Ear defenders, also known as ear protectors, are designed to protect the ears and hearing from various types and sources of hazardous noise pollution. All ear defenders carry an SNR rating (Single Number Rating) which is the European industry-recognised standard level of protection offered. Using the correct type of ear defenders ensures hearing protection and can help to safeguard against the development of ear or hearing problems, such as tinnitus and hearing loss. For more information about the different types of ear defenders and how they work, please see our ear defenders guide.
When working in loud environments and industries such as factories and plants, construction sites, and demolition work, it is part of your required PPE (personal protection equipment) to have the correct ear protection. At RS, we have a range of ear defenders including products from some of the leading brands, such as 3M, Peltor, Delta Plus, JSP, Alpha Solway and our own brand RS PRO. We have a range of attachment types available, from headband and neckband ear defenders to helmet attachments.
Ear defenders protect the user from damaging their hearing when working in noisy environments, providing noise reduction or cancellation. The two main types of ear defenders include passive and electronic, which both encase the ear for protection.
Passive ear defenders use acoustic foam pads to absorb sounds and act as a barrier to stop harmful levels of sound reaching the ears. They use acoustic foam to attenuate (reduce the impact of) incoming sounds whilst offering comfort for prolonged use.
Electronic ear defenders have a similar makeup to passive ear defenders, except for the small, built-in sensor that detects noise levels and adjusts the level of attenuation to provide noise protection accordingly.
Communication ear defenders use the base of electronic ear defenders with the addition of a microphone, radio and Bluetooth functionalities. They offer similar attenuation capabilities as passive and electronic defenders, blocking out low to medium noise, whilst allowing you to hear higher frequencies such as voices and alarms clearly. FM Radio ear defenders allow the user to listen to music or the radio whilst working. Lastly, the built-in communication allows the user to listen or speak and listen to other workers on the same frequency when working and still staying protected.
Communication ear defenders can be 'listen-only' or 'speak and listen". Push-to-speak and push-to-listen ear defenders require the push of particular buttons to hear or be heard. Noise-cancelling microphones reduce the background noise when you are speaking, aiding clarity of communication.