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Top 10 Best Shooting Ear Protection

Branded Online | Oct 11, 2019

Ranger Expert

Top 10 Best Shooting Ear Protection (Sep. 2019) : Review & Buyer's Guide by Erik Himmel

Every good ear protection for shooting manufacturer wants to make money and improve safety. Safety is important, a priority; so, earplugs and muffs are essentials. Wouldn't you want to protect your sense of hearing? While taking shots, the auditory organs are triggered by sound, and ear muffs protection can help Rangers, hobbyist shooters, and range officers. Percussive vibrations and its effect can be minimized by ensuring ear protection in industrial work areas, and range shooting reserves.

It's important to consider my safe exposure limit; so, I use budget-friendly, and versatile safety ear muffs. They offer protection like filtering loud noises and blasts of sounds from large rocks. You can enjoy products with quality and consistency while shopping for great brands. Let's discuss how these top brands of electronic and passive noise reducers from different categories can serve your purpose.

How Loud Can a Gun Be & When Do You Need Protection?

The noise of gunfire can affect your hearing, and keep you deaf partially if you are lucky! Tactical headsets with high resistance for ultra-sonic sounds should be your favorite if you're you an avid shooter.

Usually, shooting and safety gears with filtered earplugs can handle 140-decibels (dB) from firearm calibers. The safe zone for humans is 85 dB, and it can lead to permanent hearing loss without using ear protection.

As a shooting enthusiast, I like safety ear muffs that are rechargeable, offer connectivity, and have cool gadgets like MP3 or cell phone's receiver options.

However, shooting hearing protection reviews offer you affordable wearables for shooting. Ear protection is pro-safety, and a win-win for you.

Globally, organizations like the American National Standards and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration encourage the use of protection from gunshot noise. Ear protection gears with higher ratings are available for hunters, rangers, and hobbyists. There are many military grade favorites like the electronic ear muffs with high-end features.

What's the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)?

Noise reduction devices have a noise reduction rating (NRR) values. It's a way of protecting shooters from sound exposure to any environment. Decibels (dB) is a unit for measuring sound, and products with higher NRR rating are ideal.

Occupational and health certified noise reducers have NRR numbers to show their degree of reduction for very loud, moderate, and faint sounds. Shooter and rangers can enjoy the best ear protection for shooting in our reviews. These hearing protection devices have reasonable NNR ratings that maintain the recommended decibels (dB) level.

Alternatively, you can conduct some research on sound after understanding how the rating system works. Firearm, rock concert and airplanes noises with over 120 dB is are painful, the noise can impart your hearing.

There are hearing protection devices for loud noises that are over 90 dB. Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) for vacuum cleaners and lawnmowers are often rated above 60 dB. Also, moderate noises at home or office have NRR value of between 40 and 50 dB.

How Did We Pick the Best?

Unlike regular hearing protection devices, our list includes earplugs with anti-allergic features and earmuffs that have medical-grade polymer materials. Our team of sound experts and volunteers tested these products before recommending them.

By physically blocking all the noise around you with gadgets, you are assured of healthy ears. Also, parts of this review include product comparisons, verifying manufacturers' claims, web research, laboratory test, and sampling options from customer's reviews.

Do you want to increase your chances of buying the best ear muffs for shooting? The products with high-end features come with more advantages? High-quality wearables can offer protection for low-level sounds, and higher-decibel noises simultaneously.

Strong hunting and earplug with advanced design may have microphones that amplify low-level sounds. Durable products with electronic features and body-friendly muffs can be handy. They allow the wearer to hear conversation around while trekking in the forest or game reserve. While wearing electronic noise reducers, shooters can listen to music from smartphones without losing their line-of-sight.

Our hunting enthusiasts, audiologists and volunteers recommend wearing protective hearing aids that are comfortable. They conduct different on-field tests and see the need for buyers to get feature-rich earmuff and earplugs.

However, buyers still rely on manufacturers claims before using the best shooting ear protection. There are more superior brands than normal ear protection aids. Regardless of their designs, there's no perfect ear protection device.

Instead, their efficiency and overall strength can help buyer's keep levels of noise safe. In our ear muffs for shooting review, I'll recommend specific products for range enthusiasts, hobbyists, novice and avid shooters.

Things to Consider When Buying Ear Protection

While handling a firearm for ranging or recreation purpose, it requires every sense of responsibility to use it. Gun safety protocols include the use of ear protection. So, you should consider these conditions before buying earplugs and earmuffs.

