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Shooting Essentials Accessories

10 Best Shooting Ear Protection – Electronic & Passive Hands-On

If you’re a shooter or work in noisy areas like industrial zones or shooting ranges, you should always have the best shooting ear protection. While taking shots, our delicate auditory organs are hit by a gush of sound waves that could range from an astounding 140 dB to 190 dB, far higher than the human tolerance level of 80dB.

This explosive sound, transferred through the air and bodily vibrations, should be controlled by ear muffs or earplugs to avoid permanent ear damage and other health hazards.

Since it’s important to maintain a safe exposure limit, I usually use budget-friendly and versatile safety earmuffs. You can find both active and passive noise canceling devices from renowned brands, but do all models come with the golden combination of price and value?

You’ll find the answer when you will be done going through our reviewed shooting ear protection, including, earmuffs, ear plugs, and eye and ear combos. A buying guide comes as a bonus!

Table of Contents

A Quick View of Our Favorites Shooting Ear Protection

Pick Name Thumbnail Product Name Price
Best Overall Howard Leight by Honeywell Howard Leight by Honeywell $50 at Walmart
Good value for money 3M Peltor X-Series Over-the-Head Earmuffs 3M Peltor X-Series Over-the-Head Earmuffs $74 at Walmart
Advanced choice MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X $300
4th Walker’s Razor Slim Electronic Hearing Protection Muffs Walker’s Razor Slim Electronic Hearing Protection Muffs $43 at Walmart
5th Peltor Sport Tactical 300 Electronic Hearing Protector Peltor Sport Tactical 300 Electronic Hearing Protector $95 at Walmart
6th AWESAFE Electronic Shooting Earmuff AWESAFE Electronic Shooting Earmuff $35 at Walmart
7th Peltor 97451 3M Tactical Sport Earmuff Peltor 97451 3M Tactical Sport Earmuff $189
8th Howard Leight by Honeywell Earmuff Howard Leight by Honeywell Earmuff $87 at Walmart
9th SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders Plus Filtered Earplugs SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders Plus Filtered Earplugs $24 at Walmart
10th 3M Peltor Tactical Pro Communications Headset 3M Peltor Tactical Pro Communications Headset $466

Top 10 Best Hearing Protection for Shooting

1 Howard Leight by Honeywell (Best Overall)

Howard Leight by Honeywell

Howard Leight electronic earmuff by Honeywell Impact Sport is a lightweight device. It can reduce the impact of firearm sound to 82 dB. When the AAA batteries die, this device will give basic ear protection, but can’t amplify regular sound.

Sound Amplification: Your safety is enhanced with distortion-free amplification electronic earmuffs. This device brings louder noise from firearm discharges to a safe 82 dB level.

Also, it allows you to hear low-level range commands and conversation sound. Apart from blocking hazardous sound, this amplification feature uses built-in directional microphones to boost natural listening and communication.

NRR Rating: The electronic device has 22 NRR rating in both on and off modes. Like other models of Howard Leight electronic earmuffs, environmental sound is filtered with ease. This device shuts off amplification when ambient noise reaches 82 dB, and the mechanism is automatic.

Easy-to-use AUX Input: You can enjoy MP3 player software with the earmuff’s AUX Input. The media player from mobile phones can make you active while hunting in the wilderness. The power knob allows the user to adjust volume after connecting the 3.5 mm cord in its external audio jack.

Adjustable Headband: This electronic earmuff has ultra-slim, added earcups, and an adjustable headband. Its foldable design allows adjustability for firearm stock clearance. Interference is less while taking aims for shots. Also, storage after use is convenient because these low profile ear cups might be compact, but they fit in their boxes securely.


  • Dimensions: 1 x 1 x 1 inches
  • Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Power Source: Non-rechargeable AAA batteries
  • NRR: 22 dB
  • Brand/Model: Impact Sport R-01526


  • Snap-in ear cushions for extended performance
  • Foldable headband
  • 3.5 mm cord for the AUX input jack
  • Low-energy electronic earmuff with auto shut-off feature after 4 hours


  • The AAA regular batteries are not rechargeable

Our Verdict

This electronic earmuff is ergonomically designed with patented airflow control technology that allows firearms’ clearance while firing guns, and a snap-on lid for easy replacement of AAA batteries.

Anyone will enjoy its ability to amplify ambient sound to a safe level of 82 dB. With 22 NRR rating, enough battery juice to run for up to 350 hours and multimedia options, this gadget is unparalleled in this price range. If you’re looking for the best shooting ear protection, this is a good place to start.

2 3M Peltor X-Series Over-the-Head Earmuffs (Good value for money)

3M Peltor X-Series Over-the-Head Earmuffs

You can enjoy high levels of hearing protection without disregarding comfort. The 3M Peltor’s X-Series Over-the-Head earmuffs have a bulky design and NRR ratings of 31 dB. It’s the ideal product for users that operate in high noise exposure environments.

31 dB Noise Reduction Rating: This 3M Peltor model is one of the highest attenuation earmuffs with an NRR rating of 31 dB. It offers versatile hearing protection for range fields and work environments.

