With more and more companies producing increasingly complicated bluetooth ear muff solutions, the classic set of passive hearing protection may seem old fashion. At Earjobs, we say: not true. The right set of passive ear muffs are a cost effective, comfortable, and effective hearing solution that will protect your ears, no batteries or chargers required. A few reasons you might want a passive set:
- You need the slimmest or lightest physical body. Electrical components increase the bulk, size, and weight of a set of ear muffs. Over a long working day, this represents more weight and pressure on your body. Particularly if you’re doing sweaty work outside, the lightest possible pair of work muffs is best.
- They are economical and cost effective, particularly for bulk orders. A good pair of passive muffs can be purchased for 40-70 dollars, while a worksafe set of bluetooth muffs with radio features can go for as much as $500 or more! Passive muffs are economical particularly for bulk orders (and if you need more than 5 sets, get in touch — we can provide bulk discounts).
- You already have expensive bluetooth headphones or radio ear phones. These can be worn underneath a passive set, letting you still listen to music or your radio while benefiting from hearing protection.
We’ll now run through the best and most effective passive ear muffs for your EOFYS.
Starting off, the 3M Peltor Optime is a premium strength over the head ear muff that’s a Class 5 under the Australian standard, suitable for the noisiest industrial worksites and certain to protect your ears in all circumstances. Under this SLC80 standard, it scores a whopping 33dB (by comparison, a set of work safe ear plugs might only score 23-27).
It’s got a ‘double-shell’ design, with two separate ear cups connected via a foam inner layer to maximise the noise reduction. These double-shells are also responsible for additional comfort, providing the softest and most secure fit for your ears. Built for the worksite, they have a durable stainless steel headband that’s going to evenly distribute pressure, avoiding that tightening feeling around your ears.
The cushions are replaceable, they’re soft, filled with foam and liquid, allowing a consistent, comfy fit that’s not going to hurt your head over a long work day. The ear cups pivot on their brackets, ergonomically shaping to the head in a manner that ensures a consistent sound seal even when you’re moving around.
The Peltor Optime is also a super high noise blocking solution for day wear if you’re sound sensitive or working from home in noisy conditions. As mentioned, it’s one of the highest noise blocking sets of ear muffs available in the Australian market, so it’s going to do a consistent job in dispelling unwanted noise.
However, you don’t always want a wide or bulky set of ear muffs. There are plenty of super effective slim-line ear muff hearing protection, none better than the Peltor X4A. It’s a Class 5 hearing protection — suitable for loud industrial conditions — though it does block a little less than the Optime, rated to 31dB under the SLC80 standard.
The primary advantages of the X4A are weight, size and comfort. It’s super slim and light: narrow ear cups tilt over wide degrees, suitable for all head shapes and sizes. Foam ear cup inserts and cushions provide high degrees of noise absorption with a smaller footprint, allowing for strong hearing protection while remaining light on the head. These are a great solution particularly if you’re working long shifts outdoors: every gram counts over an eight hour day and the X4A is super light.
Noticeably, the headband has gaps that allow for heat to dissipate from the unit. We all know how bad it is to wear a sweaty set of muffs on a hot day, this style of headband maximises ventilation points to keep you as cool as possible.
The body is predominantly black, with a high visibility neon yellow highlight — great for work safety and to signal to passers by that you’re wearing hearing protection. The X4A is particularly popular among landscape gardeners, handymen, or mechanics for being strong enough to drown out machinery while also easy to remove.
Okay so let’s say you’re on site, it’s loud, and you just want to never have to worry about noise again. You want the strongest possible hearing protection. We’ve got you covered. An upgrade on the X model described above, the X5A has the highest noise protection rating of any we’ve listed — all guaranteed under the Australian and NZ standard (SLC80, 35dB, Class 5).
Just like the above sets, the goal is to make the most comfortable set without compromising on performance. In terms of form, the X5A is closer to the Optime than the X4A: the ear cups are a little wider and bulkier, but they make up for this with the highest level of sound blocking.
An electrically insulated (dialectric) wire headband works to equalise pressure across the entirety of the body. This means that it’s not going to clamp down on the ears when worn, but rather distribute pressure evenly — retaining comfort over long periods. As with the X4A, the tilting ear cups make for an easier, more consistent fit. Similarly, the headband’s gaps work for ventilation — particularly important with bigger models like this — without compromising strength and durability.
The all black body construction makes these a subtle set that don’t draw attention to themselves. They’re not only great for wear on the building site, but can also be a great solution for work or study when you want to be sure you’re silencing the noise.
A few tips:
- Wanna upgrade your noise protection? You can combine ear plugs and ear muffs for higher ratings. To roughly determine level of hearing protection, add 5dB to the rating of the stronger set. For example, a set of SLC80 20dB plugs worn with an SLC80 30dB muff will give 35dB protection -- provided the muffs and plugs are both correctly fitted.
- Replace your ear cups. Hygiene kits are available and will increase the longevity of your muffs (and stop them smelling).