Is it necessary to use ear protection when going shooting, or can you get by without using them?
That is a really important question worth considering if you are new to target practice. To protect your ears, you should at least use ear muffs while shooting. It may seem like an extra burden on the wallet but it certainly is crucial.
The American Academy of Audiology suggests that earmuffs are the best type of protection because they will “protect your hearing from loud noise and help preserve your natural hearing ability.”
Earplugs can be used in combination with earmuffs to get even more protection, but you need to be extra careful when using both at the same time. We offer best ear protection for shooting reviews – tested and proven.
Best Hearing Protection for Shooting Reviews
What To Know When Shopping for an Ear Protection
While we’ll discuss other factors to consider when choosing an ear protection gadget (in the buying guide section), we find these 4 factors highly relevant in your shopping. As such, you should read and understand them before getting to the product reviews.
Noise Reduction Rate (NRR)
When shopping for ear protection, chances are you will come across different types of noise ratings. These ratings measure the sound reduction that a particular product can provide to your ears.
For example, if a product is rated 22. It means that it will reduce the level of noise to 22 dB. As such, the lower the number is the higher its noise reduction rate. We recommend that you aim for products with NRR 26 and below.
Reaction Time/ Attack Time
This is an important factor to consider, especially if you are looking for protection during quick firing. The reaction time of the earmuffs means how long it takes before they start protecting your ears from loud noise after it starts.
And since you can’t avoid decibel spikes when shooting, you need a relatively faster product with a short attack time. We recommend one with an attack time of below 20 ms (Some like Howard have a brilliant reaction time of 0.5ms!).
Directional Sound Amplification
Directional sound amplification enables shooters to amplify low-level sounds and pinpoint where they are coming from.
This feature is particularly important if you’re looking for the best ear protection for hunting. It will enable you to pinpoint the exact location of your catch.
When shopping for ear protection, you should ensure that the sound amplification feature has a limit. It shouldn’t amplify it past 85 dB (which is considered the higher limit of sound safety limit).
Electronic vs Passive Earmuffs
You can also get earmuffs that are either electronic or passive. The electronic ones will electronically amplify sounds when activated, while the passive ones work by completely blocking out all noise.
Electronic muffs provide a greater degree of protection than passive ones because they block all sound.
The problem with electronic earmuffs is that they tend to be expensive and the batteries run low on them. If you’re looking for an affordable option, you should go for passive ones (although electronic muffs are generally more comfortable than passive ones).
Best Ear Protection for Shooting Reviews
Peltor Tactical 500s are wireless, Bluetooth-enabled hearing protectors with top-of-the-line noise cancellation technology. The Tactical 550 is perfect for outdoor shooters and hunters because it comes with a “Sound Lock” setting so you can keep your ears protected while still being able to hear what’s going on around you.
The Peltor Sport Tactical 500 Electronic Hearing Protectors are made of durable plastic ideal for indoor and outdoor shooters. The Ear Muff protects up to 26 dB with Dynamic Suppression Time, which automatically adjusts the suppression time depending on gunshot noise at your location.
They also include Clear Voice Tracking, an exclusive technology that listens for your voice in high background noise environments with built-in wind reduction features.
These earmuffs will run on either disposable AA batteries or a lithium-ion rechargeable battery (sold separately). Additionally, they have adjustable NRR buttons so you can hear farther distances without any excess noise-reduction system sounds.
As the ideal choice of professionals around the world including, Peltor offers unparalleled firearms protection that will drive down gunshot levels to less than 25 dB ANSI by simply turning them off. You’ll never worry about another deafening sound again!
2. Sordin Supreme Pro X – Active Safety Ear Muffs with LED Light – Hearing Protection with Gel Seals
Looking for the perfect earmuffs to go with your next shoot? Waterproof, ear-covering, sound reduction rated at 25 dB, near and middle-range illumination by an LED light. Let these pro X’s be your new set of ears.
The Supreme PRO X from Sordin, integrated stereo speakers provides crystal clear audio even during the gunfire. The newly developed closed coil system efficiently reduces the noise level around you by up to 25dB—approximately a 4th of loudness!
With a newly designed lightweight outer shell and innovative ear cup design for increased peripheral hearing, these safety muffs are perfect for outdoor use in the woods or field. It can also be used indoors at shooting ranges or noisy workplaces.
Along with four levels (1:4) of sound reduction and water-proofed microphone they make perfect outdoor gear in any environment and can be used indoors, too!
The Sport DEFY lets you hear speech and environmental sounds for safety while suppressing percussive noises from gun ranges or other hunting and shooting-related activities. But don’t worry–when everything is quiet, your ears will still be protected because these earmuffs also offer passive noise isolation of 25 dB NRR!
