If you go shooting often, you will know that ear protection is essential for protecting your ears and making sure that you don’t damage your hearing. This is especially important at an indoor shooting range.
To put it simply, if you are exposed to sounds over 70 dB for an extended period of time, you can damage your ears and hearing. Typical conversation measures at around 60 dB, and a gunshot can be as loud as around 150 dB.
Even a one-time exposure to a sound over 120 dB can cause damage, so it is really important to wear the correct protection anytime that you do go shooting.
There are different options such as earmuffs or earplugs to choose from, and whichever you choose will depend on your personal preference.
However, to make your decision easier, we have put together this list of the best ear protection for shooting.
In a Hurry?
If you don’t have the time to read through our list, here is our top pick to save you some time.
Coming in at the top of our list is the Walker’s Razor Slim Electronic Muff.
Why Is This Our Top Pick?
These over-ear defenders are perfect for their designed purpose and provide great protection for your ears.
The brand is well known for providing excellent quality products, and these ear defenders are no exception.
They deliver an impressive noise reduction rate, and their slim folding design offers comfort and makes them easy to carry around with you.
- Made with high-quality materials, offering only the best
- Durable and long-lasting so they won’t need replacing any time soon
- Simple slim folding design that is great for portability
Top 5 Best Ear Protection for Shooting
OUR TOP PICK
These Walker’s ear defenders provide the best protection for your ears when you go shooting. They come in a variety of different designs that you can choose from, so you can pick a style that suits you.
These slim muffs were designed with the goal of having the lowest possible profile while still providing the best ear protection. They have amplification properties and deliver an exceptional noise reduction rate of 23 dB. This means that they can protect your hearing without interfering.
These ear protectors also feature a new comfort fit headband that provides you comfort all day long. They have two Omni-directional microphones that can radiate equal sounds in all directions. They also have full dynamic range HD speakers that provide clear and balanced sound.
For natural sound clarity, they have low frequencies, and you can control the volume easily via a single knob.
Another great quality of these earmuffs is that they have a sound-activated compression circuit that allows the user to hear all normal environmental sounds around them, but it eliminates harsh sounds like gunshots.
- Variety of designs available for style preference
- Slim and portable design for simplicity
- An impressive noise reduction rate
- Omni-directional microphones
- Sound activated compression circuit to eliminate harsh sounds
- No Bluetooth for wireless use
Our next pick is these Peltor Sport Tactical 100 ear defenders with an impressive noise reduction rating of 22 dB.
They are ideal for both indoor and outdoor shooters and have an adjustable headband with extra padding for a comfortable fit.
They also have variable suppression time that is able to reduce echoes indoors. They sport an adaptive frequency response that reduces background noise and allows for clearer communication and hearing of instructions.
These ear protectors have durable and recessed microphones for preventing damage and reducing wind noise. They are also foldable, which allows for better storage, meaning you can protect them easily.
They feature 3m technology that will suppress the harmful gunshot sounds and amplify low-level sounds.
For your convenience, they turn off automatically after 2 hours, and they also have a low battery indicator to let you know when the battery is close to being drained. This is great for preventing accidental ear damage.
- Adequate noise reduction rate of 22 dB
- Can be used both indoors and outdoors
- Variable suppression time to reduce echoing
- Adaptive frequency response for reducing background noise
- Automatic shut off after 2 hours and low battery indicator for convenience
- Batteries not included
These shooting earmuffs are designed to actively listen, and they automatically turn off amplification when ambient sound levels reach 82 dB. Their noise reduction rating is adequate at 22 dB, so they are going to provide enough protection for your ears.
They feature low profile ear cups and also have an adjustable headband, which is great for making sure that it fits you comfortably. They also have an aux input and come with a 3.5mm connection cord so that you can listen to your favorite music at the same time.
These earmuffs also have an automatic shut off and will power down after 4 hours. With up to 350 hours of battery life, you can use them all day long without having to worry about carrying around spare batteries.
Another feature that they have is built-in directional microphones that amplify range commands and other ambient sounds within a safe sound level to provide you with a more natural listening experience. This will also enhance your ability to communicate.
- Good noise reduction rating
- Adjustable headband to provide a better fit
- Aux input and included cable
- Approximately 350 hours of battery life
- Directional microphones for enhanced communication
- Can be difficult to wear with eye protection
For our fourth pick, we have chosen the Awesafe earmuffs as they are designed to suppress shooting noise and protect your hearing, perfect for the task at hand.
They also have stereo sound that makes noises sound more realistic and clear. On the subject of sound, they also have a noise reduction rate of 23 dB, which begins its work as soon as you turn on the volume control button.
The volume control button is designed to adjust the effectiveness of the amplification depending on your needs, and it will adapt to different environments.
Awesafe uses high-quality materials for their products so that they are durable and not easy to damage. If this wasn’t enough reassurance already, these earmuffs also come with a 2-year warranty at no additional cost.
Finally, included with this product is a travel storage case so that you can travel knowing that they are well-protected.
- Suppresses shooting sounds to protect your hearing
- Comes with a 2-year warranty for peace of mind
- Made with high quality and durable materials
- Storage case included with the product
- No on/off indicator to let you know if they are on
Our fifth and final pick on for this list is the Caldwell E-Max ear defenders, which are able to amplify sounds below 85 dB and block sounds above 85 dB.
They are available in both adult and youth sizes in a variety of designs and colors, and the noise reduction rating is 25 dB.
These ear protectors have an adjustable headband and padded ear cups for extra fit and comfort and ensure proper noise-canceling for hearing protection. With their compact and convenient design, they fold easily for portability.
They provide dual microphones in each ear, which provides directional clarity and amplifies sounds to the ideal volume. There is a turn dial for easy volume control, and there is also an audio jack for extra connectivity options.
There is an add-on option for Bluetooth with these ear defenders if you feel that you will need it.
- Ability to amplify low sounds and block loud noises
- Adjustable headband and padded ear cups
- Available in adult and youth sizes with a variety of styles
- Dual microphones for directional sound clarity
- Option for Bluetooth
- Batteries not included and must be purchased separately
How to Choose the Best Ear Protection for Shooting - Buyer’s Guide
Hearing damage occurs when your ears are exposed to loud noises. Damage is more likely to occur if you are constantly exposed to these loud noises for long periods of time.
A gunshot is very loud and can seriously damage your hearing. This happens when sound waves enter the outer ear and travel through the ear canal to the eardrum. These soundwaves cause vibrations and make the eardrum vibrate. The vibrations can cause significant damage to different parts of your ears.
Most types of hearing loss that have been caused by loud noises are caused by damage to the sensory cells in your ears. These cells do not grow back, and this damage will be permanent.
Whether you are shooting indoors or outdoors, you are going to need ear protection, as even a single gunshot can cause significant damage to your ears. Due to this, one of the main features that you will need to consider when purchasing any form of ear defenders is the noise reduction rate of the product.
Noise Reduction Rating
The noise reduction rating, often referred to as NRR for short, is the unit of measurement that is used to determine how effective the hearing protection device is. The rating usually ranges from roughly 22dB to 30dB, but it can sometimes exceed this. The higher the rating, the more protected you will be.
However, a higher rating can make it difficult to hear ambient noise. There are ear defenders available that can block loud noises and amplify ambient sounds, and these may be a better option. All hearing protection products must have a noise reduction rating in order to comply with the law.
Finding the right size and fit is another really important factor. If your ear defenders are too big and don’t fit snugly around your ears, they may not be able to offer you the best protection because they cannot properly do their job.
Your earmuffs must form a good and comfortable seal around the ear in order to work effectively. For example, if they are too big, sounds can still get in and penetrate the ears, and if they are too small, the ear cup may not completely cover your ear and will present the same issues. Adjustable headbands are great for this purpose, as you can adjust them to suit you.
If you are going to wear your ear protection for a long period of time, you also want to make sure that they are comfortable.
Make sure that the headband is large enough so that it doesn’t add unwanted pressure to your head.
Padded ear cuffs are also beneficial in terms of added comfort.
Electronic vs. Passive
There are two different types of earmuffs on the market, which are electronic and passive. Electronic earmuffs need a power source, and they are commonly battery powered, though some are rechargeable.
Whilst they have the potential to run out of battery, they are also typically better at amplifying ambient sounds and quietening harsh sounds.
Passive earmuffs don’t need a power source and are just a headband and two ear cups. They are able to provide the same hearing protection, but they don’t have any additional features that you may be able to find with an electronic device.
There are many benefits of wearing ear protection whilst shooting other than the obvious. They will allow you to shoot for longer without developing side effects such as headaches, tinnitus, and hearing loss, and they also protect the bones in the inner ears.
There are many different features that ear protection may have that can further enhance your experience. Some of these can include:
- Automatic shut down to save battery life
- Ambient noise enhancing so you can hear what is happening around you
- Lightweight and comfortable materials that are helpful for all-day use
- Water resistance for protection against perspiration
- Stereo volume control with the ability to adjust each ear separately
- Adaptable frequencies for reducing background noise and distracting sounds
Aside from earmuffs, there is another form of ear protection called earplugs. Earplugs are typically made from silicone or foam, and you just put them inside your ear. They can be made from molds so that they can fit comfortably in your ear, but you can also buy them as a standard size.
Earplugs allow you to hear the noise around you, and they also have noise suppression to protect your hearing from the sound of gunshots. If you are looking for a simple noise-canceling option, then earplugs may be a good option for you.
However, if you want added features and extras, then earmuffs will be a better option as they have more to offer.
You should also consider the type of guns that you usually use. Some ear protection will be more compatible with different types of guns and give you a more tailored experience. You should also be aware that not all earplugs will be suitable for all types of shooting.
You also want your ear protection to last, so durability is really important. If the product that you choose doesn’t come with a carrying case, you might want to consider purchasing one to keep your ear defenders protected.
You should also make sure that they are made out of durable materials and are built to last a long time. Some products will come with a warranty so you won’t have to worry too much about them breaking.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many dB is a Gunshot?
On average, the sound of a gunshot can range from 140dB to 160dB.
Are There Ear Plugs That Can Completely Block Out All Noise?
There aren’t any earplugs that can completely block out all noise.
Earplugs are not able to block all sounds, but they are able to quieten the impact of lots of louder noises, which allows them to protect your hearing.
If you were to put your fingers in your ears, you would still be able to hear sounds. The same applies to earplugs.
Are Ear Plugs Better Than Earmuffs?
Both products are able to work differently to block out different sounds.
An advantage of using earplugs is that they offer a high level of protection because they fit directly into the ear canal. However, this also means that you can’t hear much of anything at all, while earmuffs usually have the ability to allow you to hear ambient noise.
Some products are actually able to amplify these ambient sounds so that you can hear them better. This is especially helpful if you need to communicate or if you are hunting, so you can still hear what is around you.
What is the Highest Noise Reduction Rating for Ear Plugs?
The highest noise reduction rating for earplugs is currently 33 dB. This means that decibel ratings up to 33 dB will be blocked out entirely, and any noise levels higher than this will be heard.
It is impossible to block out all noise completely, but products with a high noise reduction rating are really good for protecting your ears.
Earplugs are designed to lessen the harshness of loud noises and make them be heard at a safer level.