Best Earmuffs for Construction – Buyer’s Guide

Earmuffs play a critical role in ensuring the safety of construction workers by effectively safeguarding their ears against the excessive noise generated by machinery and tools. However, selecting the most suitable earmuffs can present a challenge. To assist you in this process, we have compiled a comprehensive buyer’s guide designed specifically for construction professionals.

Within this guide, we will explore key factors that should be taken into account when choosing earmuffs, and we will provide recommendations for several models that we deem excellent choices for individuals working in construction environments. Without further ado, let us commence our exploration.

Earmuffs for Construction

Construction Noise

Construction workers are exposed to high volumes of noise on a regular basis. According to OSHA, “Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common workplace injuries.” The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA official website) requires that construction employers take certain steps to make sure their employees’ hearing isn’t damaged by workplace noise.

The majority of construction work is done with heavy machineries like compressors, jackhammers, and drills. These tools make lots of noise (see the table below).

Construction Noise Sources dB Level Construction Noise Sources dB Level
Air Compressor 81 Pile Driver (impact) 101
Backhoe 80 Pile Driver (sonic) 96
Ballast Equalizer 82 Pneumatic Tool 85
Ballast Tamper 83 Pump 76
Compactor 82 Rail Saw 90
Concrete Mixer 85 Rock Drill 98
Concrete Pump 82 Roller 74
Concrete Vibrator 76 Saw 76
Crane Derrick 88 Scarifier 83
Crane Mobile 83 Scraper 89
Dozer 85 Shovel 82
Generator 81 Spke Driver 77
Grader 85 Tie Cutter 84
Impact Wrench 85 Tie Handler 80
Jackhammer 88 Tie Inserter 85
Loader 85 Truck 88
Paver 89

The acoustic intensity emitted by a jackhammer, even from a distance of 50 feet, can reach as high as 120 decibels (dB). It is worth noting that prolonged exposure to such levels of noise, if sufficiently intense, can result in permanent hearing damage within a mere 15 minutes. It is essential to recognize that the cumulative effect of continuous exposure to high noise levels throughout the day, week, or year can have significant consequences.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) emphasizes that an individual exposed to 90 dB(A) for eight hours accumulates an equivalent noise dose as someone working in a noisy factory for a full 16-hour shift. This comparison underscores the importance of considering not only the intensity of individual noise sources but also the total duration of exposure.

Moreover, excessive noise exposure can lead to hearing fatigue. The human ear possesses a protective reflex that gradually reduces sensitivity to loud sounds over time, which is generally beneficial for auditory health. However, when exposed to excessive noise levels for prolonged periods, the ear’s ability to recover becomes compromised. Consequently, a phenomenon known as temporary threshold shift (TTS) may occur, resulting in temporary hearing loss that typically resolves within a few hours or days. Nevertheless, in certain cases, prolonged or recurring instances of TTS can lead to permanent damage to the auditory system.

Hearing Protection Classes

OSHA requires that all workers exposed to noise levels over 85 dBA wear hearing protection. There are two classes of hearing protection: earplugs and earmuffs. Both types have their advantages and disadvantages, so there’s no single “best” option for everyone. Let’s take a look at each type of hearing protection.

1. Ear Plugs

Earplugs are small inserts that you place in your outer ear canal. They’re usually made from foam or waxed cotton, but you can also purchase custom-made earplugs from an audiologist if needed. Earplugs provide good hearing protection because they fit right next to the eardrum where sound enters the body and muffle loud sounds by blocking the sound waves. One drawback is that earplugs reduce the sense of your own voice so you might have trouble communicating with co-workers during loud work events. Earplugs also do a good job blocking high-frequency noises but they don’t block low-frequency noises very well, which can cause hearing fatigue and isn’t always enough to protect your ears in noisy environments.

