Best Rated Hearing Protection for Shooting – 2017 Buying Guide

Having the best rated hearing protection for shooting is a must have for any firearm enthusiast.. If you are a shooter or a hunter, your ears are exposed to some of the loudest noises in the world. Being in continuous exposure with the noise made by the discharge of handguns and rifles without enough safety measures can cause permanent harm to your hearing.

Whether you are an occasional shooter or a hunter, getting suited with proper hearing protection can keep you away from the danger of hearing loss. Hearing loss and damage occur from a combination of how long you are exposed to noise and how loud the noise is (dB level).

Why Do You Need Ear Protection for Shooting?

The quickest and most apt answer for this question is - even a single gunshot can cause permanent hearing damage for you.

In most cases firearm calibers fire at 140 decibels or more and this can cause you serious hearing issues - especially if you are a person who spends a lot of time at the range or hunting. Even the small caliber guns create harmful noises.

Electronic ear muffs have become affordable and provides greater convenience than the conventional ear plugs.

With the use of best electronic ear protection for shooters, you get not only the advantage of protection from loud noises but also you can hear the low noises better.

Modern ear protection devices help you to clearly hear the low noises such as the commands from range or conversation with your shooting buddies. It amplifies the low noises so that you can actually hear better with these muffs than without them. At the same time, it prevents the loud noises such as the shooting fire noise.

When the loud noise is generated, the electronic circuit shuts off and as soon as the noise falls to safe level, the circuit comes back to the amplification mode.

Product NameWeightBatteriesNoise Reduction RatingStar RatingPrice
Howard Leight12.8 ounces2 AAA Batteries22DB4.5Check Price
Clear Armor9.4 ouncesNot Required34DB4.5Check Price
Walkers Game12 ounces2 AA Batteries31DB4.5Check Price
Pro For Sho7.2 ouncesNot Required34DB4.5Check Price
Peltor Sport9.3 ounces2 AAA Batteries22DB4.5Check Price
Caldwell7.6 ounces2 AAA Batteries23DB4Check Price

How to Choose The Best Ear Protection Muff

There are different types of ear protection muffs are available in market which provide different features. Choosing the best one that suits your need is sometimes difficult. With over hundreds of options of muffs, how would you choose the best one OR what are your key requirements to look for.

You may want a costly electronic muff from a popular brand or you may want a temporary one which does not cost you much. Here we are listing a few criterias to consider while choosing a perfect ear protection muff.

1. Purpose: Though the top ear muffs provide hearing protection from all kind of noises, it is better to choose a product that closely matches your requirement. For an example, if you are a regular shooter, find a product which is good for regular use. If you like to listen to music or phone while shooting, better find an ear muff that supports aux input.

2. Noise dB: Each ear protection muff has a certain decibel of sound level to which the noise reduction can be controlled. If you use shot guns or guns which produces lower sound, go for an ear protection muff that suits the requirement of lower noises. On the other hand, if you are using air guns, go for higher level of noise reduction muffs.

3. Price: Not to mention, the cost varies according to the noise reduction capacity, extra features and the brand. Make sure that you pay for quality. Do not compromise the protection quality for the sake of cheap price. Remember, it is about your hearing safety, so do not risk it.

4. Electric or non-electronic muffs: Electronic muffs have the ability of amplifying the low noises along with the high noise reduction. But the cost is higher than the non electronic muffs. Also, electronic muffs need batteries to work.

5. Size and compatibility: Choose an ear muff that fits in your head. There are many ear protection muffs that are adjustable and you can use it for any size of head.

Best Hearing Protection for Shooting

1. Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact

This electronic muff has built in directional microphones to amplify the low noises such as the range commands and the conversation with your mates. It comes with adjustable headband for secure fit and compact folding design for convenient storage.

The package includes two AAA batteries which lasts to an average of 350 hours. Once the battery life is expired, you can use it as a regular ear protection but the muffs will not have the ability to amplify the regular sounds. The package also has cord included so that you can use it for listening to music and radio.

Technical details:

- NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) : 22

- Amplification capacity upto 82dB. Automatically shuts off the amplification when the noise reaches the level of 82dB

- It has a weight of 12.8 ounce

- 1 AAA batteries required for the functioning [batteries comes with the package]

- 350 hours is the average battery life

- AUX input and 3.5mm connection cord for MP3 players

Pros:

1. Lightweight and comfortable to use

2. Very reliable noise amplification ability

2. Cost less than the high brands but more reliable and produce quality hearing protection

Cons:

1. In indoor ranges these do not reduce the sound enough. You'll have to wear ear plugs as well.

2. If your head is too small, these muffs do not well seal around your head.

2. ClearArmor 141001 

These ear protectors are light, comfortable, reasonably priced and are very quiet. Needless to say, it offers superior ear protection and has the highest noise reduction rating. It works well with all the firing without additional ear plugs.

