Best Ear Protection for Shooting: Protect Your Hearing
When I was a kid, I used to love anything that was loud. Whether it was music, cars or airplanes, it didn’t matter. The louder the better. Of course, the same thing applied to guns. But luckily for me, my dad knew better than to let me act on this love for loud things. While he couldn’t really control how loud my music was, he could get me to be smart about the way I used guns. So now I always make sure I have the best ear protection for shooting whenever I take out my gun.
But this can be a very hard thing to do. So to help make it easier, we used our rigorous testing methodolgy to find the best ear protection for shooting, which we determined to be the Howard Leight Impact Pro Electronic Shooting Earmuffs. These muffs have the highest Noise Reduction Rating out of all the different options, they have electronic noise cancelling to help you hear quieter sounds, such as your friends’ voices, and they fit great on virtually any head size.
If you want a set of earmuffs that will keep your ears safe, allow you to hear those around you and that fit great, get the Howard Leight Impact Pro Electronic Shooting Earmuffs.
- Why you should trust us
- Why You Need the Best Ear Protection for Shooting
- How we conducted our review
- Testing Results
- The Best Ear Protection for Shooting
Why you should trust us
Quite simply, this stuff is our life. We love the outdoors and anything that has to do with them.
I’ve been hunting and shooting with my dad since I was a kid. He taught me a lot and showed me what was important.
But I understand there’s more to it than just the opinion of a few people. You should trust us because we put the time in to make sure we are truly recommending the best.
We read hundreds of reviews, compare even more specifications and test out those that we are considering recommending. From this process, we were able to weed out all the junk on the market and find the best ear protection for shooting available.
Why You Need the Best Ear Protection for Shooting
It’s really easy to forget how important it is to protect your ears. After all, if you hear a loud bang, the worst that usually happens is your ears ring.
While this may be harmless in some situations, it is important to remember that your ears are sensitive organs that can be easily damaged. And the scary thing is that if the noise is loud enough, it can cause damage to your ears in just a few short seconds.
Volume is measured in decibels (dBa). To give you an idea as to what this means, consider that an average conversation is about 60-70 decibels. Anything over 100 dBa and things start to get dangerous.
For a better idea as to how to understand decibels, take a look at this chart provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
It’s also important to remember that once you get above 120 dBa, you’re ear can only tolerate a few seconds of exposure. And anything above 140 decibels is simply not safe and should be avoided at all costs.
Almost all firearms give off more than 150 dBa, meaning the best ear protection for shooting will keep you safe from sounds at this level. Failure to do so will result in permanent ear damage.
And if you’re firing at an indoor shooting range, the need for protection is even greater. Sound waves rebound on the walls and combine with others for an even more intense sound.
Simple earplugs won’t cut it. You’ll need something with better protection.
How we conducted our review
We know that using a quality piece of ear protection for shooting is of utmost importance to your health. However, finding it can be a different story.
Quite frankly, there is a lot of junk out there. But once you dive into the research process, it becomes pretty easy to sort through the rip-offs.
To find the best ear protection for shooting, we started by simply going through some of the top sellers. Anything with overwhelmingly bad reviews was thrown out right away.
Then, we went through and looked for those that had the criteria we want to see in effective ear protection for shooting. Lastly, we tried out the five that made the final cut, comparing fit and functionality.
Here are the criteria we used to review the different ear protection options on the market:
Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)
This is the standardized system for determining how effective a piece of ear protection is. This number refers to the amount of decibels the protection removes from sound. So, if a set of earmuffs has an NRR of 26 dBa, you can expect it to remove 26 decibels from the noise it’s blocking.
However, it is important to note that these ratings only apply when the ear protection has a perfect fit. This is why it is critical you find something that fits snugly and comfortably to your ear. Improperly fitting earmuffs can lose up to half of their NRR.
Electronic or Passive
One important decision to make when looking for the best ear protection for shooting is whether it is electronic or passive.
Passive earmuffs are your standard ear protection. They use foam and other soundproof materials to isolate your ear and protect it from sound. It’s important to remember that with noise protection, thickness doesn’t matter too much. Sound waves can travel through thick foam.
The best earmuffs will create a so-called “room within a room” to create a separate space safe from damaging sounds.
The other type of earmuffs are electronic earmuffs, often referred to as noise cancelling earmuffs. These work in a similar way in that they insulate your ears from outside sounds.
However, they go one step further by emitting a low-frequency signal that helps to drown out lower decibels. Also, they often feature low-frequency microphones so that you can pick up other sounds while staying protected from more intense sounds.
They allow in softer sounds, such as a person’s voice or normal volume music, so that you can still hear while staying protected from the dangerous noise given off by a firearm.
This is particularly helpful if you will be going out hunting or shooting at a range. You will still be able to hear those around you speaking to you, but you will remain safe from the noise of the gun.
The last important thing to look for in ear protection for shooting is how it fits. First, as we mentioned earlier, for earmuffs to be fully effective, they need to fit perfectly. Second, to get maximum protection, they need to stay on you the entire time you are shooting. You don’t want to be tempted to take them off because they don’t fit well.
The two things to try out before buying a pair of earmuffs are the ear cups and the headband. You want the actual earmuffs to fit completely around your ears without pinching or squeezing them in any way.
And you want to make sure the headband fits snugly but not so much so that it gets uncomfortable. Unfortunately, if you have a bigger head, you will need to look for something specific to your head size. Most earmuffs advertise as “one size fits all,” but there are certainly going to be some people who still have trouble with these.
