Whether you’re using an indoor range or your own practice range outside, one thing that is essential is a good pair of ear muffs or ear plugs to protect your ears from the loud noise from firing your gun. Having hearing protection when shooting is a bit more important when you’re at indoor range since it is an enclose space where other people are shooting at the same time.
So, if you’re looking for a good solution to prevent that ringing in your ears or just protect your hearing in the future, then let us help you out. Below we’ll share some of our favorite options for the best ear protection for an indoor shooting range as well as outdoor shooting, such as for hunting or target practice shooting. We’ll also give you some tips on how to shop for protection on your own, if you prefer to do that instead of choosing one of our recommended products.
- Top 10 Best Shooting Earmuffs & Earplugs for the Money (2019)
- Benefits To Having Your Own Shooting Ear Protection
- Shooting Earplugs vs Earmuffs – Which Is Better?
- Best Shooting Ear Plugs
- Best Shooting Ear Muffs and Headphones
- Features And Other Considerations
Top 10 Best Shooting Earmuffs & Earplugs for the Money (2019)This page contains some affiliate links and TacticalSmarts.com may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on the links.
|PRODUCT:||NRR RATING:||TYPE:||BUY AT:|
|Pro For Sho 34dB Shooting Ear Protection||34dB||ear muffs||Amazon|
|Howard Leight Disposable l Max Foam Shooters Earplugs||33dB||ear plugs||Amazon, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela's|
|Mack's Shooters Ultra Foam Earplugs, 7 Pair||32dB||ear plugs||Amazon, Jet.com|
|Howard Leight Impact Pro Sound Amplification Electronic Earmuff||30dB||ear muffs||Amazon, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela's|
|Walker's Foam Blister Ear Plug||30dB||ear plugs||Amazon, Cabela's|
|Howard Leight Leightning L3 Hearing Protector||30dB||ear muffs||Amazon, Cabela's, Bass Pro Shops|
|Peltor Sport Tactical 500 Electronic Hearing Protector||26dB||ear muffs||Amazon|
|Walker's Razor Silencer Earbud (Pair)||25dB||ear plugs||Amazon, Cabela's|
|Walker's Game Ear Razor Slim Electronic Muff||23dB||ear muffs||Amazon, Cabela's, Bass Pro Shops|
|Howard Leight Impact Sport OD Electric Earmuff||22dB||ear muffs||Amazon, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela's|
Benefits To Having Your Own Shooting Ear Protection
When you go to the indoor firing range, you probably notice the free foam ear plus and you may even use them yourself. While they do offer some protection for you, and they work well when outdoors, nothing beats having your own high quality pair of hearing protection ear muffs designed specifically for shooting.
If you know anything about hearing loss, then you know that it isn’t something that happens suddenly overnight. It takes a lot of repeated exposure to loud noises for periods of time before you end up practically deaf. Gradually, your hearing gets a little bit worse and before you know it, you need to have hearing aids just to have a normal conversation with someone standing right in front of you. This is not something that you want to happen to you.
Get yourself a good pair of hearing protection ear muffs so that you can control the level of protection that you get each and every time you are in a firing range, hunting, or doing other shooting outdoors.
Shooting Earplugs vs Earmuffs – Which Is Better?
The biggest difference that we have here is that one of these is an inside the ear product while the other is outside the ear. So, for most shooters, the better option is simply a matter of personal comfort.
Some shooters find that earplugs are better cause they are not bulky and don’t interfere with your glasses or anything else. Other shooters prefer earmuffs because they feel that the sound blocking is better.
As you compare the shooting ear plugs and ear muffs, you’ll notice that they have noise ratings that let you know how much blocking they offer you. So, choose something with a high level of protection that is comfortable enough to ensure you regularly wear them when firing your gun.
Best Shooting Ear Plugs
Whether you need the best earplugs for shooting range excursions or for out on your own in the woods, we’ve found a few good options that we feel confident recommending to you as good buys.
Best Shooting Ear Muffs and Headphones
Prefer to wear headphone or earmuffs instead of inserting earplugs into your ears? If so, you’ll find a lot of great options out there for you to buy. However, there are a few models that we recommend you consider over all the rest.
Features And Other Considerations
Now that you know the differences between the earmuffs and the earplugs, as well as their benefits, there are a few things for you to consider before getting a pair for yourself.
It is important that your earplugs or earmuffs fit well, or they won’t be able to offer the protection that you need. For ear plugs, this means that they need to expand to fully fill your ear canal and block incoming sounds. For earmuffs, they need to securely cup your ear and provide a protective barrier between your ears and the noise. And the part of the earmuffs that goes over the top of your head should be adjustable so that you can get that perfect fit – if the pair you’re considering isn’t adjustable, then there’s a pretty good chance that they will be worthless.
Some of the earplugs and earmuffs for shooting protection come in bright, bold colors while others are more muted or even camouflage colors. If you’re going to be using these for hunting, then you’ll want to avoid the bright colors that will give away your position in the trees. So, keep this in mind when you’re comparing the different options on the market.
Should It Be Waterproof?
Some companies make earplugs that are waterproof or water-resistant, but this may not be a feature that you need. If you intend to do your shooting out in the rain, or maybe if you live in a place like Oregon where there is a lot of rain most of the year, then you may benefit from a pair of earplugs that are water resistant. However, this isn’t necessary for hearing protection – it’s really just more of a comfort feature for those people who think that they might need it when out shooting.
Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)
As you shop and compare products, you’ll notice that there is an NRR rating listed on the packaging. This tells you the level of sound blocking that you get from the item. Keep in mind that the higher this number, the more protection it offers. So, ideally you want to choose a product with the highest rating that you can find.
When you see the NRR rating, it tells you how many decibels (dB) the protection device reduces noise on average. For instance, if you find a pair of ear plugs with a NRR rating of 22, then it means that you can expect an average reduction of 22dB when wearing them.
Depending on when you intend to use your ear plugs or ear muffs, you may want to invest in more than one pair at different NRR ratings so that you’re not left completely in the dark in terms of incoming sounds.
How Loud Is A Gun?
Not sure what NRR level you need to protect you from the loud sounds from firing your gun? Or when you actually need to protect from hearing loss? Well, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) says that long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss. However, the louder the sound, the shorter the amount of time it takes for hearing loss to happen.
The NIDCD also notes that the average firearm registers in at around 150dB when fired. So, as you can see there is a real risk of damage to your hearing when firing your gun.
What About Electronic Hearing Protection?
You’ll see that some ear muffs are electronic ear muffs. These look like regular shooting ear muffs, except they take a battery and have microphones on the outside of the muffs, which pick up sounds, amplify them and deliver them to a shooter’s ears electronically. This type is exceptionally good for hunters because they let you hear the sounds of the forest better than you can with your naked ear. And they still protect from hearing loss since the sound amplifier automatically shuts off when it senses a loud sound.
And you don’t have to worry about the effectiveness of electronic ear muffs when the battery dies, since they still function as noise blocking when the battery is dead or when they are not powered on. Of course, this type is generally the most expensive option on the market and it’s not the ideal choice for every one.
- NIDCD – Noise Induced Hearing Loss information
- RifleShooter – Benefits of Electronic Hearing Protection
- Personal Defense Network – Hearing Protection for Shooting
images courtesy of Walmart, Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops