By Randy Johnson
Whether it's a seat belt in your car, a life jacket in your boat, or goggles and earplugs in your shop, if safety gear is a hassle, we're less likely to use it. Although few woodworkers would dispute the importance of eye and hearing protection in the woodshop, even fewer actually do anything about it. The grim reality is that even the smallest flying chip can cause serious eye injury and noise-induced hearing loss is permanent—no surgery or medication can bring it back.
Because it's important to protect both your eyes and your hearing, we took a look at combination devices that promise more convenience and therefore the greater likelihood of actually being used. We wanted to know just how comfortable, convenient and effective they really are.
We distributed sets of combination eye and hearing protection devices to 12 professional woodworkers and asked them to use the devices in their shops for seven days. The woodworkers ranked die eye/hearing protectors for comfort, convenience and effectiveness. Here are the results:
The Optimuff (Photo 1) received high marks from almost everyone. Prescription eyeglass wearers liked the attached safety glasses because they didn't interfere with their regular glasses. Most people found the Optimuff to be comfortable to wear and effective at blocking out noise. Marks were a bit lower for convenience because it takes a few tries before you get the hang of putting them on.
Model 0M-77L can be worn over prescription glasses Lenses are replaceable.
Takes practice to put on properly Muffs can be uncomfortable in hot weather.
Glasses meet ANSI Z87.1 performance standard Noise reduction rating: 26 dB Price: $21.50.
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