Title:
ALL WEATHER HOOD AND SAFETY HELMET LINER FOR USE WITH HEARING PROTECTION EAR MUFFS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An all weather hood with adjustable cuff openings around each ear to accommodate earmuffs designed to provide hearing protection. Earmuffs are put on first, then the hood is pulled on over them and the ear cuffs are adjusted snugly around each earmuff. Also acts as a liner for safety helmets with attached hearing protection earmuffs. The helmet is worn over the hood, then the earmuffs are pulled down passing through the hood ear cuff openings to be placed directly over the ears. The hood ear cuffs are then adjusted snugly around each earmuff. Provides superior hearing protection compared to liners worn under hearing protection earmuffs and provides superior weather protection compared to liners worn over hearing protection earmuffs. The hood, when combined with a safety helmet having attached hearing protection earmuffs, work together as a single unit of personal protection equipment (PPE), for simple and efficient operation.



Inventors:
Jorgenson, Michael (Hermantown, MN, US)
Application Number:
10/908875
Publication Date:
12/28/2006
Filing Date:
05/31/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A42B1/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SUTTON, ANDREW W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WILLIAM T. HELWIG, ATTORNEY AT LAW (CLOQUET, MN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An all weather hood and safety helmet liner apparatus for use with hearing protection earmuffs, comprising: A weather protective hood/liner means, by which the wearer's head and neck have sufficient coverage with weather protective materials, that the wearer can perform necessary tasks comfortably in varying weather conditions, and which can be worn with or without a safety helmet; A hearing protection accommodation means by which said hood/liner means allows for the use of hearing protection earmuffs which make direct contact with the head, surrounding and sealing around each ear to provide maximum hearing protection, and which accommodates both stand alone hearing protection earmuffs and safety helmets with attached hearing protection earmuffs; and A sealing means by which said hearing protection accommodation means and said helmet/liner means may be sealed about said hearing protection earmuffs to provide maximum weather protection to said wearer while also providing maximum hearing protection.

2. The hood/liner apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said hood/liner means is a hood/liner shell, comprised of fabric providing weather protection coverage for the head and neck of the wearer, with an opening about the wearer's face.

3. The hood/liner apparatus according to claim 2, wherein said hearing protection accommodation means is comprised of ear openings in said hood/liner shell which form a perimeter around each of the wearer's ears, which provide unobstructed access to each of said wearers ear's, and which openings are sized to accommodate hearing protection earmuffs worn under said hood/liner shell and which are also sized to accommodate safety helmets with attached hearing protection earmuffs worn over said hood/liner shell, and which allow said hearing protection earmuffs to make direct contact with the head, surrounding and sealing around each ear for maximum hearing protection.

4. The hood/liner apparatus according to claim 3, wherein said sealing means is comprised of ear cuffs having an inner and outer edge, which are attached to said perimeter of said hood/liner shell ear openings at said ear cuff's inner edge, and which extend outwardly from said perimeter of said hood/liner shell ear openings, encompassing about each said hearing protection earmuff covering each of said wearer's ears, and which ear cuffs are sized to snugly encompass the lateral height of each said hearing protection earmuff covering each of said wearer's ears, to seal around said earmuffs and while also allowing said hood/liner shell to remain snugly fitted over the rest of said wearer's head, providing maximum weather protection.

5. The hood/liner apparatus according to claim 4, wherein said ear cuffs include a drawstring which is encased within the perimeter of said ear cuff outer edge, which can be pulled and tied to snugly seal said outer edge of said ear cuffs about each said hearing protection earmuff covering each of said wearer's ears, providing a greater seal against cold and wind infiltration for maximum weather protection.

6. The hood/liner apparatus according to claim 4, wherein said ear cuffs include a drawstring which is encased within the perimeter of said ear cuff outer edge, which can be pulled to snugly seal said outer edge of said ear cuffs about each said hearing protection earmuff covering each of said wearer's ears, providing a greater seal against cold and wind infiltration for maximum weather protection; and wherein each said ear cuff includes a spring lock through which said drawstring passes, which when compressed allows said drawstring to be pulled snug and which when released automatically locks and holds said drawstring in place, for more efficient tightening and sealing of said ear cuffs, providing a greater seal against cold and wind infiltration for maximum weather protection.

