Hearing Protection: Ear Buds for DIY
Make your own ear buds using little earplugs. Unlike regular ear buds, they wont fall out when working on projects.
Hearing protection plus audio isn’t a new idea. Ive owned several earmuffs that deliver sound through built-in speakers. All of them worked as advertised, but all were bulky, heavy and uncomfortableespecially the ones that required batteries.
These little earplugs solved those problems. I get noise reduction thats similar to earmuffs and surprisingly good sound quality from the itsy-bitsy speakers. Better yet, theyre so comfortable that I use them even when I dont need hearing protection. Unlike regular ear buds, they dont fall out when Im crawling under a sink.
The flimsy wires worried me at first: I figured theyd get pinched or yanked out of the earplugs. So I clipped my MP3 player to the back of my tool belt and ran the wires inside my shirt. After months of useincluding one big, rough demolition jobthe wires are unscathed.
You can spend anywhere from $25 to $100 on earplug-style ear buds. To browse online, search for noise isolating ear buds. The ones shown here (MMMearbud 2600) cost about $60 and carry a noise-reduction rating (NRR) of 24.
Gary Wentz, Senior Editor