Not only does this electronic device include a rechargeable battery with up to 11 hours on a full charge-but if you want more power it can also use regular 3 AAA batteries for those extra hours’ drive time without the recharging.
Additionally, the lightweight earmuffs offer easily adjustable headbands for maximum comfort and convenience. If the battery dies, these headphones will function as passive hearing protection until power is restored- so fear not!
For a completely wireless usage experience, plugin via Bluetooth with your favorite device through its intuitive mobile app for easy remote control of volume, song selection, and smartphone notifications. Next-level features like SCAN allow you to answer calls hands-free without removing the earmuffs.
Sometimes we all need a handy assist when it comes to communications in the field. The Honeywell Impact Sport Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting has been designed with every hunter and archer’s needs in mind, featuring a simple but fully efficient design.
From intensive shooting to nature walks, this device will help you communicate better through superior noise reduction and amplification features for enhanced hearing protection no matter where you are.
In your downtime? Turn on some music via our headphone port or AUX input and 3.5 mm connection cord ideal for MP3 players and scanners. The features enable you to hear crisp clear sound at low volumes thanks to their auxiliary knob system, while still being able to pick up ambient sounds without distortion from high decibel levels.
Its comfortable headband adjusts anywhere from kids’ size up to adult sizes comfortably around your ears. It includes 2 AAA batteries and an automatic shut-off feature after every 4 hours. This ensures that you have approximately 350 hours of battery life.
Protect your hearing at the firing range with these electronic shooting hearing protection low noise/frequency tuned head muffs. Walker’s Razor Slim Protection Muff features a sleek design that offers natural sound clarity and balanced sound, amplified for accurate use of firearms without compromising critical safety.
The Walkers protector muff has an independent volume control which helps you to adjust the listening environment from noisy environments, quiet speakers found in open spaces, or using it as a stereo headphone through a 3-pin mini connection output connector jack found on the side.
Not only does this product promote auditory convenience but also helps avoid potential accidents. It dampens gunshot sounds up to 23 dB with adaptive compression technology.
If you’re looking for an ear protection gadget that combines both earmuffs and earplugs, then you should consider YINSHOME Shooting Ear Protection.
Protect your ears and eyes from danger with these three handy tools designed for use in shooting sports. Protect both of your ears with our custom-molded earmuffs, or protect one ear if you’re sharing a set with someone else.
The hard plastic cups work synergistically to identify, block out and trap harsh sounds by dispersing preventive energy waves. The stylish brown leather carrying bag is just what you need to store your gear safe while on the go!
Plus it includes an extra best-selling pair of frameless earplugs for maximum protection.
This is the cheapest option on our list. However, it works equally well but may not be as long-lasting as the other five on our list.
If you think ear protection is just for kids, it’s time to be educated on the risk of unprotected exposure to high decibel noise.
This reduction in your hearing capacity varies with each individual but Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is serious damage that can occur after sustained exposure to noise over 85 dB. That means wearing ear protection during any number of activities like shooting, hunting, woodworking, and studying will help save your ears. Protect them before they’re done!
So if you want solid lightweight durable ear muffs that are compact and easily carried around everywhere, get Pro For Sho 34dB Shooting Ear Protection. It has a noise reduction rate of 34 dB and comes with adjustable headbands.
Best Ear Protection for Shooting Reviews [Buying Guide]
Now that you’ve got a better idea of what’s available on the market, here are some other things to consider before buying ear protection for shooting activities.
The Noise Reduction Rating is a number that can be used to characterize how well a hearing protection device will reduce the noise of shooting firearms. The higher the NRR, the more effective it’s at blocking out harmful noises. So it’s important to use ear protectors with high NRR ratings during activities where loud noises are likely to occur.
Since ear protection for shooting activities is designed to be used over long periods, they must be comfortable to use. You should also consider your lifestyle needs when choosing the best pair. If you travel a lot, noise-canceling technology may help improve comfort by blocking out external noises like voices and vehicles.
Good quality lenses are made from a polycarbonate resin which provides 100% UV protection, allowing for clear vision. This is more important if you’re going to also use your protective eyewear for high-impact activities like biking or mountain climbing.
Weight and Shape
Ear protectors that are too heavy or bulky will become uncomfortable after a while. There are many lightweight shooting ear protection options available, but you’ll have to try them on first before buying to make sure they feel comfortable and not heavy on your head or ears.
Earmuffs that are made of waterproof material ensure protection from moisture and humidity. This is especially important if you’re going to use your ear protectors for water sports activities like paddleboarding, kayaking, or even just working outdoors where you might encounter rain or snow.
Power Source – Passive vs. Electronic Hearing Protection Devices
You can choose between electronic noise-canceling earmuffs which are powered by batteries or passive earmuffs that work using the principle of soundproofing. The downside to electronic noise-canceling hearing protection is that you’ll have to buy new batteries if it uses them, which can become an added cost after a while.
Style and Design
As much as safety is the primary concern, it’s also vital to think about comfortability. The design is important so you’ll feel comfortable wearing them over longer periods.
Price of Ear Protection for Shooting Activities
This is crucial considering that ear protection varies in pricing depending on the material used, additional features, and durability of the product. Having an idea about your budget before shopping for your ear protection will help you narrow it down to a specific product that matches your values.
Why Do You Need Ear Protection?
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is very gradual, which some people ignore especially if the sounds they hear are not loud enough to cause severe discomfort. However, noise above 85 decibels can cause damage to your inner ear over time so it is important to wear ear protection for shooting activities regularly.
You should also be able to hear what’s going on around you while shooting, so it’s important to choose the best ear protection for shooting that will keep out noise while still allowing you to hear other people speaking and sounds like approaching vehicles.
The intensity of the sound reaching your eardrum: The intensity of a sound is measured in decibels (dB). The average human voice is about 60 dB. If you are exposed to 90 dB for more than one minute, it can cause damage to your hearing.
A gun at 1 meter has a noise level of 140 dB, which is excessively high. Frequent exposure to such noise levels will eventually affect your hearing ability!
Best Ear Protection for Shooting Reviews – Conclusion
Shooting is one of the most satisfying hobbies you can have, but protecting your hearing should be a top priority.
The noise levels at firing ranges can easily reach above 100 dB which is enough to do permanent damage to your hearing. This is why it’s important to wear some form of ear protection for shooting activities or you’ll find yourself struggling to hear in the future.
There are many kinds of ear protectors for shooting, but I recommend traditional noise-reducing earmuffs or simple foam earplugs. The best electronic ear protection for shooting will be dependent on your budget and needs, so choose carefully when making a purchase.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ear Protection for Shooting Activities
Q1. Why is it important to wear ear protection?
One doesn’t usually think that wearing earmuffs or hearing protection devices will save them from danger. However, it’s important to note that if you’re exposed to high levels of noise for an extended period, it can be equal to or more dangerous than smoking.
Q2. Why do I need ear protection for shooting?
Noise-induced hearing loss is a condition that most people think about as a problem mostly faced by workers and those in the military who are constantly exposed to high decibel noise like gunshots and explosives. But this isn’t the case–Ever wondered why you can’t hear so well after a day at the shooting range? Or, did you notice that others who exposed themselves to loud noise for extended periods also complain about poor hearing capacity? All these are signs of damage to your ear’s sensory cells.
Q3. Why should I avoid shooting without ear protection?
Firearms are among the leading causes of noise-induced hearing loss in men and women. The sounds produced by firearms can reach extremely high decibels which can cause irreparable damage to your ears if you’re not wearing earmuffs or earplugs.
Q4. How do I know what size of ear protection for shooting I need?
The most durable and low-priced option on our list is the Pro For Sho 34dB Shooting Ear Protection. It has a noise reduction rate of 34 dB and comes with adjustable headbands. Some of the most common sizes available are small, medium, large, extra-large, small round earmuffs, and large round earmuffs.
Q5. What are the most popular brands of ear protection for shooting?
Some of the most trusted names in terms of providing quality hearing protection for shooting activities include Howard Leight, Peltor Sport Shooting Range, and Walker’s Game Ear.
Q6. Why do I need ear protection for hunting?
Hunters can certainly benefit from wearing hearing protection, especially if they’re going to be in the woods or on a hunt for a long time. Their ears will also thank them later since their hearing capacity is preserved. So it goes without saying that even if you’re just planning to do some target practice in your backyard or on the range, you should ensure that you have quality ear protection.
Q7. What additional features can I look for when choosing my ear protection?
Some of the options available on the market feature added benefits like noise cancellation, Bluetooth compatibility, or compatibility with communications devices to name a few.
Q8. How should I maintain my ear protection?
To ensure that it stays in perfect condition for a longer period, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to best clean and maintain your device properly. Also, avoid using harsh chemicals like alcohol to clean them as this can result in damage and can shorten the lifespan of your ear protection.
Q9. Can I still hear what’s going on around me with my ear protection?
Products that are designed for shooting activities are built to allow the wearer to hear most sounds at safe levels while simultaneously blocking out harmful ones. Noise cancellation technology is often employed by manufacturers these days– So, you can expect to hear what’s going on around you while still enjoying the benefits of hearing protection.
Q10. How long can I expect my ear protection to last?
The lifespan of ear protection varies widely depending on factors like the user, maintenance, and the environment where it is kept among other things. Most units should be able to provide you with satisfactory service for at least a few years.