Best Ear Protection for Shooting: Electronic Ear Muffs in 2018
If you think you don’t need the best electronic ear muffs for shooting, think again!
Firearms produce thunderous, ear-deafening sound!
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), exposing your ears to noises higher than 140 decibels can result in permanent hearing damage.
Sadly, a typical shooting/hunting rifle- say the .22 caliber rifle- produces around 140db when fired. (This noise can rise to as high as 175db depending on the caliber of your gun)
Let’s say you shoot around 50 rounds with the .22 caliber rifle a day.
This means that 700db noise will go through your ears in that day. If you go to the range about 5 times in a month, this will translate to a whopping 35,000db of damages to your ear.
Considering that hearing loss is a monster that grows with time, it is sure to catch up with you in a year or less.
However, you can eliminate this problem for good by wearing top-quality, well-rated electronic earmuffs when shooting.
In today’s post, I’ll share with you some of the top-rated electronic ear muffs that excellently block these ear-splitting decibels to keep ear damage at bay.
Let’s get started…
Why Use an Electronic Ear Muff?
ALL the experienced shooters and hunters, who have been in the shooting game for long, advise you to use the electronic earmuff as your best hearing protection for shooting.
These ear protection headsets come equipped with advanced hearing protection technology that helps efficiently block the loud, damaging noise produced by your firearms.
Despite their advanced technology (and premium features), this hearing protection come at incredibly affordable prices.
Here’s a rundown of the main reasons why you should start using an Electronic Ear Muff today:
As you can see, there are endless reasons why every shooter or hunter shoot should invest in the best electronic ear protection muffs today.
Top Rated Best Electronic Ear Muffs For Hearing Protection:
1. Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact Sport Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting Earmuff (R-01526) Review:
On the hunt or at the range, the Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact Sport Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting Earmuff keeps your ears protected from the hazardous noise while keeping you connected to your environment. It comes with directional stereo microphones that amplify all the range commands to a safe 82db. The amplification automatically shuts off at above 82db to keep off the loud noises from getting into ears.
Designed for shooting, these earmuffs come with low profile eat cups that facilitate rifle stock clearance. They also come with an adjustable headband that offers you a secure fit so that they don’t fall off your head/ears easily. And thanks to their compact folding design, they don’t occupy much space in your range bag plus they’re highly portable.
The included AUX input jack- and a 3.5mm connection cord- comes handy when you add devices like a scanner or mp3 player to listen to your favorite songs as you shoot. Also included are 2 AA batteries which give you up to 350 hours of active noise reduction. The auto-shutoff feature switches off the headset after every 4 hours to prolong the battery life.
2. Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact Pro Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting Earmuff (R-01902) Review:
Our second best shooting ear protection goes to the Honeywell Impact Pro Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting Earmuff, another product of the Howard Leight. Unlike our first product above, these come with a higher NRR of up to 30 decibels, meaning they’ll offer you superior ear safety and protection. They feature directional microphones that amplify all the sounds around you to a safe 82db for enhanced communication.
And just like their cousin above, they feature an automatic noise blocking feature, where they automatically block the hazardous noises above 82db.
Regarding their design, they come with rubberized pressure points that help prevent gunstock scratching. Not only that, but they also come with padded, adjustable headband that offers you a more secure and the ultimate fit when wearing them.
Another feature these headsets share with our first product is the audio jack w/3.5mm connection cord. Needless to mention, this allows you to connect additional devices to your earmuffs-like mp3 players, scanners, etc. the device operates on 3 AAA batteries, and also comes with auto shutoff feature that helps preserve battery life.
3. Caldwell Low Profile E-Max Electronic Ear Muffs Review:
Without a single doubt, Caldwell is a respected in the shooting world with their wide range of quality shooting supplies. Luckily, they’ve also invested in the hearing protection. And the Caldwell Low Profile E-Max Electronic Ear Muffs is one of their top products for keeping your ears safe while shooting. These earmuffs combine exceptional circuitry with low profile ear cup design to make them ideal for the shotgun as well as action shooters.
When it comes to hearing protection, the earmuffs employ an advanced technology that helps amplify certain sounds while actively blocking the loud noises. The two microphones included in the devices amplify sounds below 85db to ensure you can easily communicate with your fellow shooters or hear the range commands clearly. Above the 85db mark, these earmuffs will automatically shut off to block the loud noises from damaging your hearing.
