Every responsible gun owner knows is imperative to wear ear protection if you value your eardrums. Whether you’re hunting or practicing at the gun range, you want to make sure that you are always protected from loud noises, the kind that can seriously damage your hearing if you’re not careful. This is precisely why ear protection equipment was invented for and it would be safe to say that it has come a long way over the years.
Since its invention, ear protection equipment has evolved quite a lot, from the primitive ear wax plugs of old days to the complex, noise-canceling headsets of today. These headsets are designed to filter loud noises and blasts and to minimize percussive vibrations and their effects in a safe and comfortable fashion. Now, we should point out that not all these headsets are built to the same standards. To give you a better idea of what’s out there, we put together a list of the ten best ear protection for shooting the market has to offer right now.
Best Ear Protection for Shooting – Reviews
10Pro For Sho All Terrain Safety Ear Protection
The Pro For Sho All Terrain Safety Ear Protection earmuffs is a high-end earmuff set that is 1/3rd times lighter than other headsets of its kind. Effective, light in weight, and extremely durable, these earmuffs offer you with optimum protection while shooting, during construction work, mowing, fireworks, studying, drumming, lawn mowing, concerts, drag races and more. Thanks to their latest Ultrasonic Manufacturing Technology, they provide a sound reduction of the highest standard and are ANSI S3.19 & CE EN 352-1 certified with a noise reduction rate of 32dB. Ideal for everyday use, they feature well-padded headbands that can be adjusted to fit your head perfectly, along with a foldable design that allows for easy storage and transportation.
9AmazonBasics Noise Reduction Safety Earmuffs
Keeping your ears safe from loud noises, these earmuffs feature a noise reduction rate of 26dB and is ideal for fireworks, shooting, construction work, festivals, stadium events, sports events and more. Made from heavy-duty ABS and PU material, an earmuff set like this comes equipped with a well-padded noise dampening sponge that is comfortable. The headband is easily adjustable and provides a secure snug fit. Compact in size, portable and lightweight, these earmuffs feature a foldable construction that allows easy storage and transportation.
8Peltor Sport Electronic Hearing Protector
Providing you with optimum protection from loud sounds and noises, the Peltor Sport Electronic Hearing Protector is the ideal pair of earmuffs for shooting, hunting, and sports events. Great for indoor and outdoor use, it features the latest technology that helps in suppressing loud sounds while amplifying low-end sounds for better communication. Made from heavy-duty materials, it features soft, well-padded ear-cups along with an adjustable headband that provides you with the most comfortable perfect fit.
7Awesafe Electronic Shooting Earmuffs
Ideal for daily use, the Awesafe Electronic Shooting Earmuffs are uniquely designed to boost communication while shooting, hunting, etc, with a noise reduction rate of 22dB. Featuring heavy-duty low-profile ear cups, the set comes equipped with an adjustable headband that offers a comfortable snug fit. The earmuffs feature a convenient foldable design that allows easy storage and can be carried around in your bag. It also comes equipped with a 3.5mm connection with an aux input, enabling you to connect to radios, DVD players, MP3 players, and your mobile phones and tablets. It also comes with omnidirectional microphones that automatically boost voices over loud sounds that cross 82dB.
6Fnova Safety Ear Muffs
With a high noise reduction rate of 34dB, the Fnova Safety Ear Muffs are designed to provide you with protection while shooting, hunting, during fireworks, concerts, festivals and sporting events. Compact in size and light in weight, these earmuffs feature an adjustable headband that provides you with the perfect fit, along with soft padded ear cups that are comfortable. Made from premium quality materials, this industrial grade set features a soiled construction that is resistant to breaking and outer damage.
5Caldwell E-Max Low Profile Earmuffs for Shooting
The Caldwell E-Max Low Profile Earmuffs for Shooting is a premium grade set designed in a quite ingenious fashion. Equipped with a well-cushioned headband and adjustable ear cups, it provides a snug fit and great protection. With a noise reduction rating of 23, it enhances low sounds that are below 85dB and reduces high sounds above 85dB to give you the perfect sound range. Made from high-quality materials, it is light in weight, durable and resistant to damage and impact. It also comes with a foldable design that allows easy storage, an adjustable volume control setting, and a convenient audio jack that allows you to use it with your phone or MP3 player.
4Walker’s Game Razor Slim Electronic Ear Muffs
Featuring premium quality super-sleek rubberized ear cups, the Walker’s Game Razor Slim Electronic Ear Muffs come equipped with the latest omnidirectional microphone. With a noise reduction rate of 23dB, the set provides optimum sound amplification and suppression over 89dB at a reaction rate of 0.02. Crafted with a foldable design, it features an adjustable headband that is comfortable and well padded. Including a stylish design, these electronic ear muffs come in a range of different vibrant colors and designs.
3Mpow 035 Noise Reduction Safety Ear Muffs
Uniquely designed with a dual-layered noise dampening foam, the Mpow 035 Noise Reduction Safety Ear Muffs feature double-shelled, heavy-duty, tightly sealed cup that comes with a noise reduction rate of 34dB. Approved and certified according to European standards, these earmuffs are perfect for hunting and shooting, sports events, construction work, studying and more. Made from high-quality durable materials, the set features retractable stainless steel at the end of the headband that can be adjusted to give you the best fit. Light in weight and compact in size, they feature a foldable design and come with a carry bag for easy storage.
