The Best Ear Protection for Mowing of 2022

If you like mowing the lawn but worry about the damage your mower could be doing to your ears, this guide on the best ear protection for mowing will help.

By Tom Scalisi | Published Jun 23, 2022 12:55 PM

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The Best Ear Protection for Mowing Options

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For a lot of folks, getting on or behind a lawn mower is a moment of zen. It’s a chance to clear their thoughts, get some fresh air, and enjoy themselves. But it can be hard to get into the flow of things with that loud lawn mower chattering away. Thankfully, ear protection can block out some of those decibels and keep the noise to a minimum.

But choosing the best ear protection for mowing takes research. It’s important to learn a bit about the options available, including the different styles and protection they offer. This guide will explain it all and even showcase some of the best hearing protection for lawn mowing.

  1. BEST OVERALL: 3M Peltor X2A Earmuffs
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: 3M Banded Hearing Protector
  3. UPGRADE PICK: Howard Leight by Honeywell Digital AM/FM Earmuff
  4. BEST OVER-THE-HEAD: Decibel Defense Safety Earmuff
  5. BEST PLUGS: Vibes Hi-Fi Earplugs
  6. BEST BEHIND-THE-HEAD: 3M Peltor Optime 105 Earmuffs, H10B
  7. BEST WITH RADIO: DeWalt DPG15 Digital AM/FM Hearing Protector
  8. BEST WITH BLUETOOTH: 3M WorkTunes Connect Wireless Hearing Protector
  9. ALSO CONSIDER: Hearos Xtreme Protection Series Foam Ear Plugs
The Best Ear Protection for Mowing Options

Photo: depositphotos.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Ear Protection for Mowing

There are a lot of things to consider when choosing the best ear protection for lawn mowing. It’s important to find a set of muffs or plugs that are effective and comfortable, but there are also some extra creature comforts that might make a particular set a bit more attractive. Below are some of the most important factors to consider when choosing hearing protection for lawn mowing.

Noise Reduction Rating 

Manufacturers indicate how effective their products are by listing their noise reduction rate, or NRR. This describes the number of decibels a hearing protection product can lower the noise by before it hits the wearer’s ears. For instance, a pair of earmuffs with an NRR of 25 will lower 50 decibels to 25 decibels (dB).

Different types of ear protection offer varying levels of NRR protection. For instance, earplugs almost always offer the most protection, providing around 33 dB. Meanwhile, over-the-ear muff-style hearing protection can offer around 31 dB. It’s possible to stack them and use both at the same time as well for 36 dB.

In general, decibel levels of 70 dB or less are considered safe. Since most lawn mowers produce around 90 dB, ideal ear protection for mowing will offer an NRR of 20 or more. The greater the NRR, the less noise will make it through the muffs or plugs, providing more protection.

In Ear vs. Over the Ear

There are two basic styles of hearing protection: in-ear protection and over-the-ear protection. Each has its pros and cons, so it’s important to be familiar with both before settling on one or the other.

In-ear hearing protection typically involves small cylindrical foam earplugs, or soft foam tips on the ends of a stiff plastic horseshoe-like band (these are actually “semi insert”). The foam enters the ear, expands, and blocks sound from making its way in.

Over-the-head protection includes muff-style protectors. These hearing protection devices have plastic cups with foam inside that compresses around the wearer’s ear. This compression seals off the ear, lowering the amount of noise that can penetrate the eardrum.

In-ear protection is typically the most comfortable as the foam is very light and there isn’t any pressure on the wearer’s head. However, some folks prefer to keep things out of their ears, and these plugs are only good for a couple of uses. Over-the-ear muffs can be heavy, hot, and create a bit of pressure on the sides of the wearer’s head, but they’re suitable for multiple wears and they don’t require sticking anything in the ear.

Comfort and Fit

Hearing protection devices need to be as comfortable as possible; the wearer isn’t going to want to throw them on when they’re mowing if they aren’t. For that reason, it’s important to find earplugs or muffs that are not only comfortable while they’re doing their job but also while they’re around the neck.

For folks who have sensitive ears or simply prefer not to place anything inside their ears, muff-style over-the-ear hearing protection is the best bet. These can be a bit heavy and cumbersome, but they can be particularly comfortable when worn around the neck. Look for products with breathable designs or materials for the headband to promote as much comfort as possible.

For those who don’t mind sticking a bit of foam in their ears, in-ear plugs are the most comfortable. These devices are soft, small, and lightweight and become just snug enough to keep noise out once they expand. Some even come with soft, flexible bands for wearing around the neck.

