How to select the best Shooting Earmuff?

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

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3M Peltor X-Series Over-the-Head Earmuffs, NRR 31 dB, One Size Fits Most, Black X5A (Pack of 1)
  • 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

 

Advantages:

  • 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

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Peltor Sport Earmuffs, Black, Small, 1/Pack
  • NRR 22dB
  • General purpose hearing protector sized for youth and smaller adults
  • Great for shooting, hunting or other sporting events

 

Disadvantages:

  • 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

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Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact Sport Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting Earmuff, Classic Green (R-01526)
  • 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

 

Advantages:

  • 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.

 

Disadvantages:

  • 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:

 

  1. 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

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Howard Leight by Honeywell Leightning L0F Folding Safety Earmuff (1013461)
  • 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

 

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

 

Conclusion

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.

How to select a Hunting Earplug?

Shooting is very popular, as is the sport of hunting. Despite the changes in gun laws in different countries across the world, firearms are still accessible to most for the purposes of sports or leisure and it is still possible to enjoy yourself when you go out shooting.

One of the prime concepts relating to the operation of any firearm is safety. Aside from general gun safety, there are a number of other factors that all firearm operators should remember before using any of their equipment is to cover their bases on safety for anyone in the vicinity or operating the firearm.

Those who aren’t entirely familiar with firearms may forget that amongst these safety requirements there is also the issue of ear protection, due to the extremely loud noises that can be produced by some of the more powerful weapons. But how do you select the best hunting earplugs?

Well, there are several things you should consider if you want to analyse it a bit more in depth, which will be described in detail further on.

 

How to buy the right hunting earplug?

Earplugs have a lot more diversity than most people would initially think, even those who have used them for a variety of related activities or work that may require them to be used.

In previous years they have been very simplistic foam designs that are made to fit in your ear and mainly as a “one size fits all”. However, these days there have been changes to the operational uses providing more than just visual changes but also performance ones.

Among the list of possible hunting earplugs that you may want to purchase include electronic earplugs, reusable shooting earplugs, foam earplugs, no-roll foam earplugs, do-it-yourself custom molded earplugs, professional lab custom molded earplugs, moldable silicone plugs and moldable wax earplugs.

Electronic earplugs provide multiple benefits including ear protection as well as situational awareness improvement. As one of the newest designs in hearing protection, these earplugs have the amazing ability to improve and adjust to the noises in your surrounding area whilst also providing automatic protection against sudden impact noises such as a gunshot.

An electronic earplug may be expensive such as the:

 

Etymotic Research GSP15 GunSport Pro Series High-Definition Electronic Earplugs Clear

Etymotic Research GSP15 GunSport Pro Series High-Definition Electronic Earplugs Clear
  • Designed for hunters, guides, and recreational, tactical and professional shooters
  • Dual-mode switch provides both hearing enhancement and blast protection
  • Hearing enhancement mode, which provides up to 5X amplification

 

Alongside this it can also adjust to gradual noise increases, ensuring that you only hear the softer and less harmful noises as opposed to the loud booming ones that could cause long-term damage. Almost like hearing aids, the added protection is great for stalking wild game and improving your strategy when going hunting.

Reusable earplugs are just as the name implies they can be used multiple times without fear of degradation. Unlike other more common earplugs, these are made out of a special plastic that is designed for continued use after cleaning. In some cases they can be slightly uncomfortable however they are still efficient at providing hearing protection. Check out:

 

3M Peltor Combat Arms Earplugs

3M Peltor Combat Arms Earplugs
  • Used by the military and NATO
  • Yellow end inserted - noise activated for instant protection against weapon noise
  • Olive end inserted - passive protection in constant noise - 22 dB

 

Foam earplugs are the most common types of earplugs available in almost any sporting goods store as well as the same type as the ones given on airplanes. They are simple, comfortable and very cheap. Don’t let this fool you, as they still provide some great hearing protection and will not annoy or irritate your ears as much as some do.

One of the only downsides is that they are created for one time use, hence the reason that is expected you will get rid of them when you’re done. Multiple uses of these earplugs can make them dirty and also deteriorate, impacting on the quality of the hearing protection they provide.

No roll earplugs are basically the same as foam earplugs except they are inserted into the ear a different way to the latter. Foam earplugs require you to compress them first and insert into your ear where they expand into place. Many people dislike this method and feel it is uncomfortable.

No roll earplugs do just as the name suggests; they do not require you to roll them up before inserting into your ears. A built-in central stem in the earplugs allows you to simply push them straight into your ears and they will slot into place. For the most part, they follow the same conventions of the foam ear plug being simple, sanitary, and effective at protecting your ears as well as inexpensive on the pocket. However, in a similar fashion they are also not reusable and require disposal after an extended period of use to prevent any issues arising.