7. The hood/liner apparatus according to claim 4, wherein said ear cuffs include an elastic band encased within the perimeter of said ear cuff outer edge, which will snugly seal said outer edge of said ear cuffs about each said hearing protection earmuff covering each of said wearer's ears, providing a greater seal against cold and wind infiltration for maximum weather protection.

8. The hood/liner apparatus according to claim 4, wherein said ear cuffs are comprised of an elastic material, which will snugly seal said ear cuffs about each said hearing protection earmuff covering each of said wearer's ears, providing a greater seal against cold and wind infiltration for maximum weather protection.

9. A method for the use of an all weather hood and safety helmet liner apparatus for use with hearing protection earmuffs, when used with a safety helmet with attached hearing protection earmuffs, which allows all three pieces of personal protection equipment (PPE) to be managed as a single integrated PPE, for simple and efficient operation, comprising: providing a hood/liner apparatus for use with hearing protection earmuffs which includes a neck closure; putting said hood/liner apparatus on the wearer's head; providing a safety helmet with attached hearing protection earmuffs, which earmuffs are attached and mounted to said safety helmet by attachment arms; ensuring said attached hearing protection earmuffs are in the raised position; donning said safety helmet with attached hearing protection earmuffs over top of the hood/liner apparatus; pulling said attached hearing protection earmuffs down to the wearing position over the ears; passing said attached hearing protection earmuffs through said hood/liner apparatus ear cuff openings; placing said attached hearing protection earmuffs directly over the ears; fitting the hood/liner ear cuffs snugly around each earmuff; adjusting the hood/liner neck closure for a weather tight fit; opening said hood/liner neck closure; folding the bottom edge of the hood/liner shell up over the rim of said safety helmet; sliding the hood/liner ear cuffs over the earmuffs and along the helmet earmuff attachment arms to the attachment arm end mounted on said helmet; folding the bottom half of the hood/liner up around the outside of said helmet with the bottom edge of the hood/liner shell over top of said helmet; fastening said neck closure over top of said helmet; raising said hearing protection earmuffs to the raised position; removing said safety helmet with attached hearing protection earmuffs and said helmet/liner apparatus as a single unit of PPE, as the helmet/liner apparatus is now secured in place by the raised earmuffs protruding through the ear cuff openings and the neck closure attached over top of the helmet; donning the new combined PPE, by reversing the previous steps until the unit is secured onto the head.

10. An all weather hood and safety helmet liner apparatus for use with hearing protection earmuffs, comprising: An all weather hood/liner shell, comprised of fabric providing weather protection coverage for the head and neck of the wearer, with an opening about the wearer's face; Ear openings in said hood/liner shell which form a perimeter around each of the wearer's ears, which provide unobstructed access to each of said wearers ear's, and which openings are sized to accommodate hearing protection earmuffs worn under said hood/liner shell and which are also sized to accommodate safety helmets with attached hearing protection earmuffs worn over said hood/liner shell, and which allow said hearing protection earmuffs to make direct contact with the head, surrounding and sealing around each ear for maximum hearing protection; Ear cuffs having an inner and outer edge, which are attached to said perimeter of said hood/liner shell ear openings at said ear cuff's inner edge, and which extend outwardly from said perimeter of said ear openings, surrounding each said hearing protection earmuff covering each of said wearer's ears, and which ear cuffs are sized to snugly encompass the lateral height of each said hearing protection earmuff covering each of said wearer's ears, to seal around said earmuffs and while also allowing said hood/liner shell to remain snugly fitted over the rest of said wearer's head, providing maximum weather protection; and A neck closure below the wearer's chin, which allows for the snug adjustment of the helmet/liner apparatus about the head, following adjustment of the ear cuffs to each hearing protection earmuff, and which further snugs the hearing protection earmuffs over the ears, providing for superior hearing protection as well as maximum weather protection to the wearer.

11. The hood/liner apparatus according to claim 10, wherein said ear cuffs include a drawstring which is encased within the perimeter of said ear cuff outer edge, which can be pulled and tied to snugly seal said outer edge of said ear cuffs about each said hearing protection earmuff covering each of said wearer's ears, providing a greater seal against cold and wind infiltration for maximum weather protection.