For those who’d prefer an in-between option, semi-insert plugs exist. These are lightweight, and the bands they’re attached to provide just enough pressure to keep the foam tips in the rim of the wearer’s ear without placing a foam plug inside.

Connectivity

What’s more zen than listening to a podcast or a favorite playlist while mowing the lawn? Rather than stuffing a pair of earbuds underneath some over-the-ear muffs, users can connect their hearing protection to their phones or the radio waves around them.

Many of the best hearing protection for mowing products feature Bluetooth connectivity. This allows users to mow the yard while listening to music or a talk show while also preventing their ears from experiencing damage.

For those who’d prefer something a bit more old-school, hearing protection with built-in AM/FM receivers allow the user to protect their ears while also tuning into a game broadcast or a countdown.

Keep in mind that these devices do require rechargeable or replaceable batteries.

Our Top Picks

After covering all of that information about the best hearing protection for lawn mowing, it’s time to start shopping. The following are some of the best products on the market, ensuring that time spent clipping that Kentucky bluegrass is as safe and enjoyable as possible.

Best Overall

The Best Ear Protection for Mowing Option: 3M Peltor X2A Earmuffs
Photo: amazon.com

Folks looking for an all-around capable set of over-the-ear muffs should check out the Peltor X2A from 3M. This muff-style ear protection provides an NRR of up to 24 dB, allowing users to protect their hearing whenever they’re mowing.

These muffs feature a breathable two-wire headband design that remains completely hidden inside a protective coating to prevent accidental shocks near low-voltage circuitry. This design will also keep users comfortable whether they’re wearing them on their head or around their neck. The cups tilt and telescope as well, giving these muffs a one-size-fits-all design. Also, the thick foam pads seal off users’ ears effectively while remaining comfortable, and they’re replaceable should they begin to wear down. If there’s any room for a complaint, it’s that these muffs don’t offer Bluetooth or radio connectivity.

Product Specs 

  • NRR: 24 dB
  • Style: Over the ear
  • Connectivity: None

Pros

  • Reduces audible noise by 24 dB while remaining affordable
  • Telescoping and tilting twin-wire headband
  • Thick foam pads for comfort

Cons

  • No Bluetooth

Get the 3M X2A ear protection for mowing on Amazon or at Grainger.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Ear Protection for Mowing Option: 3M Banded Hearing Protector
Photo: amazon.com

Any DIY landscaper or lawn-care pro who likes to keep hearing protection conveniently at hand should check out the 3M Banded Hearing Protection in-ear plugs. These soft foam plugs sit inside the ear, taking the shape of the ear canal and blocking off dangerous dB levels. In fact, these in-ear plugs provide an NRR of 28 dB.

These earplugs sit on the ends of a flexible plastic band, which allows users to wear the earplugs around their neck when they’re not in use and keep them close at hand for when the mower starts up. Also, the plugs themselves are replaceable, allowing users to purchase an affordable band and replace the plugs each time they mow for clean, safe hearing protection. The only downside is that these plugs do go inside the ear, and that may be a deal breaker for some.

Product Specs 

  • NRR: 28 dB
  • Style: In the ear
  • Connectivity: None

Pros

  • Flexible plastic band to keep plugs conveniently nearby
  • 28 dB of noise reduction
  • Soft foam plugs are replaceable

Cons

  • Require placing in the ear, which is uncomfortable for some

Get the 3M banded ear protection for mowing on Amazon or at The Home Depot.

Upgrade Pick

The Best Ear Protection for Mowing Option: Howard Leight by Honeywell Digital AM/FM Earmuff
Photo: amazon.com

Lawn mowing isn’t universally loved, and some folks prefer to make the job go faster by taking their minds off it. That’s just what the Howard Leight by Honeywell Digital AM/FM Earmuff can offer. These over-the-ear muffs provide up to 25 dB of NRR, taking the typical lawn-mower noise level of 90 dB down to a safe 65 dB. At the same time, these muffs allow the user to crank up the tunes, offering AM/FM radio connection as well as an auxiliary input jack for linking with a mobile device.

These upgrade-worthy muffs provide protection and comfort without adding weight or size thanks to the patented Air Flow Control tech in the ear pads. And, for DIYers concerned about coughing up the dough only to find that the pads wear out, they’re easily replaceable. The high-visibility finish is also a benefit, allowing users to be seen even if they’re not paying attention. The drawback? They’re a bit expensive and the batteries are replaceable, not rechargeable.

