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Best Shooting Ear Protection: Stay Safe at the Range

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When you’re planning on doing some shooting, one of the most important protection items you should have with you are ear plugs.

Discover the importance of investing in the best shooting ear protection to ensure safety and maintain your hearing health during your shooting experiences.

5 Best Shooting Ear Protection Reviewed

We’ll cover the various types of protection in more detail below, here are our top picks:

1. Winner: 3M Shooting Ear Protection

Sale
3M Shooting Ear Protection
2,245 Reviews
3M Shooting Ear Protection
  • Included Components: 3M Ocs1135 Ear Soft Yellow Neons,...

The most basic form of ear protection is disposable foam ear plugs. Foam ear plugs help to muffle any sounds that occur.

While these plugs can work at a gun range, they can make it difficult to hear noises that are not guns.

When you’re visiting a gun range, there may be an employee that lets range users know when to cease fire, when the range is hot or cold, or when there is an issue.

There are some pros and cons to keep in mind when choosing foam ear plugs.

Because they are disposable, foam ear plugs are typically very inexpensive, but misuse can prevent them from offering the protection you need.

It is easy to insert foam ear plugs incorrectly, which reduces the protection they should provide.

Pros

  • Soft, pliable foam offers comfort for wearing over an extended period of time.
  • Low-pressure foam makes plugs less noticeable.
  • Earplugs are easy to roll down for quick and easy insertions.
  • A poly bag keeps each pair of earplugs clean before use.
  • Regular size fits most earcanals.

Con

  • Universal size

Product Information

  • Limited 1-year warranty
  • CSA certified
  • Secure fit
  • Style: Earplug
  • Material: soft, pliable foam
  • Sound Level: 33 dB

2. Runner-Up: Black Bullet Shooting Ear Protection

Reusable foam plugs are an improvement over disposable foam ear plugs.

Reusable foam ear plugs provide you with ear protection that you don’t have to throw away after a day of shooting.

Reusable ear plugs tend to be slightly more costly than disposable plugs, but they are still considered inexpensive compared to other options for ear protection.

People consider reusable ear plugs to be a more cost-effective option due to their ease of wear and insertion.

When considering reusable foam ear plugs, you should also consider the fact that they are pre-formed, which means that they may not feel as comfortable as disposable plugs.

You will also need to clean the plugs after each use to prevent ear infections.

Pros

  • Noise-canceling filter
  • Triple-ribbed design
  • 21DB NRR rating
  • Optional extension
  • Waterproof case

Con

  • Some reports say they’re not for shooting.

Product Information

  • Highest safety standards
  • Unaparalleled comfort
  • Quality construction
  • Style: Earplug
  • Material: Silicone
  • Sound Level: 21 dB

3. Best Custom-Molded: Decibullz Shooting Ear Protection

Decibullz Shooting Ear Protection
22,053 Reviews
Decibullz Shooting Ear Protection
  • CUSTOM MOLDED EARPLUGS: Easily and quickly fitted to the...
  • EASY SHAPE SYSTEM: Simply heat the Decibullz thermoplastic...
  • PERFECT FOR ANY SITUATION: Decibullz are perfect for...

Custom-molded ear plugs are the next step up the food chain of hearing protection at the range.

In order to properly seal off your hearing canal, these reusable plugs are actually custom-molded to fit your ear.

Custom-molded plugs are superior to regular reusable ear plugs in that they are tailored to you and your ears’ shape.

Generic plugs can chafe and be uncomfortable to wear, but a custom set can fit so well that you don’t even feel you are wearing them.

The price of these custom plugs is obviously higher than standard reusable plugs, but if you are going to spend a lot of time at the range, they are definitely worth it.

Pros

  • Impulse protection
  • No batteries
  • Custom comfort
  • Ideal for everyday use
  • 1-Year Limited Manufacturer’s Warranty

Con

  • Terrible quality control

Product Information

  • Premium hard case
  • The kit includes multiple tip types for optimal performance.
  • The molding process allows lots of time to get it right.
  • Style: Earplug
  • Material: Silicone
  • Sound Level: 31 dB

4. Best Earmuffs: Howard Leight Shooting Ear Protection

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Howard Leight Shooting Ear Protection
39,580 Reviews
Howard Leight Shooting Ear Protection
  • Built-in directional microphones amplify range commands and...
  • Actively listens and automatically shuts off amplification...
  • Features low profile earcups for firearm stock clearance;...

If ear plugs aren’t your thing, shooting earmuffs are another popular option for ear protection.

Earmuffs are not inserted in the ear. To provide protection, they surround the ear.

Earmuffs are easier to put on compared to ear plugs. They can be excellent at canceling out gun noises without canceling out regular noises.

For good suggestions on which ones to buy, check out our list of the best electronic hearing protection for hunting.

They also come with a few drawbacks. Earmuffs take up much more space than ear plugs. During warmer-weather outings, they may make you feel hot.

They can also be difficult to pair with protective glasses, depending on the shape.

Pros

  • It provides hearing protection and amplification of safe sounds.
  • Directionally placed microphones enable natural stereo sound.
  • It helps workers stay safely aware of their surroundings.
  • They reduce harmful impact noises to a safe 82 dB.
  • A comfortable fit is provided by a newly designed “textile” headband.

Con

  • Volume control

Product Information

  • Blocks hazardous noise
  • Amplifies ambient noise up to 4x
  • Air Flow Control Technology
  • Style: Earplug
  • Material: soft, pliable foam
  • Sound Level: 33 dB

5. Best for Hunting: Walker’s Electronic Shooting Ear Protection

Sale
Walker's Electronic Shooting Ear Protection
  • FIREMAX MUFFS - Protect your ears while at the range or the...
  • RECHARGEABLE BATTERY - The digital platform includes four...
  • 4 FREQUENCY MODES - The Universal and Power Boost modes...

The sound on this headset, with full-dynamic-range high-definition speakers, is superior to any other in this price range.

Even though these muffs have a very high noise reduction rating of 23 dB, their omnidirectional microphones, which quickly bring sound to your ear with just a.02 second delay, make it easy to hear what’s going on outside the muffs.

Standard on this model is the ridged on/off volume control, which makes it easy to adjust even when wearing gloves.

Also included is an audio input jack that allows you to listen to music. AAA batteries power this headset, ensuring a long battery life.

The Razor Slim Electronic Muff by Walker is another highly rated hearing protection unit. With an average of 4.5 stars over almost 1,000 reviews, this is obviously a well-liked product.

People who purchased these had things to say, such as “they are fantastic!” and “they did not disappoint.” The Walker’s Razor Slim Electronic Muff is a great product, although the slightly more expensive price is something to consider.

Pros

  • Ultra-low-profile ear cups
  • 2-hi gain omni-directional microphones
  • Noise reduction rating: 23
  • Full-dynamic-range HD speakers ensure clear, balanced sound.
  • Low noise/frequency is tuned for natural sound clarity.

Con

  • Mono mics

Product Information

  • Recessed volume control knobs
  • Comfort headband with metal wire frame
  • Material: plastic, with ultra-thin rubberized cups
  • Power Source: Batteries
  • Sound Level: 23 dB
  • Battery life: 300 hours.

FAQs

hearing protection

What ear protection is best for shooting?

A combination of earplugs and earmuffs is considered to be the best and most effective way to protect your hearing while shooting. Every gun range differs a bit, and some simply echo more than others. The last thing you want to do is damage your hearing.

If you had to choose just one, earplugs would be the way to go. They have a thicker layer of protection that’s directly in your ear canal, absorbing noise shock. Earmuffs can still vibrate since they aren’t made 100% out of foam. The foam definitely helps with muffling the sound.

Are earplugs or earmuffs better for shooting?

It all depends on your range. Are you in a stuffy, indoor concrete shooting range? You’re going to want to get earplugs. Are you planning to use earplugs on a private shooting range, similar to the ones used for police training?

Earmuffs will do just fine there. Indoor ranges have walls, and no matter how much soundproofing they layer them with, the harsh sound of gunfire will reverberate back, even if it’s just a little bit. Ear plugs do the trick in this situation.

But outdoors, most of that sound travels outward and away from where you’re standing. Earmuffs are enough to withstand the immediate noise from the bullet’s explosion in your hands.

How loud is a gun with ear protection?

Let’s say, just for the sake of this example, that you’re shooting a 9mm pistol at a firing range. Not exactly a huge stretch, right? Well, that gun is going to give off just shy of 160 dB worth of volume.

That’s decibels, the measurement of sound. For some context, 60 dB is the volume of a normal conversation between two people using their normal voices. That’s not going to damage your hearing, obviously. However, 100 dB is all it takes to cause permanent hearing damage over a long period of time.

The sound of nearby thunder, or 120 dB, can cause immediate and permanent hearing damage. 160 for a simple pistol is pretty harsh when you put it this way.

What is NRR in shooting?

The Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) system measures the noise reduction potential of ear plugs and other protective equipment. It’s a bit tricky, but basically, it scales from 0 to 33, with 33 being the most protective rating possible at this time.

There is a simple formula to determine the decibels of sound you will encounter. The formula is NRR – 7 % 2 = the total dB you will encounter. A rating of 33 NRR means that in most scenarios, if you subtract seven and then divide, you’ll only be exposed to 12.5 dB worth of sound.

That’s enough to muffle gunshots, and it only accounts for 25% of the total volume of a normal conversation between two people.

Wrap-Up

The most important thing to remember is that choosing the best shooting ear protection when using guns is a very important task that shouldn’t be done in a rush.

Finding your perfect ear protection match can protect you from hearing loss, allow you to feel comfortable while shooting, and give you peace of mind.

Take some time to consider your options, try out a few different types, and choose the best type of ear protection that meets your needs.