Are you using a lawnmower for an extended period without using any hearing protection?
If the answer is yes, then you risk the loss of your hearing ability. When you work or spend a more extended time in a loud environment, it may cause permanent damage to your auditory senses.
This is why you need to have adequate hearing protection when working in such an environment. Hearing protection works by blocking the dangerous noise level and reducing it to a more manageable, less harmful level.
To help you narrow down the best hearing protection for lawn mowing, we have reviewed both the ear and inside ear protection. You can pick any one of these as per your liking and comfort.
Later in the article, we have included the buying guide to let you know several factors to consider when choosing hearing protection.
Top Hearing Protection For Lawn Mowing
Our Top Pick
ClearArmor Hearing protection is our top pick for noise protection when mowing the lawn. It’s comfortable and builds with premium quality material. The lightweight design and long super-soft ear foam provide you with the most prolonged wear comfort.
The 3 layers of proprietary noise-dampening foam work together to absorb the noise of different bands of sound frequencies. The Ear Muffs are tested and certified by an independent outside laboratory. It provides extra assurance about its noise reduction ability.
Should You Wear Hearing Protection When Mowing?
Lawnmower generates noise when operated. The level of noise generated depends on the type of lawnmower, power rating of the mower, and the grass size. Sound is measured in decibels, and noise below 75 decibels is usually safe.
Noise level exposure above 85 decibels for a prolonged period may cause hearing damage. This is the same amount of noise you may hear when you’re in heavy city traffic or riding a motorbike.
Most lawnmowers, including zero-turn lawnmowers, generate noise that is usually higher than the 85 decibels range. This means you run into the risk of hearing loss if you get exposed to an extended period without using any hearing protection.
Keep in mind that you may not notice the hearing loss immediately, as this is a slow, gradual process. The use of hearing protection can bring the noise level below 85 decibels that making it safe to mow the lawn without worrying about hearing loss.
How Does Lawnmower Noise Cause Hearing Loss?
In our ear, we have more than 18,000 tiny hair cells that vibrate when the sound waves hit it. These microscopic hair cells notice the vibration and convert it into the electrical signal that is sent to the brain for processing.
The louder the sound means more vibration in these hair cells that is also known as Cilia. Loud noise from lawnmowers causes permanent damage to these tiny microscopic hair cells, and it loses its ability to register sound.
Unfortunately, once damaged, these hearing hair cells don’t regrow, causing permanent hearing loss.
What to consider when buying Hearing Protection for Lawn Mowing
Noise Reduction Rating
Noise reduction rating (NRR) tells you how good it can block noise. You should choose NRR above 20 for the best protection.
Fitting is vital for comfort and block noise. Look for extra padding and softer cushion material for comfort.
A good build quality hearing protection lasts longer and can take some abuse such as dropping while mowing.
Have a question about buying a lawn mowing hearing protection? Contact us
Best Hearing Protection For Lawn Mowing
1. 3M WorkTunes Connect with Bluetooth
Lawn Mowing Headphone
3M WorkTunes has a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 24 dB. It comes with Bluetooth technology to stream music or takes phone calls from Bluetooth devices such as phones.
The NRR rating of 24 dB brings the most noise levels generated by lawnmowers to an acceptable hearing range and protects your ears. The Bluetooth technology gives you freedom from the wire to connect it with your phone or music device.
It has a unique safe volume control technology. It self-adjusts the sound to ensure that you’re listening at a safe volume level throughout the lawn mowing. The soft air cushions clamp your ear without being uncomfortable and block the outside noise.
You can adjust the length of the flexible headband to make it fit around your head. The ventilation around the headband improves the airflow even when worn with a hat.
It requires 2 AA batteries for the Bluetooth to work and usually lasts approximately 24 hours of run time.
2. Mpow Noise Reduction Safety Ear Muffs
Best Ear Muff Hearing Protection
Mpow Noise Reduction Safety Ear Muffs have an NRR rating of 28 dB. It’s suitable to use during lawn mowing, shooting, or in other high noise environments. It’s designed with 2 layers of professional noise dampening foam with an upper sealed solid cup and double-shell ear muff.