2. Earmuffs

Earmuffs fit around your entire outer ear and seal tightly against it with an adjustable band or foam pads. They usually come in one universal size that fits most people, but if you find they’re not snug enough, you can add extra padding for a better fit. Earmuffs provide more protection than earplugs because they cover all-around your outer ear and seal tightly against the skin. This helps prevent loud sounds from entering the ear canal and causing damage. One drawback is that they can feel bulky or heavy, especially if you wear them for hours during a single work event. Earmuffs also don’t do as good of a job blocking high-frequency noises as earplugs, which means you might still be exposed to damaging noise even with proper protection.

Standard AS/NZS 1270:2002 Acoustics – Hearing protectors

These are the specification and test methods that set out requirements for selecting hearing protectors to block noise.

  • Class 1 – less than 90 decibels (dB)
  • Class 2 – between 90 and 95 dB
  • Class 3 – between 95 and 100 dB
  • Class 4 – between 100 and 105 dB
  • Class 5 – between 105 and 110 dB

This standard specifies requirements for sound attenuation (noise blocking ability), earmuffs, earplugs, helmets worn with earplugs or earmuffs, communications headsets, active noise reduction systems, and warning signals. It also specifies performance requirements.
Standard AS/NZS 1270:2002 does not apply to products where the primary purpose is hearing augmentation (e.g., hearing aids). It also excludes devices that are inserted into the outer ear canal other than in the normal use as a protective device against noise exposure.

Construction Earmuffs Features

The construction earmuffs are meticulously engineered with the utmost consideration for the needs of construction workers, prioritizing both comfort and effective hearing protection. These earmuffs feature large foam-filled cushions that provide a soft and comfortable fit, allowing the wearer to focus on their tasks without the distraction of discomfort. The deep ear cups not only contribute to the earmuffs’ overall comfort but also serve to enhance their noise-blocking capabilities.

One notable advantage of these earmuffs is their lightweight and less bulky design, which sets them apart from traditional foam earmuffs. This thoughtful design ensures that construction workers can wear them for extended periods without experiencing undue strain or discomfort. The reduced bulk also allows for greater maneuverability and freedom of movement, which is particularly beneficial in environments where agility and mobility are crucial.

Durability is a key consideration in the design of these earmuffs. They are crafted with a crush-resistant structure that ensures their longevity, even in demanding work environments and fulfill the crucial purpose of safeguarding the wearer’s ears from the high levels of noise prevalent in construction sites. These earmuffs are carefully designed to provide effective hearing protection, allowing construction workers to focus on their tasks without the risk of noise-induced hearing damage.

In addition to their noise-blocking capabilities, these earmuffs boast a notable feature—a crush-resistant design that significantly contributes to their durability and lifespan. Construction sites can be challenging environments, with potential hazards like heavy equipment, debris, and unpredictable impacts. The inclusion of a crush-resistant design ensures that the earmuffs can withstand such demanding conditions, providing reliable and long-lasting hearing protection to the wearer.

By incorporating this crush-resistant feature, the earmuffs address a crucial concern in the construction industry, where equipment durability is paramount. The ability of these earmuffs to withstand physical stress and pressure enhances their longevity, enabling them to withstand the rigors of daily use on construction sites. This, in turn, contributes to cost-effectiveness, as workers can rely on these earmuffs for extended periods before needing to replace them.

Video: Hearing Protection in Construction

Earmuffs for Construction: FAQ

What kind of hearing protection should I use?

It depends on your noise levels and how long you’re exposed to the noise. If you’re working in a very loud environment or for many hours, earmuffs might be more comfortable than earplugs. If your work environment is only moderately loud (80 dBA), either type of protection will probably be fine as long as you wear them properly and don’t remove them until it’s safe to do so. You can also purchase combination earplugs and earmuffs that provide both types of protection at once, which simplifies things and usually offers better protection than using one type of hearing protector alone.

Will my ears ever stop ringing after working in a loud environment?

Noise-induced hearing loss is permanent and irreversible, so you can’t “get used to” or get better from it. But if you take the proper steps to protect your ears from harmful noise, your risk of developing hearing loss will be greatly reduced. If you find that your ears are still ringing after several days of not being exposed to loud noises, see your doctor right away because this could indicate a more serious problem.

