Hearing Protection - What do you do?

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Forum topic by EricLew posted 06-03-2017 04:12 PM 2628 views 0 times favorited 39 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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273 posts in 2478 days

06-03-2017 04:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question hearing protection safety

Hey Jocks,

I wanted to ask, What is your opinion on hearing protection?
The “official” recommendation is to always wear it, like always use your table saw blade guard, which I dont think many of us do.

I hardly ever wear it, because I’m a part time hobbyist, who got back into woodworking a few years ago, after a 20 year hiatus. and I have always believed hearing what is going on in the shop and hearing the tools is very important. Sometimes a cut, or machine doesnt sound right, which is rare, but is a red flag to stop, and I’m concerned I wouldnt hear that if I was wearing hearing protection.

Pretty much the only time I wear it is if I am doing a lot of routing, which is usually the loudest and most annoying noise in the shop. My jointer and planer are loud, but I dont use them as often, or for long periods of time.

Plus, 20 years ago hearing protection was just earplugs or dumb headphones, today they are bluetooth, and play music or let you talk on the phone. I, personally, would NEVER talk on the phone while using power tools. I have a radio in the shop, but that is much milder than music in your ears.

What do you guys think?

Thanks, Eric

-- I love the smell of coffee in the morning, and sawdust in the afternoon

39 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5353 posts in 5072 days

#1 posted 06-03-2017 04:37 PM

Peltor Optime.
Best I have used.

-- [email protected]

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 1759 days

#2 posted 06-03-2017 04:44 PM

I never wear hearing protection. I loudest thing in my shop is the occasional squirrel running across the roof; or, perhaps me playing the fife while the glue dries!

View TheDane's profile


5973 posts in 4775 days

#3 posted 06-03-2017 04:57 PM

I wear Flents Quiet Time Ear Plugs just about anytime I am in the shop.

When I am jointing / planing / routing (anything with a high noise level) I pop on a set of 3M Peltor H10A Optime 105 Earmuffs

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Karda's profile


3159 posts in 1666 days

#4 posted 06-03-2017 05:27 PM

I always wear hearing protection my lathe is the only machine where I don’t need it, I have very sensitive ears. don’t take a chance on your hearing. The damage builds up over time not at once. as far as your machine sound listen once in a while but when working protect your ears. Not all ear protectors are radios.

View Rich's profile (online now)


6918 posts in 1701 days

#5 posted 06-03-2017 05:50 PM

I like the 3M 90716-80025T Corded Reusable Earplug. It’s too hot here much of the year to wear over-ear protection, and I find these work well, and I can pull them out and leave them hanging around my neck when I don’t need them, and they are ready to pop back in when I do. They do a good job, without drowning out too much noise, since I do like to hear what’s happening on the machine.

They rinse clean in hot water and last pretty much forever.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 4480 days

#6 posted 06-03-2017 06:06 PM


View Aj2's profile


3877 posts in 2910 days

#7 posted 06-03-2017 07:29 PM

I don’t need hearing protecting anymore.I can’t hear anything over the ringing.

-- Aj

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 1759 days

#8 posted 06-03-2017 07:58 PM

Sorry for the re-post, but I forgot to mention that once I installed the NDS2000™ (noise dampening system) on my spring pole lathe, noise was a thing of the past …

... eliminating the need for hearing protection!

View EricLew's profile


273 posts in 2478 days

#9 posted 06-03-2017 08:13 PM

I appreciate your replies. In just a few responses there were a few very different types recommended. I was surprised at how inexpensive these were, I am going to try a few of them, which combined are less than I thought I would have to pay for one. I guess it’s because I always see the bluetooth type advertised. Plus the less expensive ones will probably allow me to still hear the machines, which was my biggest concern.
Thanks again !

-- I love the smell of coffee in the morning, and sawdust in the afternoon

View RustyHacksaw's profile


145 posts in 2375 days

#10 posted 06-03-2017 10:12 PM

I enjoy the cheap ones from harbor freight. Buy a new pair almost every time I go. They are nice because you can leave one at each machine, and around the shop. There is always a pair close by to grab.

View Kazooman's profile


1540 posts in 3064 days

#11 posted 06-03-2017 10:15 PM

Peltor also. Very comfortable. I also have a pair with a built in radio. I NEVER use them in the shop. I need to concentrate on where my hands are in relation to the saw blade, router bit, jointer knives, etc. I usually have a radio going when I am in the shop, but the muffs cancel that out when I am using machinery.

View ArtMann's profile


1483 posts in 1928 days

#12 posted 06-03-2017 11:11 PM

I use the ones in the link below. I have used several types of ear plugs and a couple of different kinds of ear muffs and these are the most effective and comfortable ones I have found so far.

View Matt's profile


163 posts in 2063 days

#13 posted 06-04-2017 02:09 AM

i use the 3m bluetooth work tunes. both in the shop and on the mower.

-- My "projects" always look better when your glasses are broken.

View jonah's profile


2136 posts in 4411 days

#14 posted 06-04-2017 02:22 AM

If you care about your hearing, wear hearing protection. If you don’t, then don’t complain when you go deaf at 55.

Power tools (especially universal motor ones) are ridiculously loud, and you should always, always wear hearing protection when using them.

The nice thing about hand tool work is that you can go without hearing protection.

Being around very loud sounds regularly will absolutely destroy your hearing. That is a medically proven fact.

View runswithscissors's profile


3130 posts in 3137 days

#15 posted 06-04-2017 04:01 AM

+1 for the HF ear muffs. The main noise spectrum dampened is the higher frequencies, the ones that are most damaging. I have lost quite a bit of hearing, and can’t afford to lose any more. Plenty of the subtle nuances of the machines’ behavior gets through to alert me when something is amiss.

I stupidly used to run a chain saw without protection, cutting several cords a year, as we heated almost entirely with wood. I am paying the price now. I have also gone to cordless (battery) weed trimmer and lawn mower for yard work. Much quieter, besides the other obvious benefits.

Also the jointer/planer combo machine has a helical cutter head, which is much quieter than the straight knives. Still wear the earmuffs, though.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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