Broadly speaking, there are three different categories of hearing protection available; the type of protection you require will largely depend on the environment in which they will be used.

For low levels of noise, you can use a set of ear plugs; they are perfect for club and concert environments, where the noise level won’t damage your hearing immediately.

Semi-insert ear plugs are simply two ear plugs that are held in place over the ears by a headband; these tend to be used in slightly louder environments than the ear plug.

The most protective product of the three is the ear defender, it protects you from extremely loud noises that can damage your hearing permanently (even after a single exposure).

Why are ear defenders necessary?

Hearing protection designed to protect the user from dangerously high noise levels. The padding itself is made from a type of acoustic foam that absorbs the waves by increasing the air resistance in order to stop them from reaching the ear drum.

You may not realise the damage being caused, but some everyday tasks (e.g. mowing the lawn) can potentially have a catastrophic effect on . Of course, it is not necessary to protect yourself from these types of activities but there are many more which you should approach with care.

However, some of these products do not solely protect you from excessive noise; modern technology has allowed them to house radio systems, doubling up as a two-way radio. With these devices, you don’t need to remove them in order to communicate.

 

Know your limits!

Decibel LevelHow long before any damage?Source of noiseIndustry Example What is the best suited headset?
130dB0 minutesJet take offAviationhttps://www.onedirect.co.uk/peltor/3m-peltor-alert-headset-with-mic-headband
109dBless than 5 minutesCar hornTransporthttps://www.onedirect.co.uk/peltor/3m-peltor-alert-headset-with-mic-headband
106dB5 minutesSpeakers at high volumeEntertainmenthttps://www.onedirect.co.uk/peltor/3m-peltor-alert-headset-with-mic-headband
103dB8 minutesBelt sanderManufacturinghttps://www.onedirect.co.uk/peltor/3m-peltor-flex-headset
97dB15 minutesMotorcycleTransporthttps://www.onedirect.co.uk/peltor/3m-peltor-x5a-ear-muffs
94dB1 hourElectric drillConstructionhttps://www.onedirect.co.uk/peltor/3m-peltor-flex-headset
91dB2 hoursLawn mowerGardeninghttps://www.onedirect.co.uk/duo-pack-peltor-x3a-ear-muffs
85dB8 hoursVacuum cleanerHomehttps://www.onedirect.co.uk/peltor/3m-peltor-x2a-ear-muffs

 

What are SNR and dB?

The SNR is a single number rating system that you can use to measure the level of noise attenuation of each product. When you know the SNR of different products you can then compare them and decide which product best suits your needs.

In order to work out the acoustic pressure on your ears you need to subtract the SNR from the noise level measurement.

For example, the outside noise reading is 80dB

The SNR value of your hearing protection is 25,

80 (dB) – 25 (SNR) =55

Therefore, the new dB level is 55

 

Comfortable Ear Defenders

Types of ear defender

Standard – Large variety of products available on the market in a range of shapes and sizes.

Electronic  – More advanced than the standard ear defender, these pick up low levels of sound from the outside environment and relay them to you at an audible level.

With radio – These have a built-in two-way radio system that allows the user to communicate with colleagues.

 

Choosing the right ones for you

With the great variety of ear defenders on the market today, it can prove rather difficult to find the perfect product to suit your needs. We consider the level of noise exposure in your working environment and the comfort of the product itself as being of vital importance when making this choice.

Another factor to consider is to what extent you wish to reduce the noise. At times staff prefer to use earmuffs as they provide a more suitable level of no-frills protection and ear plugs are inconvenient to constantly remove and put in. Additionally, if your job requires constant communication, you may require a product that includes a two-way radio system.

Our recommended products:

 

3M Peltor Flex Headset3M Peltor Flex Headset

  • Noise-cancelling beam-mounted with PTT
  • Can be connected to walkie talkies or mobiles by cable
  • High attenuation (33dB)
  • Built-in noise-cancelling microphone

 

 

3M Peltor ProTac II3M Peltor ProTac II Ear Defender

  • Protects you against loud sounds, amplifies quiet sounds
  • High attenuating hearing protection – SNR: 31dB – class 5
  • Audio input jack for external radio
  • Battery life: 1000 hours

 

 

ATEX Ear Defender for Entel HT ATEX (Hard Hat)ATEX Ear Defender for Entel HT ATEX (Hard Hat)

  • ATEX approved intrinsically safe
  • SNR: 30dB
  • VOX hands free and PTT button
  • High-quality noise-cancelling boom microphone

 

 

Entel CHP750D Ear Defender with MicEntel CHP750D Ear Defender with Mic

  • Heavy duty double ear cup ear defender
  • SNR: 30dB
  • VOX hands free and PTT button
  • High-quality noise-cancelling boom microphone

 

 

3M Peltor Atex Neckband Headset3M Peltor Atex Neckband Headset

  • ATEX approved and suitable for use in potentially explosive environments
  • In-built microphone for mobile and radio communications
  • SNR: 12dB
  • Spiral cord for connection to Peltor adapter that enables PTT (push to talk)

 

 

3M Peltor Alert Headset with Mic – Headband3M Peltor Alert Headset with Mic – Headband

  • Two microphones for active listening
  • Microphone and J11 connector cord
  • FL5000 adapter
  • SNR: 37dB

 

 

 

The necessity for protection is obvious with certain jobs (e.g. at airports, working with heavy machinery); health and safety regulations will require you to wear at least some form of protective headsets whilst you work.

If you look at the table there are many jobs above the 85dB mark; at this point, noise exposure becomes particularly harmful. If working in environments with high noise levels, we strongly recommend investing in sound protective equipment to avoid lasting damage.

Click below to view our full selection of hearing protection

 

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