If you talked about earmuffs a few years ago, people would quickly think about pairs of soft fabric coverings with a band that construction workers wear over their heads. Of course, the primary purpose of these gadgets is to protect your ears, but technology is advancing. Today’s earmuff headphones do more than just shield your ear from the harmful sound.
The combination of earmuffs with headphones has revolutionized the way you can do things and enjoy life. For instance, you no longer have to choose between keeping your ears warm and listening to your favorite tunes during bone-chilling winter days. As a music lover, you can now get the best of both worlds if you’ve got this kind of gadget.
Features of Earmuff Headphones
Modern devices come in the form of earmuffs with headphones built in them and have an adjustable headband. They also feature smart buttons, cabled volume control knob, inline microphone, and complete-spectrum HD sound. While there’s an option to get a custom design, each of these fashion-forward sets is highly durable, portable, and elegant-looking.
The massive ear cups of these earmuffs can collapse down to a compact shape that you can carry around with ease. They also weigh less, some at 140 grams. Put a pair in your bag and forget about them until the need to use arises.
Previously, earmuffs always came with a wire that you would plug into a music player. Wires don’t have to get in the way anymore. Today, there are even wireless earmuff headphones for phone music players on the market. With Bluetooth technology, you can easily switch from listening to your beautiful songs to making calls by just touching one button (source: Cision PRWeb).
To make things even better, some headphones earmuff come with AM/FM radio so you don’t miss your favorite programs while taking a walk or jogging. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about battery usage as the minimum playability time is 6 hours. Also, their batteries are rechargeable via a micro USB cable.
Technology has not left out children and infants either. Since these little ones are more susceptible to ear damage as compared to adults when you expose them to loud sounds, there must be a solution for them. Earmuff headphones for babies are now available in adjustable styles that fit all sizes.
Why and When Do You Need Earmuff Headphones?
You’re likely to experience hearing loss by the time you reach 65 years of age. According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, a third of the older generation experience problems with their ears (source: Hear.com). Fortunately, you can reduce the chances of this happening by using quality earmuff headphones early enough.
Moreover, 20 percent of the general population has ear-related problems regardless of their age. This makes hearing loss one of the most common physical issues, only falling below arthritis and heart diseases.
One of the reasons why ear-related problems are common is that we are living in an environment with a lot of noise pollution. When you attend that musical event, rock concert, or sporting event, you’re often unaware of the danger your ears face. Knowing the secret of using hearing protectors can help you avoid ear damage.
If the sound or noise level at your workplace exceeds 85 decibels, then it’s advisable to wear hearing protectors. If you don’t, you’ll be at the risk of having problems with your ears sooner or later. This means that if you’re working at a construction, drilling, or mining site, then you have no option but to buy a hearing protector.
Although the best solution for preventing hearing loss at your workplace would have been to reduce the available noise levels, it could paralyze all operations. Since it’s often impossible to do this, a hearing protector is always a better option.
While there’re many people who know they have issues with their hearing, others may not. Of course, there are others who acknowledge they have issues but they don’t have a clue on how to solve them. Here are some common indicators that can help if you’re unsure of whether the levels of sounds you’re hearing are harmful to your ears or not:
- When you have difficulties hearing or talking to others. If someone has to shout for you to hear, then you’re in need of hearing protectors. In the same way, if people complain that you’re shouting when you talk to them, your ears might be having a problem.
- When there are certain sounds that make your ears hurt
- When you get that ringing sensation in your ears after hearing a sound
- When you can only hear muffled sounds
If you experience any of the above, then getting high-quality earmuff headphones is your best bet to staying safe. This is because they add style, comfort, and functionality while providing the much-needed protection to your ears from harmful sounds. Besides, you can use your earmuffs for several other purposes apart from your workplace such as:
- Lawn mowing and leaf blowing which have the potential of exposing you to loud noises
- Traveling on snowballs
- Attending car races or other events
- Hibernating earmuff headphones can give you great comfort while taking a nap
Since these gadgets are very versatile, they give you an opportunity to combine your headphone and earmuff purchase into one. They are highly portable and come in numerous designs for you to make a choice according to your preference. They also offer many other advantages at an affordable price.
Don’t leave your little ones out! Hearing loss that results from continuous exposure to extremely loud sounds can damage your child’s ears permanently. Ensure you get some earmuffs for your baby before attending the next sporting event.
How Does Headphone Earmuffs Work?
It’s not hard to imagine how a headphone earmuff looks like. Have you ever seen a pair of old-fashioned headphones that many club DJs wear? Or, can you think of Oreo-sized pads encapsulating small twin speakers, with a thin, adjustable metal strip attachment, all fitting on your head like an earmuff pair?
Since the shape of earmuffs is quite similar to headphones, it’s not hard to think that you could fuse the two items to get one convenient gadget (source: HowStuffWorks). This is what makes their mechanics simple.