2Pro For Sho 34dB Shooting Ear Protection
The Pro For Sho 34dB Shooting Ear Protection Earmuffs are part of an industrial grade safety set designed with a solid frame and construction. Ideal for hunting, shooting, and woodworking, these earmuffs keep your ears protected from loud deafening sounds. Light in weight and compact in size, they are foldable and easy to carry in your handbag. Available in a variety of colors, they feature a heavy-duty adjustable headband that offers a comfortable snug fit.
1ClearArmor 141001 Shooters Safety Ear Muffs
Equipped with the latest SonicSeal sound technology, the ClearArmor 141001 Shooters Hearing Protection Safety Ear Muffs provide you with optimum protection against loud sounds and noises. Made from premium grade materials, these earmuffs are light in weight and compact in size, and extremely durable. Equipped with an ultra-soft foam ear-ring, the set ensures you experience comfort no matter how long you wear them. The headband is cushioned and can be adjusted to fit your head size, giving you the best, most snug fit. Built to last and certified to meet all necessary ANSI safety standards, these protective ear muffs are ideal for everyday use, indoors and outdoors.
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Finding The Best Ear Protection for Shooting
You should be aware by now that the sound of gunfire can severely damage your hearing if you lack the proper equipment to keep your eardrums safe. We’re talking here about ear protection for shooting, the type of protection every responsible gun owner should own. Having come a long way since the day of standard wax plugs, these headsets and earmuffs are built to some pretty impressive standards and can be expected to keep your eardrums safe at all times by dealing with percussive vibrations of any kind. While it is still safe to consider your exposure to such noises before everything else, you should also invest in a set of ear protection equipment if you haven’t already.
Having a look around, you are likely to discover that most ear protection equipment comes with a noise reduction rating (NNR). This refers to the degree to which such equipment can reduce the dB levels of any noise source, be it a gun or something else. For the most part, occupational and health certified noise reducers usually have the NNR values written on the packaging to show their noise reduction capabilities. It should be said that firearm noises usually produce sounds around the 120 dB margin, which is quite a painful and dangerous noise level to experience without proper protection.
What To Consider When Buying Ear Protection for Shooting
The handling of firearms comes with many hazards to your health and safety, with noise being just one of them. It is well known that gun safety protocols include the use of proper ear protection, so you should consider such items to represent a much-needed addition to your inventory rather than an optional piece of equipment. You should be aware, however, that regardless of their design, there is no such thing as a perfect ear protection device, nor should you expect such a thing. Still, you are better off knowing everything you can about what you’re getting rather than simply buying whatever earmuffs you first set your eyes on.
- Electronic Vs Passive – When it comes to ear protection for shooting, there are two main categories for ear protection devices – electronic and passive. While electronic hearing protection is more suitable for soldiers and police officers who handle firearms on a daily basis for work and training, passive versions usually involve muffs and plugs and are more suitable for casual gun owners. A good rule of thumb when choosing between electronic and passive is to always ensure that whatever item you choose comes with basic protection strength and that it meets even the most basic of comfort standards.
- NNR – As we already pointed out, NNR refers to the noise reduction efficiency of a noise reduction set and should always be considered prior to purchase. In fact, the NNR rating is bound to help you choose between seemingly similar earmuffs, plugs, and headsets. Bear in mind that none of the ear protection sets the market has to offer can deliver a 100% protection against loud noises, the technology simply isn’t there yet. Still, you should probably go for earplugs with an NNR rating of between 23 to 33 dB just to be on the safe side.
- Size – The size and fit of a pair of earmuffs or plugs are imperative for determining their overall efficiency. The main reason why you want a large set of earplugs is that they are easy to carry and they commonly have portable storage cases to top it off. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t really be using large earplugs if you have particularly small ears. If, however, your earplugs aren’t sufficiently tight around the edges, then they will most likely deliver lesser protection against noise.
- Material – One should also consider the material construction of a set of ear plugs or muffs when buying a set, it goes without question. This is because lightweight materials are usually more durable long-term and they also withstand the hazards of outdoor use better. To be more precise, lighter materials are better when exposed to direct sunlight and humidity. On a related note, you should also look for earplugs made from materials with greater resistance to sweat as they possess greater antimicrobial properties.
- Design – While not essential to the functioning of the plugs themselves, the design can greatly enhance the aesthetics of the set visually. This can backfire if you’re a hunter, however, as brightly colored accessories are known to scare away potential prey. This is also valid when talking about equipment that uses headbands and colored strips of any kind. Try to remember that flashy earplugs aren’t necessarily useful, nor can they be expected to perform better based on looks alone.
- Comfort – The comfort issue is paramount for any sort of equipment that touches your skin, whether straps, gloves, bands, plugs, or apparel. For the most part, ear protection equipment is designed to be reasonably comfortable and to allow the user a certain degree of mobility. Interestingly enough, some of the more high-end devices even come equipped with practical features that can accommodate regular headphones so that you might listen to your favorite music.
Earmuffs or Earplugs?
Upon realizing that they require ear protection for shooting, some people immediately start to ponder about whether they need earmuffs or earplugs. For the most part, this is a fairly valid question to have and one that doesn’t have a definite answer. Perhaps the main advantage earplugs have over muffs is that they do not interfere with your shoulder or the butt of a rifle whenever you take aim. Earmuffs, on the other hand, offer a slightly higher NRR rating because of their design, even though they are somewhat bulkier overall.