Almost all guns can cause hearing loss and physical pain when fired. It happens particularly indoors and when continually exposed to frequent shooting. It’s rather frightening when you think about it. Ear and eye protection are critical for safeguarding yourself and those around you. For home defense and law enforcement use, silencers are increasingly popular to protect the shooter’s hearing. Other methods can include using muzzle brakes or avoiding using a firearm with a short barrel.
Moreover, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) standards show a person’s maximum daily dose. They demonstrate various decibel levels before it becomes damaging to the inner ear. Thus, government research suggests a safe exposure limit is 85 decibels for 8 hours a day.
Maximum daily dose (dBA) at decibel level:
- 8 hours at 85 dB(A)
- 4 hours at 88 dB(A)
- 2 hours at 91 dB(A)
- 60 minutes at 94 dB(A)
- 30 minutes at 97 dB(A)
- 15 minutes at 100 dB(A)
Effective choices for shooting ear protection include:
- Earplugs (internal): Fits inside a person’s ear canal
- Earmuffs (external): Fits snug around a person’s external ear
- A combination of the two
- Tech alternatives with sound-circuit technology
Best Budget Buy
|Huarui Shooting Ear Muffs|| ||$34 Shop NowClick to read my review|
|Sordin Supreme Pro-X|| ||$269 Shop NowClick to read my review|
|Pro For Sho 34dB NRR|| ||$18 Shop NowClick to read my review|
|Peltor Sport Tactical 500|| ||$127 Shop NowClick to read my review|
|SureFire EP7 Sonic Defenders Ultra|| ||$18 Shop NowClick to read my review|
Both passive and electronic shooting ear protection comes with their set of pros and cons.
Passive Shooting Ear Protection
- High level of hearing protection
- Comfort level
- Relatively inexpensive
- Foldable models are compact
- One size usually fits all
- Great for new, casual, and target shooters
- Can be bulky and heavy
- Comfort issues, especially in humid or wet weather
- Can interfere with proper cheek weld
- Issues with safety or prescription glasses and proper ear seals
- May require additional protection, such as pairing with earplugs
Electronic Shooting Ear Protection
- Noise filtering capabilities
- Small and compact
- Incorporate modern technology, such as Bluetooth to enable smartphones
- Available in stereo
- Variety of formats — muffs, earplugs, semis, and cuffs
- Ideal for shooting activities that require comms or enhanced situational awareness such as +hunting, shooting classes, or operational environments
- Price point
- Batteries required
- Not always water-resistant
- Fallen electronic cuffs and earplugs are hard to find in the field and expensive to replace
- Some models are bulky and heavy
Top Picks for Ear Protection for Shooting
Huarui Shooting Ear Muffs for Hearing Protection
The Huarui Shooting Ear Muffs is a well-known brand on the market today. It is designed to protect your hearing from loud sources such as shooting, woodworking, sporting events, and other loud noise activities. As a result, you can be confident that this product will protect your ear from these potentially harmful activities. Moreover, it allows you to hear normal sounds like range commands while protecting you from loud noises. This safety earmuff has an electronic amplification mechanism that clarifies low pitch sounds. But shuts down within milliseconds when it sounds above 85 dB. This low-profile clam design keeps the muffs secure on the ears. While also providing a fashionable appearance. Lastly, the high-quality parts of these earmuffs make them sturdy and robust. Thus, it is a good product at an affordable price.
- Adjustable to suit all size
- Excellent Noise Reduction
- Compact Design for Easy Carry
- 360 Degree
- Variety of colors
- A bit bulky
Sordin Supreme Pro-X
You may have to outlay a little extra for these Swedish earmuffs. But if sound quality and comfort are your priority, then opt for the low-profile Sordin Supreme Pro-X. Firstly, it is engineered to defeat medium- and high-frequency sounds. Secondly, it improves communication and situational awareness. Thirdly, it protects your hearing at an NRR of around 22 dB or 25 dB on the European Union’s signal-to-noise (SNR) scale. And finally, dual microphones eliminate any element of surprise with directional sound detection and Ingress Protection 67 (IP67)-rated electronics. Thus, making them ideal ear protection for both outdoor and indoor use.
- Perfect situational hearing
- Clear audio reproduction
- 4 levels (1:4) levels of sound reduction
- Waterproof microphones
- Gel ear cushions for comfort
- Integrated LED light
- 3.5mm port for radios, smartphones, and other devices
- AAA batteries are required
Pro For Sho 34dB NRR Shooting Ear Protection
Get more bang (literally) for your buck with the Pro For Sho 34dB NRR. This ear protection is incredibly lightweight boasting a solid 34 dB NRR. The highly compact design adjusts for easy storage almost anywhere. Plus, the padded headband makes them a comfortable choice for extended periods.
- Solid yet lightweight
- Compact design
- Padded headband
- Variety of colors
- Zero tech capabilities
- Elasticity may improve over time
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Peltor Sport Tactical 500
The low-profile Peltor Sport Tactical 500 muffs use smart technology. This system helps suppress harmful gunshot noise, reduce echo, and amplify low-level sounds. It also eliminates the hazard of loose wires. On the other hand, the shutoff feature preserves the life of the dual AA batteries. Further, the vented headband and cushioned earpieces promote all-day comfort. Although a bit costly, they are easy to use, lightweight, and sync seamlessly with Bluetooth-enabled devices. As a result, you can stay connected and protected. Finally, for a better shooting experience, dynamic suppression time adapts to your firearm and environment. There’s also a clear voice tracking feature that boosts speech intelligibility.
- Adjustable, vented headband for comfort
- Recessed microphones are durable and designed to reduce wind and fan noise
- Auto shutoff
- Easy setup and use with intuitive buttons and voice guidance that let you operate without removing the headset
- 2 AA batteries are required
SureFire EP7 Sonic Defenders Ultra
SureFire EP7 Sonic Defenders Ultra earplugs are visually subtle and hypoallergenic. It protects you against noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) without interfering with your ability to hear routine sounds or conversations. These earpieces consist of soft, medical-grade polymer and employ seven contact points for the same secure fit every time. Their foam-tipped stem design, featuring replaceable soft memory foam Comply Canal Tips. This foam material is hypoallergenic and fits most people. Moreover, sounds at safe levels are allowed to pass through into the ear canal. Thus, potentially harmful noises above 85 dB are reduced via a proprietary noise-reducing filter. For earplugs, the cost may be more than most but the results speak for themselves.
- 28 dB NRR with inserted filter caps to minimize potentially harmful sounds
- Patented EarLock retention rings utilize seven contact points to lock earpieces in place
- Made from hypoallergenic, medical-grade polymer that’s soft, durable, and long-lasting
- Soft memory foam Canal Comply Tips provide secure seals in ear canals and all-day comfort
- A low-profile design allows you to keep them in place while wearing a mask, helmet, or hat or while using a phone, headphones, or supplemental hearing muffs
- Serve as earpieces for compatible radio communication systems
- Not the most comfortable
Choosing the right shooting ear protection is necessary and greatly dependent on your individual needs. For electronic protection is a step above most of the passive ones. However, this comes at a significant increase in price. The Sordin Supreme Pro-X is great but pricey. Taking price into consideration we land on the Huarui Shooting Ear Muffs as the best budget buy. Either way, all are top of the range tried and tested for your safety.