How to Choose the Best Hearing Protection

Do you want to know how to choose the best hearing protection for your wood shop or while working on a wood project – Read on…

Though there’s a huge range of hearing protection available today, yet it pays to choose hearing protection designed especially for the noise you are trying to counter. Wearing the wrong kind of hearing protection may give you the wrong impression that you’re adequately covered (pun not intended), when actually the sounds at high frequencies like those made by a router can wreck your hearing forever.

Benefits of hearing protection for woodworkers

So, when we speak of hearing protection for woodworkers, what exactly are these professionals looking for?

  • Comfort: First things first, they expect comfort. After all, woodworkers are going to be wearing them for indefinitely long periods.
  • Compatibility with other safety gear: Since wood is the material woodworkers use, it is mandatory for them to protect their eyes in case bits of wood, chemicals and airborne dust fly up in the air when machine-cut. Lung protection is also imperative, since it is highly likely that they may inhale the talc or sawdust thrown up in the air from wood when cut by machine.
  • High frequency protection: This is necessary for woodworkers who cut wood using a circular saw or router.
  • Medium range volume protection: When woodworkers use a circular saw, it can screech very loud at close range, causing hearing loss to the woodworker.

Woodworking, though innovative, can be dangerous. But if you follow a few rules, you can lower the risk of being severely injured. By getting into the habit of wearing the safety equipment outlined below, you will always want to work with it and be safe. Here they are for you:

Kinds of hearing protection for woodworkers

Best Hearing Protection

Ear muffs: Anyone wearing ear muffs will look like he’s wearing headphones. These ear pieces are one of the best ear protection as cover the ears completely and keep the sound out completely. They work to reduce the noise more than ear plugs do, despite their bulky size. This makes woodworkers treat this protection equipment with much skepticism. Ear muffs are available these days in their electronic avatar which serve to reduce noise levels much more.

Ear plugs: Ear plugs aren’t as cumbersome as ear muffs, nor do they provide an equal level of protection. They are made from memory foam that the woodworker compresses and puts into the outer ear canal. The foam then expands to fit the ear completely and tightly. Woodworkers usually find these more comfortable to wear for protracted periods rather than ear muffs, particularly in warm weather.

Other safety gears

Safety glasses: These are the most important kinds of safety equipment for woodworkers. There are several kinds of safety glasses, but those with side screens and impact resistant lenses help protect them against dust and debris thrown up by woodworkers’ power tools.

Face shield: Woodworkers using a lathe will experience chips flying up in the air often. This can prove very unsafe for their faces and eyes, so to avert a situation where it affects their eyes and rest of the face, wearing a face shield will prove useful. It provides comfort and can be flipped when not required.

Face masks and respirators: Routers, sanders and other woodworking tools kick up a lot of dust that can be minimized by woodworking professionals wearing face masks and respirators. Wearing a dust mask will help to keep fine wood dust from entering the lungs of woodworkers. If the professional woodworker sprays paint or varnish, he’d do well to use a respirator to protect himself from the harmful effects contained in these chemicals.

Proper clothing: Woodworkers using power tools should always be dressed appropriately. This means wearing loose fitting, long-sleeved shirts and long trousers, paired with steel-toed work shoes for added protection. When using a lathe, woodworkers should wear a shop apron. They would do well to remember not to wear loose items of clothing that could be entangled in the teeth of a power tool and harm them.

Author: John Clax

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