12. The hood/liner apparatus according to claim 10, wherein said ear cuffs include a drawstring which is encased within the perimeter of said ear cuff outer edge, which can be pulled to snugly seal said outer edge of said ear cuffs about each said hearing protection earmuff covering each of said wearer's ears, providing a greater seal against cold and wind infiltration for maximum weather protection; and wherein each said ear cuff includes a spring lock through which said drawstring passes, which when compressed allows said drawstring to be pulled snug and which when released automatically locks and holds said drawstring in place, for more efficient tightening and sealing of said ear cuffs, providing a greater seal against cold and wind infiltration for maximum weather protection.

13. The hood/liner apparatus according to claim 10, wherein said ear cuffs include an elastic band encased within the perimeter of said ear cuff outer edge, which will snugly seal said outer edge of said ear cuffs about each said hearing protection earmuff covering each of said wearer's ears, providing a greater seal against cold and wind infiltration for maximum weather protection.

14. The hood/liner apparatus according to claim 10, wherein said ear cuffs are comprised of an elastic material, which will snugly seal said ear cuffs about each said hearing protection earmuff covering each of said wearer's ears, providing a greater seal against cold and wind infiltration for maximum weather protection.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates in general to a hood/liner apparatus and method for use with hearing protection equipment, and in particular to an all weather hood/helmet liner apparatus for use with hearing protection earmuffs.

People who work in environments with excessive noise must use some type of hearing protection to reduce the risk of injury to their ears. In northern climates, where such work environments occur outdoors, protection from the cold is also necessary during the winter months. Oftentimes such work environments also include overhead hazards. To ensure worker safety under such conditions, the use of Personal Protection Equipment, referred to as PPE, is necessary. Typical PPE for these people include: (1) earmuffs for hearing protection against loud noises; (2) standard cold weather hood or safety helmet liner for head and neck protection against frost bite and to retain body heat; (3) safety helmets for head protection against falling objects; (4) safety glasses for eye protection against flying objects. These four forms of PPE are often used at the same time with the goal of having complete head protection. The goal of complete head protection is not achieved however because previously mentioned PPE for (1) hearing and (2) warmth interfere with each other, thus not allowing either standard earmuffs or hoods/liners to provide their individual maximum protection.

Earmuffs, by their design, must fit over the ears, and be in direct contact with and snug against the head, forming a seal around the ears, for maximum noise reduction (dB attenuation), to provide the best hearing protection. However, when used in combination with a liner, the liner is typically placed on the head first and the earmuffs are placed on the head second, causing the earmuffs to ride up on the liner, and thereby failing to form a protective seal around the ears. In scenarios where the earmuffs are placed over the liner, the earmuffs are no longer in direct contact with the head and excessive noise is not effectively blocked. The result to the wearer is poor hearing protection.

Alternately, the earmuffs can be placed on the head first, and the liner can be placed over the earmuffs. The problem with this method is the liner no longer fits snugly on the wearer's head around the earmuffs, which hold the liner away from the head, forming large gaps between the liner and the head around the ears and face, allowing for significant cold air intrusion. The result to the wearer is good hearing protection but a cold head due to improper liner fit. This method is typically never used because of limitations in liners: they are not typically large enough to allow earmuffs to fit under the liner. Simply making conventional liners larger is not the solution because making the liner large enough to accommodate the earmuffs underneath would result in a liner too large to fit under a safety helmet.

When working in cold weather, people put a liner on to keep their head warm and protect their skin from frostbite. The liner must fit snug to retain heat lost by the head and keep wind from blowing between the wearer's head and the liner. Liners that are constructed properly and fit the wearer properly are most effective at providing head and skin protection against frostbite and providing warmth. Properly constructed and good fitting liners are made less effective when the liner is placed on the head over the earmuffs in an effort to provide maximum hearing protection to the ears.

