The Ultimate Construction Ear Protection Safety Guide

Construction Earmuffs

There are two things my brothers-in-law, father and grandfathers have in common. They all work in construction or industry, and they're all hard of hearing - if not completely deaf. After stubbornly refusing to get their hearing checked because they don't want to admit their hearing isn't as great as it once was, making the rest of the family speak at a volume just below a dull roar to have a conversation - for a decade or two - they'll get hearing aids, usually around age 55 to 60. Though we've noticed a correlation between hearing aids accidentally being left off and how much the speaker yammers on, it doesn't get around the fact that there's a hearing problem, common to most people working in loud-noise environments.

There has been a strong push towards hearing protection over the years, including OSHA requirements. You can almost break down the year when different levels of protection were adopted. Granddad on one side of the family was deaf as a post - you even had to tell him when his batteries were going and the hearing aid started squealing. By comparison, my youngest brother-in-law has a little trouble in crowded rooms, but otherwise has decent hearing. The difference between these generations is the additional focus on hearing protection in the work place. Here are the types of hearing protection you can use and their advantages and disadvantages:


Earmuffs fit most people and are easy to wear, use and clean. However, the headband and muff can interfere with glasses and other personal protective equipment. If you're in a work situation where this is not a concern, they can be a great, easy to use piece of equipment to keep on hand.

Canal Caps

Canal caps are essentially earplugs on a headband. Though they tend to not be as comfortable or provide as much protection as other options, the band can go on top of your head, under your chin or behind your neck, making them more flexible when working with a respirator or hard hat. They also go on and come off quickly, especially when compared to earplugs.

Pre-Formed Earplugs

Earmuffs Construction

If you have a hard-to-fit ear, having earplugs that are custom formed to your ears is a great way to get around that problem without having to worry about accidentally knocking off your hearing protection on the work site. This type of earplug requires visiting a hearing protection provider who is licensed, as they require a cast of the ear canal to create a perfect customized fit. For that extra effort, though, you'll receive earplugs that perfectly fit your ears and are comfortable for long-term wear.

Reusable Earplugs

This type of earplug isn't custom-fitted to your ears, but is still a step above the protection provided by foam plugs. They can be cleaned between uses and tend to protect against somewhat higher noise levels. They are somewhat more expensive than the foam plugs but much less expensive compared to pre-formed plugs. Like the foam plugs below, if noise is able to leak through because of poor fit, the earplugs won't provide sufficient protection against noise. Because these are somewhat preformed, you'll need to make sure you get the right size.

Roll-Down Foam Earplugs

As an inexpensive, disposable, one-size-fits-most solution, this type of ear plug works rather well. It provides decent hearing protection for most situations and like other earplugs, can be doubled up with earmuffs to provide additional hearing protection in extreme situations. They are rolled to make the diameter smaller, then inserted into the ear canal and allowed to expand to fill the ear canal and block noise. If it doesn't completely fill the ear canal and noise can leak past in those areas, it won't provide adequate protection.

Using proper hearing protection not only protects your hearing, it also prevents work site mishaps and misunderstood instructions, making your work site safer and reducing waste from errors. If you or your crew needs better hearing protection, we've got what you need. Contact Wallboard Supply Company today for more details, to place an order or to arrange for delivery to your work site so your crew can keep on going.

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Wallboard Supply Company is a third generation, family run business that has been serving New England's building needs since 1970. Bob Filion started the company with a commitment to provide quality drywall and finishing products with unmatched customer service. The company has grown over the years, expanding its' product range, but never wavering from its' core values.