The X-Series Over-the-head hearing protection device can reduce any risk of damage from the noise of heavy engineering, quarrying, foundry, and airplanes.

Twin Headband Design: Its twin headband design is designed for comfort. The twin headband design gives proper fit and balance while keeping your ears cool. So, users will find this ergonomically customized, newly designed spacer (on the headband) easy to use because these earcups tilt seamlessly.

Electrically Insulation: With non-conductive insulators on the metal parts of the headbands, users can use this device under wet conditions. There’s a low risk of electrical shocks when using insulated (dielectric) wire headbands. So, these X-Series Over-the-Head earmuffs are safe.

Lightweight Design: This hearing protection device is a lightweight wire headband that doesn’t exert undue pressure. Without being uncomfortably tight, wearers can adjust the earcups and enjoy customized fits. It’s easy to transport these X5 earmuffs, and they don’t add excessive weight to your backpack.


  • Dimensions: 4.49 x 8.19 x 5.67 inches
  • Weight: 8 ounces
  • NRR: 31 dB
  • Brand/Model: 3M Peltor X-Series


  • High noise protection (NRR rating: 31 dB)
  • A pair of soft cushions included for sealing ears comfortably
  • Twin headband design ensure zero heat build-up
  • Comfortable and long-lasting


  • The external cover design of each attenuation earmuff is too big

Our Verdict

Needless to say, these earmuffs are great at blocking up to 31 dB loud noise. Like Peltor’s SPORTTAC model, it’s an active and intelligent device that can be an excellent gift item for hunters and shooting enthusiasts.

Its twin headband design is appealing to users that love noise reducers with high-end features. Also, this model comes with easy-to-replace cushions for better performance and durability. If you want to get the best out for your bucks, the 3M Peltor X-Series noise canceling earmuffs is one of the best options for you.

3 MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X (Advanced choice)

MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X

Our experts were convinced of its professional-grade while reviewing these MSA Sordins Supreme Pro X earmuffs. As a premium edition, avid shooters will enjoy the black cups with fitted gel seals.

18 dB NRR Rating: This Sordin Supreme PRO X model helps dampen and filter harmful noise to a level of 82 dB. Its built-in mechanism compresses peak, harmful sound and makes it quieter without causing distractions. The 18 dB-rated NRR value amplifies safe noise four times than normal.

Low Battery Consumption: You can enjoy more battery life with two high-quality AAA batteries because this device has low consumption. The MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X can perform, and extend the battery life for 600 hours.

Foldable and Slim Design: The earcups produce great digital sound reproduction with built-in electronics. It’s easy to use and store because of its foldable slim neckband.

Compatibility: The Sordin Supreme PRO X premium edition is compatible with both right and left-handed shooters. With fitting black cups and gel seals, all users will enjoy the comfort and shoot with different orientations.


  • Dimensions: 10.6 x 7.9 x 4.7 inches
  • Weight: 1.19 pounds
  • Power Source: Non-rechargeable AAA batteries
  • NRR: 18 dB
  • Brand/Model: MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X – Premium Edition


  • The earmuffs have snug fit designs that ensure comfort for both left and right-handed shooters
  • It’s a US Military grade earwear
  • There are two separate microphones and an AUX input jack as extra features
  • Foldable and comfortable to wear


  • Some users complained about being too much static

Our Verdict

This is an ideal ballistic eyewear for avid shooters and hunters in need of the best shooting ear protection. This MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X’s battery compartment helps you enjoy outdoor shooting under rain or snow.

The waterproof compartment helps reduce the risk of electrical damage from moisture. People searching for the best tactical ear protection will definitely benefit from this one.

4 Walker’s Razor Slim Electronic Hearing Protection Muffs

Walker’s Razor Slim Electronic Hearing Protection Muffs

With these active ear protection muffs, you’ll be able to enjoy a low level of 23 dB protection while listening to conversations, and range commands.

The Walker’s Razor Slim earmuffs have built-in sound amplification and suppression mechanisms. It’s a high-performance electronic ear protection unit that you don’t want to miss out on.

High-Quality Muffs: These Walker’s Razor Electronic Earmuffs have slim headbands that fit comfortably. Without compromising comfort, the Razor’s ultra-thin rubberized cups can use built-in amplification properties to reduce noise. So, it’s a choice for buyers to protect these low-profile ear cups or lose them.

23 dB NRR: The Noise Reduction Rating of 23 dB is impressive. This Razor slim electronic muff series can handle all-day gun firing while providing sound protection of over 89 dB at a 0.02-time response.

Natural Sound Clarity: The Razor slim electronic ear wear comes with two Omni-directional microphones that provide crisp clear audio. Also, it’s engineered with full dynamic range HD speakers. These built-in frequency-tuned audio mechanisms offer natural sound clarity.

Slim Folding Design: Walker’s Razor ear protection devices have soft-padded headbands with metal wireframes. You can fold this electronic muff when it’s not in use. Its slim profile is enhanced with a compact folding design for all-day comfort.