Several patents have been given to cold weather hard hat liners, safety helmets and earmuffs. Patents have also been given to combinations of these PPE to improve how the PPE work together. PPE combinations of safety helmets and earmuffs are found, as are PPE combinations of safety helmets and liners.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,887,319 issued Dec. 19, 1989 to Daniels and U.S. Pat. No. 4,272,853 issued Jun. 16, 1981 to Schuessler describe all weather face and neck protectors for hard hats and safety helmets. These covers attach over the brim of a hard hat or safety helmet and seat tightly about the face and neck to seal out the elements. These covers does not accommodate hearing protection earmuffs and are not designed for use without a hard hat or safety helmet.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,575,009 issued Nov. 19, 1996 to Ryvin and U.S. Pat. No. 4,949,404 issued Aug. 21, 1990 to Fekete, Sr. describe cold weather hoods/helmet liners which may be worn under a safety helmet. These hoods/liners are not designed to accommodate hearing protection earmuffs, with or without a safety helmet.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,347,631 issued Sep. 7, 1982 to Newcomb and U.S. Pat. No. 4,316,290 issued Feb. 23, 1982 to Montesi describe devices for mounting hearing protection earmuffs on the sides of a hard hat, and U.S. Patent Des 244,491 issued May 31, 1977 to Csiki et al. describes a safety helmet with attached earmuffs for hearing protection.

There is no prior art for cold weather liners with provisions to allow earmuffs to be used for maximum hearing protection while also delivering maximum warmth when both liners and earmuffs are used together, or in combination with a safety helmet. There is no prior art allowing all 3 PPE (liner, earmuffs, helmet) to be handled and managed as a single PPE.

What is needed then, is a hood or helmet liner which can be used either with stand alone hearing protection earmuffs or with a safety helmet with attached hearing protection earmuffs, which allows the earmuffs to seal around the ears for maximum hearing protection and while still remaining snug around the face and head for maximum cold weather protection, and when combined with a safety helmet with attached hearing protection earmuffs, can be taken on and off as a single unit of PPE for simple and easy use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a hood/liner apparatus which provides weather protection.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a hood/liner apparatus which is simple and easy to use.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a hood/liner apparatus which accommodates for the use of hearing protection earmuffs.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a hood/liner apparatus which accommodates for the use of a safety helmet with attached hearing protection earmuffs.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a hood/liner apparatus which provides for quick and easy use when combined with a safety helmet with attached hearing protection earmuffs.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a hood/liner apparatus which provides both maximum hearing protection and maximum weather protection when used with hearing protection earmuffs.

It is yet a further object of the present invention to provide a hood/liner apparatus which provides both maximum hearing protection and maximum weather protection when used with a safety helmet with attached hearing protection earmuffs.

These and other objects and advantages of the present invention are realized in one embodiment of an all weather hood/liner apparatus for use with hearing protection earmuffs, comprising an all weather hood with adjustable cuff openings around each ear to accommodate earmuffs designed to provide hearing protection. When used with standalone hearing protection earmuffs, the wearer first puts on the earmuffs, then the hood is pulled on over the earmuffs and the ear cuffs are adjusted snugly around each earmuff. When used as a liner for safety helmets with attached hearing protection earmuffs, the helmet is worn over the hood/liner, then the earmuffs are pulled down passing through the hood ear cuff openings to be placed directly over the ears. The hood ear cuffs are then adjusted snugly around each earmuff. This new hood/liner apparatus provides superior hearing protection compared to liners worn under hearing protection earmuffs and provides superior weather protection compared to hoods and liners worn over hearing protection earmuffs. The hood/liner apparatus, when combined with a safety helmet having attached hearing protection earmuffs, work together as a single unit of personal protection equipment (PPE), for simple and efficient operation.

This hood/liner apparatus is intended to be used in situations where PPE for hearing and warmth are needed to reduce risk of injury from excessive noise and cold weather. Typical applications are wintertime rail yard workers and construction workers.

This hood/liner apparatus is designed such that it will accommodate earmuffs without reducing their effectiveness, whether the earmuffs are a standalone set or are attached to a safety helmet, and at the same time provide head and skin protection against frost bite similar to standard liners where earmuffs are not used. The hood/liner apparatus, by its design, also aids the earmuffs by adding additional force to keep the earmuffs snug to head which achieves maximum earmuff noise reduction (dB attenuation).

Other objects and features of the invention will become clear upon a reading of the Detailed Description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention may be understood from the description of the embodiment which follows and from the accompanying drawings. The drawings are hereby expressly made a part of the specification.

FIG. 1 is a front view of the hood/liner apparatus, as it would appear when worn with hearing protection earmuffs and without a safety helmet.

FIG. 2 is a side view of the hood/liner apparatus depicted in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a rear view of the hood/liner apparatus depicted in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a front view of the hood/liner apparatus, as it would appear when worn with a safety helmet with attached hearing protection earmuffs.

FIG. 5 is a side view of the hood/liner apparatus depicted in FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a rear view of the hood/liner apparatus depicted in FIG. 4.

FIG. 7A is a side view of the hood/liner apparatus, as it would appear when worn with a safety helmet with attached hearing protection earmuffs, with the neck closure open.

FIG. 7B is a side view of the hood/liner apparatus, as it would appear when worn with a safety helmet with attached hearing protection earmuffs, with the hood/liner folded halfway up the exterior of the helmet.

FIG. 7C is a side view of the hood/liner apparatus, as it would appear when worn with a safety helmet with attached hearing protection earmuffs, with the hood/liner folded up over top of the helmet with the neck closure closed over top of the helmet and with the earmuffs raised above and resting on the helmet bill.

FIG. 8A is a front view of the hood/liner apparatus depicted in FIG. 7A.

FIG. 8B is a front view of the hood/liner apparatus depicted in FIG. 7B.

FIG. 8C is a front view of the hood/liner apparatus depicted in FIG. 7C.

The progression from FIG. 7A to 7C and from 8A to 8C illustrates how the hood/liner apparatus integrates with a safety helmet with hearing protection earmuffs to allow the separate pieces to be handled and managed as a single piece of PPE when removed from the wearers head.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Reference is made herein to the attached drawings. Like reference numerals are used throughout the various drawings to depict like or similar elements of the claimed hood/liner apparatus. For the purpose of presenting a brief and clear discussion of the hood/liner apparatus, the preferred embodiment will be discussed in conjunction with use in a cold weather environment. This is for representative purposes only and should not be construed as limiting in any manner.

Referring now to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, the preferred embodiment 10 of the hood/liner apparatus is seen from front, side and rear views, respectively, as it would appear when worn with hearing protection earmuffs 42 and without a safety helmet, and is comprised of, an all weather hood/liner shell 22, with a neck closure 18 which is secured below the chin by a hook-loop fastener 20, ear cuffs 12 are attached to said hood/liner shell 22 on either side of the wearer's head and positioned over the wearer's ears, the ear cuff outer opening 24 of each said ear cuff 12 forms an opening over each of the wearer's ears and within the edge of which is encased a drawstring 14 running around the perimeter of each ear cuff outer opening 24, and by which the ear cuff outer opening 24 can be constricted in size by cinching on said drawstring 14, which can then be locked at a desired position by spring lock 16.

As can be seen, a standalone pair of hearing protection earmuffs 42 are worn entirely underneath the hood/liner apparatus 10, with each earmuff 42 protruding into and being surrounded by an ear cuff 12, and with the earmuff headband 44 underneath the hood/liner shell 22 and resting snugly against the wearer's head.

For use, the hearing protection earmuffs 42 would be placed on the wearer's head first, and adjusted for comfort, then the hood/liner apparatus 10 would be pulled on over top of said earmuffs 42 and earmuff headband 44, and the ear cuffs 12 would be pulled over each earmuff 42 allowing the head/liner shell 22 to lie snug against the wearer's head without being held away from the wearer's head by the protruding earmuffs 42. Once the hood/liner apparatus 10 is comfortably in place, with the earmuffs 42 protruding into the ear cuffs 12 and with the head/liner shell 22 snug against the wearer's head, then the ear cuff outer openings 24, are cinched down snug around the earmuffs 42 by means of the drawstrings 14 and drawstring spring locks 16, and finally the entire hood/liner apparatus 10 and the underlying hearing protection earmuffs 42 are made more snug by a final adjustment to the neck closure 18, preventing cold and wind infiltration, providing for maximum weather protection and also providing for superior hearing protection over the use of hearing protection earmuffs 42 without the hood/liner apparatus 10, as tightening down the hood/liner apparatus 10 by adjustment of neck closure 18 provides a tighter fit for the hearing protection earmuffs 42 than if used alone, providing even greater dB attenuation.