Because it also comes with adjustable, padded headband, they’ll fit comfortably around your head, so they don’t come out easily while firing your gun. The integrated audio jack allows you to connect them to your mp3 player or phone. It runs on 2 AAA batteries. Don’t forget it comes in a variety of colors, so you can easily choose your favorite color.
4. ClearArmor 141001 Shooters Hearing Protection Safety Ear Muffs Review:
Another great option for shooter and hunters to protect their ears from the loud noises of their firearms is the ClearArmor 141001 Shooters Hearing Protection Safety Ear Muffs. They’re actually the highest noise reduction rating models from ClearArmor, so you can trust them to adequately protect your ears from the loudest, most hazardous noises from your guns. The ANSI S3.19 and CE EN 352.1 certifications act as enough evidence of their hearing loss protection capabilities.
One thing you’ll quickly note about these earmuffs is the quality construction they come with. They’re designed using industrial grade- premium quality- parts such that you can use them in the harshest environments without fear of getting damaged. They come with a double layer of ClearArmor’s noise dampening foam, plus a ¼” thick single cup design. Unlike most ear models out there, this muff uses the real screws in place of glue for assembly. All these features result into a long-lasting electronic earmuffs.
Comfort is equally essential in earmuffs, which explains why these models come with 1/2” synthetic leather padded headband. These ensure you enjoy a comfortable, snug fitting experience with these earmuffs. Plus, the synthetic leather material is easy to clean. Add to the fact that the headband is adjustable and you’re sure to get a custom fit that takes your comfort level even higher.
5. Walker's Game Alpha Power Muffs Review:
The Walker's Game Alpha Power Muffs is that one pair of earmuffs you’ll lay your eyeballs on and fall in with instantly. They come with an eye-grabbing design that makes some of the most stylish hearing protection you can find on the market today. The camouflage design not only adds to its visual appeal but also allows you to use them in nearly all the outdoor environments you’ll be shooting in.
But the best part about these earmuffs lies in how they make your hearing protection possible and easy. The manufacturers have engineered them such that they collect the slightest sounds of animals, peoples, etc. in your surroundings while at the same time blocking the damaging sounds of gunshots. The two wind-resistant, high-frequency, stereo microphones collect any sound in your environment and amplify it so that you have full situational awareness. For your information, these microphones improve your hearing and communication by up to 5x than other models!
It’s also interesting to note that these earmuffs come with two independent volume controls. This means that you can adjust each earpiece independently. But in my view, you should just equalize the two earpieces to help you easily pinpoint the exact directions the safe sounds are coming from. The anti-microbial nature of the ear pads means they don’t encourage bacteria growth, so your ears will remain infection-free all along.
6. Walker's Razor Slim Electronic Muff Review:
Our 6th spot of the best ear protection for shooting goes to the Walker's Razor Slim Electronic Muff. Coming from the same manufacturer as our previous product above, these electronic earmuffs come with the lowest possible profile without compromising its safe sounds amplification and hazardous sounds blocking. It delivers an impressive NRR of 23db which translates to the maximum protection of your ears from the thunderous gunshots.
The two Omnidirectional microphones combine with the integrated high definition (HD) speakers to provide you with crisp, clear audio of what’s happening in your shooting/hunting environment. To makes things even better, the muffs are low noise/frequency tuned to facilitate natural sound clarity. When the headset detects any sound above 89db, it automatically swings into action (with a quick reaction time of 0.02) to block them from reaching your ears.
Far from excellent noise blocking, these earmuffs come with an exceptional design that puts them even a step above its rivals. The soft padded headband ensures maximum comfort all day long. Other essential features include the audio jack input, on/off volume control with raised ridges for easy use (even when wearing gloves), and a slim, foldable design to facilitate easy storage and portability.
7. 3M Peltor Sport RangeGuard RG-OTH-4 Electronic Hearing Protector Review:
We’ve got to be thankful to the 3M Peltor for the extensive range of hearing protection muffs they have developed over the years to help use shoot safely, without endangering our hearing. FYI, they’ve over 50 years’ experience in this field. At position 7 of our reviews, we’ll take a closer look at one of their top-rated models, the3M Peltor Sport RangeGuard RG-OTH-4 Electronic Hearing Protector. It delivers up to 21db NRR which is quite acceptable at its cost.
