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If you’re a seasoned marksman, the reverberating crack of gunfire is music to your ears. But let’s not forget the importance of safeguarding those very ears that capture the symphony of shooting. Enter the realm of ear protection, a crucial accessory that not only shields your precious auditory senses but also ensures unwavering focus on your target.
In a market brimming with diverse options, selecting the ideal ear protection for shooting can seem as challenging as hitting a bullseye from a distance. Fear not, for in this captivating exposé, we unravel the mysteries and unveil the crème de la crème of ear protection choices.
Join us as we embark on a thrilling journey through the best ear protection for shooting, equipping you with the knowledge and discernment to select the perfect earmuffs you need. So, holster your doubts and take aim at discovering the ultimate arsenal for preserving your hearing while perfecting your aim.
Ready, set, shoot — and dive into the realm of the best ear protection for shooting!
Preserve Your Hearing at Shooting Ranges
The United States boasts a significant population of gun owners, with an estimated count of 50 million individuals. Unfortunately, many hunters and recreational shooters experience hearing damage each year due to their failure to employ appropriate hearing protection, particularly when engaging in activities within forests and firing ranges. Neglecting to wear shooting ear muffs while using pistols, rifles, or shotguns can result in adverse auditory effects. Exposure to gunfire generates a temporary threshold shift, characterized by a temporary hearing loss and a transient ringing sensation in the ears. Repeated instances of temporary shifts can lead to a permanent shift, resulting in irreversible hearing loss and potentially persistent tinnitus.
The noise emitted from a typical gunshot reaches a level of 140 decibels, a magnitude that can cause harm even in a single instance of unprotected exposure. Research indicates that although the average hunter may discharge only about 18 shots at game annually, they may engage in a considerable number of practice shots, ranging from 1,500 to 2,000 per year.
What is Hearing Protection Devices (HPDs)?
Hearing Protection Devices (HPDs) serve a paramount purpose: shielding your delicate hearing from the thunderous blasts of gunshots. Painstakingly engineered, these devices are designed to either eliminate the noise entirely or reduce it to a safe and tolerable level.
Whether you engage in shooting as a sporadic pastime or an unwavering devotion, the importance of donning ear protection cannot be overstated. Astonishingly, only 58.5% of Americans currently adhere to this vital practice every time they discharge a firearm. However, a myriad of compelling reasons exists for joining the ranks of the prudent. Without a doubt, ear protection stands as the most crucial measure to safeguard your auditory faculties from the relentless barrage of shooting-related noise.
Within the realm of shooting ear protection, four major categories prevail, each offering distinct advantages: unpowered earmuffs, unpowered earplugs, powered over-the-ear devices, also known as “circumaural”, and powered in-ear hearing protection. These diverse options cater to different preferences and situational requirements, ensuring a customized fit for every shooter’s needs.
Here are their key differences:
Powered over-the-ear hearing protection, known as “circumaural” earmuffs, represents another compelling choice for shooting enthusiasts. Equipped with miniature speakers nestled within the earcups, these earmuffs emit white noise or other customized sounds to effectively counteract the impact of gunshots. Powered by batteries, select models even feature Bluetooth connectivity, enabling users to enjoy music or audio from their smartphones. Powered earmuffs strike an optimal balance by delivering exceptional sound reduction capabilities while maintaining clear audibility of speech and surrounding sounds. However, it is important to consider that they may come with a higher price tag, and regular battery replacement is essential to sustain their performance.
Unpowered earplugs emerge as the most prevalent form of shooting hearing protection. Often cost-effective, they predominantly come in the form of moldable foam earplugs, with some shooting ranges even providing them as complimentary accessories. While foam earplugs, colloquially referred to as “foamies” are a popular choice, alternative options, such as specialized musician’s earplugs designed to reduce overall sound levels without compromising clarity, also exist within this category.
Powered over-the-ear hearing protection
Powered over-the-ear hearing protection, known as “circumaural” earmuffs, represents another compelling choice for shooting enthusiasts. Equipped with miniature speakers nestled within the earcups, these earmuffs emit white noise or other customized sounds to effectively counteract the impact of gunshots. Powered by batteries, select models even feature Bluetooth connectivity, enabling users to enjoy music or audio from their smartphones.
Powered earmuffs strike an optimal balance by delivering exceptional sound reduction capabilities while maintaining clear audibility of speech and surrounding sounds. However, it is important to consider that they may come with a higher price tag, and regular battery replacement is essential to sustain their performance.