1. Electronic v. Passive

There are two categories of ear protection devices; electronic and passive. Usually, personal preference for ear protection has advantages and disadvantages. However, both electronic and passive hearing gears can handle respective needs.

Electronic hearing protection is suitable for soldiers that handle firearms during training and combat. Usually, electronic models with rechargeable batteries allow the wearer to hear ambient sounds and enjoy the MP3 player. Other electronic models also have automatic noise-reducing mechanisms when sound exceed a certain dB level. So, more buyers prefer electronic ear protection devices.

Passive noise reducers only have basic features like muffs for ear protection. These earmuffs are often foldable to make storage easy after enjoying the outdoors. Usually, they offer little convenience while protecting your ears. Passive earmuffs are non-electronic, but they have ear-covering and non-attractive features. Regardless of your choice, the model should come with basic protection strength for specific decibel levels and give comfort during wear.

2. NRR

The NRR is a measurement for noise reduction efficiency of all ear protection devices. Rifles, handguns, and shotguns have suitable hearing protectors with different Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) values.

This rating helps you choose the right ear protector that can reduce surrounding decibels (dB) to a safe level. However, there's no model of noise reducing device that guarantees 100% protection.

When sounds are amplified, hearing aids can reduce their negative effects to below 40 dB. Usually, louder sound from guns requires a higher dB rating from hearing protectors. Otherwise, exposures to deafening sounds will impact your eardrums negatively.

To enjoy the convenience factor, choose hearing protection devices with higher NRR. On the average, decent earplugs have NRR ratings of between 23-33dB,  on average.

22 LR Rifle 134dB

Jet engine's take-off noise 140dB

25 Pistol 155dB

12-Gauge Shotgun 156dB

308 Rifle 156dB

44 Special Revolver 156dB

44 Magnum Revolver 164dB

3. Size and Fit

According to gun experts, shooters can use double protection by wearing earplugs before the earmuffs. Large size protection devices are easy to transport because they have portable storage cases. Fit and sizes are important because the wearer might be disorganized if the gear is too small.

The average noise reduction efficiency ratings are 50% and 70% for earplugs and earmuffs respectively. Ideally, the size of each muff should be convenient for long use. There's no need to purchase large ear muffs when you have very small ears. They might become too big to fit your ears and fail to give protection against high decibels noise.

4. Material and Durability

Hearing enhancement and noise reducers are durable when they have strong materials. Generally, lightweight materials serve a long period of usage and are ideal for outdoor use. These materials should offer higher resistance to the intensity of sunlight, and the effects of weather.

Also, materials with great resistance to sweat often have antimicrobial properties. So, the best gun hearing protection aid must be durable if it's worth your investment.

5. Appearance

Apart from the internal ergonomic cuff design, the external cover of headbands can attract buyers. Usually, thin-padded headbands appear cool in appearance even with built-in double-shell earmuffs. Their appearance might be stylish but doesn't imply high-quality padding designs.

Instead of scaring animals by wearing noise reducers with bright colors, hunters can wear earplugs and earmuffs with camouflage covers. Ensure that all features align with your purpose of shooting before buying the preferred product.

6. Comfort

Headbands are comfortable when they have adjustable and special features. They could come with advanced ear pad shapes and MP3s for listening to music while at the range.

You can use the stereo volume control (on each ear) to adjust sound and speak clearly with the microphone despite the loud noise. Consider earmuffs with built-in double-shells of quality foams. They can reduce accumulation of heat around your ears and enhance comfort.

7. Earmuffs vs. Earplugs

Earmuffs and earplugs help to avoid audio-related complications and hearing loss problems. Both devices can be worn during ranging, and shooting competitions.

However, earplugs don’t interfere with your shoulder or the butt of guns when you take aims to shoot. Usually, earplugs are cool designs with connective strings that allow freer movements. Categories of this device include custom, electronic, disposable, and reusable shooter earplugs.

Earmuffs with higher NRR ratings offer better protection from deafening sounds. Our extensive buyer’s guide shows different earmuff products for users that need to effective ear protection headbands. The electronic ear muffs models also have noise-canceling functions.

They are military-grade noise reducers that prevent ear damage from loud machinery and sounds from higher caliber firearms.

8. Additional Features

Some passive noise reducers have pivoting ear cups and flexible handles. Apart from handling the noise from shots, they are versatile and offer full protection during other tasks and help aim at the target precisely.

An electronic ear muff can activate the auto-shutoff mode after a period being idle. Also, they can amplify low-level noises, and offer clear audio to wearers that enjoy built-in music players.

9. Your Budget

More expensive ear protection models claim to reduce the risk of auditory system damage. The price factor might decide your choice, but you can buy inexpensive models of noise reducers without sacrificing NRR ratings or quality.

While searching for the best shooting ear protection, choose what gives value for money. It's wise to get what you budget can cover before settling for advanced models later.

Our Top 10 Best Shooting Ear Protection List

Before our experts tested the best electronic hearing protection for shooting, they sampled many models from top manufacturers. Many important factors of these ten hearing protection aids were also considered.

During shooting games, our final selections use their basic features to ensure protection from noise of gun fires. However, there are products with specific provisions for beginners, avid shooters, hunter, and hobbyists.

Here is our hearing protector reviews and specifications of top ten brands.

Best Overall: Howard Leight by Honeywell

 

Sound Amplification: Your safety is enhanced by using distortion-free amplification electronic earmuff. This device brings louder noise from firearm discharges to a safe 82 dB level. Also, it allows you to hear low-level range commands and conversation sounds. Apart from blocking hazardous sounds, this amplification feature uses built-in directional microphones to boost natural listening and communication.

NRR Rating: The electronic earmuff device for the shooting has the NRR rating of 22 in both on and off modes. Like other models of Howard Leight electronic earmuffs, environmental sounds are filtered with ease. This device shuts off amplification when ambient noise reaches 82 dB, and the mechanism is automatic.

Easy-to-use AUX Input: You can enjoy MP3 player software with the earmuff's AUX Input. The media player from mobile phones can make you active while hunting in the wilderness. The power knob allows Howard Leight electronic earmuffs users to adjust volume after connecting the 3.5 mm cord in its external audio jack.

Adjustable Headband: This electronic earmuff has ultra-slim, added earcups, and an adjustable headband. Its foldable design allows adjustability for firearm stock clearance. Interference is less while taking aims for shots. Also, storage after use is convenient because these low profile earcups might be compact, but they fit in their boxes securely.

Product Specifications: 

Product Dimensions: 1 x 1 x 1 inches

Item Weight:  1.6 pounds

Power Source: Non-rechargeable AAA batteries

NRR: 22 dB

Brand/Model: Impact Sport R-01526

Pros

Snap-in ear cushions for extended performance

Foldable headband

3.5 mm cord for the AUX input jack

Low-energy electronic earmuff with auto shut-off feature after 4 hours

Cons

The AAA regular batteries are not rechargeable

Final Verdict

This Howard Leight electronic earmuff by Honeywell Impact Sport is ergonomically designed. It has patented air flow control technology that allows firearms' clearance while shooting, and a snap-on lid for easy replacement of AAA batteries. Buyers will find it as a great product that helps to amplify ambient sounds to a safe level of 82 dB.

Howard Leight by Honeywell Earmuff (R-01902)

The Impact Pro Sound Electronic Shooting Earmuff requires easy maintenance. Unlike regular ear protection products with similar features, this brand comes with snap-in ear cushions. You can make replacement of these ear cushions with ease and enjoy their extended performances. This earmuff device comes in eye-catching black and grey designs. Let's unveil other interesting features that make this Howard Leight R-01902 model a must-have.

Low Energy Earmuff: Do you want high-quality earmuff devices that can help you extend battery life? This Honeywell Impact Pro Sound R-01902 Model is a low-energy earmuff. The electronic noise reducer comes with an auto shut-off mechanism that activities the device's inactive mode after 4 hours. Also, there's a snap-on lid for easy replacement of the AAA batteries.

Impact Pro Sound Amplification: This electronic earmuff is intended for handgun shooters that need superior ear protection. As a safety feature, the sound application system helps to amplify low level sounds like conversations, and range commands.

NRR Value of 30 dB: When external ambient sound reaches 82 dB, this device will shut off amplification automatically. However, the R-01902 model has 30 dB Noise Reduction Rating value that supports natural listening and communication.

Media Player Support: While its built-in directional microphones amplify sounds, you can listen to external MP3 players by connecting a 3.5 mm cord in the audio jack. The Honeywell Impact Pro Sound electronic earmuff suports media players. It also comes wiht rubberized pressure points that prevent gunstock scratching while shooting and listening to music simultaneously.