Does earwax block my ear canal and increase my chances of getting noise-induced hearing loss?

No! Earwax actually helps prevent dirt and contaminants from entering the ear canal by trapping these objects before they reach the eardrum. It’s very thin and waxy when it’s produced and usually dries up and falls out of the ear canal in a day or two. If you clean your ears frequently, there’s no need to worry about whether you’ll get hearing loss from earwax buildup.

What can I do if my co-workers aren’t protecting their ears?

If someone’s not wearing hearing protection in a noisy environment, it’s up to you to make sure they’re aware of the dangers and know how important it is to wear proper protection. Be supportive and encouraging by explaining why it matters — everyone wants their hearing to last into old age! If you’re the person in charge, it’s up to you to enforce a policy that requires everyone to wear hearing protection.

Can Construction workers listen to music?

A new guidance letter from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) indicates it is legal, but not generally advisable, for workers to use headphones to listen to music on a construction site even if the headphones are marketed as “OSHA approved.”

Earmuffs for Construction: Comparison Table & Main Features

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Earmuffs for Construction: What to Consider When Buying

1. NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) NRR is the standard rating system for hearing protectors. A higher number indicates better protection against noise. For example, earplugs with a rating of 26 dB offer more protection than those rated at 23 dB.
NRR is slightly different for earmuffs because they cover both ears and help block all noise equally. Manufacturers usually provide an average value since it’s not possible to measure exactly how much sound each muff will absorb across all frequencies.
2. Material Most earplugs and earmuffs are made of either foam or silicone.
Foam is inexpensive, but it degrades over time, especially when exposed to sweat and moisture. It’s also more likely to cause irritation than silicone. Silicone plugs are better at blocking water and can be washed with soap to keep them fresh between uses. However, they’re usually pricier than foam varieties.
3. Comfort Comfort is one of the most important factors to consider since it’s unlikely that earplugs or earmuffs will effectively protect your hearing if they’re too uncomfortable to wear. Foam plugs can cause pain and discomfort when inserted into the ear canal, which is why many people prefer reusable silicone options instead. One drawback to silicone is that it may gradually be absorbed by the skin inside your ear, especially if you use them every day.
4. Portability Whether you plan on using your hearing protection throughout the work day or just need something for occasional events, make sure to choose a pair that comes with a carrying case so they’ll always be easy to find.
5. Adjustment Type Earplugs and earmuffs come in three primary types: band, pre-molded or custom fit. Pre-molded varieties fit the same shape as the original equipment manufacturer’s version, so they’re usually bigger than custom options and can be less comfortable to wear for long periods of time. However, this is a good choice if you already know that your ears are large enough to accommodate them without difficulty. Banded styles offer more head flexibility since they’re not stuck in one place like earmuffs. They can also easily slip off if snagged by another person or clothing while you move around, which makes them less appropriate for some jobs. Custom-fit products provide the best combination of protection and comfort since they precisely fit your ear shape.
6. Certification All hearing protection devices must be certified by the FDA before they can be sold to consumers. Look for a label that states “This device complies with the applicable OEHHA standards.”
7. Weight Earmuffs are typically heavier than earplugs, which can make it difficult to wear them for long periods of time. Fortunately, many models offer built-in headbands and adjustable straps so you can find a comfortable fit without experiencing too much weight on your head.

1. ClearArmor 141001 Shooters Hearing Protection – Exclusive Sound Technology

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ClearArmor 141001 Specifications

Item Weight 9.5 ounces
Product Dimensions 5.5 x 3.6 x 5 inches
Size Fits all sizes and ages
Material Plastic
Certification NRR Tested & Certified-ANSI S3.19 + CE EN 352.1, ISO 9001 certified
Noise Reduction Rating 26 dB
Usage Commercial/Residential
Industrial Grade Premium quality – Engineered to last
Sound Technology SonicSeal – permanently welds the SoundBlocker shell to our engineered SoundRing – preventing sound leakage into the ear cup
ClearArmor 141001 Shooters Hearing Protection earmuffs provide a Noise Reduction Rating of 26 decibels to protect your hearing from loud noises. The soft cups fit comfortably over the ears and have a noise-reducing polyurethane coating that helps block out potentially harmful sounds. The headband features a padded leather surface, which is ideal for extended wear since it’s much more comfortable than regular vinyl or plastic options.