Starting with a standard headphone set-up, you have two ear cups. Each of them contains a speaker, headband, and a wire that connects the two speakers. Also, there’s a universal plug that fits into several different accessories.
Covering the headphones is a warm, soft fabric, just like your winter jacket. Sometimes, the earmuffs form a tube all around the speakers. At other times, it’s a thin fabric layer that covers each speaker. All this serves to keep your ears warm during cold weather. Headphone earmuffs are both adjustable and collapsible.
Types of Earmuff Headphones
The main types of earmuffs are:
- Passive earmuff headphones. This is a kind of hearing protection gear with cups that encompass your entire ear. The design of each cup allows it to seal and fit comfortably around your ears. It also features small earplugs that can only protect your ear canal. The function of passive earmuffs is to diminish all sound that’s around you. If you wear them, you’re unable to hear even someone speaking nearby.
- Electronic Earmuffs. This protective gear is designed in such a way that it reduces loud sounds to safe levels, a feature that passive earmuffs lack. The technology behind the noise-cancellation in electronic earmuffs works in a fraction of a second. This way, you can hear everything around without having to wear and remove the gear repeatedly. However, these earmuffs are considerably more expensive as compared to the passive option (source: Enviro Safety).
What are the Advantages and Limitations of Earmuff Headphones?
Just like any other gadget, earmuffs have their own advantages and limitations. Of course, there are some earmuffs that are better than others. Nevertheless, they all have some general disadvantages.
The advantages of earmuff headphones include:
- Their special design makes one size to fit many head sizes
- It is possible to wear them even when you have a minor ear infection
- The variability of attenuation among users is limited
- It is not easy to lose them since they are robust and resemble big headphones
- When using them within a work environment, an employer can easily supervise their wearing since they’re conspicuous
- Comfortable even when you’re going to wear them for a longer period of time
Their limitations are:
- It is difficult to use them in combination with other hearing protectors
- It’s uncomfortable to use them in hot and humid environments
- They’re heavier and less portable as compared to other hearing protectors such as earplugs
- They’re very inconvenient if you’re going to use them in confined spaces
- Earmuffs can interfere with the way you wear prescription or safety glasses. This is mainly because glass temples can break the seal between your skin and earmuffs, resulting in decreased hearing protection
- Some earmuffs may fit quite tightly on your head
Considerations When Choosing
You need to be extremely careful when selecting earmuffs. Otherwise, you may end up with uncomfortable hearing protectors that won’t work properly (source: Topearmuffs.com). Here are some things you should consider when purchasing a pair of earmuff headphones:
- Usage. Before purchasing a pair of earmuffs, you need to determine what you’re going to use them for. There are sets that you can use for multiple purposes while others are only for warming your ears and playing music during winter. If you’re looking for earmuffs for noise reduction, there are many more things to consider before you shop. They include the ones below.
- Noise level. You must consider the noise rating of every environment you’re frequently in. For example, gun earmuffs may only require a 20dB Noise Reduction Rate (NRR) to protect your ears from the sound of a small caliber rifle. Such guns rate at 33dB if you’re using them indoors. Contrastively, the gun earmuffs may not work properly at construction sites since the sound here can easily reach 85dB.
- Hearing deficiency. If you already have a hearing problem, know that your ears can’t process the sound but they get it. Therefore, you need a serious pair of earmuffs to protect them from further damage. You may even want to go for a higher NRR or double protection (combining them with earplugs). If you’re using hearing aids, it’s advisable to abandon them since they interrupt with the signals that earmuffs get to you.
- Style. Although earmuff designs do not very much, there are styles that you might want to choose so they can suit your preferences. If you’re sensitive to headbands, then bandless earmuffs are the most suitable for you. Otherwise, a traditional style can serve the purpose well. If you’re going to wear a hat or helmet, then a wrap-around design is more suitable as it goes at the back rather than the top of your head.
- Communication. Your earmuff headphones shouldn’t affect your work or how you communicate with others. If you need to get some signals from your supervisor or colleagues at the workplace, then consider getting a low protection option. You may also want to get an electronic level-dependent pair of earmuffs. If you don’t need to hear any voices from the outside, then a passive gadget can offer peace of mind while working.
- Convenience. Before purchasing a pair of earmuffs, consider how convenient they’ll be for you. Do you have to take them off all the time your colleagues want to pass information to your desk? In such a case, you’d want to go for a noise reduction option that effectively filters signals you’re supposed to hear. Do you have to take your earmuffs off in order to receive a phone call? It is better to get a set that you can easily switch from one function to another, including hands-free calls. Your earmuffs should also have a folding feature that allows for easy storage and transportation if you’re going to be moving around with them a lot.
- Comfort. Consider getting earmuff headphones that aren’t so tight that they block your blood circulation. Also, their fabric should be soft on your ears.
The best solution for your hearing protection is a pair of modern earmuff headphones. Extremely versatile, they offer comfort, style, and so many other functions apart from protecting your ears from harmful sounds and noise. With all these advantages, why wait any longer to get your own earmuffs?