If you work in construction, you are probably exposed to dangerously loud noises on a regular basis. To avoid long-term hearing loss or tinnitus, you should use high-quality earmuffs or ear defenders to protect your ears.
If you’re an employer, you are legally required to provide ear protection to your employees if their working environment exposes them to sounds of an average of 80 decibels.
Why use ear defenders rather than ear plugs?
Ear defenders have several benefits over ear plugs. Here are a few:
- They don’t get dirty. If you need to, you can usually clean the ear defender’s padding.
- They are usually comfier than ear plugs.
- You don’t need to keep replacing them.
- They can be quickly put on and taken off again.
Ear defenders are made with hard metal or thermoplastic headbands and soft acoustic foam earpads that help protect the ears from loud noises. Their effectiveness can be measured by their SNR number, which measures the amount of noise reduction they offer. An SNR of 30 means the ear defenders reduce the acoustic pressure your ears are subjected to by 30 decibels.
Ear defenders don’t completely cut out all noises, but you wouldn’t want that on a construction site anyway. You will still be able to hear what’s going on, but extremely loud and harmful noises will be reduced.
Here are some of the best ear defenders for people working in the construction and building trades. They should also provide good protection for your ears if you work in metal processing, textile manufacturing, heavy engineering, mining or quarrying.
3M PELTOR Optime III Ear Muffs
These ear muffs are designed to be used in very loud environments where the average volume is between 95 and 110 decibels. They have an SNR of 35 dB, which means they offer more protection than most other ear defenders. They are good at cutting out high-frequency sounds such as the noise of engines or chainsaws.
You can adjust the 3M Peltor Optime III Ear Muffs’ headband to fit the size of the head. The ear pads clamp fairly well around the head, and aren’t as tight as the FSL Decimate Ear Defenders reviewed below. They’re also comfier than most other ear defenders.
We think these are the best overall ear defenders for construction. These ear defenders offer a high level of protection and protect your ears no matter how loud your construction site is.
3M PELTOR X Series Ear Muffs X1P3E
These ear defenders are available with a choice of protection levels: 26 dB, 30 dB, 32 dB and 36 dB. The price rises as the level of protection increases. These earmuffs are designed to clip onto a helmet with a P3E fitting.
The ear defenders’ cushions can be easily be taken out to be cleaned or replaced. The earcups can be placed in three positions: over the ears, raised from the ears for when you need to hear something, and in a storage position.
Peltor are known for producing high-quality products, and while the cost of these ear defenders is higher than some of the competition you can rest assured that you’re getting something that will offer your ears real protection. See prices on Amazon.
These earmuffs are nice and light at just 185 grams, so they shouldn’t make your neck ache. They’re also fairly small and don’t feel bulky, so you will still be able to move around easily with them attached to your hard hat.
We think these are the best ear defenders for attaching to a hard hat. These ear defenders are an excellent choice if you’re looking for some comfy and convenient ear defenders to attach to your hard hat.
FSL Decimate Safety Earmuff / Ear Defender
These ear muffs are recommended for construction workers as well as those doing DIY work. They have a Noise Reduction Rating (NNR) of 34 decibels, which means they offer a good level of protection for your ears. They fit quite tightly compared to other ear defenders, but they are still comfortable.
The FSL Decimate Safety Earmuffs are convenient for construction workers as they can be folded, and easily carried around. They are also water-resistant and can be used in harsh weather.
These ear defenders are cheaper than most, and do a good job if you’re on a tight budget.
We think these are the best budget-priced ear defenders for construction. They offer a good level of protection at a low price.
See price on Amazon
Silverline 633816 Folding Ear Defenders
Silverline 633816 Folding Ear Defenders are another pair of budget-priced ear defenders. They have an SNR of 30 dB, meaning they are fairly effective at reducing noise.
After wearing these ear defenders for a few hours your ears will probably start to get hot and sweaty. Apart from that, they are quite comfortable and can be adjusted to fit the size of your head. If you wear glasses, you can still wear them these ear defenders on.
These ear defenders aren’t particularly effective at reducing sound, especially the sounds of power tools. The main reason to get a pair of Silverline 633816 Folding Ear Defenders is that they’re very cheap.
We think these are the best budget-priced ear defenders for quieter construction sites. These ear defenders don’t offer as much protection as the others reviewed above, but if the work you’re doing isn’t too loud and you’re looking for something cheap, they are a good choice.
No matter how much you’re being paid for the job you’re working on, it’s not worth losing your hearing for. Make sure you’re protecting your hearing with some high-quality ear defenders. We recommend the 3M PELTOR Optime III Ear Muffs for their overall performance and level of ear protection.