Best Hearing Protection For Lawn Mowing
It’s mowing season again soon, and it seems like every week you are mowing that lawn. Or possibly you mow lawns as part of your job and want to protect your hearing, and maybe listen to music or take calls when mowing those lawns.
This article will recommend best hearing protection for lawn mowing, inform you about the types of ear muffs for mowing. How loud different types of mowers are, and the damage they can do to hearing.
Recommended ear protection for lawn mowing.
This section will summarise the results of the article, and give you my recommended plugs. Many people are busy and just want to make a purchase and not read the reasoning behind the choices given. The recommended lawn mower ear muffs are below, in four categories
- Budget Ear Muffs (Standard)
- igh-End Ear Muffs (Standard)
- Bluetooth Ear Muffs. Includes microphone so you can take calls and listen to music
- Pair that allows talking but still reduces the loudest noises
Do You Need Ear Protection For Mowing?
This depends on two things, how long you use the mower for, and how loud the mower is. Hearing damage is caused by the loudness of the noise, multiplied by the amount of time that you are using the mower.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) say that once a sound reaches over 85dB, this is the point when hearing protection should be considered. Maybe this is lower than the noise made by the average mower, so some form of hearing protection probably should be worn. But this depends on how long you work, and how loud your mower is
How loud is my mower?
As a base point, the average mower makes about 90dB in noise, and this may go up to over 100-110dB for the noisier models.
If you are unsure about the approximate volume of your mower, then a rough estimate can be taken using a decibel meter for on a smartphone. Just download the app and take an average reading of the volume when you mow. You can use this figure to see what hearing protection for mowing you will need.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) give the following figures for how long you can be exposed to sounds before your hearing may become damaged.
- 88 dB – 4 hours
- 91 dB – 2 hours
- 97 dB – 30 min
- 103 dB- 7.5 min
(For every 3dB increase, the amount of time is cut in half. So if your mower is 109dB the time would be under 2 minutes!)
Ear Protection And Employment
If you employ people that work in noisy environments, you are responsible for looking after their hearing. Do not neglect this often overlooked responsibility. It is estimated that over $240 million is spent annually on compensation for hearing loss. (2017 – U.S. Department of Labor)
3M WorkTunes Hearing Protection with Bluetooth Long Term
Best Hearing Protection For Lawn Mowing
Types of mower
There are really two types of lawn-mower, electric and gas-powered. (If you are using a push model, you do not need to be wearing hearing protection – Are there any of these still being used?)
The amount of noise made by lawn mowers is usually high. However, electric mowers tend to be a lot quieter than the gas models.
Electric Lawn Mower noise
The quieter electric lawn mowers will not need you to wear and ear muffs, or ear plugs. They will usually be below the noise levels that require to protect your hearing, or you will need to wear muffs if you are going to be using them for many hours.
As a general rule, the more powerful (the higher the voltage output) the lawn-mower, the louder it will be. There are now labels that tell you how much noise that mowers output on a lot of models. However, as noise labels are voluntary, some manufacturers will not have them.
If you are concerned, choose a mower that has these a volume label, use a decibel meter, or just use some ear muffs when mowing your lawn. They are not expensive and may save you or your child’s hearing in later life
Gas Lawn Mower noise
Gas mowers as you are probably aware are much louder than the electric models. They cut larger areas of grass much quicker, so they are more powerful, and more power means more sound. For this type of mower, you will probably will some hearing protection.
These may have voluntary noise labels on them, but it is less likely. The manual may say something about hearing protection, and if it does say that it is needed, then you must wear ear plugs while mowing! Unless it states explicitly that ear muffs are not required, you should consider using them.
Best Hearing Protection for Lawn Mowing
Below are my four recommendations for hearing protection when on a mower.
Standard Budget Ear Muff – These are inexpensive ear muffs that will protect your hearing while mowing the lawn, best suited to someone who will be mowing their garden at home / using these muffs relatively infrequently
Standard High-End Ear Muffs – These are slightly more expensive than the muffs above – but still very reasonable in price. They will block out the noise marginally better, and will probably be better made and more comfortable to wear for extended periods. May suit someone who needs to wear hearing protection frequently, or just wants better quality
Bluetooth Ear Muffs with a microphone. These earmuffs are similar to the standard ear muffs above. They do, however, have speakers built in so you can listen to music from any of your Bluetooth enabled devices. (E.g. Smartphone).
If you get a call on your smartphone while it is paired, it will ring in your headset, and if you answer the call, there is a built-in microphone. Would suit someone who needs to be available for calls 24/7, or someone who likes to listen to music while they work. (If you get a phone call the music automatically shuts off)
Pair that allows talking but still reduces the loudest noises
These ear muffs do not block out as much of the sounds as the earplugs above. What they do is reduce the volume of the loud sounds around you, so that you can still listen and talk. These would suit someone who works with other people and needs to communicate with them
Top Pick – 3M WorkTunes with Bluetooth technology
- Noise Reduction Rating 24 NNR 24 to help protect your hearing
- Integrated Microphone Make and take phone calls without having to remove the headset.
- Hi-Fi Sound 40 mm high-fidelity speakers for premium sound quality.
- Bluetooth Technology stream music from mobile phones or other Bluetooth devices.
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Conclusion – Best Hearing Protection for Lawn Mowing
Hearing is loss very slow, each time you damage your hearing, your hearing gets a bit worse. The damage will be unnoticeable, but it accumulates and is irreversible. Most people in their youth do not think about their ears; that’s why there are so many middle-aged people who cannot hear well (I am one of these people). Ear protection when lawn mowing is not expensive, and you will not regret doing it.
Once you have ear muffs, they can be you for numerous activities that are also noisy.