Best Hunting Ear Protection
For hunters especially waterfowl hunters hearing loss or damage is very prevalent. Therefore, one of the number one safety items you can buy is ear protection. However, finding the best ear protection for shooting is easier said than done. As most hunters tend to think they will be annoying to wear, or simply they just need them. However, the effects of shooting can cause ear damage and nowadays there are numerous brands and models of ear protection to choose from. This is why we have put together the best ear protection for shooting and also why protection is so important to prevent long-term hearing loss.
Best Ear Protection For Shooting –
Howard Leight – Best Ear Protection For Shooting
- Sound Amplification & Reducing
- Low Profile Ear Cups
- Worn Outside Ears
- Battery Operated
Company Profile –
Howard Leight leads the industry in offering some of the best ear protection equipment. He has continued to develop and innovate with new designs, materials, and technologies to make the best ear protection for shooting, occupations, and other industries. For over 30 years Howard spent designing safety products. As of today, his company is apart of Honeywell which is a leader and global provider in hearing protection solutions.
Product Info –
The best ear protection for shooting and hunting from Howard Leight is the Impact Sport. A sleek and low profile earcup design that gives way for shooters to still place their cheek to the stock of their gun. For an outer-ear design, the ear protection offers numerous features to help protect your ears and not prevent your shot. They are offered in numerous colors, however, the hunter green is the most common and universal pair.
The top band that would go over your head or hat is made of a leatherette headband that is fully adjustable to various head sizes. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about ordering the wrong size, its a one-size-fits-all type of ear protection. As for the earcups they are made of a soft comfortable water-resistant foam. Equipped with patented Air Flow Control technology, which allows for optimal overall protection in numerous conditions. Therefore, the muffs will perform across the whole frequency range without having to increase the size or weight of the ear protection.
The simple design of the Impact Sport is actually well equipped with numerous features. Most importantly they are an electronic pair of ear protection that allows for sound to be amplified giving you increased awareness. However, when a potentially damaging sound such as a gunshot is sensed the ear protection reduces the sound automatically. Hence, it has a noise reduction rating of 22db. So when you are shooting or someone else is while hunting the ear protection reduces noise to a safe 82dB, yet it still can amplify conversation noise when not shooting.
Aside from the safety features, the Impact Sports muffs, have some added features. First, the muffs have a built-in AUX jack allowing you to plug in an MP3 or scanner when using them. Secondly, the muffs are designed to be worn on the outside of your head. However, once you are done with them they can be folded up and packed away in your blind bag or jacket pocket. We’ve found that they are about the size of baseball once folded up correctly, and they don’t consume much space in your bag.
Battery Life –
Since the ear protection is electronic we had to address the battery life and battery saving features. The best ear protection for shooting from Howard Leight operate on 2 AAA batteries which are included with purchase. When I first saw that these weren’t chargeable I was disappointed. However, after further research, Howard Leight designed these muffs with some battery saving features to give the ear muffs a 350-hour battery life. The ear protection muffs, have a single dial on/off and volume button. Hence, it can be easy to accidentally leave them on. However, the ear muffs, are designed with an automatic 4-hour shut off to save on battery life. It’s a simple feature that has saved me some batteries numerous times.
If you’re looking for the best ear protection for shooting and need an inexpensive yet noise reducing pair. There is no better pair than the Impact Sports on the market. They are easy to use, require no custom fitting, and are extremely durable. Perfect for hunting, shooting, or any type of outdoor activity requiring noise reduction.
Walker Razor-XV – Best Ear Protection For Shooting
- Retractable Ear Buds
- HD Speakers
- Bluetooth Ready
- Inexpensive Design
- None-Custom Fit
Company Profile –
When looking for the best ear protection for shooting, Walker’s has to be one of the leading considerations. For over 25 years Walker’s has been designing and engineering better solutions for hearing enhancement and protection. With one of the largest product lines imaginable in the industry, they have become the standard for shooting protection and safety. Walker’s continues to innovate and create the newest leading ear protection for every application. Which is why we have selected them and their Razor ear protection.