Product Specifications: 

Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 inches

NRR Value: 30 dB

Power Source: Non-rechargeable AAA batteries

Brand/Model: Honeywell Impact Pro Sound R-01902

Pros

Padded & adjustable headband offers a customized and comfortable fit

Can block hazardous noise of over 82 dB instantly

Automatic shut-off feature helps conserve battery life by turning off the device after 4 hours of inactivity

Cons

The synthetic material that comes with this ear protector isn't scratch-proof

Final Verdict

The Impact Pro Sound Amplification Electronic Earmuff has a sleek design, and it's compact. Avid shooters of small firearms like handguns will enjoy optimum safety and ear protection when they buy this product. There's so much to be proud of when using this product, and its padded, foldable headband allows much ease of use

Tips on Protecting Your Ear While Shooting

It's not enough to know how you can select cheap ear protection for shooting without understanding how to use the device. Here are helpful tips of advice that can ensure your safety.

Avoid continuous exposure to noise that is over 140 dB. This level of hazardous noise can cause permanent ear damage.

Include hearing protection devices (earmuffs and earplugs) as part of your workplace personal protective equipment

Maintain the safety culture of having disposable earplugs everywhere you go, and use the best shooting ear protection.

While using big-bore guns, you can use a combination of the best electronic ear muffs for shooting, and earplugs

Use smaller caliber rifles to hunt smaller games, and single shot-firearms instead of lever action guns.

When ranging or hunting with your group, avoid blasting sounds from the rapid shots of firearms

Electronic earmuffs are preferable because they can filter and dampen sounds automatically

Different Applications Ear Protection Equipment

There are different types of applications for ear protection equipment. Generally, the use of electronic hearing protection devices for any noisy environment is to preserve health. Here are common noise environments that noise reduction devices are applicable.

1. Military

Usually, the military is the first sector that tests protective gears. These earpieces with new technologies often have electronic features. The military protects soldiers; so, it's essential to use high-quality gears. So, hearing protection aids are designed for use during combat or training with tanks and helicopters.

2. Shooting

Avid shooters and hunters use high-caliber weapons with deafening sounds. Usually, electronic hearing protectors with noise-canceling features are ideal for shooters. You can use high-quality earmuffs, and decent earplugs together if you are exposed to loud sounds on range fields.

3. Recreation and Sports

Children love to play race cars games and watch exciting movies in the cinema. So, the risk of damaging their eardrums is high when they don't use protection. However, you can ensure they use cheap earplugs or electronic noise-canceling protectors while having fun.

4. Industrial

Industrial noise pollution can cause discomfort and gradual loss of hearing when you avoid the use of protection devices. However, it's standard practice in the workplace to wear protection devices. The sound form of tools and machinery can be very loud, but electronic hearing protection will make a difference.

Final Thoughts

You have read our hearing protection reviews and might have found some exciting features of ear wear. You should trust our auditory experts and volunteers sense of judgment on each product that's listed in this guide. Earmuffs and plugs that are custom-fit for the wearer will hold on perfectly.

Even after prolonged use, you should have the foresight of getting another product that will be durable. The Tactical 300 Electronic Hearing Protector by Peltor Sport is a decent Earmuff for avid shooters. It's built-in Dynamic Suppression and 3M Smart technologies can optimize your shooting experience.

Allow the use of technology to make your outdoor events in noisy environments safe. Arguably, this model is one of the best shooting ear muffs. There's low-profile ear wear for beginners with low budgets. Buy the SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders Earplugs with filter caps. This pair of the earpiece is military-grade tested, and durable.

Unlike regular low-quality brands of earplugs, the EP4 Sonic Defenders doesn't give skin irritation after prolonged use. Instead, these earplugs are made from hypoallergenic, medical-grade polymer materials. Alternatively, the EP4 Sonic Defenders Earplugs can be worn with ear muffs.

There's no limit to using dual protection, earplugs can be custom molded for use with muffs.   All features of each product in our ear protection for shooting reviews are accurate and you can make the best shot by using these products along with quality revolvers. While confirming this information to be aligned with manufacturers' claims, our experts also analyzed their disadvantages.

These products are some of the best shooting ear muffs that can optimize the experience of outdoor enthusiasts. I trust that your buying decision will be swift and easy. Additionally, after enjoying our top 10 hearing protection for shooting devices, I look forward to your feedback. Ensure you get the best shooting ear protection!

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