We’ve all struggled buying for the family member who spends their summers locked in the shed. What are they doing in there? Why are there always motor noises? This Christmas, Earjobs has you covered. In this guide, we’re counting down the five best hearing solutions to upgrade your backyard gardening and DIY sessions.
Noise protecting Bluetooth earphones are a new, high tech solution for your angle-grinding, lawnmowing Christmas pal. The Plugfones Sovereign Duo is a fresh entry into this market with a variety of optimisations to make power tools safer and more comfortable to your ears.
First and most remarkably: two sets of earphones. You will NEVER run out of battery with the Sovereign Duo. It includes two complete sets, whenever one runs out simply exchange it for the other set in the charging case. This is a novel solution to the battery issue that plagues all wireless audio solutions — and means you’re going to minimise downtime and stay safer longer.
The Plugfones ComforTiered ear tips block up to 29dB, with an electronic Noise Shield designed to identify and filter out machinery noise. Bluetooth audio is clean and sharp, great for listening to music, podcasts or taking calls. They’re a hard wearing set, water resistant and sweatproof for those long gardening sessions.
Another variation on wireless Bluetooth hearing protection, the Pro Aware is distinct for its ‘sensory awareness’ function. A feature borrowed from shooting muffs, the Pro Aware can detect conversations and feed them through into your ear, while still blocking out sounds over the 85dB safe listening limit. It works by monitoring external noise and filtering quieter sounds through the ears, as if you were on a phone call with the outside world.
Sounds below the safe listening limit will be amplified by 4x, making it easier to hear conversation. This is a great safety feature: no longer will you be startled by someone sneaking up behind you with the awareness function. Noises over 85dB and they revert to passive protection, keeping your ears safe while you’re working.
As with the Plugfones model, the ISOtunes has a really clean audio interface, strong Bluetooth, and ear tips that block a lot of sound. ISOtunes come with multiple different sized tips, allowing for a slightly closer fit when compared to Plugfones. You can control the unit through an interface on the neck, great for keeping your phone out of harm's way.
For some projects, ride on lawnmowers and heavy duty machinery particularly, the safest solution is to have a strong set of ear muffs protecting your ears. You do not, however, have to give up quality sound. The ISOtunes LINK is a hard wearing bluetooth ear muff that protects your ears while still providing strong audio and phone call capacity.
Comfort with ear muffs is key: the ISOtunes LINK is a one size fits most solution with soft memory foam cushions designed for long term wear. They fit flexibly over the head, sealing for 24dB of noise reduction without constricting or causing discomfort. They have an IPX4 rating for sweat and water resistance, making them an excellent choice in the height of summer. You can control the muff with a series of rugged buttons on one ear, allowing you to keep your phone out of harm's way.
Microphones on each muff offer noise isolation, helpful for dampening solid noises while on the phone. The microphones are also compatible with Siri/Google Voice, for hands free control. It comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery for up to 14 hours run time on a single charge. If you wish, you can detach this and replace it with three AAA batteries for a 28 hour run-time.
Some backyard tragics aren’t ready to come to the electronic age. They think bluetooth is something that happens when you eat too many lollies. For the technophobe we all know and love, a simple set of light, passive hearing protection can comfortably protect their ears for years to come. Bonus points: no need to charge them!
The X4A are the best in class for backyard hearing protection. They’re slim, light and ventilated — they aren’t going to feel like they’re crushing your skull when worn over long periods of time. That said, they don’t compromise on hearing protection. They’re a Class 5 under the Australian and New Zealand standard, suitable for the loudest industrial environments.
When compared to other Class 5 protection, the X4A are notable for being far lighter and far more generous with sizing. There’s less of a cramped feeling, particularly when wearing for a long period. Great for the fussy grinch in your life.
The next time someone says they don’t wear hearing protection because “ear plugs don’t fit”, stuff this in their stocking. Off the shelf moulded plugs are an easy, do it yourself solution that results in a nicely fitting plug.
Simply mix the two components together and shape them into the ear. They’ll mould, harden and there you have it: a perfectly shaped set of hearing protection at a substantially lower price point.
The Earjobs DIY is going to block around 26dB when properly fitted, more than enough for gardening tools and working around the house. They come with a felt carry case and can also be fitted with a screw-in lanyard (sold separately) for ease of removal.You can see them in action here: