I have met too many senior woodworkers with bad hearing. I hate seeing this because when I want to carry on a conversation with them it becomes very frustrating for both of us. I talk loud, they can't hear so they interrupt what I am trying to say and what inevitably happens is they carry the entire conversation because they can't hear what I am saying.
These situations always make me more determined to try to protect my own hearing more so that hopefully in the future, my hearing will not be affected so badly. I am hoping that when I spent many hours of my youth attending LOUD Rock and Roll Band practices and events that this will not come back to affect my hearing too ... but I expect it will. Even more important that I protect my own hearing.
A couple of years ago I decided to treat myself to a new set of hearing protectors that included an AM/FM radio in them. This newer model even has jack to connect your MP3 player to as well. I was a bit concerned when I purchased this unit that maybe I would simply be adding to the "volume of noise" bombarding my ears, but after an initial tryout I found that was not the case at all.
AO Safety WorkTunes are so well protected from outside noise, that you really don't need to turn the volume of the radio up that high to hear it. Sure, once in awhile the radio may be a bit harder to hear with the ambient external noises, but I have found this is seldom and had litter effect on the use of the hearing protectors. The other big concern I had was that perhaps the radio might distract me from my woodworking duties and actually make using them unsafe ... that is NOT the case, in fact, I can say that when I am wearing the hearing protection and have the radio turned on, I actually feel calmer and more in control. I'm not sure what this is but for some reason this hearing protector with the built in radio seems to have that affect on me. Yeah ... maybe it's all in my head, but who cares if it works right ???
These hearing protectors are a great little item, they are very good on batteries (I think I have only change my batteries a couple of times in 2 years and once was because I left the unit on for an extended time and forgot to turn it off when it was not in use). They work well, reception, at least in my area is good (my areas seems to pick up FM better). If this unit has any cons. it would be that fact that they are little bit bigger and bulkier that some comparable units without the radio feature. I have not found this to be a problem and would easily keep these over trading them for anything without a radio ... as the commercial says ... "try 'em, you'll like 'em".