Hearing protection with sound?

(Dan Nelson) #1

Hello Forum,

After doing some long cutting sessions this weekend I’ve realized that the loudest part of my XXL setup is the actual cutting noise. I don’t really like wearing earplugs after a nasty ear infection years ago, and my current pair of “Mickey Mouse” ears are 20 something years old and pretty tired. So I started a little web search, and as I suspected ear muffs have come a long way. What I’m looking for now is a decent set of muffs with the following features and would like your suggestions:

  1. Gotta be lightweight/comfortable. I’m used to wearing hearing protection for extended periods, but I know that if they’re heavy or don’t fit my biggish (XL helmet size) head, I simply won’t wear them and this whole exercise is pointless.

  2. I’d like to come into the 21st century and add sound. I’d like AM/FM radio, and if possible Bluetooth. I don’t want to have to plug a cord in, we deal with things that spin and grab cords, I don’t see anything “safety” about protecting my ears, yet connecting a cord to my head that will undoubtedly at some point find itself wrapped around my lathe chuck or drill press. If I can’t afford Bluetooth, AM/FM is cool too.

  3. Rechargeable if available. I know I can put rechargeable batteries in anything, but I won’t, then I’ll just have no sound. I will however remember to plug in rechargeable headphones, regular rechargeable AA batteries, not likely.

  4. Cheap, I’m cheap, who doesn’t like to save a few bucks? If you can get Kobe beef cheaper than a burger at McDonalds, why wouldn’t you? I am trying to keep my budget around $50 or less. I can slide on that a little if the best fit is just a few dollars more, but I’d like to stay within a reasonable price.

I already have a spectacular set of expensive headphones for music listening when I’m not working, I’m looking for comfort/safety first, then AM/FM, then Bluetooth, rechargeable, and if they also sound ok then great.

I know I could build an enclosure too, but that isn’t within the scope of my current work space and I’d likely overbuild it and spend more on materials than a really great set of ear muffs. As another member stated, with muffs I won’t be able to hear the neighbors complaining either :wink:

Anybody have a favorite?



(Dustin S Tilton) #2

I have a set similar to these. AM/FM and bluetooth. Wireless. But it does take batteries…

(Dan Nelson) #3

Thanks Dustin, that was one pair I had already been looking at. How is the weight/comfort over long periods? Looks like they make a lithium battery for it, but that would boost my cost over budget a bit. Thanks for the info, right now these hit many of my wishlist points.


(John Terry) #4

I got a pair about a year ago and they are great. The FM reception is very good and I have had no issues linking to my phone or to my computer via bluetooth. The batteries life is pretty good, I think I have only changed them twice. I would definitely recommend them.

(Dan Nelson) #5

Thanks John,

These are sounding more and more like the direction I’m leaning. It’s odd though, they make a set with just AM/FM and regular batteries, then they make a set for like $5 more with Bluetooth and a rechargeable battery and no radio, then jump to these for another $12 with everything, except a rechargeable battery. Odd pricing/feature scheme, but if the batteries last pretty long it will probably be ok, I’ll just use regular batteries.

Oh yea, how is the noise reduction? Are they pretty good at blocking noise (reason for buying in the first place).



(Griff ) #6

What’s FM?


And AM?

(Dan Nelson) #7

Flying Monkeys versus Arctic Monkeys.

Funny thing, my MC helmet is wired for sound (Bluetooth and AM/FM), but I find I rarely turn it on because I’d rather hear my bike and traffic, like when someone honks to signal that they’re planning to run me over.


(Dan) #8

I have both the regular AM/FM and the Bluetooth only ones. I got really tired of replacing the batteries in the AM/FM (*as they are still required to use the aux jack on them) and love the Bluetooth only ones. I think I have probably 10-15 hours of use on the rechargeable battery and it still tells me the battery level is high when I turn them on.

They all work pretty well for hearing protection as well.

(Griff ) #9

I learned, in US Navy “A” school FM is f***king magic.

I remember better KPRI FM.

Canned Heat, Fried Hockey Boogie, haha. (huh?)