SonicSeal Sound Technology

The earmuffs absorb 99.9 percent of harmful sounds while still allowing normal conversations and other low-level noises through so you won’t miss out on anything important.

ClearArmor 141001

ComfortMax Ear Cushions

The clear, microcellular domes on these earmuffs provide superior comfort and protection. The soft material also conforms well to your head, which makes it easy for most people to wear these plugs for multiple hours without any discomfort or pain. They’re especially helpful if you often suffer from skin irritation after using cheaper, lower-quality options that aren’t covered in leather-like these muffs are.


These earmuffs are a great option if you want to ensure that your ears remain safe from loud sounds while shooting or hunting. The headband is especially helpful for people who have sensitive skin and need an alternative to vinyl or plastic models. Check price at,

Video: Hearing Protectors Update Clear Armor Favorite

2. 3M WorkTunes Connect Hearing Protector with Bluetooth Technology – Two-Way Communication

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3M WorkTunes Connect Specifications

Item Weight 15.5 ounces
Product Dimensions 5.83 x 3.9 x 7.06 inches
Bluetooth Wireless Technology
Ear Cushions Soft, padded ear cushions
Make & Receive Phone Calls
High-Fidelity Speakers
Audio Assist/Voice Assist
Audio Input Jack
Battery Built-in rechargeable battery/low-battery indicator
Headband Compatible with hats & caps/vented headband
Noise Reduction Rating 24dB
The 3M WorkTunes Connect Hearing Protector with Bluetooth Technology (official website) provides excellent protection against loud noises while allowing you to listen to music or other audio in high quality. The advanced connectivity technology built into this set lets you connect your hearing protector wirelessly to most phones, tablets, laptops and MP3 players for easy listening wherever you go.

High-Fidelity Speakers

The included speakers have high-fidelity designs that deliver clean, natural sounds with minimal distortion. You can adjust the volume as needed to suit your preferences and listening needs without experiencing any abrupt changes in quality.

3M WorkTunes Connect

On-Ear Controls

You don’t have to deal with extra wires tangling up when using these earmuffs since they’re wireless and connect via Bluetooth 4.1 to compatible devices such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets. You can adjust the volume, change tracks or answer phone calls without ever having to touch your device after it correctly the first time.


If you want to listen to music while working, wearing these earmuffs is a convenient way to ensure that your hearing won’t be damaged. The advanced Bluetooth technology makes it easy for you to connect with almost any compatible device so you can quickly pair your unit and start listening in minutes. Check price at,,,

Video: 3M WorkTunes Bluetooth Earmuffs – Pros & Cons!

3. Professional Safety Ear Muffs by Decibel Defense – Ultra Comfortable&Quiet

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DD Professional Safety Specifications

Item Weight 11.7 ounces
Product Dimensions 5.75 x 3.75 x 5.25 inches
Certification ANSI S3.19 & CE EN 352-1
Double-D GuaranteeÓ The QUIETEST & MOST COMFORTABLE noise reducing earmuffs you have ever owned, or your MONEY BACK!
Material Plastic, metal
Perfect for Personal Quiet Time – Construction Work – Lawn Maintenance – Mowing – Study – Sporting Events – Drummers – Monster Truck – Fireworks – NASCAR and MORE!
Size Recommended for ages 4 and up. They also offer an EXTRA LARGE size for larger heads (Black earmuffs only).
Comfort Ultra-comfortable headband with smooth, padded cell design provides hours of comfort
Foldable and Compact Sturdy construction. Ideal for the gun bag or tool case.
Noise Reduction Rating Industry leading NRR 37 dB protection (OSHA rating of NRR 34dB. OSHA subtracts 3dB for their approval rating, as a “safety net” for the consumer)
Decibel Defense earmuffs (official website) have been tested to provide a Noise Reduction Rating of 31 decibels, which is high enough to protect the hearing of most users. The ear cups are also comfortable and soft enough that it’s possible for you to wear these safety ear muffs for extended periods of time without irritation or fatigue.

