Radio ear defenders are great for working in noisy environments where you want to protect your hearing while having something interesting to listen to.
Listening to the radio while working can help keep you motivated and prevent boredom.
As well as wearing radio ear defenders at work, you could also use them at sporting events such as F1 races to listen to commentary while reducing the volume of other noises.
There are also Bluetooth radio ear defenders available that you can use to wirelessly stream music from your phone or take hands-free calls.
There are several good radio ear defenders on the market in the UK at the moment.
Most of them only offer AM and/or FM radio, even if they call themselves “digital” ear defenders.
However, there are a few good DAB radio ear defenders available too.
Read on for our reviews of the top radio ear defenders available in the UK.
Best DAB Radio Ear Defenders
There used to be very few DAB radio ear defenders on the market, but in 2019 there are quite a few options to choose from.
Many ear defenders are made for the US market, where DAB radio isn’t used. This explains why it’s much easier to find AM/FM radio ear defenders than ear defenders with DAB radio.
Here are three of the best DAB radio ear defenders currently available in the UK.
1. Protear Bluetooth Ear Defenders with DAB/DAB+ FM Radio
These ear defenders from Protear offer a great list of features. They pick up FM, DAB and DAB+ radio stations and also have Bluetooth so you can play music from your phone wirelessly.
It’s easy to pair these ear defenders with your phone so you can listen to your own music, podcasts or internet radio.
It also has a built-in microphone so you can take hands-free calls.
You can change the radio station by pressing the buttons on the earcup, and you can save 20 preset stations so you can quickly tune into your favourites.
These ear defenders use a rechargeable built-in lithium battery that can last for around 20 hours, though some people find it lasts less than 10 hours. The battery charges via a USB cable, and you can charge it using a USB to mains adapter.
The 30 dB SNR means they do a good job at reducing loud sounds around you.
These ear defenders are comfy and feel light on the head.
2. Clas Ohlson Bluetooth FM/DAB+ Radio Ear Defenders
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These radio ear defenders from Swedish brand Clas Ohlson are quite similar to the Protear pair reviewed above.
They feature FM, DAB and DAB+ radio as well as Bluetooth for listening to music from your phone or taking hands-free phone calls.
There is an LCD display on one of the ear cups that shows the frequency of the radio station you’re tuned into. You can save a total of 60 preset stations.
There’s also a 3.5 mm aux-in port that can be used for attaching a non-Bluetooth audio source.
These ear defenders use a built-in lithium battery that is charged via the micro USB cable included. You could also use a regular phone charger to charge it.
Some people have found that the headphones are too quiet when using noisy machinery. However, radio reception is generally very good and these ear defenders are reasonably priced compared to other models with similar features.
3. EARMUFF SNR 31dB Digital DAB+ Edition Ear Defender
These German-designed ear defenders are an upgraded version of an older product with the AM receiver replaced with a DAB+ receiver.
These ear defenders have an SNR rating of 31 dB, which is higher than most radio ear defenders.
They let you save up to 40 preset stations (20 on FM and 20 on DAB/DAB+).
These ear defenders don’t have Bluetooth, but there is an aux-in port you can use for connecting a phone via a wire.
A few years ago, this product was one of the only pairs of DAB radio ear defenders on the market. Since there are now better-priced alternatives available with Bluetooth, we generally wouldn’t recommend choosing this product.
Best AM/FM Radio Ear Defenders
While there are now several DAB radio ear defenders available, the majority of radio ear defenders on the market are still AM/FM models.
DAB offers more choice, but AM/FM reception is better in some parts of the country. Another advantage of choosing AM/FM radio ear defenders is that they are usually cheaper than their DAB counterparts.
AM/FM radio ear defenders usually don’t feature Bluetooth. However, they usually have an aux-in port which you could use to attach a portable Bluetooth receiver, thereby turning them into Bluetooth headphones.
Here are three of the best AM/FM radio ear defenders currently available on the market.
1. Protear FM/AM Radio Ear Defenders
These ear defenders let you tune into AM and FM stations using the digital LCD display and save up to 40 preset stations.
They don’t have Bluetooth, but there is an aux-in port for connecting a phone or MP3 player using the cable included.
You can adjust the headband to get the best fit. They can feel quite tight on the head, so you may want to avoid wearing them for long periods of time.
These radio ear defenders are different to many of the DAB alternatives in that they take two AA batteries rather than having a built-in rechargeable battery. This could make them less convenient to use, and could end up being expensive if you don’t have a battery recharger.
Some people use these ear defenders to listen to radio commentary while watching F1 races as they let you follow what’s happening while protecting your ears from the noise of the race.
2. Nordstrand Ear Defenders
This product from Nordstrand offers good value for money. They are one of the cheapest pairs of radio ear defenders on the market at the time of writing.
These radio ear defenders don’t have Bluetooth, but there is an aux-in port for connecting a phone or MP3 player using a cable.
They pick up both AM and FM stations. However, AM radio can only be tuned in increments of 10, so you won’t be able to tune into Radio 5 Live or Talksport exactly. This is a major drawback if you’re looking for something to listen to sports on.
You can save your favourite stations as presets, and there’s also a useful clock feature.
These ear defenders take two AA batteries, which should last at least 15 hours.
3. 3M Peltor WorkTunes Pro FM Radio Headset HRXS220A
These popular radio ear defenders from respected personal protection brand 3M Peltor offer a lot of protection against loud noises, with an SNR of 32 dB.
They pick up both AM and FM radio stations, and let you save five of your favourites as presets.
They feature a 3.5 mm aux-in jack so you can attach a phone or other device such as an MP3 player.
One nice addition is that the ear defenders automatically switch off after four hours of inactivity to save the battery.
Two AA batteries are required, which should last around 16 hours.
These ear defenders are easy to use, and the controls are laid out in an intuitive way so you can operate them by touch while the ear defenders are on your head.
These ear defenders are quite expensive, but they’re comfy and well made.
Radio Ear Defenders FAQs
Can you wear earphones under regular ear defenders?
Wearing Bluetooth earphones/earbuds under regular ear defenders could be a good alternative to buying radio ear defenders, especially if you already have a pair of Bluetooth earphones.
The earphones will need to be small enough to fit under the ear defenders without causing discomfort.
How long does the battery last on radio ear defenders?
Battery life can vary greatly on radio ear defenders depending on the quality of the battery and how you use the ear defenders.
Frequently adjusting the controls will drain the battery more quickly, as will using features such as Bluetooth.
On the low end, radio ear defenders can run out of juice after as little as about 6 hours. However, they can last for over 20 hours if you’re lucky.
Are radio ear defenders waterproof?
Radio ear defenders generally aren’t designed to be water resistant.
If you’re using them for mowing the lawn or working outside and get caught in a shower, they should be fine.
However, using them in the rain for long periods of time could damage them.
Are radio ear defenders bad for your hearing?
This depends on how loud you have the radio, and how long you listen for.
When wearing radio ear defenders, it’s important not to simply replace one harmful sound with another.
Try not to listen to the radio too loudly; otherwise you will damage your hearing.
If we had to pick just one pair of DAB radio ear defenders to recommend, it would be the Protear Bluetooth Ear Defenders with DAB/DAB+ FM Radio as they offer a great list of features for the price while offering 30 dB of noise attenuation.
If you’d prefer a pair with AM/FM radio instead of DAB, we’d recommend the Protear FM/AM Radio Ear Defenders as they are reasonably priced and are good for listening to both AM and FM radio stations.