Hearing Protection: What Should I Use?
The risk of hearing damage is highest for those who use loud equipment every day. But if you use a shop vacuum, leaf blower or circular saw without hearing protection, you're doing permanent damage every time. And that's just dumb because protecting your hearing is so easy. The goal is to reduce noise levels to 90 decibels. All forms of hearing protection—earmuffs, disposable foam earplugs, reusable plugs—are adequate for most noise. With super-loud equipment like framing nailers and chain saws, it's smart to use both plugs and earmuffs.
Of the carpenters we talked to, some preferred earmuffs, others liked plugs, but they all said the same thing: “I hated them at first—uncomfortable, inconvenient, a #&%* nuisance. But after a day or two, I got used to them. Now I actually like them. Can't stand the noise without them.” Give hearing protection a try, and you'll like it too.