Powered in-ear hearing protection
For those seeking an alternative to bulkier earmuffs, powered in-ear hearing protection offers an enticing solution. This option allows individuals to remain aware of their surroundings without compromising comfort or maneuverability. The compact size of powered in-ear devices necessitates specialized circuitry to deliver ambient hearing characteristics, resulting in relatively higher costs.
Many models within this category employ multi-flanged or specialized ear tips that enhance sound blocking capabilities, often surpassing the noise reduction rates achieved by powered over-the-ear headsets. With user-friendly functionality akin to unpowered earplugs, they share similar limitations in terms of sound customization options.
Selecting the ideal ear protection requires a thoughtful evaluation of comfort, sound attenuation capabilities, situational awareness, and personal preferences, ensuring a seamless integration of auditory safety into the shooting experience.
Benefits of shooting ear protection
There are many benefits to wearing ear protection while shooting, including:
Reduced risk of hearing loss
The most obvious benefit of shooting ear protection is that it reduces the risk of hearing loss. Shooting can be very loud, and exposure to loud noises can cause permanent damage to your hearing.
Ear protection can help reduce the noise of gunshots to a safe level, and it can also help reduce the overall noise exposure that you’re exposed to when shooting.
Another benefit of shooting ear protection is that it can improve your accuracy. When you’re shooting without ear protection, the noise of the gunshot can startle you and cause you to flinch.
Ear protection can help you stay focused on your target and reduce the chance of flinching.
Another benefit of ear protection is that it can improve safety. When you’re shooting without ear protection, it can be difficult to hear range commands or other people around you.
Ear protection can help you stay aware of your surroundings and stay safe while shooting.
Long term comfort
Lastly, ear protection can help you stay comfortable while shooting. When you’re shooting without ear protection, the noise of the gunshots can be extremely loud and uncomfortable.
Ear protection can help reduce the noise to a more comfortable level, and it can also help reduce the overall noise exposure that you’re exposed to when shooting.
What to look for when buying ear protection for shooting
When you’re buying shooting ear protection, there are a few things that you’ll want to look for:
Noise reduction rating
The first thing you’ll want to look for is the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). The NRR is a measure of how much noise the ear protection can reduce.
The higher the NRR, the more effective the ear protection will be at reducing noise. Look for ear protection with an NRR of 20 or higher.
The next thing you’ll want to look for is the decibel rating. The decibel rating is a measure of how much noise the ear protection can reduce.
The higher the decibel rating, the more effective the ear protection will be at reducing noise. Look for ear protection with a decibel rating of 20-55 or higher.
As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to look for ear protection that can reduce the noise of gunshots by at least 20 decibels.
If you’re shooting in a tactical environment, you’ll want to look for ear protection that has comms capability.
Comms-capable ear protection will allow you to hear a range of commands and other people around you while still protecting your hearing.
‘Hear through’ capability
If you’re shooting in a tactical environment, you’ll want to look for ear protection that has “hear through” capability.
Hear-through ear protection will allow you to hear ambient noise while still protecting your hearing. This can be helpful for staying aware of your surroundings and for hearing range commands.
Last but not least, you’ll want to consider the price when buying ear protection for shooting.
Ear protection can range in price from $10-$200. The type of ear protection and the features that it offers will determine the price.
As a general rule, you’ll get what you pay for with ear protection. The more expensive options will usually offer better noise reduction and more features.
Product Review[amazon table=”477″]
3M WorkTunes Connect Hearing Protector with Bluetooth Technology
This stylish hearing protector not only looks great but also delivers high-fidelity sound quality. And with Bluetooth wireless technology, you can easily make and take phone calls without sacrificing your safety. So whether you’re working in the shop or on the job site, you can be sure you’re protected from harmful noise levels.
High-fidelity speakers and microphone
These headphones feature high-fidelity speakers that provide premium sound quality, so you can rock out to your favorite tunes without sacrificing your hearing. Plus, the integrated microphone lets you make and take phone calls without removing the hearing protection, so you can stay connected even when it’s noisy. Whether you’re blasting metal at a construction site or Morrissey at your desk job, these WorkTunes will keep you happy and safe.
Low profile and comfortable design
These WorkTunes Connect Hearing Protectors are perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy their music while they work! The low profile and lightweight design are crafted with style in mind, and the built-in comfort features are excellent for extended wear. Plus, the hat-compatible headband makes them perfect for any occasion.
Look no further than this hearing protection if you want the perfect combination of safety, style, and sound quality. With an NRR of 24dB and Bluetooth connectivity, you can’t go wrong with these WorkTunes Connect Hearing Protectors.
