Best Ear Protection for Shooting – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Do you love to go out hunting or just prefer range shooting with your friends? Regardless of the case, you need to have the right ear protection on every time you use your gun. This will protect your ears against the damaging, loud gun noise. So, which is the best ear protection for shooting?

While shopping for the best ear muffs for shooting, there are several aspects that you need to consider. For instance, you will need to choose between the electronic and the passive protective ear muffs.

Additionally, you will need to consider such aspects as Noise Reduction Rating (NRR), aesthetics, comfort, size, build quality and flexibility. Based on such considerations, here are 5 of the best ear protection products today.

Best Ear Protection for Shooting 2018

1. Howard Leight By Honeywell R-01902 Earmuffs

In addition to having a relatively high NRR, of 30, this ear protection option features built-in microphones that are multidirectional. As such, the product allows you to perceive low tone sounds whilst protecting your ears against the loud gun sounds.

With a noise level of 82 dB, the earmuffs are the right choice for a regular wearer wishing to protect his or her ears and still be able to listen to other sounds in his or her environment. When used passively, the earmuffs can block noise levels of about 30 dB. The rubber guards used on the earmuffs protect them and the firearm form scratching.

For a more comfortable fit, the product is equipped with an adjustable headband. When the product is not used within a period of 4 hours, it shuts off automatically to save battery power.

Pros

  • Adjustable headband
  • High noise reduction rating of 30
  • External audio port
  • Uses 2, AAA sized batteries
  • Allows you to hear low tone sounds in the environment
  • Long lasting battery performance

2. 3M Peltor Tactical Sport Hearing Protector

Although the noise reduction rating for the 3M Peltor Tactical Hearing protector is a bit low, rated at 20, the product is comfortable to wear for long hours. In this regard, it features ergonomically designed ear cups that are relatively large. Additionally, the unit has an adjustable headband to offer you a customizable fit. With the sports model of these earmuffs, multiple gunfire is not a problem.

This may be attributed to the use of digital chip technology that is known to offer a faster attack time. The two AAA sized batteries on this product are located in an external compartment that is easy to access. The automatic shut off feature allows it to save battery power when it is not in use. You will also love the sound amplification offered by the device, which allows you to perceive low level sounds.

Pros

  • Features digital chip technology
  • Large and ergonomically designed ear cups
  • Adjustable head strap
  • Exceptional ear protection for multiple shots
  • Allows you to hear low level sounds

3. Glock OEM Hearing Protection

Like most other products by the Glock manufacturer, the OEM Hearing protection is a high quality, durable and effective product. In addition to appealing aesthetics, these earmuffs are comfortable to wear and very effective at protecting your ears against loud gun sounds. As a matter of fact, these earmuffs are rated some of the best, with regards to ear protection for open rifle or close range shooting scenarios.

For such an affordable pair of earmuffs, Glock offers an acceptable level of protection. With this ear protection product while shooting, you will have a good seal around your ears. As such, the unit will definitely protect your ears against loud sounds. However, the finish on these earmuffs is known to peel and crack, especially if it is not properly taken care of.

Pros

  • Relatively affordable
  • Good protection against loud gun noise
  • Ideal for open rifle or close range shooting
  • Offers a comfortable fit

4. 2 Pack Howard Leight R-01526 Sport Electronic Earmuff Set

This is the right ear protection solution, if you are taking someone with you for your hunting expedition or range shooting. In this regard, the product is sold as a pack of 2. Both pairs of ear muff are equipped with multi-directional built in microphones. As such, the earmuffs can amplify low level sounds in your surroundings to an acceptable range of about 82 dB.

The noise reduction rating on this product is 22, which is a comparatively nice value for the price. The electronic ear protection headsets are equipped with adjustable headbands as well as low profile ear cups for a comfortable fit. You will also love the fact that they are foldable, making it easier for them to be carried about or stored.

Pros

  • Features automatic shut off
  • Adjustable headband
  • Allows you to hear low level sounds
  • Folding design
  • Features an external audio jack
  • Available in a classic camouflage green color option

5. Walkers Alpha Series Power Muffs

Powered by 2 AAA batteries, the Alpha Series earmuffs by Walker’s are some of the best top-of-the-range earmuffs today. Unlike the other products reviewed in this guide, this pair features antimicrobial ear pads. These pads are meant to reduce the risk of ear infection. In addition to the remarkable 24 dB noise reduction rating of the earmuffs, it is also offers wind resistance.

For the purpose of directional amplification of low level sounds, this product is equipped with high-frequency stereo microphones. The enhancement features on this product enhances your hearing ability of the surroundings by up to five times. Finally, very few units compare to the Walker’s Alpha series when it comes to build quality and durability.

Pros

  • Relatively high NRR of 22 dB
  • High build quality
  • Features 2 independent volume controls
  • High-frequency stereo microphones
  • Antimicrobial ear pads

Things You Must Know Before Buying Earmuffs for Shooting

You already understand how the loud sound of a gun can be harmful to your ears, right? To protect your ears from the damage, you should consider wearing the right earmuffs whenever you are firing your firearm. While this is the case, choosing the right set of earmuffs is not an easy task.

While some of these products may have an appealing design, they may not offer the right amount of protection to your ears. So, what should the right set of earmuffs have? Discussed below are some of the important considerations you should make while shopping for the right earmuffs for shooting.

1. Noise Reduction Effectiveness

Since you are looking for the right ear protection for shooting, this is by far the most important consideration you need to make. As a matter of fact, the noise reduction rating on your preferred earmuff model determines its effectiveness in protecting your ears against the loud noise produced by a gun while shooting.

As a rule of the thumb, it is advisable to opt for the ones with a noise reduction rating of between 22 and 30 dB. With the maximum rating being 34 dB, the higher the figure, the safer the earmuffs are for your ears.

2. Electronic Headsets or Passive Earmuff?

Both the passive protective earmuffs and electronic protective headsets have their own benefits as well as downsides. With regards to the passive NRR offered by a set of earmuffs, more electronics lower the pure protection offered by these products. If you are interested in the electronic ear protection option, you should go for such features as ‘Safe’ and ‘Natural’ amplification of the sound through microphones.

In such a case, the right option would be the products with directional microphones. With electronic headsets, you will be able to protect your ears from loud noise whilst listening to low sound levels like music from your MP3 player or conversations. The passive earmuffs, on the other hand, offer a comfortable fit without offering direct pressure into the ear canals.

The main benefits of the passive protective earmuffs are that they are comparatively more affordable. Additionally, classic earmuffs have a comparatively higher NRR. While these are the main types of ear protection for shooting, you may also need to consider the following option:

  • Protective Earplugs – these are the natural earmuff alternatives today. Earplugs are relatively small in size as they are meant to plug into your ears. If you are looking for a long term ear protection option, you should buy the earplugs that are reusable.

3. Comfort

Regardless of how long you will be wearing your ear protection option at a time, you need to get a pair that is comfortable to wear. With regards to the comfort of your preferred ear protection option, you need to consider such aspects as the shape of your head and the period to have them on at a time. The best way to go about this is to try the various models on and find the one that is comfortable to wear and still offers the desired level of protection.

4. Size and Design

With regards to the size, the earmuffs are known to be bigger and bulkier. Again, the earmuffs offering higher NRR are bigger as compared to the ones with a lower rating. In this regard, it is advisable to get the right balance between size and noise reduction rating offered by any ear protection product for shooting. All in all, you should consider buying one that is easy to fold up and carry around.

In addition to superior functionality, you should also get a design that is aesthetically appealing. Most of the leading manufacturers have at least two color and design variations of their best selling models.  If the earmuffs are for use while you are out hunting, you should also get one that camouflages with your environment.

5. Flexibility

How extensible is your preferred ear protection option? You probably would like to buy electronic protective headsets as opposed to the passive protective earmuffs. In that case, you will find using them to listen to music from your iPod or phone while you are out hunting. This kind of usage tends to drain the battery on your electronic protection headsets faster. To make an informed decision, you need to ask yourself whether the headset must have a battery for it to offer noise reduction.

Some of the renowned electronic ear protection headsets are known to revert to offering passive protection once the battery dies out. With such a ear protection for shooting option, you will still have protection for your ears, even when the battery dies. This is the kind of flexibility you should look for while shopping for the right earmuffs.

6. Build Quality

The build quality on any earmuff model determines its durability. Since you are looking for a model that will serve you effectively for many years to come, you need to opt for the best build quality.  The best way to gauge this is to read user reviews and get to know their experience with any given ear protection product. However, the products with less moving parts tend to be of a higher quality as compared to those with more moving parts.

Our Final Review

You probably are excited about the new firearm you bought ahead of the hunting season or shooting range competition. However, you need to get the best ear protection for shooting to go with it.

The right pair of earmuffs should be not only have a good NRR, it should be comfortable to wear and durable. You will also need to consider the aesthetics, flexibility as well as the ideal type of ear protection before buying.

If you do not have the time to compare the various products, based on the above discussed considerations, you should buy any of the above reviewed ear protection products; they are some of the best today.

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