The adjustable headband design allows you to adjust it as per your need, so it fits on your head. The patterned design at the headband allows the airflow around your head for extra comfort.
The lightweight and foldable style of the earmuff makes it easy to store as the ear cups collapse into the headband. This prevents the dangling and catching of ear muffs when not in use.
The 360-degree rotatable ear cups provide you with more flexibility to fit snugly around your ears. You can adjust it to suit your face shape and give you a comfortable fit. It comes with a carry bag for convenient storage that’s made of ABS and foam material.
3. Fnova Safety Ear Muffs
Ear Protection For Shooting And Gardening
Fnova safety ear muffs have a 34 dB NRR rating that it claims to be the highest NRR for hearing protection. Fnova has achieved this by using high-quality sound absorption material. And implementing advanced manufacturing techniques for full sound sealing.
The design of hearing protection is simple and looks clean. The unique double-shell technology reduces the sound as it travels through several layers of material inside. For the comfort of wearing it for a long duration, the super-soft foam makes an excellent sound barrier.
You can adjust it through adjustable headband gear that has a contoured design at the top to allow airflow at your head. You can fold the headband for more convenient carrying and storing of the earmuffs.
It’s perfect to wear it during lawn mowing, shooting, fireworks, or working in other construction work.
4. ClearArmor Hearing Protection Safety Ear Muffs
Hearing Protection For Yard Works
ClearArmor Safety Ear Muffs is rated to be at 31 NRR as per ANSI standards. It uses proprietary technology for blocking sound that it calls “SonicSeal.” The SonicSeal technology permanently welds the sound blocker shell to the sound ring. It then prevents sound leakage into the ear cup.
The outside solid blocker shell is designed to reflect the most sound from crossing the ¼ inch thick shell. It uses 3 different layers of noise dampening foam that work together to absorb various bands of sound frequencies.
For added comfort, you can adjust the headband to wear it longer without getting a headache. You can further modify it with an extra 1.25 inches of vertical adjustment to fit large and small heads. The super-soft foam cushions add comfort while providing a better seal around your ear.
5. Decibullz Custom Molded Earplugs
Best Hearing Protection Earplugs
Decibullz custom molded earplugs are comfortable and fit to the exact shape of your ear. It’s rated NRR of 31 dB to block the most sound possible. The custom fitting option, as per the shape of your ear, gives you the perfect fitting every time. As a result, wearing it doesn’t hurt, doesn’t fall out of the ear, and provides superior noise isolation.
It uses the thermoplastic custom molds that you heat in the boiling water and let it cool a bit. You can then shape it as per your ear canal by putting it in your ear and applying pressure. If you don’t get perfect molding on the first attempt, then you can remold it by heating it again.
As a tip to get a better fit in your ear, don’t use your finger to shape the mold. Lay down your head on a flat surface such as a table to create a small amount of pressure. Wait for a minute till the pattern gets hardened for precise custom molding. It comes with a handy little pouch for storage.
6. Vibes High Fidelity Concert Earplugs
Best Shooting/Gardening Ear Protection
Vibes high-fidelity earplugs reduce the loud noises that may be damaging to your ears. It can lower the damaging sound by up to 22 decibels.
It protects your ear while in a noisy area, such as lawn mowing, concert, or shooting range. It allows the sounds that you want to hear for better situational awareness but blocks the louder noise.
It’s fitted with noise-canceling attenuating filters that lower the sound. You can use it to wear during lawn mowing as it reduces the damaging noise but allows you to have a conversation with others.
It’s a lovely and nearly invisible earplug. It has a glass clear-out shell and bright form-fitting with low-profile silicone earbuds. This means you don’t have to wear bulky and cumbersome ear muffs to get the benefit of reduced loud noise.
