Monday, October 24th, 2005
Review: Earmuffs for Protection from a Wailing Baby
When my Little Miss was a newborn, her wailing was hard on the ears. My wife chalked it up to something you endure, just part of the job. No way! I went to the hardware store and bought headphone-earmuff-thingie ear protectors.
Researching them now 16 months later, I realize I bought the Peltor Professional Hearing Protector, designed for someone who spends a lot of time around a leaf blower.
While wearing the earmuffs, the baby cries were heavily muffled. My wife’s voice became low, but still audible. The loudest noise was generated by my feet as I walked, a sound strangely amplified, like how on rare occasions you can hear your heartbeat in your ear.
My wife continued to think I was crazy, but I nonetheless donned the earmuffs for peaceful diaper changing experiences.
My memory of all this was jogged last week when Kevin at WebGoonies wrote about ear plugs marketed to new parents as a sort of gag gift.
As Kevin noted, a baby cry can be 85 to 110 dB. Noises above 85dB can temporarily impair your hearing and noises above 100 dB have the potential to cause some hearing loss. Foam ear plugs have varying Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) levels. The highest NRR I’ve seen was for 33 dB, which means you subtract 33 dB from however many decibels to which you have been exposed. My muffs have a NRR of 30 dB.
Plugs are an inexpensive alternative, but they bring the repeated hassle of taking time to be properly inserted, and then you have to store them in a container for reuse that is separate from where your spouse stores her plugs… unless sharing ear plugs is some sort of disgusting bonding experience for your relationship. Earmuffs are the way to go. Fast and simple.
Now, if you want to take ear protection to the next level, buy muffs designed for firearm enthusiasts. The Peltor earmuffs for shooters limit amplified sounds to 82 dB.