Adjustable Headband

The headband on this set can be adjusted easily so you get a secure fit no matter how large your head size may be or if you frequently switch between wearing hats or other forms of headgear while working. The unique shape holds the ear cups securely in place at all times, even during physical activity, without pinching your skin or hair when worn for an extended duration.

Decibel Defense earmuffs

High-Quality Speakers

These earmuffs have high-fidelity speakers that deliver sound with minimal distortion. You can quickly turn the volume up or down depending on how much noise you’re exposed to without losing any quality in the audio, so it’s easy for you to listen to music or other audio while wearing these earmuffs at work.


This is one of the best choices if you want an affordable option that works well but doesn’t come with a dedicated Bluetooth connection or all of the extra features found in some comparable models. The unique headband design ensures that these ear muffs remain securely in place throughout your shift and don’t irritate your skin in any way, which also makes them ideal to wear for extended periods without suffering from fatigue or other issues.

Video: Decibel Defense Ear Protection Review

4. ProCase Noise Reduction Safety Ear Muffs – Maximum Comfort

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ProCase Noise Reduction Specifications

Item Weight 9 ounces
Product Dimensions 6 x 4 x 0.6 inches
Certification ANSI S3.19 (US) certified
360 Rotatable Ear Cups
Material Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) + Foam
Perfect for Shooting, hunting, sports events, studying, woodworking projects and lawn care, extremely suitable for operating heavy machinery or landscaping business
Ear Cushions Skin-friendly imitation leather
Size Retractable steel wire make the noise-canceling headphones flexible to fit all head sizes
Noise Reduction Rating NRR 28dB
The ProCase Noise Reduction Safety Ear Muffs for Shooting (official website) provides excellent protection against loud noises, which makes them an ideal choice to help protect your hearing during hunting or shooting activities. This set is perfect for professionals who require earmuffs that are versatile enough for use with firearms without draining the battery too quickly.

Versatile Design

This pair of earmuffs works well with most firearms and other weapons you may be using at home or at work, so they’re one of the best choices if you need something more than just basic earplugs. The non-irritating adjustable headband lets you wear these ear muffs comfortably throughout your shift, even if it’s a physically active job where sweating is common.

ProCase Noise Reduction Safety Ear Muffs

Durable Design

Since these ear muffs for shooting and hunting are made of premium materials and designed with long-lasting durability in mind, they’ll last you a long time even with regular use. The high-quality construction stands up to frequent daily use without breaking down or wearing out easily after just a few months of constant usage.


If you’re looking for something that not only provides excellent noise reduction but also works well no matter the conditions, this set is an ideal choice since it’s lightweight and designed to resist moisture buildup caused by sweat during physical activity. You can wear them comfortably regardless of your head size due to the adjustable headband, which also helps prevent fatigue when worn for extended periods. Check price at

Video: NRR 28dB ProCase Noise Reduction Ear Muffs Review

5. VANDERFIELDS Ear Defenders Adult Safety – High Production Standards

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VANDERFIELDS Ear Defenders Specifications

Item Weight 8.8 ounces
Great Comfort The -over-the-ears Ear Muffs are a definite snug fit, each cup tilts and swivels for a custom fit and the foam cushions add comfort and a secure seal around your ears
Certification ANSI S3.19 Tested & Certified (American National Standards Institute)
CE EN 352.1 Tested & Certified(European Standard)
Premium Industrial Grade Quality 2 layers of our proprietary noise dampening foam, solid single cup design
Perfect for Airports, Shootings, Woodworking, large crowds, Gardening, Fireworks and household tools or other troublesome noise
Warranty 100% Satisfaction and Risk-Free!
Noise Reduction Rating 32dB NRR and reduces up to 125dB
The Vanderfields Ear Defenders Adult Safety Ear Muffs for Shooting is built to provide superior comfort and noise reduction even in loud shooting conditions. This set of earmuffs comes with an extra battery so you don’t have to worry about running out of power while on the job, making it ideal for professionals who need safety earmuffs that last long enough to get the job done.