  • Dimensions: 10.4 x 7.9 x 3.8 inches
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Power Source: Non-rechargeable AAA batteries
  • NRR: 23 dB
  • Brand/Model: Walker’s Razor


  • Audio input jack (3.5mm) for connecting the eyewear with mobile phones, iPods, and MP3 players
  • Sound Activated Compression circuit (SAC) for clearer sound
  • Designed with ultra-low profile ear cups and has 23 dB NRR value
  • Rubberized cups for comfortable wear


  • The ear cup fit isn’t good enough. Sometimes when you move your jaws, sound from gunshots get through because the movement affects the cup’s seals

Our Verdict

The Omni Directional Mics in this slim model allows you to enjoy filtered sound. It has ergonomic designs like the On/Off volume control knob. While wearing gloves, this volume control knob’s raised ridges allow for tactile use. It’s one of the best shooting muffs when comfort is your priority.

5 Peltor Sport Tactical 300 Electronic Hearing Protector

Peltor Sport Tactical 300 Electronic Hearing Protector

You can get optimized protection that offers easy operation for hunting, and range. The Peltor Sports Tactical 300 Electronic Hearing Protector has a low-profile design. It’s ideal for shooting competitions, hunting, and uses SMART technologies to amplify low-level sound.

Easy Setup: This device allows for easy setup; it comes with intuitive buttons for seamless operation. You’ll need clear communication, and voice guidance is a tracking system that improves speech intelligibility.

The Clear Voice Tracking system works well without removing the Peltor Sports Headset. Also, you will enjoy less firearm interference because these low-profile cups are compatible with the butts of long guns.

Dynamic Suppression Time: This electronic ear protector adapts to the firearm and environmental noise. Its built-in Dynamic Suppression feature optimizes firing experience. Also its low-profile recessed microphones and 3M Smart technology help to reduce wind and fan noise.

All-Day Comfort: This earpiece is ergonomically designed with soft, and conformable cushions. Adjustability of such gear with vented headbands improves comfort. While wearing hats, it’s convenient to use this lightweight hearing protector. It’s also a great option for all-day comfort. You will have a good grip on the gun when your inner ears are well protected.

24 dB Noise Reduction Rating: Upgrading to ear protection devices with 24 dB can promote your health. While filtering louder sound, the NRR value makes it easy to hear your range commands and follow up with conversations.


  • Dimensions: 4.6 x 7.8 x 11.6 inches
  • Weight: 1.29 pounds
  • Noise Filtering: Clear Voice Tracking
  • Power Source: Non-rechargeable AAA batteries
  • NRR: 24 dB
  • Brand/Model: Peltor Sport Tactical 300/ TAC300-OTH


  • Dynamic Suppression Time mechanism for improved firing experience
  • High-quality automatic gun suppression system
  • Intuitive buttons and voice guidance features for easy operations
  • Apart from the Clear Voice Tracking feature, this device uses sound amplification for wearers to hear low-level sound


  • The compression circuit capacity for all Peltor Sports devices is similar. So, these stylish Tactical 300 electronic muffs don’t have exceptional noise compression strength

Our Verdict

The use of 3M Smart technologies by Peltor Sport has created a premium model of ear protectors. This device turns off after two hours and ensures the durability of the AAA batteries automatically.

Our electronic ear protection device reviews show that Tactical 300’s low-profile ear cups are ideal for rifle and shotgun noise reduction.

6 AWESAFE Electronic Shooting Earmuff

AWESAFE Electronic Shooting Earmuff

These high-quality electronic earmuffs by Awesafe are a great choice. When you are exposed to multiple gun firing sessions, the Awesfae filters and dampens sound effects. With a 22 dB NRR value, this electronic ear wear is ideal for hunting.

 22 dB Noise Reduction Rating (NRR): Without worrying about your auditory nerves, this Awesafe GF01 electronic protector has industry-leading NRR. It can help you to block hazardous sounds.

The NRR value of 22 dB offers distortion-free amplification that shuts off at a safe level of 82 dB. Also, it uses Air Flow Control technology to minimize noise reduction across all frequencies.

Easy Maintenance: The Awesafe GF01 is durable, and doesn’t need high maintenance. It has snap-in ear cushions that are replaceable and allows users to enjoy the extended performance of earmuffs.

Shockproof Design: These low profile ear cups don’t interfere with the butts of rifles. Also, this model has a convenient folding and shockproof design. The overall design of its soft interior and tough exterior are intended to enhance durability.

You’ll enjoy headphone functionality because of the audio jack that’s compatible with MP3 players and mobile phones.

Custom Fit: Ear protection devices with adjustable headbands allow for convenient use. The padded, telescoping headband is attached to a pair of double-shell cups with noise dampening circuit boards. You can adjust the non-slip headband for all-day use.


  • Dimensions: 5.9 x 5.9 x 5.9 inches
  • Power Source: Non-rechargeable AAA batteries
  • NRR: 22 dB
  • Brand/Model: Awesafe GF01


  • Sturdy hand strap to make transportation easy
  • Hard EVA, anti-slip headband allows Awesafe GF01 earmuff users to operate this device in snowy and rainy conditions
  • Low-energy earmuff device that shuts-off after 4 hours to extend battery life
  • Durable with a long-term guarantee


  • Don’t fit well under helmets because their double-shell cups are too wide

Our Verdict

The Awesafe GF01 over-the-head earmuffs are versatile. They have been engineered to work in any condition with loud noise. It’s important to choose ear wear with double layers of noise dampening circuit boards.