Product Specs 

  • NRR: 25 dB
  • Style: Over the ear
  • Connectivity: AM/FM radio and an auxiliary input

Pros

  • AM/FM radio transmission and auxiliary jack for mobile devices
  • High-visibility finish for safety
  • Air Flow Control tech to keep size and weight down
  • Replaceable muffs extend the life of the investment

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Batteries are not rechargeable

Get the Howard Leight ear protection for mowing on Amazon.

Best Over-the-Head

The Best Ear Protection for Mowing Option: Decibel Defense Safety Earmuff
Photo: amazon.com

Thirty-seven decibels of hearing protection is relatively unheard of for earmuffs, but Decibel Defense’s earmuffs provide it. These over-the-ear muffs feature thick foam pads and large cups filled with foam to provide that extra NRR rating without having to wear earplugs underneath.

These over-the-ear muffs’ cups slide and tilt on wire bands, making them completely adjustable for nearly anyone’s head size (including children). While these muffs are slightly heavy and bulky, the padded band makes them comfortable and offers a bit of airflow. They also fold and collapse on themselves to create a compact package that’s easy to store.

Product Specs 

  • NRR: 37 dB
  • Style: Over the ear
  • Connectivity: None

Pros

  • Extremely high NRR rating
  • Sliding and tilting cups for comfort
  • Folds into small package for storage
  • Padded headband keeps things comfortable

Cons

  • Slightly heavy and bulky

Get the Decibel Defense ear protection for mowing on Amazon or Decibel Defense.

Best Plugs

The Best Ear Protection for Mowing Option: Vibes-Hi-Fi-Earplugs
Photo: amazon.com

Hearing protection that allows DIYers to reduce dangerous noise while still allowing them to carry on conversations is here. The Vibes Hi-Fi Earplugs use a special design to provide protection and convenience, and users can pop these silicone plugs in their ears and forget about them until the job is done. These plugs reduce noise up to 22 dB but allow the user to hear regular conversation clearly while they’re still inside the ear. This makes them one of the best noise-canceling earbuds for mowing lawns, as they’re more buds than plugs.

This kit comes with three different plug sizes, allowing users to find the most comfortable and effective fit. Also, the small, clear tubes blend in very well when they’re in the user’s ear, offering a discreet and comfortable method for protecting ears against noise from lawn mowers and other equipment. They’re not the least expensive earplug models, but they are reusable.

Product Specs 

  • NRR: 22 dB
  • Style: In ear
  • Connectivity: None

Pros

  • Blends in for discreet protection
  • Reduce noise up to 22 dB while allowing for normal conversation
  • Comes with 3 sizes of reusable silicone plugs

Cons

  • A bit expensive compared with other in-ear options

Get the Vibes ear protection for mowing on Amazon or Vibes.

Best Behind-the-Head

The Best Ear Protection for Mowing Option: 3M Peltor Optime 105 Earmuffs, H10B
Photo: amazon.com

Those who prefer over-the-ear muffs but dislike over-the-head bands should check out the 3M Peltor Optime 105 Earmuffs. These muffs provide an NRR of up to 29 dB, allowing users to protect their ears when mowing with some very loud equipment. However, instead of a band that stretches over the head, these muffs have a band that wraps around the back of the user’s head. This makes them compatible with hard hats and other headgear as well as being comfortable.

These earmuffs feature sliding and tilting cups similar to the other models in the 3M Peltor lineup. They have soft foam pads for sealing off passageways for sounds without being uncomfortable. While they might not fold like some other models, the band is much smaller than a traditional over-the-head band, making this model just as compact.

Product Specs 

  • NRR: 29 dB
  • Style: Behind the head
  • Connectivity: None

Pros

  • Behind-the-head band is compatible with hard hats and other headgear
  • Improved comfort over other over-the-head bands
  • Telescoping and tilting cups for comfort

Cons

  • They don’t fold for storage, yet they’re still compact

Get the 3M Optime ear protection for mowing on Amazon or at Office Depot.

Best with Radio

The Best Ear Protection for Mowing Option: DeWalt DPG15 Digital AM/FM Hearing Protector
Photo: amazon.com

Those looking to plug in their mobile device or simply tune into a radio show while mowing the lawn will appreciate DeWalt’s DPG15 Digital AM/FM Hearing Protector earmuffs. These over-the-head muffs provide up to 25 dB of NRR value to protect the user’s hearing from loud lawn mowers. These muffs also feature a digital AM/FM tuner with eight presets and an auxiliary jack for tethering to a mobile device (cord included), making them one of the best radio headphones for mowing.

These muffs feature a thick padded headband that adjusts for a universal fit. The thick foam pads seal off outside sounds while remaining comfortable. The only real drawback to these earmuffs is that the padded headband, despite being comfortable, may be a bit warm around the crown of the head.

Product Specs 

  • NRR: 25 dB
  • Style: Over the ear
  • Connectivity: AM/FM and auxiliary jack

Pros

  • 25 dB of hearing protection
  • AM/FM receiver with auxiliary jack (and cord)
  • Thick foam pads for sealing around ears

Cons

  • Padded headband can get hot

Get the DeWalt ear protection for mowing on Amazon or at The Home Depot.

Best with Bluetooth

The Best Ear Protection for Mowing Option: 3M WorkTunes Connect Wireless Hearing Protector
Photo: amazon.com

Folks who take their tunes seriously while they’re working should check out this pair of WorkTunes earmuffs from 3M. These muffs feature Bluetooth connectivity, providing users with the option to link to any Bluetooth-enabled streaming device for convenience. They also have a long battery life, lasting considerably longer than a traditional workday on one charge, making these some of the best Bluetooth hearing protection for mowing on the market.

These muffs aren’t all about entertainment, though. They also provide up to 24 dB of noise reduction, making them suitable for use with most mowers. The thick foam padding seals noises out, while the hard shells house the battery, on-off switch, and speakers. The headband for these muffs is comfortable; however, they can be a little heavy compared with models that lack speakers and batteries.

Product Specs 

  • NRR: 24 dB
  • Style: Over the ear
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth

Pros

  • Bluetooth connectivity for entertainment
  • 24 dB of hearing protection
  • Comfortable foam pads and headband

Cons

  • They may be a bit heavy

Get the 3M WorkTunes ear protection for mowing on Amazon.

Also Consider

The Best Ear Protection for Mowing Option: Hearos Xtreme Protection Series Foam Ear Plugs
Photo: amazon.com

Hearos Xtreme Protection Series Foam Ear Plugs may be worth considering for DIY lawn-care aficionados who prefer to keep their hearing intact. These foam, in-ear-style plugs provide a noise reduction rating of 33 dB, sealing dangerous decibel levels out while remaining comfortable in the ear.

This pack of earplugs comes with 56 pairs, providing the user with more than their money’s worth. Users simply roll them between their fingers to compress them, place them in their ears, and allow them to expand and seal off the ear canal. The coating on the plugs is impervious to dirt, providing a snug fit without the fear of introducing contaminants. They’re also hypoallergenic, though some people may still have qualms about placing plugs in their ears.

Product Specs 

  • NRR: 33 dB
  • Style: In ear
  • Connectivity: None

Pros

  • 33 decibels of noise reduction
  • Hypoallergenic formula
  • Impervious to dirt

Cons

  • Some folks may be uncomfortable placing plugs in their ears

Get the Hearos ear protection for mowing on Amazon (56 pairs) or Hearos (100 pairs).

Our Verdict

Those looking for all-around high-quality ear protection for mowing should check out 3M X2A ear protection for their comfort and twin-wire headband. But those looking for entertainment as well as protection should consider the 3M WorkTunes ear protection.

How We Chose the Best Ear Protection for Mowing

When it comes to ear protection, we’re not short on experience. Years of mowing, construction projects, and other activities taught us exactly what to look for in these options, so we set out to put together a top-notch list of products we have firsthand experience with.

First, we considered all of the important features we need from ear protection. Then, we performed extensive product research and collected models that met that criteria from some of our favorite manufacturers. Finally, we compared each device’s quality, protection, and price to ensure the products we suggested offered enough value. We discarded the ones that didn’t make the grade while awarding those that did with a spot on this list.

FAQs

That’s a lot of information about the best ear protection for mowing, and the options can feel overwhelming. The following aims to answer any remaining questions, as it contains some of the most frequently asked questions about ear protection.

Q. Should I wear hearing protection when mowing?

Yes, you should. Safe noise levels are under 70 dB. Lawn mowers generally produce over 90 dB of noise. Prolonged exposure to this volume can cause permanent damage without hearing protection.

Q. Can lawn mowers cause hearing loss?

Yes, they can. Their decibel output is higher than the levels generally accepted as safe.

Q. What level of hearing protection do I need while mowing the lawn?

Look for hearing protection with a NRR of 20 or more to stay safe.

Q. Can I listen to music while mowing the lawn?

There are several earmuff style ear protection devices that include AM/FM radio, audio input jacks, and Bluetooth connectivity, allowing users to listen to music while mowing the lawn.