You have three sizes to choose from, small, medium, and large for a comfortable and snug fit for all ear types. The hypoallergenic silicone earbuds shape feels smoother inside your ear to use it for a long duration.
7. Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs
Hearing Protection For Everyday
Eargasm High Fidelity earplugs protect your hearing from harmful noises, including those that, come from when using lawn mowing.
The more discrete design of the earplug fits comfortably inside your ear without being evident that you’re wearing earplugs. This is helpful if you want to use these earplugs for other events such as concerts or loud social gatherings such as in the bar.
Its NRR is rated at 16 dB and reduces noise level proportionally while maintaining sound integrity. For gardening and lawn mowing purposes, it lets you hear surrounding sounds to have a conversation with other people while blocking the harmful louder noise of the lawnmower.
The attenuating filters inside the earplugs reduce noise to a safe level and let you listen at a reasonable volume. For comfort and fit, you can wear it all day long, and it won’t slip or feel like falling out. The ears don’t get tired or feel itchy with pressure pain even after wearing it for a long duration.
It comes with a storage case with a key chain ring on it so you can carry it with you whenever you need it. The anti-stick interior of the case guarantee that earplugs can be removed easily.
What is the Level of Noise Generated By A Lawnmower?
Lawnmowers are very noisy, and it’s very little you can do to reduce the noise generated. A typical gas-powered lawnmower makes sound levels anywhere from 90 dB to 105 dB. That’s way above the safe level of less than 85 dB, and you should not expose yourself even with hearing protection for more than eight hours.
The 85-dB noise rating is the level that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends for hearing protection. You can buy some lower rating lawnmowers that produce less noise but won’t be as efficient in cutting lawns due to being underpowered.
The lawnmower noise is generated as the mower blades lift and cut the grass at high speed. For a neater cut, these blades must rotate faster to create a lift in the grass. As a result, the mower generates a buffing noise against the air.
The following table list the sound level and exposure duration for hearing damage to occur:
|Noise Level (dB)||Damaging Exposure Time|
|85 – 90 dB||8 Hours|
|91 – 96 dB||2 Hours|
|96 – 102 dB||30 Minutes|
|More than 103 dB||7 Minutes|
For reference, the lawnmower generates about 90 to 105 decibels that have the potential to harm your hearing in 7 minutes.
Other gardening tools such as weed eaters produce around 95 dB noise and hedge trimmer around 104 dB. You must use property safety gear when operating gardening tools, and hearing protection is a must.
Is Headphone Proper Hearing Protection For Lawn Mowing?
The headphone is not designed for reducing noise. The functionality of headphones is different than hearing protection.
Also, if you use a headphone to listen to music, then you have to turn them at a higher level to suppress the lawnmower sound. The headphones at full volume produce noise over 110 dB, which is way beyond the safe sound exposure level.
So, should you use a headphone as hearing protection for lawn mowing?
The answer is, “No.”
If you want to listen to music while using a mower, then use the headphone along with the proper hearing protection gear. But headphone is not a substitute for adequate hearing protection.
What Are The Different Types of Hearing Protection Available?
The hearing protection comes in usually two types:
- Over the ear hearing protection
- In-ear hearing protection
Over The Ear Hearing Protection
These are like a headphone that wrap around your head but don’t generate any sound themselves. You may prefer this style if you don’t like having some foreign objects in your ear canal for a long duration.
These are made from sound attenuating materials that block the external sound from getting into the ear. The comfortable and soft ear cushions surrounding the outer cap provide comfort for more extended duration use. You can also adjust it through an adjustable headband.
The over-the-ear hearing protection is usually bulkier and more cumbersome than the in-ear hearing protection.
In-Ear Hearing Protection
These noises blocking in-ear hearing protection come in different styles and shapes. These are like earphones, except it does not generate sound. The in-ear hearing protection not only cuts the loud noise of the lawnmower but also protects the inner ear from sweat.
The in-ear hearing protection types depend on the construction materials used. Some of the most common in-hearing protection are:
Foam Plugs Noise Protection: These are usually very cheap and made from PVC.
