Loud noises can severely damage your hearing. It is not uncommon for those who spend a lot of time around guns without ear protection to develop problems like hearing loss, tinnitus, or other hearing-related issues. Whether you are on the range or in the field hunting, having the best shooting ear protection is essential for saving your hearing. We have compiled a comprehensive list of 10 of the best ear protection products.
1. What Is the Best Shooting Ear Protection?
The best shooting ear protection is one that fits both your budget and needs. Ear protection comes in many forms. To be considered hearing protection, a device must protect your ears from damage. Most of the time shooting ear protection either goes over the ears or into the ear canal.
2. What Is Decibel Level?
Decibel level is the measurement of sound. The higher the level, the louder the sound. This measurement not only allows you to know when you need ear protection, but it is also useful in rating maximum and minimum tolerances for muffling devices.
3. Why Is Ear Protection Important?
Ear protection is important because loud noises, like those on a shooting range, can cause permanent damage to your hearing. It can also cause a wide variety of other hearing issues such as tinnitus. Tinnitus is a ringing in the ears which may become constant if the damage continues.
There is no cure for this, and hearing aids are not known to help. The best way you can protect against this is to use ear protection when you know you will be engaging in activities like shooting at a range or hunting.
4. What Types Of Ear Protection Are Available?
There are hundreds of options for ear protection. Some of these options are:
Each of these offers protection against hearing loss when you are exposed to loud noises. Electronic earmuffs and earplugs sometimes have the ability to play music while you are shooting, and others are simply over- or in-ear protection. They also may come with multi-directional microphones so you can hear range instructions or conversation.
5. What Level Do Firearms Operate At?
The majority of firearms put out around 140dB of sound. Higher calibers put out more sound and can cause more damage. It is important to know the decibel level when choosing the best shooting ear protection.
6. What Is a Noise Reduction Rating?
The American National Standards and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration originally came up with the Noise Reduction Rating for occupations in which you are exposed to loud, prolonged noise. Some examples are factory workers, construction workers, and those who work in dance clubs. It was later adapted to rate ear protection devices for hunters and range shooters.
The rating measures how well a device will protect your hearing when exposed to gunshots or prolonged noise. These ratings range from 20dB to 35dB, although some may be higher than that.
How We Reviewed
We reviewed each form of ear protection based on price, decibel range, and overall form and function. Each of these has high-quality construction, an affordable price, and is suitable for shooting ranges of all types. We chose the ones with the best features and most versatility for their price.
Overall Price Range
The overall price range for the best shooting ear protection varies wildly. They can cost less than $5 or all the way up to over $200. The reasons for the differences in price include the type of protection, decibel levels, electronics, features such as microphones, and overall protection level.
What We Reviewed
- Amplifies low-level sounds while suppressing dangerous impulse noises
- Protects hearing with a Noise Reduction Rating of 26 dB
- Offers clear, ambient sound and voice recognition in noisy environments
The 3M Peltor TacticalPro Communications Headset MT15H7F SV makes the best shooting ear protection list because of its extensive features and reputation. They protect up to 85dB while letting you communicate at a lower decibel range. These are great for ranges with constant gunfire and for larger caliber weapons. The Peltor TacticalPro Headset is a bit bulky for a headset, but it remains comfortable for up to six hours of continuous use.
3M Disposable Earplugs, 7-Pair
- Pliable design slowly expands, conforming to your ear canal to help block out hazardous noise
- Soft, smooth design enhances comfort for longer wear
- Easy to insert and remove
The 3M Disposable Earplugs made the best shooting ear protection list due to their simplicity and low cost. They are as basic as they come, but they do offer 32dB of protection. For around $5 for seven pairs, you can afford to use a full earmuff over them for added protection. These are also multipurpose earplugs, great for the shooting range, hunting, and any other time you might be around prolonged, high-decibel noise such as mowing the lawn.
Walkers Game Ear Alpha Quad With NXT Camo
The Walkers Game Ear Alpha Quad with NXT Camo made this best shooting ear protection because they are versatile. Although they were originally designed for hunting, they work just as well on the range. At a 24dB range, these are perfect for both hunting rifles and smaller firearms. Each earpiece adjusts independently, allowing you to use them to decrease or amplify the sounds around you. Four built-in microphones allow you to pick up almost any sound while still canceling louder noises.
Pro For Sho 34dB Shooting Ear Protection
- 34dB – Highest Hearing Protection Ratio Earmuffs Help Silence Your World “ In A Snap ”
- SOLID, LIGHTWEIGHT – Specifically resigned to address the limitations of conventional ear muffs
- COMPACT & EASILY CARRIED – Perfect for carrying in bags without weight or bulk
The Pro For Sho Shooting Ear Protection earmuffs made this best shooting ear protection list because they offer an economical solution for those who need ear protection but do not want to pay a hefty price. At a 34dB rating, these earmuffs are more than adequate to protect your hearing. Unfortunately, that is all they do. If you are looking for a simple bare-bones model that won't break the bank, the Pro For Sho is the way to go.
