Protect your hearing with ear protectors

Two fist-sized cups, each the shape of an egg halved lengthwise, connected by an adjustable band and worn over the ears to prevent annoyance or damage from loud sound. Each cup has a rim of soft material that conforms to the shape of the head.

Found in garages or workshops near noisy electrical or gasoline-powered equipment.

Sold by home centers and hardware stores. Also available in tool hire outlets around the country.

Primary Use:
Protecting the wearer from hearing damage by blocking high-intensity sound energy from the tiny structures inside the ear. High-intensity sound can permanently damage those tiny structures and cause partial deafness, with high-pitched sounds, such as children’s laughter, being the first to go.

Secondary Uses:
Protection while lingering near the woofers at a rock concert. Keeping ears warm in winter.

Small earplugs made of expanding foam also work, as do motorcycle helmets with built-in earphones. Sound-canceling earphones meant to help air travelers sleep are insufficient protection against loud tools.

How to Use:
1. Choose hearing protection that is rated for the intensity of sound you expect to encounter. Some hearing protectors are better for the high-pitched sound of electrical machinery while others are designed for the low-pitched growl of gasoline engines. Hearing protectors vary greatly in their ability to block speech.
2. Before switching on the source of noise, don the hearing protectors so that the soft sides of the cups completely cover each ear. Adjust the band connecting the ear cups so it comfortably fits over the top of your head, not around your neck or the back of your head. If you wish to wear a hat, put it on first, then make sure it is completely outside the ear cups.
3. Operate the noisy equipment as needed.
4. Once you’ve turned off the noisy equipment, remove the hearing protectors. Store them where you can find them next time.