5 Best Ear Protectors for Airport Workers

Best Ear Protectors for Airport WorkersIf you are an airport worker, regardless of your professional qualification, you deal with noise and a lot of it. Ear protectors, also in the form of earmuffs, are considered PPE and are specifically designed to protect professionals from any type of extreme noise.

After researching and testing directly at the airport, we have selected Decibel Defense Professional Safety Earmuffs as our top choice for ear protectors for airport workers. The choice fell on these ear protectors because of their exceptional NRR of 37 dB.

Comparison of Top Ear Protectors for Airport Workers

EarmuffNNRHeadbandExtras
Decibel Defense Professional Safety Earmuffs37AdjustableFoldable & compact, many color options
ClearArmor Safety Earmuffs #14100131Adjustable2 layers foam
Honeywell Verishield VS130HV Protective Earmuff30AdjustableReflective strips on headband and ear protectors
Honeywell Verishield VS130 Earmuff30CushionedMemory foam
Honeywell Howard Leight Ear Protectors30AdjustableDual hearing protection, Microphone, Ear jack

Our Top Choice

1. Decibel Defense Professional Safety Earmuffs

These protective earmuffs are our top choice thanks to its amazing NRR of 37 dB. They feature an adjustable cushioned headband and a foldable design. They are lightweight making them ideal for long work shifts. Comfort is guaranteed but not at the cost of hearing protection.

Pros

        • NRR 37
        • Attractive design
        • Affordable
        • Comfortable for long work shifts

Cons

        • Some difficulty in blocking low frequency noise
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Great Options

2. ClearArmor Safety Earmuffs

These budget friendly ear protectors offer both comfort and durability. With an NRR of 31 dB they are an attractive choice. An adjustable headband in synthetic leather features additional cushioning for comfort and fits numerous head sizes.

The fit is firm preventing movement or that your ears are exposed regardless of the position you are in. The cups feature two layers of foam for noise reduction.

Pros

        • Sturdy durable construction
        • Budget choice
        • 31 dB protection
        • Cushioned headband

Cons

        • A bit bulky
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3. Honeywell Verishield VS130HV Protective Earmuff

Honeywell Verishield VS130HV Protective Earmuff

This is an affordable earmuff for people working in noisy environments. What we really liked about this is its enhanced visibility feature. It comes with a reflecting element inserted in it silhouette.

For professionals working on the airport tarmac in the evening or during bad weather, we find this to be an attractive safety feature.

The headband is padded and has a nine-inch strip of reflecting material that sits over the crown of your head and the ear cups are a vivid bright yellow for increased visibility. The NRR is 30 for great hearing protection while on the job. The weight is 1.10 pounds.

Pros

        • Comfortable for multiple head sizes
        • Reflecting cushioned headband
        • High visibility yellow earcups
        • Affordable

4. Honeywell Verishield VS130 Earmuff

Honeywell Verishield VS130 Earmuff

These earmuffs ensure both protection and comfort for airport industry workers. The design fits just about every shape and size of head. They are particularly indicated for professionals with larger sized ears or even workers that wear hearing aids.

The Verishield earmuffs incorporate a memory foam that is unique in that it is both denser and softer than standard foam. Pressure and squeezing of the head are noticeably reduced adding to your comfort during long work shifts. The design is lightweight at 1.10pounds. Affordable.

Pros

        • Suitable for a wide range of sizes
        • Wide earcup 
        • Cushioned headband
        • Memory foam in the ear cushions
        • Framework in steel wire
        • ABS molded cups
        • Cup surface is oil resistant
        • NRR 30
        • Affordable

Cons

        • Could fit ears better in some cases

5. Honeywell Howard Leight Ear Protectors

These ear defenders feature a solid construction and electronic microphones that will amplify environmental noises to just 82 dB. This will permit you to hear conversations or alarms immediately around you.

These microphones cancel noises louder than 82 dB and automatically block 30 dB of environmental noise should you shut off the electronic ear protection. In fact, the NRR is 30 dB. Apart from protecting you from loud environmental noise, the controlled amplification is quite satisfactory.

It also features several pressure points in rubber and has an adjustable conditioned headband. The ear protectors also have an audio jack connector that measures 3.5mm so you can listen to your favorite music while working.

Pros

        • NRR 30
        • Audio jack for listening to music
        • Adjustable cushioned headband
        • Dual hearing protection

Cons

        • Amplification of environmental sounds is a bit weak
        • Not necessarily comfortable for long work shifts
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How Ear Defenders Protect from Noise at Airport

Most ear defenders used in an airport situation will be in the physical form of earmuffs. The headband that keeps your ear defenders in place as well as the outer covering of the actual muffs will usually be made from metal or very hard thermoplastic.

The actual protection will be provided by an acoustic foam that is placed inside the muffs. This particular type of foam will absorb sound waves through the increase of air resistance and the reduction of the sound waves.

The great thing about ear defenders is that they can be worn thanks to a headband or they come with clips in the event that you want to attach them to a hat or hard hat. Some ear protectors will also have radio and music systems or as is often in an airport setting, two-way communications technology. The process involved in protecting your hearing is called attenuation.

This process can be increased even more if workers choose to wear earplugs together with protective muffs. Another great option consists of thermal earmuffs for airport workers out on the tarmac to protect ears in cold weather.

How do I Select my Ear Protectors for Airport Work

Hearing Protection at Aiport Work

Noise protection for airport workers is a priority. Whether you are a baggage handler, fuel truck operator, mechanic or even one of the many catering companies that supply planes, you will encounter lots of noise.

