8 Best Hearing Protection for Woodworking in 2024

Best Hearing Protection for Woodworking

Woodworking is a rewarding hobby, but it can also be dangerous. Exposure to loud noise from woodworking power tools can cause permanent hearing loss. That’s why it’s important to wear hearing protection when woodworking.

Working with power tools in a woodshop, such as table saws, jointers, planers, routers, and other equipment, generate sounds ranging from 85 to over 100 decibels.

Protecting your hearing should be a top priority whenever operating machinery or using power tools.

In this complete guide, we’ll explore some of the best passive and active hearing protection solutions to help you defend your ears in a noisy workshop environment.

Equipping yourself with the best hearing protection for woodworking will allow you to work safely in your shop and maintain healthy ears for years.

This guide will highlight the top 5 hearing protection recommendations for woodworkers. We evaluated various passive and active options based on noise reduction capability, comfort, value, amplification technology, and other key factors.

Let’s get started!

The Eight Best Woodworking Ear Protection

We’ve examined a long list of hearing protection products, and our eight best earplugs for Woodworking are:

  1. 3M Pro-Grade
  2. SensGard SG-31
  3. ProCase
  4. Howard Leight
  5. Mack’s Ultra Soft
  6. 3M 1100 Foam
  7. Elgin Rumble
  8. JBL Live 460NC

Let’s look at these in further detail:

What is the Best Hearing Protection for Woodworking?

Here are a few recommendations for the best hearing protection for woodworking:

1. Best Ear Protection For Loud Machinery: 3M Pro-Grade

3M Pro-Grade Noise-Reducing Earmuff
Photo: Amazon


Key Features:

  • NRR of 30 dB
  • Lightweight, low-profile cushioned cups
  • Adjustable steel wire headband
  • Cups pivot and fold flat for portability

In hearing protection, 3M stands as a trusted and respected brand well-known for its commitment to quality and innovation.

The earmuff is also very comfortable to wear, with a soft, wide foam headband and smooth, lightweight cups.

The 3M Pro-Grade Earmuff delivers impressive noise reduction and all-day comfort in a durable package designed for professional use. The high-performance passive hearing protection justifies the premium price.

While not as feature-packed as electronic models, the 3M Pro-Grade is an ideal choice for those seeking robust noise blocking for regular exposure to extremely loud equipment and machinery.

The comfortable fit, deep NRR rating, and sturdy build make this an excellent earmuff for occupational and recreational applications. For woodworkers needing robust passive hearing protection, can be worn comfortably for hours.

The 3M Pro is an exceptional choice combining deep noise blocking, durability, and all-day comfort. It can be the best hearing protection for woodworking.

2. Best Ear Protection For Woodworking: SensGard SG-31

Woodworking SensGard SG-31
Photo: Amazon


Key Features:

  • NRR of 31dB
  • Pod plugs sit over ear canal openings
  • Dielectric ABS plastic headband
  • Black polyolefin foam pod plugs

The SensGard SG-31 Hearing Protection Band is a unique and innovative hearing protection device that provides excellent noise reduction without the need for earplugs or earmuffs.

The SensGard SG-31 offers an innovative pod-style design for hearing protection that doesn’t completely block the ear canal. This retains situational awareness while still providing deep noise reduction.

This makes it ideal for users when they need to be aware of their surroundings, such as when working in a woodworking workshop or on a construction site.

Overall, the SG-31 is a hearing protector designed to be ideal for noisy occupational and recreational environments.


  • Impressive 31dB NRR
  • The unique pod design
  • Comfortable, lightweight
  • Durable construction built for heavy use
  • Easy to use and store


3. Best Affordable Ear Muffs: ProCase Noise Reduction Safety

ProCase Noise Reduction Safety Ear Muffs
Photo: Amazon


Key Features:

  • Soft ear cushions
  • Padded headband
  • Adjustable headband
  • Compact and lightweight

The ProCase Noise Reduction Safety Ear Muffs are an affordable and effective option for hearing protection for woodworking.

It features a comfortable design with soft ear cushions and a padded headband, as well as a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 28 decibels, which is sufficient to protect hearing from moderate levels of noise.

While not loaded with features like pricier electronic models, the deep NRR, padded design, portability, and adjustable fit make these an excellent choice for blocking high noise levels during woodworking and other loud activities.

The value provided by the ProCase earmuffs is hard to beat.


  • Padded band and soft ear cushions
  • Earcups rotate
  • Foldable for portability
  • Cost-effective


  • Lower NRR rating than top passive earmuffs
  • Limited noise amplification ability

4. Best Disposable Foam Earplugs: Howard Leight

Disposable Foam Earplugs Howard Leight
Photo: Amazon


Key Features:

  • NRR of 32 decibels
  • Contoured T-shape
  • Self-adjusting foam expands
  • 200 pairs per box

The Howard Leight by Honeywell Laser Lite High Visibility Disposable Foam Earplugs are a popular choice for hearing protection among a wide range of users, including woodworkers, construction workers, and musicians. They are comfortable to wear, effective at blocking noise, and affordable.