The model comes with advanced electronics which makes it extremely easy for you communicate with other people in your environment without having to remove the muffs. In other words, it does a great job at amplifying the sounds in your shooting/hunting environment for easy communication while easily suppressing the loud gun sounds that can harm your ears. Because they come with a low profile cup design, these earmuffs are best suited for use with rifles and shotguns.
Your comfort has been made even better in these muffs. They feature re-engineered headband that you can easily adjust to offer you a better fit and comfort. Operated on 2 AAA batteries, the muffs come with an automatic shutoff feature that switches it off after 4 hours to preserve the battery power. And yes, it also comes with a 3.5mm audio jack that works with a variety of mp3 players so that you can listen to your favorite as you shoot.
8. 3M Peltor Tactical Sport Earmuff Review:
Another 3M Peltor made it to this list! The3M Peltor Tactical Sport Earmuff is also a top-rated electronic earmuff that comes fully dedicated to protecting your ears from the damaging impulse noises. Besides, it also comes with exceptional sound amplification technology that gathers all the sounds in your environment and amplifies them to enhance your communication and situational awareness.
Featuring a noise reduction rating of 20db (which is apparently a midrange value), this earmuff is highly effective at blocking all the sounds from your hunting rifle. It comes with an integrated ASIC chip technology to give you a faster shutoff as well as recovery time whenever it detects the dangerous gun sounds. Like its cousin above, this USA-assembled muff also comes with a 3.5mm audio jack. This is good news for the shooters who fancy listening to music while out there.
These top-quality ear defenders also score highly in terms of comfort. They come with fully padded, easily adjustable head that gives you the perfect fit, all day long. In addition to this, they feature an ergonomic design with contoured ear cups to facilitate easy use. Note that you can easily interchange between orange and black ear cup covers according to your preferences.
9. Caldwell E-Max Electronic Hearing Protection Review:
Our second last slot goes to yet another Caldwell electronic earmuff- the E-Max Electronic Hearing Protection. Like all the other Caldwells we’ve previously discussed, this muff intelligently combines great circuitry and standard ear cup to offer you the best hearing protection while amplifying all the sounds below 85db to enable you to communicate with fellow shooters or hear the range instructions easily.
For any sounds past the 85 decibels mark, this muff shuts off instantly to block the harmful, loud noises from ruining your hearing. The two microphones (one for each cup) that come with this earmuff gives you an authentic stereo sound. And this allows you to easily detect the direction the sound is coming from, making you fully aware of what’s happening in your surroundings.
Just like all the other models we’ve discussed in this list, these earmuffs come optimized for maximum comfort, with the fully padded headband. The rippled volume control knob allows for easy adjustment even when you have your gloves on. They also run on the same 2 AAA batteries used by other electronic models.
10. Snug Kids Earmuffs / Best Hearing Protectors – Adjustable Headband Ear Defenders Review:
Last, but definitely not the least, we have the Snug Kids Earmuffs / Best Hearing Protectors – Adjustable Headband Ear Defenders. From the title, it’s easy to tell that these are the best ear protection for your young ones who are learning how to shoot firearms. More so, they can double as the perfect pair for kids with autism to help block out triggers like crowds. They do a great noise blocking job not only while shooting but also at airports, crowds, sporting events, and household and garden tools- making them multipurpose earmuffs.
Unlike their competition, these muffs are built with top-quality parts. This makes them sturdy and robust, so you can rest assured they’ll last and last with regular use. Their low profile clam design not only makes them look super-stylish in your kid’s ear but also make them safe and secure on their little years.
Since the pair of ear defenders come with a lightweight, comfortable design (with padded ear cushions), you can trust them to offer you superior comfort as well as a snug fit that excellently blocks all the ear-splitting decibels produced by your gun. Besides, they feature an adjustable headband which ensures they properly fit your kids head (btw, they can fit a kid as young as six months only).
Above all this, they come with a foldable design which makes them easy to store as well as transport to your shooting or hunting zone.
11. Caldwell Low Profile E-Max Electronic Ear Muffs Review:
The Caldwell Low Profile E-Max Electronic Ear Muffs also made it to our list as a high-quality ear muff worth every penny. This muff comes with a noise reduction rating of 23, which makes it ideal for protecting your hearing from the damaging gunshots. It has a low profile design which makes it suitable for all shotgun and action shooters.
The two microphones- one for each cup- act as the secret to the muff’s outstanding ability to block the damaging decibels from your firearms. That is, they’re able to detect loud noises above 85db, after which they instantly shut off to protect your hearing. At the same time, they amplify all the sounds below the 85db mark, enabling you to clearly hear what’s going on in your environment. Better yet, they detect the direction of the various sounds as well- granting you full situational awareness.
While most muffs only concentrate on blocking the deafening sounds, this Caldwell gives you more than that. It features an audio jack that makes it possible for you to connect it to external devices such as your smartphone or mp3 player. This way, you can easily pick calls or even listen to your favorite music tracks while in your hunting stand or at the range.
Shooting Ear Muff Buying Guide For Beginner
When you begin shopping for the best electronic ear muffs for shooting, you’ll discover that there are thousands and thousands of models out there to pick from.
And this will probably overwhelm and confuse you with the perfect choice.
Don’t panic though…
In this section, I’ll share with you some proven tips on what to look for (and the pitfalls to avoid) when shopping for the hearing protection.
Things to look for:
Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)
The number one thing to look for in any hearing protection you want to buy is its NRR (noise reduction ration).
For those who don’t know, NRR refers to a unit of measurement that describes the effectiveness of ear muffs. It explains the efficacy of the muffs to block firearm sounds in your shooting environment.
The ear muffs are classified into different groups based on the decibels they can reduce. The higher the NRR value of your headset, the greater their effectiveness at noise reduction.
Here’s the classification of these devices:
Next, you should look at the noise amplification of the muffs you want to buy.
The amplification is only found in the electronic ear protection and is made possible by the microphones that come with the device. They simply collect all the low sounds available- like range commands- so that you can hear them easily.
Having ear muffs that come with sound amplification improve not only your communication but also increase your situational awareness.
Most of the manufacturers are now incorporating this feature into their products, so it shouldn’t be hard for you to get such a muff.
Besides, ensure that the quality of the amplified sound is excellent as some models tend to distort it, making it less audible for you.
Design & Style
Another important factor I always recommend readers to check for in an electronic earmuff is its design and style.
For instance, pay attention to the headband design. Make sure it comes with padding as this goes a long way in providing you with the support and comfort you need when wearing your earmuffs.
Also, examine the shape of the ear cups (and their padding too). The shape and size of the cups will play a huge role in offering you the perfect fit as you fully focus on your shooting activities.
Overall, the term design and stylish doesn’t refer to how elegant the earmuffs look. It refers to how the design contributes to the device’s overall functionality.
As you might have noted above, the design and style of ear muffs determine their comfort level.
However, there are other factors to keep in mind when buying your hearing protection to ensure it gives you the best comfort level so that you can fully concentrate on shooting.
One such factor involves weight; look for earmuffs that are lightweight so that they don’t feel like a burden on your head all day long. In addition to that, check the type of fabric used to make your earmuffs. Softer materials that don’t cause ear irritation are highly recommended.
On top of all this, ensure the headsets fit tightly (but not too tightly) around your head, so that they don’t come out easily when shooting.
CAUTION: if you go for bulky earmuffs, with a tight band, you might end up your shooting day with headaches.
As you check all the above factors, don’t forget to consider the amount of money you’d wish to spend on a hearing damage protection headset.
Like any other shooting gear, the price of these earmuffs vary from one model to another depending on the manufacturers, the features they come with, and so on.
The best way to go about the price factor is comparing all the best electronic ear muffs in terms of their features and selecting the one(s) that matches your budget.
Other important considerations:
Shooting Ear Plug Vs. Ear Muffs: Better Protection?
The two most popular choices of hearing protection you’ll get on the market today include earplugs and earmuffs.
Below, I’ll take you through the vital details you need to know about each of them to help you determine which one best fits your hearing protection needs.
Shooting Ear Plugs:
Earplugs are usually made to fit inside your ear canal. The most common type of shooting earplug (and the least expensive) is the moldable foam ear plug which expands once you install it in your ear to offer you a snug fit.
These earplugs are usually discarded after use.
Because the best shooting ear plugs fit your ears well, they provide excellent noise blocking performance, keeping your ears safe when shooting.
It’s also worth noting that earplugs are incredibly light and their small size means you can easily take them to the range or your hunting zone.
The ear plugs also allow you to easily wear other types of PPE- like safety glasses and helmets.
However, these types of hearing protection come with several drawbacks. For instance, they can be difficult to fit at times. People with ear infection find it almost impossible to fit ear plugs.
Earmuffs, on the other hand, seal around your ears, blocking the damaging noises from your firearm from reaching your inner ear.
Muffs can further be divided into two types- passive and electronic ear muffs.
Because they’re worn over the head, they’re extremely easy to fit. And the fact that they fit your ears well means they do a great job at blocking the loud noises from reaching your ears.
If you’re shooting in the cooler climates, you’ll find the ear muffs quite comfortable for use over long periods of time. In the warmer climates, however, you’d want to try the ear plugs as the earmuffs can cause discomfort (they become warm and humid).
Unlike the ear plugs, these models can be used for a wide range of applications other than shooting. For instance, you can use them in landscaping and construction work.
Unfortunately, earmuffs tend to cost more than the ear plugs. Plus they tend to lose their effectiveness when used alongside other PPE types- especially the safety glasses.
Which One To Choose:
In my honest view, both the best shooting ear plugs and the top-rated ear muffs do an excellent job of blocking the damaging firearm noises from getting into your inner ear and causing long-term hearing loss.
Each of them has its own share of benefits and disadvantages.
BUT…if you want to get the best ear protection and at the same time easily hear what’s surroundings, then you should go for the electronic earmuffs.
These models feature advanced sound amplification technology which enhances communication while blocking the hazardous loud noises.
How To Keep Your Ear Safe While Shooting?
Once your hearing is lost, it’s lost for good. So, it’s quite crucial that you take the necessary measures to keep your ears safe while shooting.
That said, the best way to keep your ear from getting damaged while shooting involves using the best shooting ear protection.
Here are some tips to help you get the best out of your hearing protection:
1. Wear your earplugs correctly
Assuming that you’re using the foam earplugs (they’re the most popular ones), it’s important that you fit them inside your ear correctly. Ensure you squeeze the foam, rolling it as you wish, and push it right inside the ear to offer a snug fit that blocks all types of sounds.
As the foam expands, ensure you keep your finger over the ear canal to get the best fit (and the best results).
2. Use the right type of earmuffs
Selecting the right type of ear muffs for your shooting activity can also help eliminate the hearing loss risk.
Models that come with a large profile are suitable for the days you’re shooting handguns. When shooting weapons like ARs, shotguns, SMGs, precision rifles, etc., it’s advisable to wear muffs with a low profile.
Better yet, you can choose the best electronic ear muffs to help block the loud noises produced by your rifle while keeping you connected to your environment.
Follow our buying guide above on how to pick the right type of earmuffs for your needs.
3. Double hearing protection
One secret the experienced hunters use to ensure maximum protection of their ears while hunting involves wearing both the earplug and the earmuffs.
Yes, you heard it right. For every ear, you’ll start by fitting the ear plugs and then covering them with the earmuffs.
Doubling up your ear protection gives you amazing results in terms of hearing loss protection. It has shown great results in noise reduction, which then eliminates flinching during shooting.
Just a quick reminder, if your ears get exposed to noises louder than 140 decibels, you’re sure to sustain permanent hearing damage in the near future.
Unfortunately, most of the firearms used by shooters and hunters produce noises over 140db. And if you’re one of these hunters, you’re at high risk of getting your ears damaged for good.
Thankfully, the best electronic ear muffs for shooting can block all these damaging noises, and ensure you enjoy a regret-free hunting or shooting life.
In our reviews above, you’ll find the 10 top-quality earmuffs than you can order today to protect your ears.
Likewise, you can follow our buying guide above to help you select the perfect earmuffs for shooting.