Comfortable Fit

This set of ear muffs comes with soft and comfortable padding on the interior to provide a noise-blocking seal even in loud surroundings, without causing discomfort when worn for long periods. The lightweight design ensures that you can wear them all day at work or when hunting or shooting without feeling tired or drained after just a few hours.

Vanderfields Ear Defenders

Durable Construction

Each set comes with additional high-quality and durable batteries so they’ll last you a long time without losing power quickly like some other brands often do. You can also adjust the headband easily to get a more secure fit no matter how big your head is, whether you plan to use these earmuffs for extended periods or have to put them away before regular work duties are completed.


The Vanderfields Ear Defenders Adult Safety Ear Muffs for Shooting is an excellent choice since it provides superior noise reduction capabilities that actually work to prevent ringing in your ears and other problems after long hours of exposure to loud noises. The durable design holds up well under regular use without breaking down, while the soft padding on both earcups helps ensure you can wear them all day at work or on the job without feeling uncomfortable or irritated by extended usage. Check price at,

Video: Vanderfields Ear Muffs Quick Unboxing

6. 3M PELTOR Ear Muffs, Hard Hat Attachment – Super Durable

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3M PELTOR Specifications

Item Weight 11.2 Ounces
Product Dimensions 4.49 x 8.19 x 5.67 inches
Advanced Technologies New innovative foam ear cup inserts and spacers, new ear cushion foam technology
Noise Attenuation 25.0 decibels
3M PELTOR HYX1 Hygiene Kit Replaceable cushions and inserts help keep them clean
Typical Applications Metal processing, automotive, airports, construction, textile manufacturing, chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing, cement manufacturing, printing, woodworking, heavy engineering, foundry, steelworks, and mining and quarrying
The 3M Peltor ear muffs (official website) add an extra layer of safety to any shooting activity you’re involved in since it provides both noise reduction and face protection at the same time. This pair is perfect for use by professionals who need something more than just basic earmuffs or standard earplugs when they go hunting or shooting.

Face and Ear Protection

This set comes with a soft and adjustable headband that fits securely to prevent slipping even when worn during physical activities like hunting or shooting sports. The wireframe can be easily attached to hard hats if necessary while also being durable enough to resist damage from bumps and impacts from falling objects or.

3M Peltor ear muffs

Noise Protection

The noise reduction rating on these earmuffs is high enough that you can wear them without feeling any pain or discomfort after a long day out at the shooting range. They’re designed to prevent hearing loss while also blocking loud noises caused by gunshots and other unexpected sounds in your surroundings, making them a smart choice for professionals who need some extra protection while they work.


The 3M Peltor ear muffs are engineered with professional shooters in mind since it’s actually been developed by 3M specifically with hunters and outdoor enthusiasts in mind. You can adjust the headband easily for comfort when worn over long periods, and the face shield protects your eyes from dust and debris while still providing excellent noise protection no matter how loud your surroundings become. Check price at

Video: How to attach and use 3M™ PELTOR™ Earmuffs X-Series Hardhat

In Conclusion

If you’re in the market for a new pair of earmuffs, we hope this buyer’s guide was helpful. We can’t recommend one product over another because it really depends on your needs and preferences (and budget!). But we do think that choosing an earmuff is crucial to staying safe when working around noise levels like those found at construction sites, so make sure you choose something that fits well and protects your ears adequately. You may want to keep reading our blog if you need more help with safety gear or other topics related to construction work! Thanks for taking the time to read our post – stay tuned for updates about developments in the industry by TUNING on our blogs!