ClearArmor 141001 Shooters Hearing Protection Safety Ear Muffs
- SonicSeal - ClearArmor's exclusive sound technology provides better protection to save your hearing.
- Comfortable, premium quality, lightweight, super soft ear ring foam for maximum long wear comfort.
- Padded head band adjusts to fit most head sizes . . . Industrial grade. . . Engineered to last
The ClearArmor 141001 Shooters Hearing Protection Safety Ear Muffs make the best shooting ear protection list because it offers superior protection for your hearing. Its padded adjustable headband offers a level of comfort that other brands do not. The headphones are completely adjustable and have extra padding so they remain comfortable for those long shooting sessions. These earmuffs do not contain electronics and have a very sturdy construction, making them a no-nonsense option for the shooting range.
Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact Sport Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting Earmuff
- Built-in directional microphones amplify range commands and other ambient sounds to a safe 82 dB, providing more natural...
- Actively listens and automatically shuts off amplification when ambient sound reaches 82 dB; Noise Reduction Rating...
- Features low profile earcups for firearm stock clearance; adjustable headband for secure fit; compact folding design for...
The Howard Leight Sport Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting Earmuff makes this best shooting ear protection list because of its advanced features. On top of superior noise-canceling protection for high-caliber shooting, it doubles as headphones. The 3.5 mm jack fits most MP3 cords. You can shoot while listening to music and still hear range commands through the multidirectional microphone.
Otis Technology Ear Shield Hearing Protection
The Otis Technology Ear Shield Hearing Protection device provides an interesting new take on classic earmuff design. These are an earmuff-earplug hybrid of sorts. It is important to note that these are not meant for long-term use despite being rated for 31dB. The Ear Shield has a unique look for the hearing- and fashion-conscious.
SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders Plus Filtered Earplugs
- 24dB Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) with filter caps inserted, Hear safe sound levels (with filter caps out) as if you...
- Soft, adjustable, triple-flanged stems provide secure seals in ear canals and all-day comfort
- Low-profile design allows you to keep them in place while wearing a mask, helmet, hat, or while using supplemental...
The SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders Plus are one of the best-filtered earplugs that you can get. As far as earplugs go, these are considered to be midrange at 24dB. These earplugs come with a few unique features that make them great. The earpiece has a hole through it, which can be plugged with the convenient stoppers that are attached.
This allows you to remove these plugs and have lower decibel hearing for the times you are not shooting and need to have a conversation. This means that the plugs still provide protection from the high-decibel sounds of a busy shooting range while still listening to conversations at less damaging levels. When you are ready, you simply pop the stoppers back in and you are ready to shoot without damaging your ears.
Professional Safety Ear Muffs by Decibel Defense
- BEST SAFETY EAR MUFFS AVAILABLE: Decibel Defense are the QUIETEST & MOST COMFORTABLE hearing protection you have ever...
- MAXIMUM HEARING PROTECTION: Our ANSI S3.19 & CE EN 352-1 Certified Ear Protection tests at an NRR of 37 Decibels!...
- AS YOU FEEL THE STURDY CONSTRUCTION OF OUR PROFESSIONAL EAR PROTECTION - you will know you have just received an...
Decibel Defense Professional Safety Ear Muffs are one of the best ear protection mechanisms for under $. They protect your ears up to 37 dB and are made for those who are active on the range. As an added bonus, their colorful appearance gives them personality. They come in multiple colors because different people have different styles. The Professional Safety Ear Muffs by Decibel Defense are one of the best shooting ear protection earmuffs for their price.
Mack's Shooters Ear Seals Ear Plugs
- Dual-purpose earplugs – reduce noise and seal out water (Noise Reduction Rating - 26 decibels)
- Dual-durometer design provides a unique combination of super-soft seal rings for unmatched comfort and a stiffer inner...
- Detachable cord allows user to conveniently hang the earplugs around neck in environments where noise comes and goes
Mack's Shooters Ear Seals Ear Plugs have a unique design and perform well on the range. They are known to have a comfortable fit along with superior ear protection. They feature a noise reduction rating of 27dB. They are washable, durable, and may be reused in multiple shooting sessions.
They are not as fancy as some of the others on the market, but they do the job with no fuss. These have excellent louder sound blocking capability but still allow lower decibel noises like conversation or instructor directions to come through. You can wear these and still be aware of what is going on around you.
The best shooting ear protection is one that is comfortable for you, protects your hearing, and fits in your budget. All the above ear protection devices will protect your hearing and look good on the range. Each of the items on this best shooting ear protection list was designed with someone who actively shoots in mind and will provide adequate ear protection for all of your weapon's range needs. Please keep in mind, wearing ear protection is extremely important to prevent hearing loss.