The Howard Leight Laser Lite earplugs deliver impressive noise reduction and hygiene in a highly visible disposable package. The vibrant colors and supremely soft foam ensure safety compliance and all-day comfort for most ear sizes.

While not as eco-friendly or amplifying as electronic models, the Laser Lite earplugs are an excellent choice for intermittent loud-noise environments.

The extreme NRR, highly conforming fit, and standout visibility justify the price for occupational and recreational hearing protection needs.


  • Vibrant colors
  • Among the highest NRR
  • The comfortable
  • T-shape
  • Closed-cell skin
  • Good value with 200 pairs per box


  • Limited noise amplification, unlike electronic plugs
  • Disposable nature creates more waste

5. Best Highest Level of Noise Protection: Mack’s Ultra Soft

Mack's Ultra Soft Foam Earplugs
Photo: Amazon


Key Features:

  • NRR of 33 decibels
  • Made of low-pressure
  • Ergonomic slow-release design
  • Doctor-recommended #1 brand

Mack’s Ultra Soft Foam Earplugs are a popular choice for hearing protection among a wide range of users, including woodworkers, construction workers, and musicians. They are comfortable to wear, effective at blocking noise, and affordable.

Mack’s Ultra Soft Foam Earplugs deliver unmatched noise reduction and superb comfort with their innovative tapered slow-release foam. The 33dB NRR is among the highest available in a disposable earplug.

For those seeking simple, affordable hearing protection, for best hearing protection for woodworking or loud recreational activities, Mack’s Earplugs are a top choice.


  • Extremely high 33dB NRR
  • Tapered foam mold
  • Safe foam material won’t irritate skin
  • Slow expansion fits ear canal shape


  • Disposable plugs are less eco-friendly than reusable
  • Not designed for water protection

6. 3M 1100 Foam Ear Plugs Hearing Protection

3M 1100 Foam Ear Plugs, 200-Pair , Orange
Photo: Amazon


Key Features:

  • Made of soft
  • Smooth, dirt-resistant surface
  • Uncorded
  • NRR 29dB

3M 1100 Foam are a popular choice best earplugs for woodworking due to their affordability, effectiveness, and comfort.

These earplugs are commonly used for various activities, including sleeping, studying, working in noisy surroundings, and attending concerts or other loud events.

The 3M 1100 Foam Ear Plugs are a solid choice for general noise reduction needs. The tapered low-pressure foam design blocks noise while remaining comfortable for extended wear.

While not ideal for prolonged exposure to loud noise, these disposable plugs are effective and affordable hearing protection for everyday use.

Their hypoallergenic foam and smooth finish improve comfort and hygiene. Overall, the 3M 1100 are well-made, comfortable earplugs that get the job done.


  • Comfortable fit due
  • Effective
  • Hypoallergenic material
  • Easy to insert and remove
  • Good value with 200 pairs per pack


  • The foam may compress with extended wear
  • It is not reusable

7. Best Earbuds with Bluetooth: Elgin Rumble Earplug Earbud

Elgin Rumble Bluetooth Earplug Earbuds
Photo: Amazon

Key Features:

  • Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity
  • 20 hours of battery life on a single charge
  • IP67 is dustproof and waterproof
  • Noise-cancelling microphone
  • Comfortable

The Elgin Rumble Bluetooth Earplug Earbuds are a unique and practical solution for those needing hearing protection and the ability to listen to audio.

The Bluetooth connectivity adds versatility, allowing users to enjoy music or podcasts while being aware of their surroundings.

The Elgin Rumble earbuds are among the best hearing protection earbuds for woodworking. Their high NRR dampens noise from power tools to protect hearing, while Bluetooth enables entertainment without compromising safety.

With all-day battery life and an IP67-rated design, the Rumble earbuds are a durable accessory for any woodshop. Their excellent noise reduction makes them ideal hearing protection for woodworking.


  • Long battery life
  • Bluetooth pairing
  • Sweat and dust resistance
  • Noise-cancelling mic


  • Recharging is required after 20 hours of use
  • The price is higher than disposable passive earplugs.

8. Best Noise-Canceling Headphones: JBL Live 460NC

JBL Live 460NC
Photo: Amazon


Key Features:

  • Adaptive noise cancelling
  • Ambient Awareness mode
  • TalkThru mode
  • Up to 50 hours of battery life
  • Voice assistant control

The JBL Live 460NC are a well-rounded pair of wireless headphones that offer a great balance of features and performance.

With renowned JBL sound and sharp, active noise cancelling, the Live 460NC headphones deliver great wireless audio for woodshops. Modes to amplify ambient sound or chat provide awareness when required.

The long battery life suits prolonged use during woodworking projects. For hearing protection with excellent wireless sound, the Live 460NC is a top choice.

Making IT a good option for various uses, including commuting, working in noisy environments, or simply enjoying music at home.


