In Tools

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Tool: SG-31 Lightweight Hearing Protection Band

Manufacturer: SensGard

MSRP: $24.99

Before reading why these SensGard hearing protectors are so good, consider if you share some of the problems I have had with other protectors.

I do not like stuffing things into my ear canals, such as foam plugs that must be compressed with often dirty fingers, then uncomfortably jammed in, only to later work loose. The various silicone plugs, even those with high-tech designs, are nonetheless also stuck in the ear canal like a cork in a wine bottle. I find them unpleasant, especially for intermittent use in the woodshop.

Earmuffs are cumbersome, tend to bump into things and get sweaty. Worse, despite their soft padding, muffs squeeze the temple arms of my eyeglasses against my skull. It isn’t long before I choose the noise over the headache.

The SensGard Ear Chambers solve all these problems while providing great noise reduction. The replaceable foam cuffs (it’s good to have extras on hand; they can get soiled) of these incredibly lightweight protectors comfortably surround the entrance to the ear canal – they are not jammed into it. The side pieces vault my eyeglass temple arms – no more skull aches. They go on and off easily, and can hang around the neck or fold compactly to put in a pocket.

The deceptively simple-looking hollow plastic side pieces actually employ sophisticated acoustic technology. The noise reduction rating of this model is an impressive 31 decibels, but the quality of the noise reduction is even more beneficial. When I first put on the SensGards while running my screaming benchtop thickness planer, I was flabbergasted at the dramatic noise diminishment. I could still hear important shop sounds such as speech.

It is important to put them on according to the simple package instructions. — Rob Porcaro

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