Video: 3M WorkTunes Connect + AM/FM Hearing Protector with Bluetooth Technology REVIEW
SureFire EP3 Sonic Defenders filtered Earplugs, double flanged design
EP3 Sonic Defenders are the perfect solution for reducing harmful noise levels without sacrificing your ability to hear clearly. With a Noise Reduction Rating of 24dB, these earplugs allow you to enjoy safer listening experiences without having to sacrifice comfort or convenience. Their double-flanged design ensures a snug fit for most people and makes them easy to wear for extended periods of time.
Filter caps inserted
These earplugs offer an impressive 24dB noise reduction rating, making them ideal for use in loud environments. But the best part is that they allow you to hear safe sound levels as if you weren’t wearing earplugs at all. That means you can enjoy your music or have a conversation without worry. And if you need a little extra protection, the included filter caps can be inserted for even greater noise reduction.
Patented EarLock retention rings
These earplugs feature a patented EarLock retention ring design that utilizes seven contact points to lock earpieces in place and fit the same way every time. It is made of comfortable, soft silicone and comes with a convenient carrying case.
If you’re looking for an earplug that offers great noise reduction without sacrificing comfort or convenience, look no further than the SureFire EP3 Sonic Defenders. With a Noise Reduction Rating of 24dB and a patented EarLock retention ring design, these earplugs are sure to provide a safe and enjoyable listening experience.
Video: SureFire Spotlight: The EP3
Peltor Sport Tactical 500 Hearing Protection & 3M Kids Hearing Protection, Green
Introducing the Peltor Tac 500 – the perfect shooting companion for indoor and outdoor shooters and hunters. This innovative earmuff features an adjustable closure for a snug, comfortable fit, and it’s dry clean only to ensure long-lasting use. Plus, with its noise reduction rating of 26 dB, you can focus on your target without distractions. And for added convenience, the Peltor Tac 500 comes with Bluetooth technology to stream music and make calls.
Dynamic suppression time
The Peltor Tac 500 is the perfect choice for anyone looking for a suppressor that is both comfortable and effective. Its DYNAMIC SUPPRESSION TIME feature measures the energy in gunshot noise and automatically sets suppression time for reduced echoes and increased comfort. Plus, with its sleek design, the Tac 500 is sure to be a hit at any range.
Clear voice tracking
These headphones feature advanced voice-tracking technology that isolates and enhances speech, making it easier to communicate with co-workers or clients in any setting. So whether you’re at a busy conference or on a construction site, the Peltor Tac 500 will help you stay focused and in control.
These headphones might be the perfect choice for you if you’re looking for an earmuff that is both comfortable and effective. With its noise reduction rating of 26 dB, advanced voice-tracking technology, and sleek design, the Peltor Tac 500 is sure to provide a high-quality safe shooting.
Video: Peltor Tactical 300 & 500 Electronic Hearing Protection With Bluetooth Review (HD)
PROHEAR 030 Bluetooth 5.0 Electronic Shooting Ear Protection Earmuffs
PROHEAR 030 Electronic Shooting Ear Protection is perfect for hunters and shooters who need to stay aware of their surroundings while still protecting their hearing. These earmuffs feature durable recessed microphones that amplify environmental sound up to 82dB, so you can still hear what’s going on around you. With a noise reduction rating of 22dB and a sound amplification rating of 27dB, PROHEAR 030 gives you the best of both worlds: protection from loud noises and enhanced audio clarity.
Leading Bluetooth 5.0
Engineered with the latest Bluetooth 5.0 technology, these earmuffs provide a more stable connection than Bluetooth 4.0 and allow you to seamlessly stream entertainment from any other Bluetooth-enabled device. Whether you’re out on the range or in the field, PROHEAR 030 ensures that you’ll never lose the connection in your pocket!
These earmuffs are designed with your comfort in mind, featuring soft, cushioned ear pads and a telescopic headband that adjusts to fit any shape or size head. Plus, the rubber paint on these muffs provides a better touch and durability than other brands.
If you’re looking for an earmuff that provides both noise reduction and sound amplification, the PROHEAR 030 is a perfect choice. With a noise reduction rating of 22dB and a sound amplification rating of 27dB, these earmuffs offer the best of both worlds.
Video: PROHEAR 036 Digital Electronic Ear Protection Review
Walker’s Razor Slim Electronic Muff
Introducing the Walker’s Razor Slim Electronic Muff! These muffs were designed from the ground up to have the lowest profile possible, without compromising hearing protection or amplification. With an impressive noise reduction rating of 23dB, these muffs are sure to keep your hearing safe while you’re shooting. Plus, they feature Walkers new comfort fit headband for all-day wear. And with a host of color options to choose from, you can find the perfect set for you.