Finally there is the selection of  molded earplugs that are custom designed to fit a person’s ear shape and size for maximum comfort. These links in with the moldable types of earplugs that are also designed for maximum comfortable and shaping within the users ears so that they can provide adequate hearing protection and be as uninstructive as possible. Try:

 

Radians Custom Molded Earplugs

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Radians Custom Molded Earplugs, Blue
  • Custom Molded Earplugs. Easy, do-it-yourself kit, molds in 10 minutes. Soft, Permanent, Custom Fit
  • Made in the USA

 

There are some downsides to these; for example, some need to be professionally created by a lab in order to get the most efficient use out of them, whilst others aren’t effective in hot water or hot weather environments as a result of the materials used to create them. For the most part, each is a viable choice for hearing protection and will provide valuable assets for any activity with loud noises, particularly in hunting.

 

Conclusion

For the most part, having any old earplugs will not be a sufficient method of preventing harm as a result of the loud noises by firearms. You should definitely take the time to investigate further and purchase a number of hunting earplugs or ear protector to ensure that you have backups that are up to the same standard as the ones you have identified as being essential to your firearm operation.

Firearms are not toys but tools and should always be treated with respect, but for the most part you should think of yourself before operating them as they can cause harm and the most important thing is to keep every person safe and out of harm’s way.

How to buy the best shooting earplug?

This modern day and age has a number of different activities that people participate in for fun and also sport, with the choices never ending in possibility. One such activity that is enjoyed by many is the sport of shooting, which can be done for recreationally, for hunting or even professionally.

Particularly in the United States, firearms are useful tools that provide a lot of uses and also entertainment. It is always crucially important to remember that these tools are also weapons and can be very dangerous at times, particularly in the hands of the wrong person.

Operation of any firearm always requires adequate protection, be it eye protection, reflective vests when you are out hunting in the wild or hearing protection. Finding the best shooting ear plugs can be a slight challenge, particularly when you want to find one that not only suits your style of shooting but also our preferences on design, use and price.

Regardless, purchasing shooting earplugs should be standard and you should never use any type of firearm without protecting yourself first.

 

How to choose the best shooting earplug?

Long gone are the days where the availability of hearing protection was limited to just a few selections. More and more places are becoming aware that these forms of accessories are very profitable and that they can cater to the wants and needs of the various hunters and shooters. As such, there are multiple types of shooting earplugs that have additional features, which can maximize your shooting potential.

 

Electronic Ear Plugs

Electronic ear plugs, reusable shooting ear plugs, foam ear plugs, no-roll ear plugs, do-it-yourself custom molded ear plugs, professional lab custom molded ear plugs, moldable silicone ear plugs and wax molded ear plugs are the variety of different ear plugs available for you to choose at your leisure, each with their own benefits that can be capitalized on.

The most advanced is the electronic earplugs, which are often touted as one of the best shooing earplugs because of their versatility and unique features. They are called electronic because they use special circuitry inside them to both enhance and protect your ears at the same time.

Some are quite expensive, like the:

 

Etymotic Research GSP15 GunSport Pro Series High-Definition Electronic Earplugs

Etymotic GunsportPRO Earplugs, Electronic Hearing Protection Designed for Hunters, Shooters and Gun Enthusiasts, 1 pair, Black
  • Blast protection for gun sport enthusiasts, professional shooters, guides and instructors, and hunters
  • Allows natural hearing when no background noise is present and gradually protect from loud noise from vehicles or machinery
  • At the flip of a switch sound is amplified, improving distance detection up to five times for enhanced awareness while at the same time protecting from blasts

 

These electronic earplugs have the ability to amplify and enhance ambient noise whilst also minimize the noise from loud impacts or gradually increasing noises such as a gunshot of loud work machinery, to enable you to hear important things whilst also block out loud noises that could cause damage.

In a scenario where you are hunting, you could theoretically be listening to the movements of an animal, following them through the brush of foliage before taking your shot, confident that the blast of the rifle will not deafen you.

 

Reusable Ear Plugs

Next is the reusable shooting earplugs, which are made of a different material than foam (mostly plastic-based). They work as intended, helping to minimize noise from gunshots whilst also being sanitary, relatively cheap and easy to apply.

