First a quick disclaimer: The model seen in the main post image to the left is not actually wearing the ComboGlasses we’re reviewing here. In fact, she’s really just featured to capitalize on much of our male readership’s weakness for societally influenced notions of beauty. If this blatant sexist manipulation results in one man saving his eyesight, well then, mission accomplished! I wasn’t able to find a hunky man who happens to be sporting safety glasses for our women readers, but we all know they’re smarter than men when it comes to personal protective equipment anyway. Back to the topic at hand, ComboGlasses.
Some things are just meant to go together, like chocolate and peanut butter, or sports and beer. Other things seem like more of a stretch. When ComboGlasses first sent a couple of their products to us for review, skepticism quickly set in. It just seemed too gimicky to be effective at either protective task. ComboGlasses seek to combine both eye protection and hearing protection into the same piece of personal protective equipment (or PPE, as our friends at OSHA prefer).
My first skepticism was about fit and comfort. Rather than an awkward fit, I was surprised to find wearing the glasses didn’t feel much different from wearing regular safety glasses. In fact, with the earplugs in, the glasses felt like no amount of movement would shake them loose (great if you’re a bouncy home-improver). If you find normal safety glasses constantly slip off, you’ll love ComboGlasses’ ultra-secure fit. The earplug portion of the glasses slide forward and back and pivot through a wide range of motion. High adjustability makes for a very custom and downright comfortable fit.
My next skepticism involved the hearing protection. We found that with a couple of the prototype earplugs ComboGlasses sent us that earplug fit was highly variable. What might fit well in one person’s ear, might not be a snug fit for another ear. As a result, the first couple earplugs we tried simply did not adequately block sound. ComboGlasses sent us a third style plug (they’re easily interchangeable), and that plug gave a very respectable fit. Even with a good fit, don’t expect these plugs to perform as well as the “roll-up and expand” plugs, or thick earmuff style hearing protection. If you require serious hearing protection, we can’t recommend ComboGlasses. With a proper fitting plug though, we found them great for light duty hearing protection. Different plugs can be ordered from ComboGlasses for a couple bucks a pair. Our preferred versions were the “Comfort Pods”.
ComboGlasses provide four flexible wearing options:
- Wear both hearing and eye protection
- Wear just hearing protection (the glasses then hang below your chin, probably the least practical)
- Wear just eye protection (the earplugs can nestle behind your ears)
- Wear nothing (the ComboGlasses can hang comfortably around your neck).
These various options, and the fact that you can always have the ComboGlasses on your person, result in a PPE solution you’re more likely to actually use. When I’m working in the shop, I keep about six safety glasses around since I inevitably forget where I set the last pair down. ComboGlasses definitely saved me from unnecessary PPE hunting. They’re so comfortable hanging around the neck, I once forgot they were there. Sometimes the best safety gear is the gear you’ve got on you.
ComboGlasses come in three variations: clear, tinted and yellow. For cloudy days or low light interior applications, the yellow lenses made for a pleasingly crisp and bright viewing experience. We didn’t have a chance to review a smoke tinted version. Most of the time I found the clear version met my needs, but if you’re working in the sun, keep a dark tinted version on hand.
You can find more information and online ordering directly from ComboGlasses.com. Standard models are around $13, with Bi focal strenths 1.5, 2 and 2.5 for around $20. Whether you use ComboGlasses or another solution, protect your eyes and ears. . . you’ll want use of them later.