• Sunday, June 12th, 2016

Sensgard Zem hearing protectors

These Sensgard Zem hearing protectors are the best I have ever used. Before elaborating, I will explain the problems I have had with some other protectors.

I do not like stuffing things into my ear canals. This includes foam plugs that are first compressed with the fingers, which are often dirty, then jammed in where they are uncomfortable and then tend to work their way loose. Various silicon, latex, or high tech torpedoes that are also held in the ear canal much as a cork is held in a wine bottle are also unwelcome in my ears.

Bulky, cumbersome earmuffs are at the other end of the range of options. I have top-quality Peltor muffs but even with their soft padding, they squeeze the temples of my eyeglasses uncomfortably against my skull. It isn’t long before I decide the noise is more tolerable than the headache.

Finally, all problems are solved with Zem hearing protectors by Sensgard. The replaceable foam cuffs of these extremely lightweight protectors comfortably skirt the entrance to the ear canal. The acoustic chambers (the arms) vault my eyeglass temples – no more skull aches. They go on and off in a snap, and when not in use, hang around the neck or fold compactly for storage.


Sensgard Zem

All these advantages would be enough but here is the best part: the noise reduction is phenomenal. I powered up my DW735 thickness planer, measured 100 dB(A) at 2 feet under no load, and then put on the Sensgards. I was flabbergasted at the dramatic but even, pleasant noise diminishment. The nominal NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) is 31 but they are far more superior to my Peltor model, listed at 28, than the numbers might suggest.

I actually had to accustom myself to remaining alert to the ferocity of woodshop machinery while enjoying the auditory peace. Yet, I could adequately hear important shop sounds such as speech.

More information about the Zem technology is available on the Sensgard website. I have the NRR31 model in easy-to-find lime green. Put them on according to the simple package instructions; that makes a big difference. I found the lowest price on Amazon. Extra foam cuffs are good to have.

Sensgard extra foam cuffs

[This review is unsolicited and uncompensated. I have no connection with Sensgard.]

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9 Responses

  1. 1
    Tico Vogt 

    That’s great news. I know what you mean about pressure against the temples and the pair I wear can’t drop down around my neck when not in use: too bulky. Any improvement in noise reduction would be most welcome.
    Thanks for the review.

  2. 2

    Give ’em a try, Tico. I think you’ll be very pleased.

  3. 3

    Excellent review! Added to my Amazon wish list.

  4. 4
    Jim Dillon 

    Bought a pair based on this review. Put them on. Fired up my Fein oscillating tool, which has always seemed way too loud to me, and cut out ledges in 6 feet of baseboard for a cabinet install (very noisy work, the whole sheetrock wall becomes a sounding board). These do an excellent job of noise reduction. Two things happened: they tended to flip forward below my chin when I look down (no loss in noise reduction), and the spring-like action that locks them in place kind of hurt my earholes after a while. But this discomfort is no worse than the discomfort (and reduction in noise reduction) when my safety glasses interfere with my muff cups. Next week: I’ll try them out on a flooring job. Chopsaw and pneumatic stapler all day long for a few days.

  5. 5

    Thanks for the report, Jim. I guess everyone will have different physical requirements. They don’t seem to flip forward on my noggin – I locate the top of the head band a little back of vertical.

  6. 6
    Jim Dillon 

    Following up on my earlier comments – – after about 4 weeks’ use, these are my hearing protectors and I don’t see going back. For me the “aha” moment came when I was running a flooring nailer with my portable compressor. The compressor makes one of the most annoying sounds I have ever heard, and with these on it sounded like it was way off in a distant meadow – – but I could still hear other ambient sounds, including voices, quite clearly. These things are great! Thanks for pointing them out for us.

  7. 7

    Thanks very much for the follow up report, Jim. It “sounds” like you’ve given them a grueling real world test. I’m glad they are working well for you.


  8. 8
    Jim Dillon 

    One final followup (I promise!) One year later, these are still my primary hearing protectors. I have caught myself hunting for these in the shop even when my perfectly fine earmuffs are in plain sight – – I prefer them that much.

    But here’s a funny thing: I was doing some outdoor work last month, and some kind of flying insect got inside them as they lay on my tailgate. When I put them on, it sounded like a 50-foot mosquito was about to grab me by the shoulders and carry me off! So if something that makes noise gets inside the chamber, it’s actually amplified . . . I took the Sensgard off and laid it in a sunny spot, and 20 minutes later, whatever it was had found the exit.

  9. 9

    Glad these are still working well. Weird about the mosquito in the chamber.