They work in a similar fashion to the foam earplugs except they can be used multiple times with the right amount of cleaning to prevent dirtiness. Try:

 

Etymotic Research ER20 ETY-Plugs Hearing Protection Earplugs, Large Fit, Clear Stem with White Tip

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Etymotic Research ER20 High-Fidelity Earplugs (White with Clear Stem)
  • 1 pair Large Fit ETY Plugs with white tips, neck cord, and carrying case
  • Replicates the natural response of the ear, so sound quality is the same as the original, only quieter. Music and speech are clear, not muffled.
  • Reduces risk of hearing damage from loud noise such as concerts, theatres, airshows, parades, athletic and motorsports events.

 

Disposable Ear Plugs

As mentioned previously, there are foam earplugs. These earplugs are the cheapest and most common forms of earplugs. They do not provide any lesser quality in hearing protection nor are they uncomfortable.

The only downside to them is that they should only be used once, as they can pick up dirt and bacteria and you do not want to be placing that into your ears over multiple periods. Check out:

 

Hearos Earplugs, Xtreme Protection Series, 7 Count

Hearos Earplugs, Xtreme Protection Series, 7 Count
  • High 33 NRR
  • Designed for noise reduction, hearing protection
  • Great for sleep, study, travel, attending concerts, firearm use any loud noise

 

No roll foam earplugs are slightly more expensive than the foam earplugs and exactly the same in their use. They are cheap, efficient and meant for a one-time use only. The main different between these and the foam earplugs is a small plastic insert that allows you to simply push them into your ears as opposed to rolling like you would with foam earplug.

For some people, rolling foam earplugs before inserting is extremely annoying and uncomfortable, prompting the use of these no-roll plugs.

 

Customizable Molded Ear Plugs

If you are willing to go the extra effort for something more customized then you should consider the molded earplugs as your best shooting earplugs option. As the name suggest once again, these earplugs are not a generic shape or design and are created to suit the user. You can try the:

 

Radians CEP001-T Tan Custom Molded Earplugs

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Radians CEP001-T Tan Custom Molded Earplugs
  • Soft, permanent, custom fit
  • No mess
  • Simple, easy to follow instructions

 

Whether you decide on making them yourself or getting them custom created by a professional lab, you can be sure that the result will vary and that the finish product should be created by the mold of your ears to ensure both a comfortable insert and adequate protection.

One of the major benefits of this increase in comfort ensures that you can wear them for longer amounts of time, which is very useful in situations where you may be stalking your prey.

The moldable earplugs in either silicone or wax. Similar to the style previously mentioned, these ones will change shape and form every time you use them and can be used to keep your ears protected and also covered, usable outside of shooting.

 

Silicone Ear Plugs

Silicone earplugs are created with a material that cannot melt or over-soften when heated, making them a good choice for other tasks such as sleeping or general noise reduction. Wax earplugs do however suffer from melting in the heat, therefore eliminating tem from long term use especially in hot weather.

 

Conclusion

Regardless of what style of ear plug you choose you can be sure that these will give you adequate protection and that is all you can ask for when trying to find the best shooting earplugs available.

When you purchase your earplugs make sure to buy more than a few pairs to ensure that you always have them available and can accommodate for any situation that may arise. You can also use them to help others who may forget, fostering bonds and ensuring that everyone has both a fun and enjoyable time when out shooting.

How to buy the best Hunting Earmuff?

In order to provide protection to your ears from very loud gunshots that could cause permanent hear loss, it is important that you invest in good earmuffs that will provide ultimate protection against damaging noise.

Earmuffs are relatively cheap and come in a handful of styles, designs, and function. These muffs are very affordable and yet they are capable of saving you a lot of money in the long run by steering you away from expensive hear-loss medications and devices.

Before choosing the best hunting earmuff for you, make sure to get it according to your lifestyle. Take into consideration the frequency and duration of your hunts and the firearm you use. From this, determine the sound of each fire through frequency (from low to high sounds in hertz), duration (how long the sound lasts), and intensity (how soft or loud the sound is in decibels).

When you have determined that, you can easily find the right hunting earmuff for you as the maximum decibel protection it can provide can be easily found in the packaging.

 

What is the best hunting earmuff to choose?

There are basically two types of hunting earmuffs: The passive and electronic.

Passive Earmuff: Also known as “clamshell” ear protectors that look like normal headphones or stereo phones. Many hunters find this type more comfortable than in-ear plugs because it doesn’t meddle with the insides of your ear. It merely covers it effectively with oversized padded material.