Referring now to FIGS. 4, 5 and 6, the preferred embodiment 10 of the hood/liner apparatus is seen from front, side and rear views, respectively, as it would appear when worn with a safety helmet with attached hearing protection earmuffs. As can be seen, a safety helmet 50 with attached hearing protection earmuffs 40 are worn over top of the hood/liner apparatus 10, with each earmuff 40 passing through the ear cuff outer opening 24 and extending into and being surrounded by an ear cuff 12, allowing the earmuff 40 to rest directly against the wearer's head, sealing around the wearer's ear, while each earmuff 40 is attached to the safety helmet 50 by the earmuff attachment arm 54.

For use, the hood/liner apparatus 10 would be pulled on the wearer's head first, and the safety helmet 50 with attached hearing protection earmuffs 40 would be pulled on over top of said hood/liner apparatus 10, the earmuffs 40 would then be pulled through the ear cuff outer opening 24 and placed directly against the wearer's head over the wearer's ear, and extending into and being surrounded by an ear cuff 12. Once the hood/liner apparatus 10 and safety helmet 50 are comfortably in place, with the earmuffs 40 extending into the ear cuffs 12 and with the head/liner shell 22 snug against the wearer's head, then the ear cuff outer openings 24, are cinched down snug around the earmuffs 40 by means of the drawstrings 14 and drawstring spring locks 16, and then the entire hood/liner apparatus 10 and the hearing protection earmuffs 40 are made even more snug by a final adjustment to the neck closure 18, preventing cold and wind infiltration, providing for maximum weather protection and also providing for superior hearing protection over the use of hearing protection earmuffs 40 without the hood/liner apparatus 10, as tightening down the hood/liner apparatus 10 provides a tighter fit for the hearing protection earmuffs 40 than if used alone, providing even greater dB attenuation.

The function of the hood/liner shell 22 is to provide warmth and wind protection to the wearer, and to provide a foundation for locating the ear cuffs 12. The liner shell 22 is made of a fabric that is durable, abrasion and wind resistant and may be lined with a fabric that is both soft and warm (high R-value), which lining fabric is then bonded together to the liner shell 22 fabric making a single shell. When constructed in this manner, the liner shell gives additional warmth and wind protection to the wearer. The hood/liner apparatus 10 neck closure 18 is located under the hood/liner 10 face opening and is typically fastened by a hook-loop fastener 20, but could also be fastened by a button, snap or other closure device. This hood/liner shell 22 is similar to other cold weather liners, with the exception being that this hood/liner shell 22 has the attached ear cuffs 12, providing accommodation for hearing protection earmuffs 42 and for safety helmet 50 with attached hearing protection earmuffs 40. No other cold weather liners have provisions similar to ear cuffs 12.

The hood/liner ear cuffs 12 may be constructed of any fabric that has both good insulating properties and is slightly elastic, such as one of the various fleeces on the market. The ear cuffs 12 are sewn to the liner shell and the drawstring 14 casing is sewn in the outer ear cuff opening 24. The ear cuff 12 drawstring 14 and spring lock 16 are similar to those found in use on sweatshirt hoods or cuffs and collars on wind breaker jackets. The draw string 14 and spring lock 16 allows the ear cuff outer opening 24 to be adjusted to allow a proper fit and seal on the earmuffs 40, 42. The drawstring 14 and spring lock 16 may be replaced by an elastic band encased within the perimeter of the ear cuff outer opening 24, providing for an automatic snug fit and weather seal, although it would not produce as snug a fit as a locked drawstring. The ear cuffs 12 may also be constructed of a more elastic fabric or a combination of fabrics to eliminate the need for a drawstring and spring lock or for elastic banding within the perimeter of the ear cuff 12, or some combination of these or other ear cuff constriction methods may be used.

The first design provision that separates the hood/liner apparatus 10 from other standard cold weather safety helmet liners is that it allows the hood/liner apparatus to be worn with hearing protection earmuffs without compromising the effectiveness of the hood/liner apparatus' ability to provide head and skin protection and without compromising the earmuffs ability to provide hearing protection.

The second design provision of this new hood/liner apparatus 10 accommodates the specific PPE combination of a safety helmet with attached earmuffs thus providing a method for all 3 PPE (helmet, attached earmuffs, and hood/liner apparatus) to be handled and managed as a single integrated PPE. The result to the wearer is the 3 can be placed on and removed from the head as a single unit of PPE.

Design provisions that allow the hood/liner apparatus 10, and a safety helmet 50 with attached hearing protection earmuffs 40 to function and be handled as a single piece of PPE is illustrated in FIGS. 7A, 7B and 7C from an side view, and in FIGS. 8A, 8B and 8C from a front view.

