Best ear protection


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I am currently using a Barretta head set that came with my gun. It seems a little heavy. First priority is sound protection. Second is weight. I want good sound protection with weight consideration. Thanks

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I’ve worked decades in a noise hazard environment (aircraft maintenance) and I always used the foamy 3M EAR plugs. Put them in first thing and wore them all day. I continue that practice in the shop or while doing any other loud activities like mowing the lawn. Plugs are light and aren’t sweaty in the summer.  

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The best protection is one that gets used.  I've kept a couple of pairs of foamies in my pocket as long as I can remember, and use them.  I've I'm going to be doing something really loud, I'll wear muffs over the foamies.

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I've never been able to get into the habit of wearing ear plugs, but they're definitely the safer option/combo. I have two sets of earmuffs in the shop: a pair of 3M Peltors, and some ClearArmor branded shooting earmuffs. The ClearArmor are lighter than the 3Ms, but their pads are more rigid and don't always conform as well around chunky safety glasses.

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I just ordered a pair of IsoTunes Free. I had bought a pair of their wired earbuds (wire between the two ear buds) but they would always get snagged on my shirt or something and were frustrating. Also have a set of 3M worktunes that I occasionally use, but I’ve never found earmuffs to be comfortable or effective with eye protection on. 

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On 5/18/2022 at 8:34 AM, Mark J said:

If you're considering an earphone solution, you should also look at the Bose noise canceling ear buds.  

I have thought about this, but I am not 100% sure if noise canceling actually protects ears? Does anyone know for sure? normal noise protection works by blocking out outside noise through not letting into your ear channel, but NC headphones the noise will get in but they will send a silent frequency to counter that noise so it's heavily reduced, so it does work great but in terms of actually protecting your ears I would be curious if it is the same as normal hearing protection. 

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On 5/20/2022 at 9:56 AM, TylerKotar said:

I have thought about this, but I am not 100% sure if noise canceling actually protects ears? Does anyone know for sure? normal noise protection works by blocking out outside noise through not letting into your ear channel, but NC headphones the noise will get in but they will send a silent frequency to counter that noise so it's heavily reduced, so it does work great but in terms of actually protecting your ears I would be curious if it is the same as normal hearing protection. 

I read something a while ago about that here: https://toolguyd.com/noise-cancellation-headphones-vs-hearing-protection-earmuffs/

I haven't done any research into the Comply tips but it seems like they're supposed to protect against sound. I'm not sure if there's any ratings on them to prove that though.

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It’s not frequency, that’s a rate. It’s pressure. Noise cancellation negates pressure variation. Hearing loss is caused when cillia become overstimulated rapidly, and the body cannot adjust fast enough. Your ear can handle a variety of pressures. Evening out the variation should not ever cause damage. 

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For shooting, I got a set of custom molded earplugs. They work great at the shotgun range and for smaller pistols. Good in the home shop too. For heavy guns and really big pistols, I add a set of ear muffs over them. Kinda weird hearing your blood move in your head, but no ringing at the end of the day. I shoot some very heavy caliber competition pistols and they really roar, so go protection is essential.

The work really well at the drag races too and very comfortable. I got them at the local gun show 

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Interesting article.  Here are my quick thoughts.

Ear muffs won't fit well over my PAPR (or eyeglass ear pieces), so I have to wear something in the ear.  I have never been succesful getting simple foam plugs to stay in.  The noise cancelling ear buds significantly dampen continuous noise, like the DC (I wouldn't use them with something staccato like a nail gun).  I think muffs are a little more effective, but not that much.  When switched off they still offer some protection, maybe not as good as foam plugs.  You can swap out the ear piece for Comply foam tips, and I think the performance is slightly better, but I ended up switching back to the silicone ear pieces--easier to put on.  They recharge quickly (and it's time for a snack anyway).  Anyway that's my experience using them.  And I should mention I don't listen to music, etc. when I'm working.

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My only experience is with Apple products, but newer in-ear applications feature noise transparency. I can sit in a room full of students, listening to my music creation, while able to hear them. I think my device acts as a microphone. I can adjust volume, and room noise adjusts also. This excites me, as tuning out machine noise is not best for a shop, in my opinion. Reducing it is my goal. 

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I got a bag of 50 3m plugs. .30 cents each from amazon. I also got from Amazon an Iso 2.0. I got the iso working and the music sounds great but the thickness planer was too loud and it was not comfortable. The 3m plugs are comfortable and each one comes with its own pocket size cardboard box. I only want them in when needed. I have and like my sony speaker that takes my music library from my iPhone. I am sending the Iso back. All comments are much appreciated.

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SparkPlugs foam ear plugs. They have a high NRR 33 (when completely inserted according to instructions). Sometimes you have to search a little on the internet to get the best price. They don't interfere with any dust filtering masks or powered helmets and I've found nothing that reduces the sound from a loud machine as much. I'm not a believer in listening to music while using machines with the possible exception of a sander. All of our concentration should be on the machine.

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