Hearing Protection?

Hi All,
I started looking at the electronic hearing protectors offered to hunters and shooters- they mostly cost around $150 on up. Recently I notice stores like Woodcraft are selling electronic muffs in the $30 range. Can anybody tell me what the difference is for the more expensive units?
Thanks for any advice you can give.
Steve
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Of the versions I've looked at, the expensive versions allow lower volume sounds to normally get in, only ramping up the reduction when the noise level warrants it.
I'm a big enough believer in electronic noise reduction, and I value my ears enough that I fly with a $1000 Bose ANR headset.
However, in the shop I have a set of $20 Peltor <(Amazon.com product link shortened)> muffs near each machine, so I can whip them on and off as needed. I feel that 30dB NRR is plenty in the wood shop, and the Peltors are quite comfortable, durable, and an excellent value. Beware of imitators, some muffs can be rated as low as 21 dB NRR, which is a far cry from 30. I haven't seen enough of a workshop benefit to bother with fancier, more expensive sets, or replace headset batteries.
If it's really hot in the shop, I'll switch to EAR foam in-ear plugs, for comfort reasons. In rare super-loud situations, I can put foam plugs in, and still wear the Peltors.
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Sun, Oct 15, 2006, 1:17pm (EDT+4) snipped-for-privacy@snet.net (BARRY) doth sayeth: <snip> I haven't seen enough of a workshop benefit to bother withfancier, more expensive sets, or replace headset batteries. <snip>
Yep, I'm basically the same. When I'm working, with a machine on, muffs are on. When I'm not working, muffs are off - I don't need to be able listen to music or whatever, with muffs on.. New cost, probably under $20. Any replacements will be similar - low-cost, that works.
JOAT It's not hard, if you get your mind right. - Granny Weatherwax
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About $120.
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Read the specifications.
Mark (sixoneeight) = 618
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Some have a volume, frequency, and/or bandwidth adjustments, and may be weatherized or have passed testing for military specification as well. Also they may have been tuned for specific environments.
Something to be aware of with active noise reduction is that it is most effective at low frequencies, which are for the most part not the ones that damage hearing. Passive protection is more effective at high frequencies--any hearing protector you get you want to have good passive protection. A David Clark 10A passive earmuff, which is simple and basic and effective and produced in huge volume, goes for about 30 bucks. Anything that goes for that price and includes electronics would have me wary of what corners have been cut.
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FYI, Consumer Reports recommends using both plugs and muffs.
I find the plugs dampen the sound better than muffs, and are cheaper. Look for "Howard Leight" brand plugs.
E.g.
http://earplugstore.stores.yahoo.net/holemaxuffop.html
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I suspect it may have to do with the difference in sound between a router and a shotgun.
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hearing protectors for hunters. The company I work for makes shooter's plugs. They're similar to a hearing aid, but designed to allow normal hearing except when "percussive" type sounds like a gunshot are detected. I don't think they'd be very good for reducing noise level in a wood shop.
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of use. It's rare, but I have put in ear plugs AND the headset. The earplugs that expand in the ear canal work best for me (use these at my job), but I prefer the headset.
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Steve wrote:

The $150 ear muffs usually have small microphones on each ear cup that pickup sound and reproduce it thru a speaker in the cup. Normal sound levels are passed straight thru, and some even amplify really quiet sounds. Better models work in a "stereo" mode - where each ear has it's own mic/speaker - so that you can tell where a sound is coming from. When a loud noise is detected, the speaker shuts off, blocking the sound. This type of hearing protection is nice because you can hear what's going on around you, and you avoid the "clogged up" feeling you get with ear plugs.
To choose what type of hearing protection will be best for you, consider how you will use it. For example, do you want to put it on when you enter your shop and leave it on, or do you want to grab it before turning on a machine.
For me, a good bit of the time spent in the shop hearing protection is not needed, so I use the less expensive, non-powered, ear muffs and just put them on before turning on a loud machine.
Mike
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