Pushing my janitors cart around the junior high school while earning my college degree.

No idea where all this came from but it was fun!

(Griff ) #10

I rode a buddies bike once, when I was 17. An old HD panhead. After almost breaking my leg starting it and being hit by a little old lady driving a Rambler I decided, never again.

(Dan Nelson) #11

I went to Navy A school myself for aircraft structures. We used almost the same acronym, except it was PFM. This was commonly used when referring to the electronics on the aircraft and what happened inside all those little black boxes. You’d say something like, “See you press this button here, and that lets the box know what you want the aircraft to do, after that what the box does is Pure Freakin’ Magic!”. Good times!!!

Yea, riding is awesome. If they could somehow keep the cars off the road the World would be a much safer place.


(Dan Nelson) #12

Thanks for the info Dan. It looks like the 3M headsets is where I’m headed, im still just a little stuck on what features I can live with and how much I want to spend. I really like listening to the radio, but there’s podcasts and such these days, so maybe Bluetooth only will be ok. Primary is hearing protection, so it’s good to know that they work for that. It’s not just my ShapeOKO, my wife works with me, so there’s always a sander and a dust collector running in addition to the CNC.



(Griff ) #13

I was a nose picker, AQ, F4’s. Broken most of the time, low bidder radar. Hell of an airplane though.

My go fast choice at the moment is a ‘17 Camaro SS, 4 wheels on the ground at all times!

(Craig) #14

Check out the Safety Works Bluetooth hearing protection, Lowe’s had them for ~45 after Christmas. Better than the 3M IMO. I think they are more comfortable than the work tunes they replaced.

(Dustin S Tilton) #15

Mine are pretty comfortable, fairly light considering mine also has a big boom noise-canceling mic on it. I originally got them for working in a loud data center, and I can have a phone conversation on them without the other side hearing all of the noise. The documentation is not the best, and I’ve run down the batteries on mine a few times because shutting it off isn’t very intuitive. So I ended up writing on mine with a sharpie so I know which button does what (so I don’t have to look it up each time). Obviously I don’t use mine that often since I have an enclosure.

(Dustin S Tilton) #16

I also bought a bluetooth transmitter that plugs in to my stereo output. So I can pair the headset with my stereo in the shop. This allows me to listen to whichever input I’m using connected to the receiver (radio, Roku, TV, etc). The bluetooth transmitter I bought is kind of a pain to get working, but it works once you figure it out.

(Dan Nelson) #17

Ended up buying 2 pairs of the 3M Worktunes with Bluetooth only(for my wife and myself). Amazon Prime same day delivery, think it was $90 for both pairs and they arrived just as I got home from work today (I live like 5 miles from multiple Amazon warehouses (I drive past 3 on my 9 mile drive to work).

Mini “first impressions” review after 5 minutes of playing with them:

Quite a bit heavier than your standard “Mickey Mouse” hearing protection, but very solidly built. Suspect speakers + battery make up a good part of the extra weight.

They fit my big head well, but they have a lot of spring to them. I think I could get taken away by a tornado and they would still be on my head, which might not even be connected to my llfeless body, these guys are tight! Not uncomfortable, but I haven’t worn them except for 10 minutes so far, my opinion may change as time goes on.

Noise reduction: I put them on while my wife was talking to me, couldn’t hear a word. Have to try with actual shop noise.

Sound quality: Ok, I bought them to protect my hearing, I wasn’t expecting any great sound quality, but I’m pleasantly surprised. They don’t sound half bad

Bluetooth pairing: Dead simple. I pressed and held the single button to turn them on, double tapped the button again, saw them on my iPhone Bluetooth devices, pressed “pair”, done!

Thanks for all of the info guys, I think I made a decent choice between features, price and quality.


(Daniel Loughmiller) #18

I have the worktunes also, quite good. Only thing that happens sometimes is I’ll pump the fwd/back roller and skip to the next youtube video or song. Not a big deal. I put AA batteries in mine 2 years ago and use it a few times a month and still on the original batteries.