Best Shooting Ear Protection of 2023
Having a pair of ear defenders is essential if you plan on visiting a shooting range. It is proven that using a firearm in a surrounding that includes other people doing the same, can cause serious problems with your hearing, for starters hearing damage, and later on even hearing loss.
So it is out of great importance to provide yourself with this safety tool and add it to your gun gear collection.
- 1. Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact
- 2. Walker’s Razor Slim Muff
- 3. Mpow 035 Noise Reduction Safety Ear Muffs
- 4. Professional Safety Ear Muffs by Decibel Defense
- 5. Walker’s Razor Slim Electronic Hearing Protection Muffs
- 6. Peltor Sport Tactical 500 Smart Electronic
- 7. Peltor Sport Shotgunner Ii
- 8. The Ear Buddy Premium Soft Foam Ear Plugs
- 9. Msa Sordin Supreme Pro X
- 10. Pro Ears Pro Tac Slim Gold Series
- Are Earplugs or Earmuffs Better for Shooting?
- Is It Safe to Use Earplugs Under the Earmuffs?
- Are Silicone Earplugs Better Than Foam?
- How Do Electronic Ear Defenders Work?
What Is The Best Hearing Protection for Shooting
1. Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact
- Built-in microphones
- NRR 22
- Adjustable headband
- AUX input
- Built-in power/volume knob
On top of our list of one of the best shooting ear protection that’s commonly used by hunters. It’s very popular because it can provide you with enhanced communication and more natural listening, thanks to the built-in microphones that will amplify ambient sounds and range commands.
But when the sound of the ambient reaches 82 dB, it will automatically shut off the amplification. The Noise Reduction Rating of this pair of ear defenders is 22. These ear defenders have low profile ear cups and an adjustable headband so they can fit everyone.
Also, you will be able to fold them so they can be conveniently stored and suitable for traveling. This pair comes in classic green color, which means it won’t stand out from your regular hunting or shooting uniform, and it comes with AUX input, as well as with a 3.5 mm connection cord adequate for MP3 players and scanners.
This ear protection has a power/volume knob that’s integrated, and the package includes two AAA batteries. The great thing is that thanks to the automatic shut-off feature that will turn them off after four hours, your battery’s lifespan will be prolonged.
2. Walker’s Razor Slim Muff
- Modern design
- Ultra low profile
- Built-in volume knob
- Soft headband
- NRR 23
If you are looking for the best electronic ear muffs, you can easily go with these made by Walker’s Game Ear. They are super sensitive and can detect noises above 89 decibels, thanks to the fact they use two Omnidirectional microphones.
Given that shooting or hunting can last for hours, you should know that this pair of ear defenders are very comfortable because they have a soft and adjustable headband, and your head won’t be sore. They are very high quality made, with modern design and built-in volume knob.
You can control and adjust the current audio input level, and the Noise Reducing Rating is 23 decibels. The manufacturer said these earmuffs were created with an idea of having the lowest possible profile, but without compromising the hearing protection. And we must say they managed to do exactly that.
The speakers have a full dynamic range, which means you will be provided with a clear and balanced sound, and the reaction speed is around 0.02 a second. There’s also a 3.5 mm jack adequate for MP3 players, iPods, and handheld radios.
3. Mpow 035 Noise Reduction Safety Ear Muffs
- Soft ear cushions
- Certified to European and US standards
Everyone who’s into shooting needs to buy an adequate shooting hearing protection in order to prevent hearing loss or some kind of hearing damage. This pair of ear defenders are super practical, lightweight, and adjustable, thanks to the retractable steel pins that will allow you to make them fit your head properly.
They are designed for shooting, but also for many other purposes, and they have two layers of noise dampening foam that will eliminate or restrict the unwanted sounds from around you. Also, you can say that they have a unique double-shell and high sealing solid cups. Their NRR is 28 dB.
This is a professional piece of hunting equipment that’s been lab-tested and certified to European and US standards. The Mpow’s ear muffs are super practical for traveling, given that they can be folded and stored into a backpack, and you will even get a travel drawstring bag that’s dust-free and suitable for packing them up.
