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Ear protection for Jackhammer Use – Non-Negotiable Safety

Do you really need ear protection for jackhammer use?

If you’re working in construction or doing any type of heavy-duty work that requires you to use a jackhammer, wearing hearing protectors is critical to your safety.

Hearing protectors come in different sizes and shapes, but we've designed a great selection of hearing protectors for your convenience. No matter what shape or size you need, we’ll have it here for you at your door.

Keep reading to learn more about the best ways to protect your ears.

How loud is a jackhammer?

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the main reason why people need ear protection for jackhammer usage and failing to use hearing protectors can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss.

Most of the time, people do not even notice that they are losing their hearing due to operating loud machinery, since the process is mostly painless and gradual. Sometimes you do not even feel that ringing in your ears, the tinnitus that many people report after being exposed to loud noise for extended periods.

The only sign that triggers the realisation that you lost your hearing is, for some people, the impression that everyone around them is mumbling.

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Jackhammer Noise Levels- Why You Need Ear Protection

How Loud Is a Jackhammer in Decibels?

Labourers who jackhammer solid surfaces are constantly exposed to loud noise that reaches a level that surpasses the safe level of noise exposure, that is usually set at around 85 decibels.

The decibel level of a jackhammer is of 130 decibels. This means workers must endure almost double the safe level of noise exposure on a daily basis. As a result, using a jackhammer frequently without hearing protection can lead to noise-induced hearing loss, as it is constant exposure to loud, close noise, that can damage the auditory system.

Studies show that workers that are overexposed to noise and do not benefit from hearing protectors can lose their hearing at an early age. An average worker that jackhammers concrete surfaces can reach, by age 25, the hearing of a 50-year-old person who did not work in a noisy environment.

So, what can you do to protect your hearing in a noisy work environment, especially when using loud machinery such as jackhammers?

Best Ways to Protect Your Ears While Working with a Jackhammer

Shorter or longer exposure to very loud sounds can result in permanent damage to the nerves of the inner ear, especially when you work in a noisy environment, or work with jackhammers and other machinery that emit a high level of noise.

A jackhammer working concrete can easily and quickly damage your ability to hear, especially if you do not wear any kind of hearing protectors. The average standard jackhammer noise level is around 115 decibels, while some of these tools can be as loud as 130 decibels, so the best way to protect your hearing while working with a jackhammer is to wear either foam or plastic earplugs or earmuffs.

Ideally, workers that operate jackhammers should take steps to lower the maximum noise level of the work environment or the work equipment to 90 decibels or even less.

If you choose to protect your hearing with earplugs while jackhammering, make sure that they seal the entire circumference of your ear canal. It is also recommended to change them after each use, so you do not end up having an irritated canal or worse, an ear infection.

Disposable roll-down foam earplugs are best for this situation.  Based on your preferences, you can also choose custom-moulded earplugs, which are very comfortable, reusable plugs, that may be a bit more expensive, or canal caps, that do not extend into the ear canal. You should be aware that canal caps do not provide the same level of protection as the ones you insert into your ear canal.

Noises When Using A Jackhammer

The following infographic shows a list of the various noises when you are out and about. Any noise over 70-80db over a long period of time may cause damage to your hearing. A noise of over 120dB may cuase immediate harm to your ears

The higher the NRR, the better!

Since earplugs are generally known to offer less hearing protection compared to earmuffs, you should pay close attention to the Noise Reduction Level mentioned by the manufacturer on the package. The higher the NRR, the better!

If you choose earmuffs, you will find that they are more comfortable, as they act as a seal around your ear and are held in place by an adjustable band. You can even find earmuffs that can be mounted on to hard hats that have an accessory slot to accommodate them. For an earmuff to be a good fit, you should feel that the rubber strip acts as a seal around your ear.

How to Choose the Right Hearing Protection for Jackhammer Usage and Construction Work

Selecting the right earmuff for jackhammer usage is easy when you know what to look for. Pay close attention to the Noise Reduction Rating, as it shows you how effective that product is when it comes to reducing loud noise levels.

If you find hearing protection with a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of at least 30, you should opt for that model, because the higher the NRR, the more protected you will be against noise-induced hearing loss. You may even find earplugs that feature an NRR of 33.

In extremely loud work environments, where workers are exposed to loud machinery for long periods, it is recommended to use both earmuffs and earplugs to get maximum hearing protection levels. Using a good pair of earplugs combined with a high NRR pair of earmuffs can up the noise reduction level with an extra 5 to 10 decibels, which may be exactly what you need to avoid noise-induced hearing loss.

Determining the Noise Level for Better Hearing Protection

Choosing the right earmuff for jackhammer usage may require a noise dosimeter, which offers you clear information about the overall noise exposure and signals if your hearing may be at risk.

You can wear a dosimeter while working with a jackhammer, to ensure that the noise levels do not reach a dangerous limit, which is over 85 decibels for an 8-hour shift.

If you do not have a noise dosimeter around, you can easily figure out how much noise reduction you need. If an average jackhammer can reach 115 decibels and you need to be below 85 decibels to protect your hearing from damage, subtract 85 dB from 115 dB and you will quickly find out the right noise protection level for your needs, which is an attenuation of at least 30 dB.

Experts say that you might not need that much protection if there is a shorter exposure, but for an 8-hour shift of working with a jackhammer, you should aim for at least 30 dB in noise level attenuation.

