How to Protect Your Ears from All the Power Tool Noise

Do you get uncomfortable hearing the leaf blower? Do your ears irritate when you use the power washer? Do you want to make sure your ears are protected and have some peace and quiet?  If ‘yes’ is your answer to any of the above questions, you’ve come to the right place.

Power tools can expose your ears to sound that could go as loud as ‘100 dB’ till you stop using that. And this noise of 100 dB can damage your eardrums. Sound-induced hearing problems could occur if your ears get exposed to 85 dB+ sounds (even a bit of exposure can be damaging). Outside and in-home power tools are known to make sounds ranging from somewhat annoying to extremely damaging.

So whether it’s a chainsaw, an electric edger, a nail gun, or a miter saw, it’d be smart to wrap your ears with hearing protection when using power tools.

What to Look for In Hearing Protection?

If you’ve never hearing protection before, here’s a few important considerations:

  • Type

There are three types of ear protection: foam earplugs, earmuffs, and molded earplugs. The first one cheap, disposable and convenient. Also, they block all sorts of noise near the user. However, they can be a bit uncomfortable and can dislodge from the ear if the user moves his/her jaw to a great extent. Earmuffs, on the other hand, are more comfortable to wear, though the dB levels they block are less than what earplugs are capable of. Molded earplugs combine the best of both worlds, and are often linked to a cord or line for fitting around the user’s neck. They keep high dB out while allowing you to hear low dB conversations.

  • Absorption of Decibel Level

The faintest noise that can be perceived by the ear of human has a zero decibel level, and the scale can go up to 180, which is the same as the noise you’ll hear during the launch of a spaceship. Most power tools, including circular saws, jigsaws, and belt sanders give off a sound between the decibel range of 100-110. On the other hand, nail guns and chainsaws create a decibel level of 120 (140 is a jet engine at full throttle). Therefore, it’s vital to research and analyze what decibel levels would cut out the noise produced by your power tools.

  • Comfort and Compactness

A snug fit is another important element for your ear protection. The device should be fitted around the ears tightly, otherwise, it won’t be able to do its job effectively. Exposure could also be indicated by slack in the gear. Also, it should be compact in size – what’s the point of buying hearing protection when it’s a burden to wear and carry around? Food for thought. Adjustable padded foams and patented technologies are also present in some hearing aids to allow for greater convenience and agility.

Best Hearing Protection for Power Tool Users

Where to Buy
3M Pro-Grade Noise-Reducing Earmuff, NRR 30 dB, Lightweight and Adjustable
SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders Plus Filtered Earplugs, Triple Flanged Design, Reusable
3M 12321 PELTOR ProTac III Headset, Headband, One Size, Black
Howard Leight by Honeywell Leightning L3 Shooting Earmuff (R-03318)

1. 3M Pro-Grade Noise-Reducing Earmuff


This earmuff boasts a classic design with a 30 dB NRR. They carry two layers of a top-quality noise-dampening foam material, along with a sturdy double-shell and a solid cup that’s high sealing. For durability and comfort, it has a steel wire headband that comes with a rubber mold design.  Plus, its pivoting cups and premium cushioning makes this earmuff easy to fit and reduce pressure points so you don’t have to worry even if you’ll use this for an extended period. This is the best gear to prevent noise-induced hearing loss.

What makes it stand out?

It’s a lightweight, vented headband design earmuff that is very comfortable to wear even with hats.


2. SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders Plus Filtered Earplugs

SureFire EP4 is a triple-flange hearing aid that’s created out of soft polymer, and both pairs snug into the ear-covered retention ring that keeps them in place. The two earpieces are securely held together by the lanyard hold. The external end of the device also features noise reducing filters that offer additional protection from power tool sounds. The filters’ stoppers can also be launched to accommodate sounds from the backgrounds. The key feature of this earplug is its patented EarLock retention rings; these utilize 7 points of contact to secure earpieces where you fit them and ensure they’re used the same way every time.

What makes it stand out?

SureFire EP4 has a low-profile design that allows users to keep them fitted while wearing a hat, helmet, mask, or when using additional hearing muffs to keep power tool sounds at bay.


3. 3M 12321 PELTOR ProTac III

These muffs offer 26dB Nrr hearing, which is the best of its kind. In fact, they’ll replace your hearing so neatly that you’d never want to go on without them. Also, they’ll still let you hear what you want, such as feedback from specific power gadgets. Featuring a voice-aided menu system, adjustable settings, and environmental features for ambient listening, the 3M’s cups can pick up sounds from around your yard, and then cut out the high-decibel noise, keeping the incoming sound low and safe. Plus, its 3mm listen-only ensures you’re able to connect to outside devices like iPods and smartphones with ease.

What makes it stand out?

The muff-styled headset features an auto power off function, which turns it off after 4 hours of non-use automatically.


4. Howard Leight by Honeywell Leightning

The last on our list, the Howard Leight earmuff has a contemporary, lightweight design and super-soft cushioning to ensure there’s no ‘squeezing sensation on users’ head. Its snap-in capability allows for convenient and quick replacement of cushioning. The headset also carries a noise reduction rating of 30, which is ideal for noise suppression in a range of settings. Moreover, the Earcup of this earmuff features patented Air Flow Control technology to cut noise across every frequency without increasing the weight or size of the earcup.

What makes it stand out?

The Howard Leight also contains a telescopic adjustment for a versatile fit, as well as a foam that reduces the pressure on the user’s hand (it’s foamed).

Final Verdict

Buying hearing protection for power tool usage is a crucial step in minimizing the risk of noise-induced ear damage. This sort of damage can affect power tool users of all ages – old or young. Sometimes it’s minimal, sometimes it’s extreme, sometimes it’s life-threatening! With that said, any hearing aid is better than going at it with open ears, especially the one that has been certified and lab tested for European and US standards.