The leather cushions that come in direct contact with your ears are extremely soft and skin-friendly, and they weigh just 11.7oz, which means you won’t even know they are on your head. Besides for shooting, people often use them for sports events, operating machinery, studying, for landscaping, and construction work.
4. Professional Safety Ear Muffs by Decibel Defense
- Very comfortable
- Industry-leading NRR 37
- Great customer service
- High-quality made
One of the best ear protection for shooting comes from the Decibel Defense manufacturer, who created this pair of earmuffs for shooting range. It has an industry-leading NRR of 37 dB and super comfortable headband designed from soft and padded cells you will be able to wear all day long.
It has a sturdy construction, but also a compact and foldable one that will allow you to store it in your gun bag and carry it with you wherever you go. These ear defenders can be used by grownups, professional shooters, but also by kids and toddlers.
The manufacturer is offering a double-D guarantee, which means they will send your money back if you are not pleased with your ear muffs, and if you don’t believe they are the quietest and the most comfortable ones you can find in the market. They also have one of the best customer services.
If you find this ear protection not suitable for your head size, they have an extra-large pair in their assortment as well. These earmuffs are great for shooting, but also for lawn maintenance, construction work, for drummers, sort events, fireworks, monster trucks, etc.
5. Walker’s Razor Slim Electronic Hearing Protection Muffs
- Great quality
- Slim profile ear cups
- Two Omnidirectional microphones
- NRR 23 dB
- Foldable design
Another option for a great shooting experience that won’t damage your hearing comes from Walker’s packed in this perfect set of modern-looking ear protection muffs. They are very comfortable, soft and lightweight, and they have a folding design, which you will find to be very practical, especially if you travel with them.
Their profile is the slimmest one available in the market, and they have many features that will make fall in love with them. There is a volume on/off controller integrated into the earmuffs, and two Omnidirectional microphones combined with high definition speakers, which means you will have perfect clear audio.
The headband is padded and comes very naturally to your head top, so you won’t feel sore after a couple of hours of wearing these defenders. The muffs include a 3.5mm jack that can be used for iPods, MP3 players, and handheld radios.
The Noise Reduction Rating is 23 dB, but their response time is only 0.02 seconds. Walker’s ear protectors are designed and produced in the USA, and they are well known for their quality. You will see many professional shooters using them in a shooting range.
6. Peltor Sport Tactical 500 Smart Electronic
- For outdoor and indoor usage
- SMART technologies
- Foldable design
- Sync with Bluetooth devices
When you go through the most shooting ear protection reviews, you will conclude that this one designed by Peltor is very popular and often used by hunters and shooting professionals. The defenders are an ideal choice for both outdoor and indoor usage, and they have NRR of 26 dB.
Their headband is not padded, so you may find them to be slightly uncomfortable after many hours of usage, but on the other hand, they use SMART technologies with the purpose of suppressing harmful noise and amplifying low-level sounds.
These earmuffs are very lightweight, and they are foldable, which means you will always find space in your backpack for them, and they can sync with Bluetooth devices, so you can make calls with them and stream some music. Their recessed microphones are super durable and have the ability to reduce fan and wind noise.
Ear cushions are very soft and comfortable, and the ear defenders will measure the gunshot noise, and they will automatically reduce echoes and increase your comfort. Also, they have the ability to seek voice within background noise and filtrate it in order to improve speech intelligibility.
7. Peltor Sport Shotgunner Ii
- Foldable design
- Low profile cups
- Excellent comfort
- NRR 24
If you want to purchase ear defenders that are ideal for rifles and shotguns, there’s no need to look any further.
These Peltor Sport ear muffs with low-profile cups and cut-away design are a perfect choice. They are foldable, which is great for storage, portability, and protection, and they are very lightweight.
The comfort level is extremely high, so you will be able to wear them all they long without feeling uncomfortable. The headband is ergonomically engineered so they can reduce pressure points, and they are fully adjustable.
The Peltor created them so they can provide safety, but without the need to sacrifice comfort. This pair of ear defenders can reduce sound levels to offer you reliable passive hearing protection. Their soft rings will provide a better seal, and the NRR is 24 dB.
These earmuffs are very stylish, and they come in a two-colour design. Besides shooting and hunting, they can be used in other situations when you need to protect your hearing, like for construction work, sports events, remodelling activities, mowing, etc.