These are the usual ear protection chosen by hunters and shooters because of its ease of use; these are non-electric and therefore don’t require batteries and are suited to a wide range of general noise protection applications. One of the best-rated earmuffs on Amazon is the:

 

3M Peltor H10A Optime 105 Earmuff

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3M Peltor Optime 105 Over the Head Earmuff, Ear Protectors, Hearing Protection, NRR 30 dB
  • Noise Reduction Rating of 30dB
  • Superior comfort, fit, and hearing protection
  • Patented twin-cup design

 

The cheaper types of earmuffs have a foam ear cushion while some models have liquid filled ear cushion for cooler feeling when worn. Whatever you choose, both can give a good seal, protecting your ears against noise.

For added protection, you may choose to wear earplugs underneath your earmuff, only if this is comfortable with you. Good disposable earplugs to you are the:

 

Hearos Ultimate Softness Series Foam Earplugs

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HEAROS Ultimate Softness Series Ear Plugs, Beige, 56 Pair
  • 56 pair per box
  • High NRR 32. Most foam ear plugs range from 29 decibels to 33 decibels.
  • Super soft, beige foam ear plugs for hearing protection and noise reduction. New EZ Grip design!

 

Even your trusty mutt can be protected as well! You can purchase Mutt muffs for your dog so your hunting companion may be protected from the noise too.

Most earmuff models have noise reduction ratings from 22 dB to 29 dB. The only downside of this type of hearing protection is that you won’t be able to hear anything at all, even conversations or movement of game. If you want to hear and at the same time keep protection, check out the next type, the electronic earmuff.

Electronic Earmuff: These are the best solution to the hearing protection needs of the shooter, as it can protect it from loud harmful sound effectively while still being able to hear other sounds such as conversation, footsteps, and game movement. It is equipped with a small microphone in each muff picks up the external sounds, which are amplified and fed to a small speaker in each muff.

It has a master volume equipped for the user to adjust the volume of the speaker. When a dangerously loud sound is detected by the electronics, the speakers to the ears are deactivated until the noise reaches a safe level again. Get something like the:

 

Howard Leight R-01526 Impact Sport Electronic Earmuff

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Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact Sport Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting Earmuff, Classic Green (R-01526)
  • 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

 

The electronic earmuff is capable of blocking loud sound as high as 80-90 dB. It enhances the whole hunting experience because it lets you hear normally while protecting your ears from loud sounds; sometimes it even lets you hear louder than normal.

The enhancement makes it possible for you to hear everything and talk in normal tones. The best ones come in two or four microphones for maximum coverage and are typically powered by common AAA or 9-volt batteries, although some models use rechargeable batteries.

Prices for electronic earmuffs depend on the materials used and the brand. It can be as low as $50 or as high as $300 (usually for high-end aviation headsets). The criteria for selection is the same as your normal earmuffs, it should depend on comfort, fit, durability, and Noise Reduction Rating. It might be worth investing on something like the:

 

3M Peltor SV Tactical Pro Hearing Protector

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3M Peltor TacticalPro Communications Headset MT15H7F SV, Hearing Protection, Ear Protection, NRR 26 dB Excellent for heavy equipment operators, airport workers, shooting and industrial workers
  • Amplifies low-level sounds while suppressing dangerous impulse noises
  • Protects hearing with a Noise Reduction Rating of 26 dB
  • Offers clear, ambient sound and voice recognition in noisy environments

 

For additional protection, some hunters recommend the use of a suppressor on the firearm. These are more expensive than muffs but can provide at least 35 dB sound reduction, which can be an additional help.

 

What is the acceptable decibel?

To give you an idea about decibels, what’s normal and what’s harmful, a normal conversation occurs at 60 dB, lawn mowers run at 90 dB, a jet engine at 140 dB. A gunshot is reported to be at 140 dB or more. With constant exposure to loud sounds 90 or above, you are prone to having hear loss overtime. Not only that, hear loss is often accompanied by tinnitus (ringing, hissing or humming in the ears), which can be greatly discomforting.

The decibel of a gunshot also depends on the type of gun used. The loudest among the commonly used firearms in hunting is the 44-revolver at 170 dB, the M-16 at 160 dB, and the lowest .22 rifle at 145 dB. Therefore, shooters and hunters are exposed to some of the loudest, most dangerous noises anywhere in the world.

To tag the ability of a muff to protect you against noise, there is the so-called Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) that can be found in the packaging of muffs. You can choose the right one for you, depending on preferences and extent of protection. The NRR is the hearing protection rating method used in the U.S. The current range of NRRs available in the U.S. market extends from 0 to 33 decibels.

 

Conclusion

Protecting your hearing can be obtained easily so you shouldn’t gamble it, as the consequences are much greater compared to getting a $30-worth hunting earmuff. If budget is really your concern, you can even get it as low as below $10. Protecting your ears from permanent hearing loss is not very expensive, most especially if you’re a seasoned hunter who is always exposed to loud, damaging sounds.