The law requires employers to analyze hearing risks in the workplace and to identify controls and reduce these risks, if not eliminate them entirely so that a worker’s hearing is protected. The protection chosen should reflect the risks a worker encounters on a daily basis.

When the employer identifies and assesses the risks, checks, and controls must be implemented. In an industrial setting, an employer may choose to use quieter machinery. He or she may also move the source of noise further away from employees or introduce silencers into the environment. Unfortunately, in an airport setting, these are not options. 

The standard limit for providing hearing protection recognized today is 85 decibels as a weekly or daily median exposure level. Already at 80 decibels, employers must begin to assess the risks to an employee’s hearing health. At 80 decibels, an employee should receive training and adequate information regarding protection. The exposure limit to noise is 87 decibels.

A worker cannot and must not be exposed to anything above this level of noise. These limits take into account the average amount of noise experienced in a day or during a week together with the maximum peak of noise in any one day.

Basic Acoustic Information

There are numerous categories and variations when considering ear defenders, so it is understandable that a professional can find choosing a bit confusing. When selecting, you will see many of the following concepts and details provided when purchasing a product.

  • dB or Decibels. This is the unit used to measure the intensity of a sound. As human ears perceive sound across a wide scale of various intensities, linear measurements are not used. A dB scale is a kind of log scale. You can get an idea of how it works by considering that about every 3dB, the sound intensity doubles! A 20dB noise increase would up the noise intensity 100 times!

Here are some examples of acoustic stress:

Decibels How long it is safe to listen without any ear protection Type or source of the Noise
130 0 Jet lift off
120 0 Amplified musical event
115 Under one minute Sporting event
109 Under two minutes Use of auto horn
106 Under four minutes Personal music source set at the maximum volume
100 Fifteen minutes Industrial machinery
97 Half hour Motorcycle noise
94 One hour Electric drill
91 Two hours Lawnmower noise
85 Eight hours Vacuum cleaner noise
55 Always safe Normal conversation without shouting
  • Noise Attenuation. This is a process through which noise energy is lost. When selecting ear protectors, this information needs to be considered.
  • SNR. These letters signify the “Single Number Rating” system. This value will be used to consider and compare the amount of noise attenuation offered by the protectors that you are considering for purchase. 

In order to understand how much acoustic pressure your ears are receiving you will subtract the SNR number from the median noise level measured in your workplace.

If the average noise at work measures 92 and your ear protection has an SNR of 15, the average acoustic pressure you will experience when wearing the protectors will be 92 – 15 = 77 dB or decibels. The higher the SNR is, the more noise attenuation you will have with your ear protectors on.

  • HML. This is a procedure for estimating how much attenuation ear protectors offer. It is based on three different parameters of High, Medium, and Low. These parameters refer to the amount of noise reduction at these frequencies.

See also: Best Ear Protection for High-Frequency Noise

How do I Select my Ear Protectors for Airport Work?

Every single worker will have different necessities when considering ear protectors. You need a good fit, and the correct protection for your workplace noise level. The manufacturer should also give indications as to how to use and care for your ear protectors.

1.) Noise Risk. Take into consideration the pitch, frequency, and intensity of the noise you encounter at work.

2.) Your Profession. Airport workers, like construction, industrial or music professionals are exposed to different types of noise hazards. It is wise to look for ear defenders that are manufactured for a specific profession in these cases, just as workers involved with ballistics. Some ear protectors are made specifically for indoor or outdoor use, so check that out before purchasing.

3.) Hazard Assessment. Your employer should assess the task you are assigned to along with how much exposure you receive in relation to limits. You need to know how to be compliant with what protection the law requires of you at work.

4.) Check Certification. As with all PPE, your new ear defenders must meet international and national standards required by law. Markings such as CE, EN ISO, and BS indications will assist you in determining which equipment meets safety standards for both design and performance.

There are numerous standards for all kinds of noise. EN60745 markings refer to portable power tools noise emissions while BS EN ISO 4871-2009 refers to general machinery. Both the USA Noise Reduction Rating – NRR and the British Standards Institution – BSI together with the European Union – CE offer measurement units for determining how effective ear protectors are.

5.) Manufacturer and Brand. Well-known manufacturers and brands can provide you with confidence when purchasing. If you don’t have a preferred supplier for PPE, read reviews like this one, consult your peers at the workplace or a professional network, and consider customer feedback before buying.

6.) Try Your Ear Protectors On. Trying before you buy is always a good idea so you can evaluate fit and comfort.

7.) Budget. While you don’t want to breathe bank, you definitely want to consider quality when investing. The priority here is good protection, which may translate into a bit higher cost.

Always look at what industry the ear protectors you are considering have been designed for with recommended noise levels. Some will provide cushions that snap into place for easy removal and substitution.

Headbands may vary contributing to more or less comfort. If workers will talk among themselves the protectors must feature two-way communication technology or attenuation that allows communication.

FAQ

How do I make sure my ear protectors fit properly?

The protectors should fit firmly in order to create a type of seal around your ear. You can adjust the length of the headband to achieve a good fit.

Conclusion

There are undoubtedly many things to consider when choosing PPE for hearing protection. Keep in mind that as an airport professional, you are choosing protection for one of the noisiest workplaces on the planet.

Consider noise protection level together with comfort, hygiene, and how your protectors fit with other equipment you may be required to wear. Thank you for reading and we hope this article will help facilitate you in selecting your best ear protectors for airport workers.