8. The Ear Buddy Premium Soft Foam Ear Plugs
- High-quality polyurethane foam
- 50 pair is a package
- Super soft
- NRR 32
- Easy to use
Now, in case you are not looking for something permanent, or you would like to spend less money on ear protection, you can use these disposable earplugs. They are intended for a one time use only, but the package includes 50 pairs.
They can block the noise pretty well and protect your hearing when shooting. Also, you can use them when sleeping, when you go to concerts when you are doing some construction work or any other activity that’s happening in a noisy environment.
The manufacturer claims they will not fall out of your ears as some other cheap alternatives earplugs would, and that they won’t cause you any pain or discomfort. They are made from foam, and you should follow the instructions written on manuals when using them in order to maintain the good results and suitable protection.
Their Noise Reduction Rating is pretty high – 32 decibels, and in case you are not pleased with them, you can return them within 60 days, and you will have a full money refund. They are super soft, designed from non-abrasive, and high-quality polyurethane foam.
9. Msa Sordin Supreme Pro X
- Suitable for extreme conditions
- High amplification
- Made from steel
- Two separate microphones
The Supreme Pro X ear defenders come in a special edition, with black cups and fitted gel seals. They are designed by international military specifications and are suitable for extreme conditions, given that they have perfect digital sound reproduction. These earmuffs will dampen harmful noise to 82db.
If you use MSA Supreme Pro X, you will be able to shoot without risking damaging your hearing, but at the same time, you can communicate with others even though you are surrounded by a continuous loud noise. High amplification and great quality will make you hear better without any distracting sounds.
The moving parts are constructed from steel, while everything else, like microphones, circuit boards, and battery compartment, are waterproofed. You can wear them even above your helmet, and you will still have a soft and comfortable experience.
There are two separate microphones that will reproduce ambient sounds, but also aux input that will allow you to connect with external radios and any other electronic devices.
The battery consumption is very low, so they can last up to 600 hours. And thanks to the keypad with three buttons, you can control all electronic functions.
10. Pro Ears Pro Tac Slim Gold Series
- 5-year warranty
- Reliable and adjustable
- NRR 28
- DLSC compression technology
- Auto shut-off
The Pro Ears protectors are one of the most expensive ones on our list, but their quality justifies their market price for sure. They are made of ProForm leather that’s super comfortable, their ears seals are padded, and the adjustable headband will fit pretty much everyone.
These defenders will provide you with noise protection with NRR of 28 dB, and they have two military-grade circuit boards that will offer you the highest degree of quality stereo sound. This set features an exclusive DLSC compression technology responsible for improved situational awareness.
Each Pro Ears protection is made with separate and independent controls over both ear cups, so you will have an opportunity to adjust them for hearing situational preference. Another great thing is that they have an auto shut-off that will prolong battery life.
Also, their microphones are built with 360-degree situational awareness, which is not that often, and they come with 3.5 mm aux input for MP3 players and iPods. The volume knob is specially designed to be used with hands in gloves.
You won’t make a mistake with these ear defenders since they are very reliable, modular, and they come with a five-year warranty.
Types of Shooting Hearing Protection
Disposable earplugs are definitely the most affordable ear protection, and they are usually made of foam. They come in packages that include a lot of pairs, and they are intended to be used only once. The good disposable earplugs won’t come out of your ears, and they can be quite comfortable, but you should pay attention to the level of noise isolation they can provide.
Also, bear in mind that cylindrical ones can be very stiff and that they could cause your ears to feel sore after using them. Earplugs can be used for sleeping, at concerts, or on any other occasion when there is a lot of noise.
Passive ear defenders are the most common, and they always have a headband that can be adjusted to your head size. They also have ear cups made of foam that go all around your ears so they can be isolated from the outside noise. If you find these classical ones too uncomfortable, you can find ear muffs that have a back-of-the-head wrap.
They are mostly quite comfortable, they can be paired with earplugs, they cost a bit more than the previously mentioned ones, and they are pretty durable. On the other hand, they are sometimes bulky and heavy on the head, and they might not provide as much noise reduction as earplugs.
