Noise-Canceling Headphones in the Wood Shop

A few who have tried electronic noise-canceling headphones around woodworking machinery report unimpressive results. June 12, 2014

(WOODWEB Member):
Anybody tried electronic noise-canceling earphones in a wood shop setting? Manufacturers' specs are pretty impressive.

Forum Responses
From contributor R:
I've not tried the noise canceling ones, but I regularly use the hearing protection muffs that can be connected to an MP3 player. I can listen to podcasts or audiobooks (or music) at a reasonable volume while keeping my ears protected.

From contributor I:
A friend brought a pair here when shooting a loud pistol. They worked very well in that use. When the shooting was done I tried them on a loud mower and they did not work well in that case. After that experience I never tried them in a woodshop. My opinion is they wouldn't work well at all used on steady sounds as in a shop. If someone shoots a gun in the shop they should work well for that!

From contributor J:
I've tried the Bose headphones in a woodshop environment. In that particular shop, they considerably reduced the sound of white noise sources, particularly the dust collector. Cutting machines like routers and saws weren't reduced nearly as much by electronic noise canceling, but having the over-ear phones on knocked maybe 15db off the sound pressure anyway. All in all, they're better than not having anything but not nearly as effective as a $35 pair of Peltor muffs.

From the original questioner:
Finally got to try these things in the shop. They didn't do much to cancel the noise. The manufacturer told me they're designed to work with a constant frequency like a jet engine. We don't have any jets in our shop, just saws, planers and sanders, none of which produce constant noise for very long. Too bad. Thought I was on to something.