FIGS. 7A and 8A depict the hood/liner apparatus 10, as it would appear when worn with a safety helmet 50 and attached hearing protection earmuffs 40, with the neck closure 18 open and without the wearer being pictured. Opening the neck closure 18 is the first step in removing the hood/liner apparatus 10, safety helmet 50 with attached hearing protection earmuffs 40 as a single piece of PPE.

FIGS. 7B and 8B depict the hood/liner apparatus 10, as it would appear when worn with a safety helmet 50 and attached hearing protection earmuffs 40, with the hood/liner folded halfway up the exterior of the helmet and without the wearer being pictured. Folding the bottom of the hood/liner apparatus 10 up around the outside of the safety helmet 50 is the next step in removing the hood/liner apparatus 10, safety helmet 50 with attached hearing protection earmuffs 40 as a single piece of PPE.

FIGS. 7C and 8C depict the hood/liner apparatus 10, as it would appear when worn with a safety helmet 50 and attached hearing protection earmuffs 40, with the hood/liner apparatus 10 folded up over top of the safety helmet 50 with the neck closure 18 closed over top of the safety helmet 50, with the ear cuffs 12 having been slid down to the helmet mounting end of the earmuff attachment arms 54, and with the attached hearing protection earmuffs 40 raised above and resting on the helmet bill 52, which positioning is the final step in preparing the hood/liner apparatus 10, safety helmet 50 with attached hearing protection earmuffs 40 for removal and handling as a single piece of PPE.

Referring now to FIGS. 7A, 7B and 7C, and to FIGS. 8A, 8B and 8C, the preferred method for using a hood/liner apparatus 10 used with a safety helmet 50 with attached hearing protection earmuffs 40 as a single integrated PPE, includes: providing a hood/liner apparatus 10 for use with hearing protection earmuffs 40 which includes a neck closure 18; putting the hood/liner apparatus 10 on the wearer's head; providing a safety helmet 50 with attached hearing protection earmuffs 40, which earmuffs are attached and mounted to the safety helmet 50 by attachment arms 54 and which safety helmet includes a top portion, a rim and a bill 52; ensuring the attached hearing protection earmuffs 40 are in the raised position resting on the bill 52; donning the safety helmet 50 with attached hearing protection earmuffs 40 over top of the hood/liner apparatus 10; pulling the attached hearing protection earmuffs 40 down to the wearing position over the ears; passing the attached hearing protection earmuffs 40 through the hood/liner apparatus 10 ear cuff openings 12; placing the attached hearing protection earmuffs 40 directly over the ears; fitting the hood/liner ear cuffs 12 snugly around each earmuff 40; tightening the drawstrings 14 to constrict the ear cuff outer openings 24 to a snug fit around each earmuff 40; locking the drawstrings at the proper tightness with the spring locks 16; adjusting the hood/liner neck closure 18 for a weather tight fit; opening said hood/liner neck closure 18; releasing the spring lock 16 to loosen the drawstrings 14; widening the ear cuff outer opening 24 to release the seal against each earmuff 40; folding the bottom edge of the hood/liner shell 22 up over the rim of the safety helmet 50; sliding the hood/liner ear cuffs 12 over each earmuff 40 and along the helmet earmuff attachment arms 54 to the attachment arm end mounted on the safety helmet 50; folding the bottom half of the hood/liner shell 22 up around the outside of the safety helmet 50 with the bottom edge of the hood/liner shell 22 folded over top of the helmet 50; fastening the neck closure 18 over top of the safety helmet 50; raising the hearing protection earmuffs 40 to the raised position; resting the hearing protection earmuffs 40 on the helmet bill 52; removing the safety helmet 50 with attached hearing protection earmuffs 40 and the helmet/liner apparatus 10 as a single unit of PPE, as the helmet/liner apparatus 10 is now secured in place by the raised earmuffs 40 protruding through the ear cuff openings 24 and the neck closure 18 attached over top of the helmet 50; donning the new combined PPE, by reversing the previous steps until the unit is secured onto the head again; and going back to work.

The method and embodiment of the present invention shown and discussed are by way of illustration and not of limitation, and a wide variety of equivalent methods and embodiments may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention.