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With the information we have today about the cumulative, irreversible nature of hearing loss, ear protection is a must, not an option, around noisy shop machinery. Further, earmuff-type protection offers relatively foolproof and consistent decibel reduction.
When it comes to earmuffs, woodworkers have a variety of choices, ranging from inexpensive, basic muffs to high-tech models that mask loud sounds but allow voice-level noise to filter through. Falling somewhere in the middle is the Elvex QuieTunes Com-260R, earmuffs made with the music lover in mind. The muffs combine comfort and efficiency with a high-quality FM radio receiver.
I found them comfortable to wear, even when used for a long period of time, so much so that I often left the shop without realizing I still had them on—until I was outdoors wondering why the hills were alive with the sound of music.
Rated at a solid 25 decibels of noise reduction, the Elvex muffs lower the roar of a chopsaw to a dull whine. And for anyone tempted to crank up the music to a level that would make a router seem quiet, the sound inside the muffs is limited to 85 decibels, a number considered safe.
The muffs work for 40 hours before the rechargeable batteries need attention. A charger is included.
The only drawback I could find was the lack of an AM receiver; my favorite baseball team’s games are not broadcast on FM. Of course, FM does offer high-quality stereo sound when a station is locked in. However, you can expect static when tuned to a station with a weak signal.
– 40 hours, charger included – 25 db of noise reduction
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