Slim folding design
This nifty muff features a compact folding design, making it easy to take with you wherever you go. Plus, the slim profile ensures that you’ll never feel weighed down when wearing it.
Omni Directional Mics and Audio Input Jack
The on/off volume control allows you to adjust the sound level, and the raised ridges make it easy to use even when wearing gloves. It has omnidirectional mics that deliver crisp clear audio, and the softly padded comfort headband ensures all-day comfort. It also included an audio input jack that lets you connect your iPod or MP3 player, so you can enjoy your favorite tunes while you’re out in the cold.
The Walker’s Razor Slim Electronic Muff is the perfect choice for shooters who want a low-profile earmuff that doesn’t compromise on features. With an impressive noise reduction rating of 23dB, these muffs are sure to keep your hearing safe while you’re shooting.
Video: Walker’s Razor Slim Shooter Electronic Muffs Review
Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact Pro High Noise Reduction Rating Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting Earmuff
Looking for a top-of-the-line shooting earmuff that offers maximum protection? Look no further than the Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact Pro Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting Earmuff! With its high 30 dB Noise Reduction Rating (NRR), this earmuff is perfect for indoor ranges and other extremely loud shooting environments. Plus, it’s been independently tested using ANSI standards, so you can trust that the 30 dB NRR will deliver the protection you need.
Ambient noise amplification
Hear every detail, even in the noisiest environments. Howard Leight’s Impact Pro Sound Amplifier amplifies ambient noise up to 4x, so you can stay safe and connected even when conditions are loud. With directional microphones that amplify range commands and other ambient sounds to a safe 82 dB, you’ll never miss a thing.
Comfortable secure fit
You shouldn’t have to compromise comfort for protection. With the Howard Leight Impact Pro, you don’t have to. This high noise reduction rating sound amplifier features rubberized pressure points to prevent gunstock scratching and a super deluxe padded headband with telescopic height adjustment for a secure and comfortable fit.
Loud noises can be dangerous, especially when you’re trying to shoot accurately. That’s why the Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact Pro Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting Earmuff is such a great option – it provides up to 30 dB of noise reduction so you can concentrate on your target and not on the ringing in your ears.
Video: Howard Leight Impact Pro Review Affordable Tactical Active Electronic Hearing Protection Earmuffs
How much dB is a gunshot?
Decibel levels for firearms average between 140 and 165 dB. According the source, a .22LR round shot out of an 18 inch barrel with standard velocity ammo creates 140 dB of sound. This is loud enough to cause perminant ear damage over repeated events.
What is the best ear protection for shooting?
The best ear protection for shooting depends on your needs and preferences. If you want maximum protection from extremely loud noises, go for a high NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) earmuff like the Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact Pro. If you’re looking for a more compact and lightweight option, the Walker’s Razor Slim Electronic Muff is a great choice.
How to store your ear protection?
To ensure that your ear protection lasts for as long as possible, it’s important to store it properly. Most earmuffs come with a carrying case, which is the best option for storing your muffs. If you don’t have a carrying case, you can also store your muffs in a Ziploc bag or other airtight container.
How often should you replace your ear protection?
You should replace your ear protection every few years, or sooner if it starts to show signs of wear and tear. Most manufacturers will have a suggested replacement schedule for their products.
What are the consequences of not wearing ear protection?
Not wearing ear protection can lead to hearing loss, which can be permanent. In some cases, it can also lead to tinnitus (a ringing in the ears). If you’re exposed to loud noises regularly, it’s important to wear ear protection to prevent these issues.
How to maintain your ear protection?
To ensure that your ear protection lasts for as long as possible, it’s important to take care of it. After each use, be sure to clean your muffs with a damp cloth. If they start to get too dirty, you can also wash them with mild soap and water. Be sure to let them dry completely before storing them.
Shooting is fun, but it’s important to be safe. Wearing ear protection is a crucial part of staying safe at the range. There are a lot of products on the market, so it’s important to choose the right one for you. Luckily for you, we listed above the best ear protection for shooting.
But if you want our top pick, it would be the Walker’s Razor Slim Electronic Muff. It’s lightweight and comfortable to wear, while still providing great protection from loud noises. Plus, it has an impressive NRR of 26 dB.
No matter what product you choose, make sure to take care of your ear protection. With proper care, it can last for many years.