How To Make Soundproof Earmuffs (DIY)

There’s nothing more annoying than trying to sleep or work and being unable to keep out the noise from neighbors, the outdoors and even the everyday buzz of a household.

I for one can’t sleep unless there’s a semblance of silence and this makes life difficult for me. What to do> Earmuffs to the rescue! I started using noise-cancelling earmuffs a long time ago and I’ve never been able to work without them.

If you are like me and you have to have noise-cancelling earmuffs, you must be prepared to shell out a pretty sum to get the really good ones.

Plan for around $300 if you are looking at a name brand that will offer you soundproof earmuffs. What if you don’t have to buy them this expensive?

You can actually make them yourself at a much lower cost if you’re into some level of DIY. The best part of it is that it’s not even that hard!

This article will help walk you through the process of making earmuffs that will block noise as effectively as possible at a reasonable cost.

How To Make Soundproof Earmuffs DIY

Easy Guide For Making Soundproof Earmuffs

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The really cool noise-cancelling brands of headphones cost around $200-$300 so it is always nice when you can get effective soundproof earmuff for far less than $100.

For this to work, you need to have a pair of headphones and a pair of hearing protection earmuffs.

You can use any headphones of your choice to make this work but make sure that the headphones will be able to fit into the earmuffs that you choose.

Howard Leight makes excellent, folding earmuffs (like this one on Amazon) that are both compact and lightweight. 

Howard Leight earmuff
Howard Leight by Honeywell Leightning L3

1. Detach the Earmuff’s Earpieces

The key component of a regular pair of earmuffs that I need for this process is the ear cups. Cut away all the fabric and rubber that holds the ear pieces to expose them and make them ready to house the headphones.

Look for the metal brackets around the ear pieces and remove these too. Most earmuffs are well produced so be careful not to break anything that you shouldn’t. You can also cut away the wires first and then work the ear pieces gently till they come out on their own.

earmuff padding
Ear cups removed

2. Take the Headphones Apart

This requires removing all the materials surrounding the speakers located inside the headphones. Remove the foam that cover the ear cushions, the plastic frames that hold the actual speakers without damaging any of the wires, then unscrew everything else holding the speakers to the headband of the headphones.

Anything else you cannot remove, safely cut off in half where possible. If your headphones have ear pads, remove the delicate wires and set them aside for use later,

One of the cool things about speakers is that you can use them for almost any type of earmuff as long as they are compact and provide all the sound protection that you need.

headphones dismantled
Dismantle the headphones

3. Get the Earmuffs ready

Before you can get the earmuffs ready for the speakers, you have to take the ear pads off the earmuffs.

You can then place this into tabs inside the earmuff cuffs. Remove the foam from the ear pieces. Don’t throw it away because you will need it again later. See the image below.

Take a drill and put a hole inside the midpoint of the headphones. The holes will be used for placing the wires of the speakers into the ear cups of the headband and screw it together.

You can then make a small notch into the sides of ear cups. The left side of the earmuff needs a second notch at the bottom where you will connect the signal cable.

4. Put it all together

Now that you have all the pieces ready, all you need to do now is to put them all together to get your own soundproof headphones.

Take the ear pieces that used to be part of the earmuffs and screw them on to the headphones’ metal band. Remember the foam you took out earlier? Well, you need them back now.

You need them to cover the ear cups after putting the earmuffs back together. Put the speakers carefully inside your ear cups. Be sure to pass the wires inside those holes you’ve made before.

Once the speakers are seated properly, put the fabric covering, usually black in color back on the speakers. Those are the ones you took from the ear cushions earlier.

Now that everything is in place, you can now place the earmuffs paddings right back on the cups and you’re ready to enjoy good music and audio with little disturbance.

About Earmuffs

Earmuffs are designed to provide ear protection by covering your ears. They also provide warmth so are extremely useful in the winter.

They are mostly made of a plastic or metal head-band that covers over the top or the back of your head. Each end of the band has a cup that will cover your outer ears. You can have either thermal earmuffs or acoustic earmuffs.

For the sake of this article, we’re talking about acoustic earmuffs that have cups that are lined with sound-reducing materials.

Some brands combine headphones with the ear protectors to let the wearer listen to music or other audio sources without any outside noise or distortions.

Things to Consider When Considering Soundproof Earmuffs

No matter how hard you try, you may not get the best fit from your earmuff and thus, they don’t work as promised. Here are some factors that affect how effective your earmuffs are:

  • Fit – if the earmuffs do not fit properly around the outer ears, there will not be a good fit. This means that sounds can leak into the earmuffs and bother the wearer. Most earmuffs try not to be uncomfortable, so they are made lightweight, soft and flexible.
  • Style – there are many different types of earmuff styles. Some are mounted, some can be folded for easy transportation and storage, the way the head band can be adjusted also forms part of the style of the earmuffs.

Noise Cancelling Technology In Earmuffs

You get that quiet ambiance when you put on noise cancelling earmuffs via a couple of technology solutions. There are both active and passive noise reduction methods and they work in different ways to achieve almost the same results.

Active noise-cancelling earmuffs remove surrounding noise by making opposite sound waves to the noise and according to basic physics, their amplitudes in opposite direction neutralize each other. This sounds complicated and the technology behind it is patented by each popular brand. That explains why active noise-cancelling headphones are so pricey.

All this is explained in detail in my post on hearing protection with noise cancelling headphones.

While noise cancelling technology works, there is still some way to go in making sure that it is more effective in cancelling dynamic noise ranges like human voice, television droning and even some types of music genres.

Passive noise cancelling is easier to achieve than the active one we just talked about. It works by simply making use of noise-absorbent materials to prevent as much noise as possible from getting into the ear and making a nuisance.

Some of the merits of passive noise cancellation over active noise cancellation is that it does not require any expensive technology and so is less costly than headphones with active noise cancellation.

Passive noise cancellation also blocks out noise ranges that active noise cancellation struggles with like TV sounds, dogs and human voices. You don’t need to use a battery with passive systems, and they tend to last longer than active noise cancelling earmuffs.

Active noise reduction earmuffs are another type of earmuffs that contain technology that helps to actively cancel noise in an earmuff.

There are both microphones and electronics that allow users to control their communications while using these earmuffs. These are most handy when dealing with continuous signals like train engines, tractors and airfields that are generally noisy.

Also read on safety concerns of noise cancelling headphones.

Check out my review of the noise cancelling headphones I own and highly recommend.

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