Silicon Plugs: The silicon plugs take the shape of your ear canal that making it comfortable and efficient in blocking noise.
Flanged plugs: The flanged plugs contain a series of webbed rings to secure them inside the ear canal. These make it better fit in your ear canal that prevents it from falling out and is useful in blocking noise.
Custom-made noise protection: This usually costs more, but you get an in-earplug designed for your unique ear canal structure. This provides you with the most comfort and ensures the perfect fit.
Things To Consider When Buying Hearing Protection For Lawn Mowing
For protection against hearing loss when mowing the lawn, you should invest in hearing protection that provides the functionality of blocking noise and the comfort of using it for a longer duration.
Here are some of the things to consider when choosing hearing protection for your gardening needs.
Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)
Hearing protection devices, whether in-ear or over the head, come with a noise reduction rating (NRR). The NRR measures the effectiveness of the device in blocking the noise. The NRR rating tells you how much sound reduction you can get when using it as directed.
The rating is based on the noise level that is denoted by decibel (dB). For better quality control and to standardize the hearing protection, the hearing protection device needs to be tested and approved by the designated occupational and health agencies.
The higher-rated hearing protection devices provide you with better protection against the louder noise level. But be aware that there is no straight-line correlation between NRR and dB.
As such, a hearing protection device rated 40 dB NRR rating will not reduce 100 dB sound to 60 dB. The actual noise reduction is based on the mathematical formula of overall dB – ((NRR-7)/2).
For example, if your lawnmower makes 100 dB noise, then using NRR 40 dB rating of hearing protection will expose you to 83.5 dB of sound (100 dB – (40 dB – 7 dB)/2).
As such, a higher NRR rating blocks more noise than the lower-rated NRR. We recommend that you choose an NRR rating of over 20 when selecting hearing protection during lawn mowing.
The comfortable fitting is essential to prevent any discomfort in using the hearing protection device.
You may have your own level of comfort and higher preference for the over-the-ear or in-ear hearing protection device. Choose the hearing protection type based on your liking and pick the one that has better padding and softer cushion material for the grip.
Make sure the protection provides some airflow around the ear to prevent heat as an increase in sweating makes it uncomfortable to wear.
You want a hearing protection unit that lasts longer. This prevents you from keep buying the new one after every few months. The higher quality build material and the well glued sealing cushions makes it last longer.
The hearing protection should be sturdy and able to tolerate heat. It’s more than likely you will be mowing the lawn in the summer where the weather is usually hot. Hearing protection built with durable material and smoother finishing typically lasts longer.
Sometimes you may need a middle ground between canceling outside noise and being able to communicate with others through radio or people approaching from behind.
In that type of scenario, you should look for noise-canceling electronic earmuffs or earplugs. These usually cost more but provide greater flexibility. It works by reducing noise electronically at a specific frequency level while allowing average conversation level sound to pass.
The use of electronic noise cancellation protection allows you to hear what is happening around you while operating a lawnmower. This makes you better aware of your surroundings while mowing the lawn.
Which One is Better Earplugs or Earmuffs?
It depends on your level of comfort in wearing hearing protection. In terms of sound blocking efficiency, both are equally efficient. But most earplugs available in the market have an NRR rating of most 33, whereas earmuffs have an NRR rating of 31.
If you use both together, then the combined NRR rating increases to 36. So, if possible, you can use both together to get the most protection. But if you want to use standalone, then earplugs block slightly more noise than earmuffs.
This is still better than the disposal of reusable types of earplugs, as those usually have an NRR rating of low 20. This is why it becomes essential to invest in a quality hearing protection device to save your hearing.
Whether you’re a professional landscaper or gardening enthusiast, if you’re using gardening tools, then you need to protect your ear from hearing loss. There are so many different options for blocking noise that is cheap and reliable.
You should choose one based on your comfort level and the level of noise you’re exposed to. You must use proper protective equipment when using gardening tools. Investing in good quality hearing protection prevents any hearing loss.
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