When we talk about electronic protection, we are referring to the most advanced ear defenders. They look pretty much the same as passive protection, they have the same adjustable headband and huge ear cups, but besides that, they come with high-tech electronic features that can bring in lots of benefits.
They will allow you to hear conversations and the sounds of outdoors, but they also focus on screening out the loud booms. They have built-in microphones and speakers, volume knob, ability to connect to Bluetooth devices, iPods, and MP3 players, or hand radios. In most cases, they are waterproof and more durable, but their price is also higher.
How to Choose the Correct Shooting Ear Protection
The one thing is for sure – ear protection is extremely important to have if you want to start shooting because otherwise, you risk damaging your hearing.
Given that there are a lot of ear defenders present in the market, you should probably first decide on the type you consider to be adequate for your needs, and then research a bit what most popular brands have to offer.
Noise Reduction Rating
The NNR is the reason you are using the ear defenders in the first place. It is the number that shows what the noise reduction rating of each pair is, and how useful they can really be.
Mostly, NNR is somewhere between 22 and 37db, and it depends on the brand, technology, and materials that are used, as well as on design. You should know that noises that are higher than 140db will damage your hearing.
You don’t want your shooting experience to become an unpleasant one because you are annoyed by your ear protection. Ear defenders need to be padded, soft, and comfortable so you can wear them all day long without feeling sore or in pain.
You should pay attention to what they are made of, how, and how adjustable they actually are. The headband should be lightweight and compact, but not too stiff, and the ear cups need to cover your entire ear, but with pleasant foam cushions.
Okay, you do want to lower the level of noise caused by gunfire, but you still need to be able to hear conversations and warnings, so you and people around you could stay safe. That’s why noise amplification is so essential.
But, this feature comes only with electrical protection, and it needs to have a proper microphone system integrated. Noise amplification will allow you to stay on track with what’s happening around you, without amplifying every other sound around you.
Electronic Headsets Vs. Passive Earmuffs
When it comes to this issue, you should know that both electronic and passive earmuffs have their advantages and disadvantages.
The passive ear defenders are the most common ones, they are cheaper than electronic protection, and they usually come with higher NNR. They have three standard designs – standard over-the-head, behind-the-neck, and cap-mounted varieties. On the other hand, electronic earmuffs will offer you the same protection as the passive ones, but with an addition of some advanced features.
They come with audio jacks, volume control, and automatic shut-offs, and they have the capability to protect your hearing from shooting sounds while allowing you to hear low sound levels.
Frequently asked question
Are Earplugs or Earmuffs Better for Shooting?
It’s only a matter of preference. Earplugs need to be placed inside of the ear channel, and the earmuffs go around your head, and on top of your ears.
Some people find them to be more comfortable than earplugs, but others say they can feel a bit heavy and bulky, and thanks to the pressure of a headband, they can cause them headaches. But both will provide you with hearing protection, which is the most important thing.
Is It Safe to Use Earplugs Under the Earmuffs?
Yes, many people have this habit of using both of these ear protection types, because they have very sensitive hearing. So they first put earplugs inside of ears, and then cover them with earmuffs. That way, they reduce the noise better and feel more comfortable in loud surroundings.
Are Silicone Earplugs Better Than Foam?
When it comes to reducing the noise, they are pretty much the same. But earplugs are made from foam and designed so they can enter the ear canal, while the silicone ones are designed to only cover the entrance of your ear. It’s pretty much just the matter of which one you find to be more comfortable to wear.
How Do Electronic Ear Defenders Work?
There are electronic components inside of the muffs, including microphones, and they have the ability to pick up the sounds from your surroundings and then amplify them, so you can better hear the low volume sounds.
All at the same time, they reduce the high volume noise that can cause hearing damage. Also, there are speakers that will then project the amplified sounds to your ear.
As you probably already concluded, a good pair of earmuffs need to be an essential part of your shooting equipment. Hearing damage is no joke, and you should definitely stop showing off and start being more responsible when it comes to your own health and wellbeing.
Also, these ear defenders will come in very handy in all other situations when the noise is unbearable, like in a construction place, at sports events, concerts, etc.
Now is the time to think about what type of ear protection would suit you the most, and to decide on how much money you will be willing to spend on this. After some research, we are sure you will find the perfect model for your needs.