You’ll be glad to hear about the latest ear protection from Hellberg.
There are lots of ear defenders out there, and some of the cheap throwaway ones are not even rated. Looking at these with all their sophistication I assumed they would be top dollar, but I was pleasantly surprised to see they are cheaper than many of the radio ear defenders I have tried. That doesn’t put them in the throwaway category and, if you look after them, they should last you for years and work out to be very good value.
Hellberg Secure Ear Defenders come in various ratings to suit the task in hand. If, for example, you use a combi drill, and perhaps work in a moderately noisy work shop or site, a level 1, green coded, ear defender will give you adequate protection. You will still be able to hear the louder noises and the general background noises, which keep you in touch with your environment. Personally, I need something better.
The next rating is level 2, colour coded yellow, which is good for people using tools, such as a circular saw or grinder. It blocks out the harmful effects of up to 23 decibels, but it does mean that a lot of background noises will be cut out. To overcome this you have the option of a built-in level-dependent microphone, which allows you to hear speech but cuts out louder noises. This can be switched off if you require a quieter time. The top level is 3, colour coded orange, which is needed for extreme noises, such as firearms and concrete hammers.
The other great feature of these ear defenders is the option of a built in AM/FM radio and a 3.5mm audio input. I have been testing the radio for a few weeks now and I am happy to say that the automatic signal lock is very good. I have owned radio ear defenders that cost a lot more but drifted on the signal to the point where they were unusable. The other good feature is the sound limit, which prevents the radio being turned up to a harmful level.
I have to say that I, and a great many other builders, have done permanent damage to my ears by using power tools without proper ear protection, or just being too close to someone else using a Paslode. It isn’t all about the noise you generate yourself and, despite the damage, I am very keen to protect and preserve the hearing I have left, so I will wear these ear defenders at every opportunity. If you look at how little noise it takes to cause permanent damage a circular saw in an enclosed space will definitely do it.