  • Excellent audio performance
  • Active noise cancellation
  • Ambient modes
  • Very long battery life
  • Quick charging
  • Easy voice control


  • Noise cancellation is less effective for high-frequencies

Why Hearing Protection Matters for Woodworking

Power tools commonly used in woodworking shops expose users to hazardous noise levels that can permanently damage hearing over time. Here’s an overview of the key risks and why protecting your ears is essential:

Noise Levels in Woodworking

  • Table saws generate noise in the 95-105 decibel range
  • Jointers and planers produce 95-100 dB of noise
  • Routers output 85-95 dB when running
  • Even short-term exposure can lead to temporary or permanent hearing loss

Choosing the Right Hearing Protection for Your Needs

The best hearing protection for woodworking depends on several factors, including the noise level of your work environment, your personal preferences, and your budget.

Noise Level:

For loud woodworking environments, such as those with saws or power tools, earplugs with a high Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 30 dB or higher are recommended. Earmuffs with an NRR of 25 dB or higher can also be effective.

Personal Preferences:

Some people find earplugs uncomfortable or difficult to insert, while others prefer the snug fit of earmuffs. Try different types and brands of hearing protection to find what works best for you.


Earplugs are generally less expensive than earmuffs, but the price can vary depending on the brand and features. Earmuffs with Bluetooth technology or other features may be more expensive.

Understanding Hearing Protection Options for Woodworking

There are two primary types of hearing protection available for woodworking: earplugs and earmuffs. Both options block or dampen sound waves to reduce the noise level reaching your ear.

Earplugs: Small, Insert-Style Protection

Earplugs are small, soft devices specifically designed to fit into the ear canal. They protect the ears from loud noises or prevent water from entering the ear canal while swimming or bathing.

They are typically made of foam, silicone, or wax and are available in various sizes and shapes to fit different ear canals. Earplugs are generally inexpensive and easy to use.

Earmuffs: Covering Protection for Both Ears

Earmuffs are a type of headphones that cover both ears. They consist of two ear cups connected by a headband and are often filled with sound-absorbing material. Earmuffs are generally more effective at blocking noise than earplugs, especially for high-frequency sounds.

Importance of Hearing Protection in Woodworking

Protecting your hearing when woodworking or in any environment with consistently high noise levels is crucial.

Noise-induced hearing Loss (NIHL) can be prevented, and the easiest way to do so is by wearing suitable hearing protection whenever you are exposed to loud noise.

Key takeaways:

  • Always wear proper hearing protection when operating loud shop tools
  • Compare noise reduction ratings to choose the appropriate protection level
  • Ensure a comfortable and secure fit for long-term wearability
  • Combine disposable earplugs with earmuffs for maximum noise-blocking
  • Consider electronic options if you prioritize environmental audibility

How to Properly Wear Hearing Protection

It’s important to wear hearing protection properly to ensure effectiveness.


  1. Roll the earplug into a thin tube.
  2. Reach over your head and gently pull up and out on your ear to straighten the ear canal.
  3. Insert the earplug into your ear canal and hold it in place for a few seconds until it expands.


  1. Place the earmuffs over your ears and adjust the headband to fit snugly.
  2. Make sure that the ear cups seal tightly around your ears.

The Best Hearing Protection For Woodworking Summary

Protecting your hearing should be a vital component of your shop safety preparations. The high noise levels generated by woodworking machinery can permanently damage your ears and impair your quality of life.

The good news is that excellent passive and active hearing protection solutions are available to defend your ears. Traditional earmuffs and earplugs effectively dampen unsafe noise while allowing voice communication.

More advanced electronic options even amplify ambient sounds for improved situational awareness.

Take the time to explore the above list of the best hearing protection for woodworking to find your ideal fit based on noise levels, comfort, and amplification needs.

Your ears will thank you down the road! Consistently wearing protection will allow you to enjoy woodworking for years while maintaining healthy hearing.


What noise reduction rating is needed for woodworking?

For most woodworking tools like table saws, planers, and routers, a noise reduction rating (NRR) of 25-30 dB is recommended.

This level of noise reduction helps protect hearing from prolonged exposure during woodworking. Higher NRR ratings of 30+ dB may be preferred for loud tools like chainsaws.

What is the best hearing protection for a saw?

Earmuff-style hearing protection tends to provide the best noise reduction for saws. Look for earmuffs with an NRR of at least 25 dB to block saw noise sufficiently.

Some high-fidelity earmuffs allow communication while protecting hearing from saws and other loud woodworking machinery.

What is the best noise protection for construction?

Earplugs and earmuffs are worn together to reduce noise on construction sites. This double protection sufficiently blocks hazardous noise from tools like jackhammers, concrete saws, and compressors.

Aim for a combined NRR of 30 dB or higher to protect hearing during prolonged construction work.

What is the best dB for ear protection?

The best NRR for ear protection depends on your noise exposure levels. For very loud construction or woodworking tools over 100 dB, an NRR of 30+ dB is recommended. For most power tools around 85-95 dB, an NRR rating of 25-28 dB is adequate protection for extended use.

Hearing Protection for Woodworking

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