The double-layer of the manufacturers’ unique noise-cancellation foam makes this the leading set of earmuffs in terms of the Noise Reduction Rating, which is a mind-blowing 34dB

Technical details:

- NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) of 34dB

- ANSI S3.19 Tested & Certified (American National Standards Institute) and CE EN 352.1 Tested & Certified (European Standard)

- It has a weight of 9.4 ounce

Pros:

1. Highest NRR (Noise Reduction Rating)

2. Adjustable headband for custom fit: Its vertical adjustment feature allow it to fit to large and small heads

3. Compact folding design for efficient storage

Cons:

1. It has tight fitting against the head. It is not a major issue normally but you may get a bit uncomfortable if you are wearing them for long time(more than 4 or 5 hours)

3. Walkers Game Ear Pro-Low Profile Folding Muff

Walkers Game ear pro-low profile folding muffs has adjustable head bands and these ear muffs are very good for rifle shooting.

They are very low profile and have excellent noise reduction. These are not electronic muffs.

They don't slip, slide, or fall off because of the tightness. They're super stable and fold up nice and small so you can keep them in my bag without taking up precious space.

Technical details:

- ANSI S3.19 Rated

- Ultra-light weight with a Compact folding design

- Padded headband for comfortable fit & Soft PVC Ear Pads

- It has a weight of 12 ounce

Pros:

1. For a budget pair of ear muffs these really are quite good.

2. As for the fit, they're a bit tight straight out of the clamshell packaging.

Cons:

1. This product is snug fitting, so continuous use might be uncomfortable.

4. Pro For Sho 34dB Shooting Ear Protection

As the product name says, this ear protection muffs have 34dB NRR protection ratio. It is solid, lightweight and compact for carrying in bags. It has padded head band which is perfect for long term wear without irritation.

These are not electronic muffs.

Technical details:

- ANSI S3.19 & CE EN521 Certified

- 34dB NRR protection

- It has a weight of 7.2 ounce

Pros:

1. Reasonable price

2. They are a comfortable fit on medium and large sized heads: snug enough not to fall off, but never pinching or squeezing anywhere.

Cons:

1. Noise reduction is good but not exceptional.

5. Peltor Sport Tactical 100 Electronic Hearing Protector (TAC100)

This ear protection muffs come from the popular brand Peltor. Featuring proprietary 3M technology that reduces harmful gunshot noise while amplifying low-level sounds.

The Peltor Sport Tactical 100 Electronic Hearing Protector is ideal for both indoor and outdoor shooters and hunters.

Adaptive Frequency Response lessens background noise for clearer conversations and hearing of commands. These are electronic muffs.

This electronic ear protection muffs are ideal for both indoor and outdoor shooters and hunters. Peltors use superior quality compression circuits for their electronic muffs and this helps in proper trim out of noises.

Technical details:

- It has a weight of 9.3 ounce

- Two AAA batteries required

Pros:

1. Boots faster, fold up easily and have a good response time.

2. The intensity of the voices and noises is greatly reduced but you still hear everything and you can tell the direction of noise/voice coming from.

Cons:

1. The peak clipping on these muffs are terrible.

6. Caldwell Low Profile E-Max Electronic Ear Muffs

This is an electronic muff which runs in batteries. The low-profile E-MaxTM hearing protection combines great circuitry with a low profile earcup that's ideal for shotgun shooters and action shooters.

The two microphones in the E-MaxTM amplify sounds below 85 decibels, which amplifies normal communication, range commands, and environmental sounds.

It instantly shuts off when the noise above 85dB is detected. Comes with an audio jack for input from M3 player or phone.

Technical details:

- Runs on two AAA batteries

- 23 NRR (Noise Reduction Rating)

Pros:

1. Two microphones, one in each cup, give the user true stereo sound and allow the user to identify the directional source of a sound.

2. The sound amplification on these are more than adequate.

Cons:

1. Less durability. There are several incidents reported that these ear muffs get defective after a short period of time.

Conclusion

As you can see from the above given details of ear protection muffs, each one has it’s own advantages and disadvantages. Some are electronic muffs which need batteries to function while others do not require batteries to function.

It is easy to see that choosing a electronic muffs over the regular ones will give you better high noise reduction and low noise amplification. If you are a hunter who goes for shooting with your dogs, it is recommended to have ear protection for the dogs as well.

Also, while deciding which product to buy, make sure that the muffs are able to be worn with your shooting glasses. If the muffs are too tight, it might not be comfortable to wear the glasses along with them.

Remember, unprotected and prolonged exposure to excessive noise can cause hearing damage that cannot be repaired. It is vital, therefore, that you take appropriate steps to protect you ears from the loud noises that happen when guns are fired.

Sources:

Asha.com

WikiPedia Ear Protection

American-Hearing.org

Product images sourced from Amazon.com.
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