If your job – or your favorite after-hours recreational pastime – involves high decibel exposure, you likely use ear defenders to protect both your ears and your hearing.
Wearing Safety Glasses with Ear Defenders
These acoustic earmuffs are lined with sound-deadening material to block out loud noises and harmful levels of sound. They’re necessary whenever decibel levels reach 85 or more. Common examples of jobs and tasks that require ear defenders include:
- Construction work, due to the exposure to equipment such as jackhammers
- Landscaping, due to use of unmuffled leaf blowers, shredders, etc.
- Any form of rifle or pistol shooting
- Airport workers exposed to airline engine noise
- Machinists on assembly lines
- Military personnel
- Concert sound crews
- Wood or metal shop workers
It’s prudent, of course, to also wear eye protection when engaged in these kinds of tasks. One potential problem with this is that the ear defender pads can block the temple arms of your safety glasses, causing discomfort when wearing both together. Also, thick temple arms can lift the padded ear covers of the defenders away from your ears, allowing sound to get in. To combat this, we recommend using safety glasses with very thin temple arms, or safety goggles with straps that closely hug the head.
Wiley X is a brand that specializes in frames with minimal temple arm interference. Most of their models include frames that are lightweight and do not require bulky temple arms for support. Many of their frame designs also incorporate nose bridges to help distribute the weight of the frame, thus reducing the load on the temple arm. Because of this, a large number of Wiley X safety eyeglass frames feature very narrow or ultra-thin temple arms that will not cause undue discomfort when tucked inside the pad of an ear defender headset.
Wiley X also produces dozens of safety goggle frames that utilize an adjustable, elastic strap for support in the place of temple arms. These low-profile goggles were designed for military use and also work well with ear protectors. The straps fit over your ears and are very thin, especially when extended; they do not interfere with the padded ends of an ear defender, which will fit right over the straps and still maintain a tight, sound-reducing seal.
There are, of course, other brands that have addressed this issue. In addition to Wiley X, safety eyewear brands that make low-profile temple arm glasses or goggles include Oakley, Spy, Bobster, Smith Optics, and Croakies. If your current safety glasses conflict with your ear defenders, visit Rx Safety for a pair with straps or streamlined temple arms, and protect your vision as well as your hearing the next time you find yourself in a loud, potentially dangerous environment.