Please Note: Just because an ear defender is marked, for example, "Gunshot" - it will still cover other things, like "explosions"

Caldwell E-MAX Pro Electronic Hearing Protection 23-24 NRR - Adjustable Lo Pro Earmuffs for...
  • SPECS: Experience high quality stereo sound while confidently protecting your hearing with 23 NRR (Noise Reduction Rating)
  • COMFORTABLE: Featuring an adjustable headband and padded ear cups, you’ll find a custom fit to ensure proper noise cancellation and hearing protection. A slender, low profile design provides a closer cheek weld, allowing for more accurate shooting
  • EASE OF USE: Runs on 2 AAA batteries (included) and is compatible with Caldwell's rechargeable battery pack (sold seperately)
  • FEATURES: Dual microphones in each ear provide directional clarity, amplifying sounds to the ideal volume with push button controls
  • CONVENIENT: With a compact design, Caldwell folding muffs easily fit in your range bag
Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact Sport Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting Earmuff, Green
  • Built-in directional microphones amplify range commands and other ambient sounds to a safe 82 dB, providing more natural listening and enhanced communication
  • Actively listens and automatically shuts off amplification when ambient sound reaches 82 dB; Noise Reduction Rating (NRR): 22
  • Features low profile earcups for firearm stock clearance; adjustable headband for secure fit; compact folding design for convenient storage; classic green color
  • Includes AUX input and 3.5 mm connection cord for MP3 players and scanners. Integrated power/volume knob
  • Includes 2 AAA batteries; automatic shut-off feature after 4 hours increases battery life; approximately 350 hours of battery life; works well and long with Polaroid AAA Batteries
PROTEAR Bluetooth Hearing Protection Headphones with FM AM Radio,25dB NRR Rechargeable Hearing...
  • 🎧 𝐑𝐞𝐝𝐮𝐜𝐞 𝟐𝟓𝐝𝐁 𝐍𝐨𝐢𝐬𝐞 - ☞Noise reduction rating NRR 25dB (ANSI S3.19 CERTIFIED) Effectively reduces outside noise and protects your ears from hazardous sound levels, soft PU leather headband fits all head sizes, super comfort. Say goodbye to boring and noise from now on.
  • 🎧 𝐁𝐥𝐮𝐞𝐭𝐨𝐨𝐭𝐡 & 𝐇𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐬-𝐟𝐫𝐞𝐞 𝐂𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 - ☞ Built-in digital Bluetooth for phone, hands-free calling, Seamlessly stream music from your mobile phones, tablet or other Bluetooth enabled devices. Answer calls as you work with multifunctional button and built-in microphone - without having to remove the headset.
  • 🎧 𝐀𝐌/𝐅𝐌 𝐑𝐚𝐝𝐢𝐨 - ☞Digital AM/FM radio tuning with LCD display, Store up to 20 AM and 20 FM stations in memory. Besides, auto-scanning helps you quickly find and save your favorite stations. Premium speakers provide bigger sound and deeper bass.
  • 🎧 𝐑𝐞𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐠𝐞𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐁𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐲 & 𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐃𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐠𝐧 - ☞Powered by 1200mAh rechargeable lithium battery(included). Earmuffs Digital display can show time, Bluetooth, AM FM frequency, battery status. Lightweight, low-profile design with soft, comfortable ear cushions and adjustable padded headband.
  • 🎧 𝐖𝐨𝐫𝐤 𝐟𝐨𝐫 - ☞The ear protection safety muffs can not only be used as working safety ear muffs but also great for hunting, mowing, racing, shooting, indoor gunfire, construction sites and other outdoor noisy environments to protect your hearing.

Last update on 2023-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Other Questions

How do you choose ear protection?

To protect the ears against loud noises, a hearing aid is used. There are several forms of hearing protection in the market such as earplugs, earmuffs, and earmolds, but only the best should be chosen. You should first know how much noise suppression you require when purchasing hearing protection and then pick the protection device accordingly.

Your hearing protection should be easy to wear and easy to carry, so you don't have to think about storing it and keeping it secure. Secondly, it should be reliable and comfortable enough for you to wear it for a longer period of time.

Are earplugs better than earmuffs?

Earplugs and earmuffs both can be used for ear protection in fact The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends using both of them together to get better NRR (noise reduction rating). Earplugs block the ear canal completely hence they provide better protection than earmuffs by lessening the severity of the sound.

Moreover, earplugs are more comfortable and easier to carry, and easier to clean so they are preferred by most people. Foam earplugs or plastic inserts can prove to be more beneficial when using a jackhammer. Earmuffs are not entirely discouraged but they can be a little uncomfortable and difficult to carry.

Can I use noise Cancelling headphones instead of ear defenders?

Yes, you can. As per the hearing protection perspective, Passive noise-canceling headphones perform the same as earmuffs or other ear defenders. Both of these devices provide protection against loud and high-frequency noises. Passive headphones block out sounds with the help of materials they are built with.

Headphones are bigger and bulkier so they might not be as comfortable as ear defenders. Moreover, headphones can be spotted easily and are not very subtle. Ear defenders are also more reliable than headphones however, whether you want to use headphones or ear defenders is entirely your choice.

References - Jackhammer

If you require more information, please check these references

Study On Noise Levels Generated Due To Jack Hammer Drills In Granite Quarries Pdf , article, "www.researchgate.net", retrieved on, Fri 20-November-2020

An experimental investigation of jack hammer drill noise with special emphasis on drilling in rocks of different compressive strengths , article, "www.ingentaconnect.com", retrieved on, Fri 20-November-2020

Noise and Noise-Induced , article, "journals.sagepub.com", retrieved on, Fri 20-November-2020


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Nick Le Page

Experience : Hi, I am Nick, and I have suffered with ear problems my whole life, mainly tinnitus. I have tried a lot of products to help protect my ears over this period, and several devices to block out the constant ringing

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