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Understanding and Choosing the Right Hearing Protection for Shooting

Jan. 12, 2024

As a shooter, selecting the appropriate hearing protection stands as one of the most crucial decisions in your endeavors. With only one pair of ears, the consequences of hearing damage are irreversible.



One of the few drawbacks associated with shooting is the heightened risk of hearing loss. Without adequate ear protection, even a single gunshot can result in immediate and permanent damage.


It is imperative to grasp the significant volume of firearms. While a standard conversation registers at around 60 dB, an unsuppressed gunshot can escalate to 140-190 dB. If using a rifle with a muzzle brake or a ported gun, these figures can further increase. Sounds as low as 78 dB can contribute to gradual hearing loss, leaving no justification for neglecting ear protection.


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) classifies 140 dB as a painful sound, indicating the risk involved when handling any type of gun and caliber.




The short answer is: The more, the better. Most electronic ear protection is rated from 22dB to 33dB, and anything in this range will give you some amount of protection.


There are no absolute standards for how high the NRR number should be because it depends on where and what you're shooting. If your shooting activities predominantly take place indoors, involve high-caliber rifles, or require extended time on the range, opting for the highest NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) is essential for maximizing protection.


In cases where you've already experienced hearing damage or find yourself in an exceptionally loud environment, you might consider "double plugging." This entails using both in-ear protection and over-the-ear headphones simultaneously to achieve the highest level of noise reduction.


In ear electronic shooting hearing protection



There are two primary types of hearing protection: In-Ear and Over-the-Ear. To delve into each category:


Ear Plugs - These are inserted into the ear canal and include various options such as foam plugs, plastic corded plugs, and custom-molded in-ear plugs. This category ranges from budget-friendly (foam style) to more expensive (custom molded). If opting for the economical foam-style plugs, ensure they are correctly inserted deep into your ear for optimal effectiveness.


The advantage of using in-ear protection lies in its portability and cost-effectiveness. However, drawbacks include the discomfort of having an object inside the ear and the fact that they dampen all sounds, making it challenging to hear range instructions and other ambient noises while wearing them.




These are the headphone-style hearing protection devices commonly seen on many shooters. They are favored by a significant number of individuals due to their generally higher comfort level compared to in-ear plugs, and some variants come with additional features that enhance the overall shooting experience.


Passive Ear Muffs - These employ foam and ear cups that press against your head to block sound. The term "passive" indicates that they do not amplify sound, potentially posing challenges in hearing range commands or other surrounding noises.


Electronic Ear Muffs - Often considered the best of both worlds, these provide the comfort of passive ear muffs but incorporate integrated microphones to amplify surrounding noises, facilitating better auditory awareness on the range. They also feature a mechanism to block or reduce the volume of loud sounds, offering additional ear protection. Some electronic ear muffs even include a jack for connecting your preferred music player.


When using ear muffs, ensure a proper fit. They should snugly press against your head without any gaps.


Regardless of your shooting preferences or frequency, never neglect ear protection. Taking a few minutes to choose the right type of ear protection can significantly contribute to preventing hearing damage and ensuring a prolonged shooting experience. For inquiries about any of the hearing protection products on our website, please feel free to contact our customer service department.

In ear electronic shooting hearing protection