Hearing protection is needed in order to prevent ear damage while shooting, hunting and dealing with heavy industrial machinery. However you still have to be capable of communicating properly with people around you even if you are wearing a good pair of ear protectors.
When hunting, you also have to hear the slightest footsteps of prey close by. Hence it is best to acquire the best ear protection for shooting and hunting so you can go ahead with your pursuits minus any hassle.
Hunting and shooting differ when it comes to gunfire. With target practice, you can expect fast, continuous firing and this requires protection with complete coverage.
Long guns and rifles might not be as noisy and loud as handguns, but they are still loud enough to induce hearing damage. Hunters also need to utilize their senses so choosing a pair of ear protectors for such a pursuit is a bit of a challenge.
Some people think that with hunting, because you are only required to fire sporadically, you do not need any protection at all. However, just a casual hunt has the possibility to induce hearing damage that can be permanent.
Knowing more about the condition and the reasons why ear protectors were first designed and made can help you safeguard your hearing while doing target practice or hunting. Regardless of whether you want to hone your skills in target shooting or hunting, you still need a good pair of ear protectors.
What is Ear Protection?
The sounds that we encounter every day are measured by means of decibels or dB. Common human speech or conversations clock in at 60 dB while vehicle engines have decibels spanning from 70 to 90.
Sounds that go over the 100 dB mark can induce hearing damage eventually while a single abrupt occurrence of a loud noise clocking in over 140 dB can lead to permanent damage.
Because gunshots go beyond safe volume levels, it is important that people make use of protection each time they handle weapons. Ear protection must be considered as an essential part of standard gun safety practices.
There are hearing protectors that perform better compared to others for hunting and shooting. A good choice for customers relies on their preferences, needs and budget.
NRR or noise reduction rating is the hearing protection rating that is used in the USA. The NRR range spans from 0 to 33 dBs. The NRR comes from a calculation that starts with reduction tests from 10 lab subjects throughout a span of frequencies.
Two common deviations are considered to interpret separate user distinction and a number of corrections and dampeners are also integrated to make the NRR more accurate for a broader selection of noises.
The NRR is the most consistent method utilized for defining a hearing protector’s ability to reduce sound in a single number. It approximates the amount of protection attainable by 98 percent of users in a lab study when ear protectors are fitted correctly. A higher NRR means the hearing protectors offer better hearing protection.
When looking for the best ear protection for shooting, you have to examine the NRR of the product. Hearing protection units are rated based on the decibels the unit will attenuate for the user.
When wearing this kind of protection, loud noises are reduced to safe levels. An NRR of 25 or above is ideal for standard use. It is also good to remember that real NRR can be as little as half of the NRR given by the manufacturer since the ratings were acquired under flawless laboratory conditions.
Kinds of Hearing Protection
Here are some of the most common hearing protectors being sold in the market today.
Passive hearing protection
This type is composed of ear muffs that feature a cup which covers the whole ear. The muffs are typically fastened by means of a headpiece or headband. These ear muffs don’t contain any electronic sound blocking unit.
The ear muff design is good since it features a cup that includes a seal which safeguards the whole ear from noise as opposed to ear plugs, which only slightly protect the ear canal. The majority of ear muffs feature the ability to be adjusted though the more affordable ones might not include this.
Electronic hearing protection
The electronic kind uses the ear muff design and includes electronic technology which dampens the noise down to a safe level. The whole sound dampening procedure happens fast since the suppressed sound is conveyed to the user in an instant.
One advantage of the electronic type is that it uses microphones so you can hear anything that is happening around you. In lots of settings like ranges, hunting or training, electronic hearing protection is beneficial.
Because of the technology required though, electronic hearing protection is pricier compared to ear plugs and standard ear muffs.
Several high-end electronic units might feature other technologies as well like individual volume controls for every side of the muffs, improved adjustability features, a battery saving design to save the battery from getting drained and ambient sound amplification.
Ambient sound amplification is a huge advantage for hunters since it boosts noise to a level that is higher than the human ear would normally hear it. The magnified sound is dampened in an instant whenever a shot is fired.
Passive ear plugs
These items are soft plugs which are made from a plastic material or a type of foam. The plugs are positioned in the opening of the ear and function to reduce loud sounds that the ear is subjected to.
They are regarded as passive items because they don’t make use of electronic units that block out the sound. Ear plugs are the most affordable type of hearing protection, but they are not always the most effective.
Plugs do help but they will not provide you with the same level of protection that ear muffs will.
How to Use Hearing Protection
It is said that ear muffs are the best item to use for hearing protection. Ear muffs provide great protection if the cups have a good fit and are adjusted in the correct manner.
The ears must be entirely covered by the muffs. Here are more tips on proper usage of the product.
Make sure to adjust the cups up or down to cover the headband in a secure manner at the crown of the head. Better performance of the product will be acquired whenever the cushions create a secure, tight seal next to the head of the user.
Testing the unit
Make sure to test the fit of the muffs. In noisier settings, users must position the palms of their hands on both cups and drive the cushions in the direction of the head and let go.
The user must not become aware of a huge variance in the level of noise. If the noise appears to drop whenever the user presses on the cups, the earmuffs are not fitted in a correct manner.
Check item for signs of wear
Inspect the item for indications of wear and tear. Maintenance is key in guaranteeing that the item will last for a long time and provide you with excellent service. If the cushions feel hard and their quality wanes, they should be changed as soon as possible.
The best ear protection for shooting will not provide you its benefits if you do not utilize it properly and frequently every time you shoot or hunt. Promise to yourself that you are going to commit to using the item regularly and look for a quality product, the best that your money can buy.
