What To Look For When Buying Shooting Ear Protection?


Shooting at a range, eh? Or perhaps hunting? Whatever the case may be, gun sounds can be quite annoying. There are ways that people minimize it like some people use a silencer on their guns but that just kills the fun. As annoying as it may be, gun sounds boast a really good fun factor. Having said that, it’s quite apparent why an ear protection is a good investment for some. Not everyone likes gun sounds and if you’re one of those people, we’re here to answer you what to look for when buying shooting ear protection and provide you with an extensive buying guide to ear protection. We’re going to dive deep into the things to look for when buying shooting ear protection.

What To Look For When Buying Shooting Ear Protection



Why Do You Need Shooting Ear Protection?

Decibel is the unit used to measure the sound’s intensity. Anything above 85 decibels is considered a bit dangerous to the ears. This, however, depends on the time of exposure. Going to a concert once in a while won’t in no way render your hearing capability obsolete. But constant exposure to high-intensity sounds can be quite harmful. The noise produced by guns can vary quite a bit though. For instance, a rifle with 22 caliber bullets will make a noise level of intensity of 145 decibels. Switch to a 44 caliber gun, the intensity raises to 170 decibels. This is a general range of the noise produced by most of the guns. As you can see, the noise level far exceeds the warning level of 85 decibels. Hence, making a need for ear protection absolutely crucial for a gunslinger.

Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact Sport Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting Earmuff, Classic Green (R-01526)
15,509 Reviews
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
  • Includes AUX input and 3.5 mm connection cord for MP3 players and scanners. Integrated power/volume knob
  • Includes 2 AAA batteries; automatic shut-off feature after 4 hours increases battery life; approximately 350 hours of battery life; works well and long with Polaroid AAA Batteries


Types & Features of Shooting Ear Protection

There are many types of protection items that can be used to protect one’s ears from the danger of high-intensity sounds. These types are briefly explained below:

Mouldable Earplugs

Moulded Earplugs can be moulded into the shape of the ears. They provide a perfect fit for your ears and can be available at a cheap price. They’re not reusable though. A packet of moulded earplugs can be really helpful during emergencies.


Electronic Headphones are available everywhere. They come at different price brackets, different styles and different qualities. You can get a pair of noise cancellation headphones that basically blocks the surrounding sounds when you play music. Or, you can also buy headphones that don’t play music but still blocks the outside sound. At the end of the day, you can select whatever sails your boat.

Hearing Bands

These bands are also called canal caps. They’re reusable earplugs that can be fixed to a band made up of plastic that can be wrapped around the neck. These are also very cheap and can be excellent for emergency situations.


Earmuffs are basically used to cover the outer ear. They occupy the spaces around your ears and can block any useless sounds that you might encounter.

Digital Plugs

These are electronic earplugs that can be reused and help to block even the most extreme noises. This makes Digital Plugs very effective against the intense noise of a gun sound.

Awesome $8.95 Off
Walker's Razor Slim Electronic Muff - Kryptek Camo
2,408 Reviews
Walker's Razor Slim Electronic Muff - Kryptek Camo
  • Razor" ultra-thin rubberized cups
  • Two Omni Directional Microphones
  • Provides sound Activated protection over 89 dB at 0.02 reaction time
  • Noise reduction rating of 23dB
  • Operates on 2 'AAA' batteries- included


No Ear Protection???

There are a lot of medical problems that can surface from long exposure to sounds that are not considered healthy for your ears. As far as gun sounds are concerned, the importance of ear protection is obvious. Temporary or even permanent damage can be caused to your ears if you do not take proper precaution when you’re shooting.

Some of the major problems that people face after long exposure to firearm sound without any ear protection:

Pain in Ear

The most obvious symptom of long exposure to shooting without ear protection is the constant pain that you may suffer in your ears. This pain can be very chronic with the feeling of something pressing against your inner ear. It feels like a needle being poked into the eardrum. The effects aren’t long-term but the pain can be very difficult to manage.


