If you love taking trips to the shooting range or have periodic hunts, you need to invest in a good pair of earmuffs that will protect your ears against the harmful noise of gunshots. There are a lot of choices for earmuffs in the market, which will leave you stunned on what shooting earmuff to pick.
To help you decide, this article includes the different types of shooting earmuffs and the factors you should consider before purchasing one.
What are the two types of shooting earmuffs?
There are basically two types of earmuffs. One is passive and the other is electronic. Both function well as a shooting earmuff but they have their own perks, advantages, and disadvantages.
Passive Earmuff: Passive earmuffs are your usual, no-nonsense hearing protection that can be worn not only in shooting ranges and hunting but also when doing chores that involve noise or staying in environments where loud machines run 24/7. Earmuffs like this are effective against noise, while maintaining its affordable price.
A good product to try is the:
3M Peltor X-Series Over-the-Head Earmuffs
- Over-the-head hearing protection with Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 31 dB
- 3M's highest attenuation (noise reduction) earmuffs for very high noise exposures
- Twin headband design helps reduce heat buildup with good fit and balance
- It has a very wide selection and many companies produce these earmuffs so you can be confident that you’ll get the right one for you.
- Lightweight and handy. Most of the materials used for earmuffs are of durable quality that is lightweight. The majority of the design is also foldable so you can easily squeeze it into your range bag without worrying about it getting deformed.
- It is affordable. This is probably one of the main reasons why avid shooters pick this. It is pretty inexpensive and you can get a really good quality one that will last you years of use for a little over 20 bucks.
- There are sizes for everyone. You don’t have to worry if you think you have a big or a small head, as they are telescopic and easily adjustable. There are also ones made for kids such as the:
3M Peltor Junior Earmuff, Black
- NRR 22dB
- General purpose hearing protector sized for youth and smaller adults
- Great for shooting, hunting or other sporting events
- May be uncomfortable to wear especially if the foam cup is made of low quality material. Most earmuff sold in the market aren’t hypoallergenic.
- Completely blocks noise so you won’t be able to hear anything except faint sounds of noise over 85 decibels. Meaning, voices, movements, and ambient noise are all muted.
Electronic Earmuff: Electronic earmuffs are your go-to especially if you are out hunting game in the middle of the wild. This is because it doubles as a protection and as a hearing enhancement. The purpose of these earmuffs is doubled, which makes it a great buddy.
A top-rated electronic pair of earmuffs that is worth checking is the:
Howard Leight R-01526 Impact Sport Electronic Earmuff
- Built-in directional microphones amplify range commands and other ambient sounds to a safe 82 dB, providing more natural listening and enhanced communication
- Actively listens and automatically shuts off amplification when ambient sound reaches 82 dB; Noise Reduction Rating (NRR): 22
- Features low profile earcups for firearm stock clearance; adjustable headband for secure fit; compact folding design for convenient storage; classic green color
- It has built-in microphones that capture sound levels below 85 decibels so it’s as if you retain your normal hearing, but with improved clarity.
- You are allowed to converse while wearing this without having to take it on and off your head because it captures low-level sounds such as voices, footsteps, etc.
- It is effective at shutting down noise over 85 decibels, even simultaneous ones because of its automatic receptor.
- Because it has built-in microphone and a bit of electronics inside, it is naturally heavier than your passive earmuffs. It may put a bit of weight on the top of your head if worn for long periods.
- More expensive that earmuffs. Whatever you are paying for your passive earmuffs, double or triple that to get an idea of how much electronic earmuffs cost.
- Doesn’t have sizes for everyone. Although it is designed to have adjustable and telescopic straps, it isn’t made to suit everyone’s head. There are very few choices and may only fit comfortably on a selected few.
What are the factors to consider when getting shooting earmuffs?
After you have picked between passive or electronic earmuff, read on to know what to look for in the best shooting earmuff:
- Portability: You want to get something that you can take anywhere without worrying about it getting deformed, especially if you are packing light. Find something that can be easily folded and stored in your range bag, such as the:
Howard Leight by Honeywell 1013461 Leightning L0F Folding Earmuff
- Patented Air Flow Control technology reduces sound across all frequencies without increasing earcup size or weight; includes multiple attenuation levels
- Convenient folding design for easy storage; padded with soft foam for long-wearing comfort
- Ultraslim earcups ideal for low noise levels; snap-in ear cushions for easy maintenance and replacement
- Comfort: The best shooting earmuff must be comfortable to wear even after prolonged periods. You want something that won’t bother while you are concentrating on your target; it must be light enough to not put pressure on your head and small enough so it won’t interfere when you aim using a rifle.
- Noise Reduction Rating: This is probably what most users look for when buying their shooting earmuff. You want something that isn’t only good for looks and comfort, you want to get earmuffs that are capable of protecting your ears against damaging noise. Most NRR range from 20 to 30.
- Materials Used: Get something that is made with durable materials that can withstand prolonged periods of wear that can easily resist sweat, cold, and heat. Cheaper materials will cause the covering/coating of the muffs to peel and it won’t look nice.
- Usage: How often do you plan to use your earmuffs? If you’re going to use it on a daily basis, splurge something on a high-quality pair of muffs. But if you’re going to use it only on occasion, you don’t have to buy top-notch ones.
Earmuffs are an affordable way of protecting your hearing. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars for muffs because there are good high-quality ones that are below that price range. You can even get ones that are around $20 for passive earmuffs and $40 for electronic muffs. Your choice depends on your needs.