The dampening technology filters sound and ensures reduction of noise to a safe level with its 22 dB NRR value. If you want high-quality ear protection for shooting, this is the one to get.

7 Peltor 97451 3M Tactical Sport Earmuff

Peltor 97451 3M Tactical Sport Earmuff

The Peltor 1570 3M Tactical Sports is one of the top rated hunting earmuffs. The soft, electronic earmuffs use digital chip and Sound amplification technologies. Users can hear low-level sound while listening to range commands and conversations.

ASIC Chip Technology: The 97451 3M electronic model prevents hearing loss, and activates fast shutoff and recovery time. The technology uses sensors to minimize the risk of dangerous impulse noise from rapid gunshots.

NRR 20 dB Value: As one of the top gun range ear aids, this electronic earmuff is an effective noise reducer. Its Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 20 dB and comfortable pads can dampen dangerous noise. Also, its built-in sound amplification system allows for the enhancement of low-level sound.

Designed for All-day Comfort: As ear safety wears for shooters and hunters, this 97451 model of Peltor is designed to enhance comfort. It’s excellent for indoor firing ranges too.

Its ergonomic, contoured ear cups reduce heat and allow for all-day comfort. Also, this package comes with options of interchangeable orange and black ear-cup covers

Audio Support: Apart from being used as a tactical hearing protection aid, it also supports MP3 players, dog trackers, and cell phones media apps. You can connect a 3.5mm cord to the audio jack and listen to your favorite music with AAA batteries.

Also, this electronic ear muff will activate its auto shut-off after four hours of inactivity. This auto shut-off feature helps to increase the durability of both AAA batteries.


  • Dimensions: 12 x 8.2 x 4.5 inches
  • Weight 1.15 pounds
  • Power Source: Non-rechargeable AAA batteries
  • NRR: 20 dB
  • Brand/Model: Peltor 97451 3M Tactical Sport


  • External battery compartment offers easy access while holding your firearm
  • A great recovery time that protects your ear from rapid gunfire sound and dangerous impulse noise
  • Digital chip technology helps to dampen and filter loud sound
  • Auto shutoff feature


  • Relatively expensive

Our Verdict

Usually, contoured ear cups and ergonomic design of these devices guarantee you all-day comfort. When you go hunting in the wild with your dog, this device allows wire connectivity to tracker the pet.

Users of this product can also enjoy sound amplification and blocking of dangerous noise simultaneously. With a handful of useful features, this is one of the best active hearing protections available today.

8 Howard Leight by Honeywell Earmuff (R-01902)

Howard Leight by Honeywell Earmuff (R-01902)

The Impact Pro Sound Electronic Earmuff requires easy maintenance. Unlike its peers with similar features, this brand comes with snap-in ear cushions.

You can make replacement of these ear cushions with ease and enjoy their extended performances. This earmuff device comes in eye-catching black and gray designs.

Low Energy Earmuff: Do you want high-quality earmuff devices that can help you extend battery life? This Honeywell Impact Pro Sound R-01902 Model is a low-energy earmuff.

The electronic noise reducer comes with an auto shut-off mechanism that activities the device’s inactive mode after 4 hours. Also, there’s a snap-on lid for easy replacement of the batteries.

Impact Pro Sound Amplification: This electronic earmuff is intended for handgun shooters that need superior ear protection. As a safety feature, the sound application system helps to amplify low level sound like conversations and range commands.

NRR Value of 30 dB: When external ambient sound reaches 82 dB, this device will shut off amplification automatically. However, the R-01902 model has a 30 dB Noise Reduction Rating value that supports natural listening and communication.

Media Player Support: While its built-in directional microphones amplify sound, you can listen to external MP3 players by connecting a 3.5 mm cord in the audio jack.

The Honeywell Impact Pro Sound electronic earmuff supports media players. It also comes with rubberized pressure points that prevent gunstock scratching while firing guns and listening to music simultaneously.


  • Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 inches
  • NRR Value: 30 dB
  • Power Source: Non-rechargeable AAA batteries
  • Brand/Model: Honeywell Impact Pro Sound R-01902


  • Padded & adjustable headband offers a customized and comfortable fit
  • Can block hazardous noise of over 82 dB instantly
  • Automatic shut-off feature helps conserve battery life by turning off the device after 4 hours of inactivity
  • comfortable and secure fit


  • The synthetic material that comes with this ear protector isn’t scratch-proof

Our Verdict

Howard Leight R-01902 has a sleek and compact design. Avid shooters of small firearms like handguns will enjoy optimum safety with this product.

There’s so much to be proud of while using this product, and its padded, foldable headband allows much ease of use. If you want to enjoy music while shooting, this is one of the best gun range ear protections for you.

9 SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders Plus Filtered Earplugs

SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders Plus Filtered Earplugs

SureFire earplugs flaunt a triple flanged design. This reusable headgear can be worn with ear muffs. Without interfering with your hearing or conversations, EP4 Sonic Defenders Plus can filter and dampen hazardous noise.

24 dB Noise Reduction Rating (NRR): This earplug pair has built-in filter caps. With the noise-reducing filter, hazardous sound of over 85 dB can be reduced to a safe level. While filtering noise, this device helps you listen to ambient sound and conversation.

Durable Materials: Unlike regular earplugs that give skin irritations, this SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders model is made from a hypoallergenic, medical-grade polymer material used in manufacturing products like binoculars, scope rings, and bow sights.

It’s a soft, and skin-friendly that’s durable. Also, the triple-flanged stems have secure seals to optimize your daily noise management and comfort.

Low-profile Design: You can get dual protection from hazardous noise by combining earplugs with muffs. While using supplemental ear muffs, the SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders Plus can stay securely in place.

These earplugs use Patented EarLock retention rings. These rings can lock earpieces in place by using seven contact points.

Apart from reducing noise, these military-grade Sonic Defenders Plus filtered earplugs are compatible with MP3 players. The earpiece device is compatible with radio communication systems. Simply remove the plastic inserts and replace with the earbud inserts.


  • Weight: 1 pound
  • NRR Value: 24 dB
  • Power Source: Non
  • Brand/Model: SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders


  • Hypoallergenic, medical-grade polymer materials are durable
  • It comes with 24 dB Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) and inserted filter caps
  • Within or out filter caps inserts, this earpiece provides two levels of noise controlling
  • Impressive design and great for firing guns


  • Noise minimization stops when the device’s noise-reducing filter is removed. So, you can’t listen to music and expect outside noise control with these earplugs.

Our Verdict

Do you need earplugs for all-day protection? These Sonic Defenders earplugs can be worn with helmets, beanie hats, or supplemental hearing muffs.

There’s no excuse for allowing hazardous noise to affect your auditory nerves and can cause partial deafness. So, we offer you a 24 dB Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) device for optimum protection. When it comes to performance, this is one of the best safety ear muffs in the US.

10 3M Peltor Tactical Pro Communications Headset

3M Peltor Tactical Pro Communications Headset

This communications headset has a lot of features to be proud of when you’re outdoors. The 3M Peltor TacticalPro Communications Headset can block hazardous noise instantly. Also, enjoying good music while taking rapid shots with firearms can soothe your nerves.

Noise Reduction Rating of 26 dB: This two-way communication headset by Peltor has the NRR value of 26 dB, and it’s effective for many loud-noise operations. As a versatile device that protects, this hearing gear fits heavy equipment operators, hunters, and airport workers.

High-end Applications: The Tactical Pro’s 3-button touchpad is sensitive, and allows for easy control of volume after plugging the audio jack. It supports media, and radio connections.

Also, the device comes with Omni-directional cup microphones. These built-in microphones enhance a 360-degree ambient listening of sound.

Ergonomic Design: When the headband is worn, there’s much firearm clearance. This communication headset design offers minimum temple pressure. It’s ergonomically enhanced with durable materials like the liquid and gel-filled ear cushions.

Sound Clarity: Apart from dampening hazardous sound, this headset uses frequency response to amplify low-level sound. Also, this device supports clear, ambient sound and boosts voice recognition in noisy locations.


  • Dimensions: 6 x 4 x 4 inches
  • NRR Value: 26 dB
  • Power Source: Non-rechargeable AAA batteries
  • NRR: 20 dB
  • Brand/Model: 3M Peltor MT15H7F SV


  • Omni-directional cup microphones offer 360-degree ambient listening & voice recognition in noisy places
  • Ergonomically designed control knobs as a 3-button touchpad
  • Portable and foldable headband
  • Can be used with portable radios


  • No audio jack

Our Verdict

This device, equipped with a Noise Reduction Rating of 26 dB, offers safety against continuous gunfire sound. It’s a versatile device for outdoor enthusiasts that need a multipurpose headband.

This device isn’t only meant for shooters though. Airfield personnel, industrial workers, and individuals that are exposed to dangerous impulse noise can use this safety device as well.

Types of shooting ear protection

Types of shooting ear protection

Ear Plugs

They’re the most basic type of ear protection available. Earplugs work by restricting the access of sound waves from entering your ears. Usually, they’re made from foam and are commonly known as “foamies.”

Foam-made earplugs are compressed and twisted before you put them inside your ears. Once inserted, the foam expands and fills the ear canal, providing you with basic level ear protection.

Ear Muffs

They’re the most popular hearing protection option among shooters. Unlike a plug, earmuffs cover the whole area and provide slightly better protection. Almost every shooting range will offer you basic earmuffs.

However, it’s better to switch to electrical ear muffs because they’ll allow you to maintain verbal communication in-between your shots.

The muffs will kill the sound as soon as you shoot your bullet. Some of the best ear muffs for shooting are electric and will enhance other sounds except for the shooting noise, enabling you to talk or enjoy music while shooting.

Double Plugging

In case you need additional protection, you can also opt-in for the double plugging. It’s when you use either one of each or both types of ear protection at the same time. This method may not look pretty or feels super comfy, but it will protect your ears from deafening.

This approach is more seen in shooting with high-caliber weapons. Small firearms don’t require such a level of ear protection.

Passive Vs Active Shooting Earmuffs

So, what’s the difference between passive and active shooting earmuffs? Well, passive ear protection consists of basic earplugs and earmuffs.

They provide simple protection from all the sound around you, regardless of the intensity. Passive shooting protection doesn’t require any external power.

As a result, you’ll have a satisfactory level of noise cancellation, but it will also become hard to maintain verbal communication. You’ll most probably need to shout all the time.

Active shooting protection refers to electronic ear muffs. They don’t cancel all the noises out, but whenever you shoot, the sensor triggers a switch, killing the sound of the shooting in an instant.

That’s why you have no issues communicating verbally with the people around you in between your shots. One other cool aspect of the active shooting protection is that they turn into passive shooting protection once the battery is dead.

Benefits of shooting ear protection

It Kills The Gunshot Sound

Electronic earmuffs are created to cancel the sound of the shooting automatically if it crosses a certain limit, whereas the basic earplugs cancel all other sounds as well. As a result, it becomes hard to communicate with others if you have your earplugs on.

However, both types of ear protection do a good job of protecting your eardrums from tearing by the sound waves. Electronic earmuffs can shut down the sound within 0.1 secs of you pulling that trigger.

Improve the Sound Quality

Ear protection devices also improve the sound quality by filtering most of it. You’ll hear a wide range of new sounds once you put your electronic earmuffs on. You’ll even be able to hear the buzz of insects and confirm the source of that sound fairly easily.

Some earmuffs, however, will make your own voice vibrate through the protection and make you feel annoyed. That’s why you should check the earmuff thoroughly before buying.

Can be Used in Different Environments

It’s not that the earplugs and earmuffs are only made for shooters. There are a lot of jobs where you may need to constantly expose yourself to high-intensity sounds. For example, a miner will also need to protect his/her ears from the harsh sound of the digging instruments.

Both earplugs and earmuffs are designed to be used in any environment. As a result, these are becoming popular with a wide range of people every day.

Helps the Shooter to Calm Down and Focus

Once all the chatter and other distracting noises get muted, it becomes much easier to focus on the task at hand. Ear protection helps you to keep your focus undivided as no distracting sound can enter your ears and distract you.

They also help you to keep your heart healthy. Exposure to higher intensity sound can create a range of short and long-term complications. Wearing proper ear protection can prevent all that.

Easy and Convenient

Most ear protection devices are lightweight and compact in design. You can easily cart them whenever you go. They will fit nicely in your range bag or in the glove compartment in your car. Some of them are so tiny that they can fit within your palm or pocket.

Best Shooting Ear Protection Reviews – Buying Guide

Best Shooting Ear Protection Buying Guide

While handling a firearm for ranging or recreation purposes, it requires every sense of responsibility to use it. Gun safety protocols include the use of ear protectors. So, you should consider these conditions before buying earplugs and earmuffs.

1. Type

There are two basic categories of ear protection; electronic and passive. Both of these hearing gears can handle certain needs. Electronic hearing protectors are suitable for soldiers that handle firearms during training and combat.

Usually, electronic models with rechargeable batteries allow the wearer to hear ambient sound and enjoy the MP3 player. Other electronic models also have automatic noise-reducing mechanisms when sound exceeds a certain dB level.

Passive noise reducers only have basic features like muffs for protecting ears. These earmuffs are often foldable to make storage easy after enjoying the outdoors.

Usually, they offer little convenience while protecting your ears. Passive earmuffs are non-electronic, but they have ear-covering and non-attractive features. Regardless of the choice, the model should come with basic strength for specific decibel levels and give comfort during wear.

2. NNR

The NRR is a measurement for noise reduction efficiency of all ear protection devices. Rifles, handguns, and shotguns have suitable hearing protectors with different Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) values.

This rating helps you choose the right ear protector that can reduce surrounding decibels (dB) to a safe level. However, there’s no noise reducing device that guarantees 100% safety.

When sound is amplified, hearing aids can reduce their negative effects to below 40 dB. Usually, louder sound from guns requires a higher dB rating from hearing protectors. Otherwise, exposure to deafening sound will impact your eardrums negatively.

To enjoy the convenience factor, try to choose nose controlling devices with higher NRR. On the average, decent earplugs have NRR ratings of between 23-33dB, on average.

DB Caliber
134 22 LR Rifle
140 Jet engine’s take-off noise
155 25 Pistol
156 12-Gauge Shotgun
156 308 Rifle
156 44 Special Revolver
164 44 Magnum Revolver

3. Size and Fitting

According to gun experts, shooters can use double protection by wearing earplugs or earbuds before the earmuffs. Large size protective gear are easy to transport because they have portable storage cases. Fit and sizes are important because the wearer might be disorganized if the gear is too small.

The average noise reduction efficiency ratings are 50% and 70% for earplugs and earmuffs respectively. Ideally, the size of each muff should be convenient for long use.

There’s no need to purchase large ear muffs when you have very small ears. They might become too big to fit your ears and fail to work desirably against high decibels noise.

4. Material and Durability

Hearing enhancement and noise reducers are durable when they have strong materials. Generally, lightweight materials serve a longer period of usage and are ideal for outdoor use. These materials should offer higher resistance to the intensity of sunlight, and the effects of weather.

Also, materials with great resistance to sweat often have antimicrobial properties. So, a good pair of earmuffs must be durable if it’s worth your investment.

5. Appearance

Apart from the internal ergonomic cuff design, the external cover of headbands can attract buyers. Usually, thin-padded headbands appear cool in appearance even with built-in double-shell earmuffs. Their appearance might be stylish but doesn’t imply high-quality padding designs.

Instead of scaring animals by wearing noise reducers with bright colors, hunters can wear earplugs and earmuffs with camouflage covers.

You can also find other colors including pink, red, purple and white for women. Ensure that all features align with your purpose of firing a gun before buying the preferred product.

6. Comfort

Headbands are comfortable when they have adjustable and special features. They could come with advanced ear pad shapes and MP3s for listening to music while at the range.

You can use the stereo volume control (on each ear) to adjust sound and speak clearly with the mic despite the loud noise. Consider earmuffs with built-in double-shells of quality foams. They can reduce the accumulation of heat around your ears and enhance comfort.

7. Earmuffs vs. Earplugs

Earmuffs and earplugs help to avoid audio-related complications and hearing loss problems. Both devices can be worn during ranging, and firing competitions.

However, earplugs don’t interfere with your shoulder or the butt of guns when you aim to shoot. Usually, earplugs are designed with connective strings for free movements. Categories of this device include custom, electronic, disposable, and reusable shooter earplugs.

Earmuffs with higher NRR ratings offer better results against deafening sound. Our extensive buyer’s guide shows different earmuff products for users.

Many of today’s best earmuffs for shooting also have electronic noise-canceling functions that ensure military-grade performance when working beside loud machinery and sound from higher caliber ballistic firearms.

8. Additional Features

Some passive noise reducers have pivoting ear cups and flexible handles. Apart from handling the noise from shots, they are versatile and offer full protection during other tasks and help aim at the target precisely.

An electronic earmuff can activate the auto-shutoff mode after a period of being idle. Also, they can amplify low-level noises, and offer clear audio to wearers that enjoy built-in music players.

9. Your Budget

More expensive models claim to reduce the risk of auditory system damage. The price factor might decide your choice, but you can buy inexpensive models of noise reducers without sacrificing NRR ratings or quality.

When searching for the best shooting ear protection, choose what gives value for money. It’s wise to get what your budget can cover before settling for advanced models later.

When You Might Need Ear Protectors

The noise of gunfire can affect your hearing, and keep you deaf partially if you are lucky! Tactical headsets with high resistance for ultrasonic sound should be your favorite if you’re an avid shooter.

Usually, shooting and safety gears with filtered earplugs can handle 140-decibels (dB) from firearm calibers. The safe zone for humans is 85 dB, and it can lead to permanent hearing loss without using ear savers.

As gun enthusiasts, we always value the best ear muffs for shooting that’re rechargeable, offer connectivity, and have cool gadgets like MP3 or cell phone’s receiver options.

Globally, organizations like the American National Standards and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration encourage the use of muffs from gunshot noise.

Ear protection gears with higher ratings are available for hunters, rangers, and hobbyists. There are many military grade favorites like the electronic ear muffs with high-end features.

Understanding Noise Reduction Ratings (NRR)

Noise reduction devices have a noise reduction rating (NRR) value. It’s a way of protecting shooters from sound exposure to any environment. Decibels (dB) is a unit for measuring sound, and products with higher NRR rating are ideal.

Occupational and health certified noise reducers have NRR numbers to show their degree of reduction for very loud, moderate, and faint sound. Shooters and rangers choose their ear plugs from a list of devices that have reasonable NNR ratings and maintain the recommended decibels (dB) level.

Alternatively, you can conduct some research on sound after understanding how the rating system works. Firearms, rock concerts, and airplanes noise over 120 dB are painful, the noise can impart your hearing.

There are protectors for loud noise that are over 90 dB. Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) for vacuum cleaners and lawnmowers are often rated above 60 dB. Also, moderate noise at home or office have an NRR value of between 40 and 50 dB.

Tips on Protecting Your Ears When Shooting

It’s not enough to know how you can select cheap ear muffs without understanding how to use the device. Here are helpful tips of advice that can ensure your safety.

  • Avoid continuous exposure to noise that is over 140 dB. This level of hazardous noise can cause permanent ear damage.
  • Include noise controlling aids (earmuffs and earplugs) as part of your work[lace personal protective equipment
  • Maintain the safety culture of having disposable earplugs everywhere you go, and use the best shooting ear protection
  • Use smaller caliber rifles to hunt smaller games like birds, and single shot-firearms instead of lever-action guns.
  • When ranging or hunting with your group, avoid blasting sound from the rapid shots of firearms
  • Electronic earmuffs are preferable because they can filter and dampen sound automatically

Ear Protection Applications

Noise controlling devices are used in different sectors and situations. Generally, the aim here is to preserve mental and physical welfare. Here are common noisy environments where noise reduction devices are necessary.

1. Military

Usually, the military is the first sector that tests protective gear. These earpieces with new technologies often have electronic features.

The military protects soldiers; so, it’s essential to use high-quality gears. So, noise controlling aids are designed for use during combat or training with tanks and helicopters.

2. Gun Firing

Avid shooters and hunters use high-caliber weapons with deafening sound. Usually, electronic hearing protectors with noise-canceling features are ideal for shooters. You can use high-quality earmuffs, and decent ear plugs together if you are exposed to loud sound on range fields.

3. Recreation and Sports

Children love to play racing games and watch exciting movies in the cinema. So, the risk of damaging their eardrums is high when they don’t use a noise controlling device.

However, you can ensure they use cheap earplugs or electronic noise-canceling protectors while having fun. Also, clay pigeon shooting, skeet or trap shooting, field firing, and other similar recreational activities must be carried out with proper ear gear.

4. Industrial

Industrial noise pollution can cause discomfort and gradual loss of hearing when you avoid using protective devices.

However, it’s standard practice in the workplace that produces consistent noise above 50 dBs. The sound of tools and machinery of certain workplaces can be very loud, but electronic noise controlling devices can make a difference.

Wrapping It Up

Hopefully, you might have found some exciting features of ear wear from our review. Even after prolonged use, you should have the foresight of getting another product that will be durable and well fitted.

The Tactical 300 Electronic Hearing Protector by Peltor Sport is a decent earmuff for avid shooters. Its built-in Dynamic Suppression and 3M Smart technologies can optimize your gun firing experience.

Let modern technology make your outdoor events in noisy environments safe and sound. Arguably, this model is one of the most effective ear muffs.

There’s low-profile ear wear for beginners with low budgets. Buy the SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders Earplugs with filter caps. This military-grade tested pair will surely make you better at whatever you use your ear protection for.

Unlike regular low-quality brands of earplugs, the EP4 Sonic Defenders doesn’t give skin irritation after prolonged use.

Instead, these earplugs are made from hypoallergenic, medical-grade polymer materials. Alternatively, the EP4 Sonic Defenders Earplugs can be worn with ear muffs.

There’s no limit to using dual protection, earplugs can be custom molded or moldable with muffs. All features of the products that we’ve reviewed here are accurate and these products are compatible with rifles, shotguns, quality revolvers, and other firearms.

While confirming this information to be aligned with manufacturers’ claims, our experts also analyzed their disadvantages.

These products are some of the best shooting ear protections that can optimize the experience of outdoor enthusiasts. I trust that your buying decision will be swift and easy.

Additionally, after enjoying our top 10 hearing protection for shooting devices, I look forward to your feedback. Make sure that you get the best shooting ear protection!


Q: What is The Best Shooting Ear Protection?

Ans: Our research and rigorous field test data stand in favor of Howard Leight by Honeywell to be the ultimate ear protection during shooting sessions. You can also go for Peltor X-Series Over-the-Head Earmuffs if you want to chip in the budget.

Q: Do You Need Ear Protection for Shooting?

Ans: Yes, you need to protect your ear during shooting. It’s because most shootings emit noise higher than 85 dB. Any noise crossing that limit can cause severe damage to your eardrums and the brain if being exposed for long.

Q: Can You Shoot a 9mm Without Ear Protection?

Ans: 9mm creates enough noise to damage your hearing if you keep shooting without any hearing protection. You might not notice that in an instant, but the damage will take place gradually.

Q: Are Earplugs or Earmuffs Better for Shooting?

Ans: Earplugs fit inside the ear canal like the IEMs. Earmuffs are worn over the ear like over the ear headphones. Which one works for you usually depends on your ear structure, taste, and preference.

Q: Can You Hear With Ear Protection?

Ans: Yes. However, you’ll not feel the intensity of the sound as all the noises will get muffled. Additionally, less loud noises won’t be able to pass through the protection.

Q: How Long Can You Wear Ear Plugs?

Ans: The reusable ones can be used for 2-4 weeks. If you’re using a disposable one made from foam, it’s better to change the plug every 4-5 days. You can wash and reuse the disposable ones, but make sure the plugs are dried properly before putting them inside your ears.

About the author

Dan Goldsmith

Hi, this is Dan. We all know firearms are dangerous, but only when one doesn’t know how to use and care for them. I have 30+ years of experience with different types of guns and for the last 10 years, I have taught numerous people how to hold and shoot a gun while staying safe and keeping the surroundings unharmed.

My neighbors are some of my biggest admirers who enjoy talking to me about their guns, firearms safety and maintenance.

Whenever I am able to catch a moment of free time, you will find me enjoying my family or heading to the range on my motorcycle. I have enjoyed shooting sports ever since my dad introduced them to me as a child.

I like to think of myself as an outdoorsman who lives his life to the fullest. I hope you will benefit from my efforts to create valuable resources on this website. Happy reading!

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