Tinnitus is a medical condition where your ears feel like ringing. The ringing noise is sharp and it can start loud and fade down gradually. The effect can be consistent though. It feels like someone held a tuning fork against your ears. This is a very serious indication that something might be wrong with your ears.

Hearing Loss

This is the worst case scenario. The loss in the overall hearing ability is a huge warning indicator. You can stop hearing some tones, voices or sounds. The effect can be temporary but it can also be permanent.

Let us now jump into the buying guide and see what you should look for when buying shooting ear protection.


Buying Guide: What To Look For When Buying Shooting Ear Protection?

There are quite a few things that you must take into consideration before buying shooting ear protection. As we know that there are many types of shooting ear protection, here we’re going to let you know the best of the bunch and what are some of the things to consider.


We know there are many types of protection. Ear Muffs, Ear Plugs, Bands, Headsets etc. We cannot pinpoint what is better but we can put some of them into battle and see which reigns over which type.

  • Earplugs Vs Earmuffs: Well, let us see what kind holds up. Earplugs are simple and disposable but they don’t block enough noise. Earmuffs, on the other hand, aren’t so simple, they’re not disposable, they’re built to last and last but not least, they’re comfortable. There are digital earplugs though that sometimes perform even better than an earmuff. So, there’s that. You cannot really pick a favorite by being neutral. It depends on an individual’s preference.
  • Electronic Earmuffs vs Non-Electronic Earmuffs: Since we live in the age of technology, anything non-electronic might automatically seem like a downvote. But that is not always the case. While it is definitely true that digital earmuffs come with audio input-output and all the extra features that we’re so accustomed to but it is also true that most of these features aren’t even necessary. The Non-Electronic earmuffs rely on physical design to block the sounds rather than technology and it works most of the time.

Build Quality, Price, and Performance 

You can basically buy any type of protection but you need to search for a quality variant. There are huge price differences among the types too. Let’s take an example; A headphone costs a lot more than a disposable earplug but, will the earplug be sufficient? Say, you prefer a headphone, now what? There are plenty of headphones to choose from, which one should you buy? Definitely the one with a solid build and great performance. But wait, what if it costs a fortune? Well, now you need to weigh in the pros and cons of the headphones and then make an informed decision based on the price to build/performance ratio.

Caldwell E-Max Low Profile Electronic 23 NRR Hearing Protection with Sound Amplification and Adjustable Earmuffs for Shooting, Hunting and Range, Mossy Oak
1,632 Reviews
Caldwell E-Max Low Profile Electronic 23 NRR Hearing Protection with Sound Amplification and Adjustable Earmuffs for Shooting, Hunting and Range, Mossy Oak
  • COMFORTABLE: Padded headband and adjustable cushioned ear cups allows for a snug fit to ensure proper noise cancellation and protection. The low-profile design allows for a closer fit against your rifle for more accuracy and comfort
  • HEARING PROTECTION: 23 NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) amplifies low sounds (below 85dB) and compresses high noises (above 85dB) to create the perfect range experience
  • CONVENIENT: The lightweight design is impact resistant and folds compact for transport
  • EASE OF USE: Runs on 2 AAA Batteries (not included) with adjustable volume control and an audio jack for a phone or MP3 player


Tips For Buying The Perfect Shooting Ear Protection

There are some tips that we can provide for you to choose perfect ear protection.

  • Look at the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). A noise reduction rating on an ear protection device shows you the number of decibels ear protection can reduce. An NRR of 20 will reduce the intensity of a gun sound by 20 decibels. Low caliber guns are okay with a 20 NRR but a high caliber gun might need somewhere between 28 to 33 NRR.
  • See if you’re getting extra items with your purchase, look out for warranties and guarantees.



Finally, shooting ear protection can serve you good in your shooting endeavors. It can help you withheld the medical damage that you’d otherwise get from prolonged exposure to gun sounds. Here, we went over some of the things you should consider before buying a shooting protection.

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Last update on 2019-05-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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