The first step in the review process was to go through as many reviews as possible on Amazon. Anything with less than a 3.5-star rating on Amazon was immediately thrown out. Most of the bad reviews were because of less-than-stellar protection or a bad fit.
Then, we took a look at the highest-rated and best-selling options and began to throw some out based on their NRR.
This is where things can be a bit misleading on the market. There are quite a few options that will advertise “highest level of protection” or something similar. However, if you look closer, you will see these claims are made in the context of construction sites and other less-intense environments.
Most firearms operate with a noise level of over 150 dBa. So, if your ear protection has an NRR of 26 dBa, the best it can do is reduce that noise down to 124 dba, which the ear can only withstand for three seconds.
However, with an NRR rating just 4 points higher, you can reduce that same noise down to 120 dBa. This might not seem like much, but considering the ear can withstand 120 dBa for seven seconds, it’s completely worth it. You end up doubling the level of protection, which is critical if you plan to use your gun in close quarters, such as an indoor range.
Based on this logic, we were able to eliminate some of the best-selling options, taking us one step closer to finding the best ear protection for shooting. Some of these options are:
- 3M Peltor Tactical Sport Earmuff (NRR 20)
- Peltor Sport RangeGuard RG-OTH-4 Electronic Hearing Protector (NRR 21)
- Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact Sport Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting Earmuff (NRR 22)
- Pro Ears – Ultra Sleek – Hearing Protection (NRR 26)
- Neiko 53925A Safety Ear Muffs (NRR 26)
The Best Ear Protection for Shooting
After sorting through these options, we set out to test some ourselves. We were looking for a good combination between fit and functionality.
Here are the results:
95/100—Howard Leight Impact Pro Electronic Shooting Earmuffs (Best Ear Protection for Shooting)
The Howard Leight Impact Pro Electronic Shooting Earmuff provides that perfect combination between fit and features. It offers one of the highest Noise Reduction Ratings out there, fits comfortably and uses electronic noise cancelling to enhance protection while allowing you to listen to what’s around you.
Here’s a little more information about these earmuffs.
The NRR of 30 dBa is one of the highest you’ll find on the market. It will bring the noise level of virtually any firearm down to a safe level, even if you are indoors at the range.
Additionally, the built-in directional microphones allow in sounds below 82 dBa so that you can still hear voices and range commands in your immediate area. But any noise above this level will be blocked out.
Also, these earmuffs fit great. The padded headband fits firmly but comfortably atop your head. It can be adjusted to fit nearly all head sizes. And the rubber pressure points will prevent your gunstock from scratching the earmuffs, giving them an extra level of durability.
The automatic shutoff feature helps to conserve battery life in the event you forget to switch your earmuffs off.
One big downside to these earmuffs is that they won’t fit you if you have a bigger-sized head. However, this is an issue you will find across the board, as manufacturers can only produce a certain range of sizes.
These earmuffs need three AAA batteries to work. They will last you quite a while—350 hours according to the manufacturer. But some might not like the idea that you could end up not using your earmuffs because you don’t have batteries.
If you are looking for ear protection that will effectively block the damaging noise of a firearm and that fits great, get the Howard Leight Impact Pro Electronic Shooting Earmuff now.
88/100—FNOVA Professional Ear defenders—Best Passive Ear Protection for Shooting
Some people may not want the electronic feature that comes standard on so many options. If that’s the case, you can still get great ear protection without having to rely on batteries if you get the FNOVA Professional Ear Defenders. Here’s more information on these passive earmuffs:
The NRR for these earmuffs is probably the highest you will find on the market. It is capable of blocking out 36 dBa of sound. This can make a huge difference and will go a long way towards protecting your ears.
The soft, padded foam on the ear cups makes for a really comfortable fit. It is easy to forget you even have these things on, except for the fact you can’t hear anything, of course
The adjustable headband means these earmuffs will fit just about anyone. And they come in about 8 different colors, adding an extra level of customization.
Since these are passive earmuffs, they block out all sound. If you use these for shooting, you’ll hear pretty much nothing besides muted gunshots. Some people love the silence these earmuffs give.
Also, at under $15, these earmuffs are more than affordable.
Because these are passive earmuffs, they are not capable of distinguishing between sounds. So unlike electronic earmuffs, you won’t be able to hear people talking next to you.
When hunting or shooting, this could be a big problem. You might need to remove your ear protection to hear those around you. This could expose your ears to high noise levels that can quickly cause damage.
These earmuffs are a bit bulky. Because they don’t use any electronic technology, there is quite a bit of material. This might not be a problem for some, but is definitely a noticeable difference from the electronic options.
If you are looking for less expensive but extremely effective ear protection, get the FNOVA Professional Ear Defenders now.
Finding and buying the best ear protection for shooting can be a pain now, but you’ll be thankful in the future. It doesn’t take long for a loud noise to permanently damage your hearing.
We went through all the different options available on the market and have determined that the Howard Leight Impact Pro Electronic Shooting Earmuffs offer the best ear protection for shooting.
Their 30 NRR means they will block out a significant amount of dangerous noise. Also, the electronic feature means you will still be able to hear harmless noises around you. And lastly, these earmuffs fit great.
To get the most effective earmuffs with the best features on the market, get the Howard Leight Impact Pro Electronic Shooting Earmuff now.