Use it every time you do target practice or track down game. Ear protection must be a crucial concern, in the same manner that you care for your beloved weapons.
Safeguarding the health of your ears at this time guarantees that you will still be capable of hearing restrained sounds and understanding conversations among people around you while hunting or shooting. It will make the condition of your hearing stable for years to come.
5 Suggested Ear Protectors
You now know what types of hearing protectors are available on the market and understand how to use them properly. It is now time for some recommendations from satisfied customers.
Here is a small list of products to consider while shopping for the best hearing protection.
Howard Leight Impact Sport OD Electric Earmuffs
Howard Leight’s Impact Sport OD electric earmuffs provide excellent hearing protection and make louder activities like shooting and hunting safer for their users. This protection is enhanced by the unit’s ability to provide amplification that is free from distortion up to a safe level of 82 decibels for crucial low-level sounds such as conversations and range commands.
They ear muffs are made to be utilized at shooting ranges or outdoors. This model also provides low-profile ear cups that will not hamper users when aiming at targets.
The unit comes with a cushioned headband to make wearing the earmuffs more comfortable, plus it has telescopes to guarantee a customized, secure fit. It comes with an external audio jack as well which allows the earmuffs to serve as stereo headphones when linked up to audio sources like MP3 players.
- Convenient battery storage compartment
- Package comes with 2 AAA batteries
- Practical automatic shutoff feature to save battery life
- Comes with directional microphones that produce and improves natural sounds
- AUX input for matching signals
- Audio reduction could be improved on
Walker’s Game Ear Razor Slim Electronic Muff
If you want to spend longer hours at the shooting range or want to hone your skills by doing more practice, then you have to invest in a good pair of ear muffs. A good product you can try out is the Walker’s Game Ear Razor Slim Electronic Muff. It has a 23 NRR with sound activated compression (SAC) of 0.02 seconds.
The SAC is in fact a distinctive feature that works to muffle louder noises like gunfire. What the unit does is to block the noise off, which then protects the user’s hearing.
You will still be able to hear standard commands and conversations while at the same time protecting your hearing.
The unit also comes with 2 omnidirectional microphones plus a single-knob volume control. Its headband comes with a metal wire frame and low ear cups for comfort so you can wear the muff for hours on end just sharpening your skills at the range.
- Longer battery life
- Gives excellent hearing protection
- Normal communication is clear and easy to perceive
- Recommended for bigger ranges
- Regular headphone jack for phone calls and music
- Not really omnidirectional
- Will not fit standard ACH helmets
- Will not suit glasses with thicker frames
ClearArmor 141001 Shooters Hearing Protection Safety Ear Muffs
The ClearArmor 141001 Shooters Hearing Protection Safety Ear Muffs come in an excellent modern black design and the company combines this sleek design with excellent sound protection.
These ear muffs have the highest dB available in the market right now at 34 dB. This is the biggest advantage of this product: its higher NRR rating gives it an edge over other ear muffs being sold right now.
This is a nice item to have if you are concerned about sound protection and ear safety.
While the ear muffs are large and bulky, the unit is adjustable to provide different users their own customized fit. The ear muffs can also be folded into a more compact and portable size for easy storage and hassle-free transport.
The durable construction and quality materials that make up this great pair of hearing protection ear muffs make them even better value for money. If you want total hearing protection without any hassle, you should try out this pair.
- High 34 dB NRR
- Hardwearing, quality build
- Ear cups turn for a better fit and comfort
- ANSI S3.19 and CE EN521 tried and certified
- Padded headband
- Fit is too tight
- Not recommended for people with bigger heads
- Bulky size
Pro For Sho 34dB Shooting Ear Protection
Shooting can do a number on your heating and because of this shooters and hunters must prioritize safety above all to prevent eventual loss of hearing. By using hearing protection, you can help prevent said damage.
Ears are one of the most crucial body parts that humans have so they need proper TLC.
The Pro For Sho 34dB Shooting Ear Protection is produced from the best materials available and is designed to accommodate the restrictions of the majority of bigger ear muffs in the industry.
This particular unit is lightweight and portable for better comfort while in use. It has a portable design which makes the ear muffs a cinch to be carried wherever you go. These ear muffs are recommended for individuals working in construction sites, people operating heavy machinery, shooters and hunters.
The ear muffs come with a portable and sturdy design and 34 dB NRR protection. They also include a padded headband for comfort so users can wear them for a longer period of time.
- Comfortable for average-sized heads
- Portable and lightweight
- Sturdy design
- 34 dB NRR
- Can be worn over safety goggles
- Not ideal for bigger heads
Decibel Defense Professional Safety Ear Muffs
The Decibel Defense Professional Safety Ear Muffs have a noise reduction rating which clocks in as high as 37 decibels. They have a foldable, lightweight design which means you can easily carry them with you while traveling.
They are ideal for shooting ranges, construction work and dealing with industrial machinery.
These ear muffs come with a cushioned, smooth headband with fabric stitching for longer-lasting comfort and sturdiness. These are great ear protectors with a comfortable padding and excellent noise reduction capabilities.
If you are concerned about getting a good noise reduction rating, this product is for you. A lot of customers recommend these ear muffs and we are happy to say this product delivers like it should.
- Convenient folding design
- Can adjust to a good variety of head sizes
- Comfortable padding
- Excellent noise reduction ability
- Ideal for shooting and construction work
- Might not be ideal for hotter locations
The best ear protection for shooting is something you have to invest in, especially if you regularly go hunting or would love to hone your skills in target shooting. Make a point of using these items each time you shoot to better protect your hearing.
You will enjoy shooting more if you still have good hearing. Look for a great pair of ear protectors that will suit your preferences and the activities you are into.