cut out a lot of the noise, but you’ll still hear the tool when its on, just not at a deafening level. And, they were pretty affordable. They have nice cushy surround around the ears, so they’re really comfortable. I can wear safety glasses and my 3M respirator without them interfering with each other. I should note, though, my “safety glasses” are just Smith Parallel Max glasses with a clear polycarbonate lens, so they’re low profile and don’t wrap around the ears. I don’t know how the earmuffs would feel if they did.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View Nubsnstubs's profile


804 posts in 1146 days

#7 posted 04-06-2016 01:20 PM

I’ve only found 28-29 db rated ear plugs and muffs. If anyone knows of higher than 28-29 rated hearing protection, please let me know as I’m losing my hearing faster than I think I should. ............ Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View Sawdust35's profile


17 posts in 278 days

#8 posted 04-06-2016 01:52 PM

Peltor Optime 105.

- rance


View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4403 posts in 3377 days

#9 posted 04-06-2016 02:18 PM

Peltor here (no pun) as well.


View joey502's profile


482 posts in 934 days

#10 posted 04-06-2016 02:32 PM

I use both ear plugs and ear muffs, both 3M from the box store. The plugs are 32db rated and the muffs are 23db. I don’t know how much if any benefit there is using both but it seems better in my mind.

View MadMark's profile


965 posts in 869 days

#11 posted 04-06-2016 02:52 PM

The best hearing protection is what you will actually use. Monkey ears are heavy and hot, I prefer plugs as you can put them in and forget them, but to each his own.


-- Madmark -

View clin's profile


485 posts in 412 days

#12 posted 04-06-2016 03:59 PM

Another vote for the 3M Peltor 105’s.

As with any muff style, you lose some protection due to the fit over your eye protection. I find ear plugs have to be mashed into your ears tightly to work and I find that much more uncomfortable than the muffs.

I find the 3M’s very comfortable except after several hours I’ll start to feel where they have been pressing my eye protection into the side of my head.

I know nothing about what’s available in electronic noise canceling. But no matter what, these will need to be kept charged. And there clearly will be times they won’t be. So I’d want to make sure they are good hearing protection even if the the electronic part isn’t working.

FYI (and a little off topic), I use eye protection with the bi-focal reading lens built in. These are just off-the-shelf 3M ones, not prescription. Since I need them to see, they get use for everything. They even make tinted ones which are great when working outside.

-- Clin

View junebug's profile


100 posts in 1821 days

#13 posted 04-06-2016 04:21 PM

Here is what I use at home as well as at my commercial shop

Very light weight and unobtrusive. 31db noise reduction. What I really like about them is that you can hear normal conversations with them on. They were originally designed for shooting sports.

View dbhost's profile


5589 posts in 2648 days

#14 posted 04-06-2016 04:22 PM

Not sure if it’s the best, but I use an old set of Remmington shooters muffs. I figure if they protect my hearing from a 30.06 then it should be fine to protect me from saw / planer / jointer noisees…

-- My workshop blog can be found at

View Ripper70's profile


100 posts in 325 days

#15 posted 04-06-2016 04:26 PM

I’ve been using the Harbor Freight ear muffs #97849 and they work well for me. About $12 bucks and are rated at 25db reduction. They’re comfortably padded and fit my big noggin while wearing a ball cap and glasses/goggles.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

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