Product Info –
Looking for a set of ear protection that doesn’t interfere with your shooting style isn’t too difficult nowadays. However, what is hard is finding them on a budget. Most ear protection that is in the ear and offers electronic reduction and amplification are quite expensive. Thanks to Walker though they have been able to design a set of earplugs that are a behind-the-neck style. This allows you to wear these when hunting or shooting and they won’t interfere with your shot or hunting hat wear.
The earbuds simply go into your ear and the wires are retractable into the sound reducing device that is worn around your neck. This allows for all-day comfort when hunting or shooting. Simply let the ear protection around your neck and you won’t have a bulky set of ear muffs on your head.
The most apparent feature the Razor XV earbuds offer is the lightweight and simple design. The system can easily be worn around your neck unnoticeable when shooting or hunting. The ear protection even offers Bluetooth capabilities so you can stream music, or even take a phone call while hunting or shooting. When it comes to safety the earbuds offer a sound-activated NRR or 26db. Therefore, allowing you to hear conversations, but once the shooting begins they protect your ears from harmful noises.
Each set of Razor earbuds is equipped with a water-resistant design. However, some reviews have had issues with them working after heavy rain. Therefore, we’d recommend if you hunt or shoot in a lot of wet conditions to select a more suitable pair of earbuds.
Battery Life –
The battery life is a little shorter due to the fact the system is very sleek and small. However, the batteries are fully rechargeable with 10 hours of use. Plus since it’s easy to forget them on, Walker has an automatic shut-off after 4-6 hours. Therefore, you can easily hunt for a weekend and not have to recharge your ear buds.
For someone that hunts often or shoots trap and doesn’t want a pair of earmuffs to interfere with their shot. The Razor XV’s from Walker’s is the leading choice. They are quite inexpensive compared to other models that are in-ear.
Axil Ghost Stryke II – Best Ear Protection For Shooting
- 1-Year Warranty
- Universal Fit For Price
Company Profile –
AXIL is a fairly new name to the sporting industry for ear protection, however, that doesn’t mean they are new in the industry. With over 50 years of experience in designing, manufacturing and selling ear protection. the family business has quickly started to make a name in creating high-quality ear protection for the sport shooting and hunting industry. With a long list of products to choose from AXIL carries everything from earplugs, to ear muffs, to even custom in-ear protection. Therefore, the no matter your budget you can easily find the best ear protection for shooting that fits your needs.
Product Info –
Since AXIL has plugs ranging from only a few dollars all the way to custom in-ear protection that can cost upwards of $4,000 dollars we spent our time in researching the best ear protection for shooting based off quality, cost, and usefulness. Therefore, the Ghost Stryke II Electronic Ear Protection system was our number one choice from AXIL. The 100% digital in-ear silencer & enhancer are the perfect choice for hunting or shooting. They give you the ability to have lightweight and small ear protection that won’t interfere with your firearm or shooting style. Plus they are as small as a set of earplugs making them feel almost non-existent in your ears.
AXIL’s Ghost Strykers feature extreme technology that allows for improved clarity and power when it comes to hearing performance. Equipped with AudiCORE Digital Sound Compression, the Ghost Stryke compresses all loud sounds to a safe and protective level. Therefore, protecting your hearing from permanent hearing loss, pain, or damage. The Ghost Stryke perform with a 28 dB Gain/Amplification, therefore, making it easier to hear low conversation noise in the blind or boat.
The Ghost Stryke II is effective in the wind and canceling background noise. Therefore, you won’t have the whistle or white noise that many low-cost hearing protection systems have. Lastly, the ear protection has manual volume controls that allow you to set the desired volume for your ears.
Battery Life –
Similar to hearing aids, the Ghost Stryke II ear protection operates on #10a hearing batteries. They are extremely easy to change and have a long battery life.
If you have hearing loss and are looking to protect your ears from further damage, the Ghost Stryke II is going to be the best ear protection for shooting. Plus not only will they protect your ears from shooting, but they will help enhance your hearing as well. Therefore, if you’re having a hard time hearing the honkers in the distance, the AXIL system will help improve your hearing as well when you wear them. Overall these are the best ear protection for shooting, and with the following discount code WATERFOWLHUNTER18 you can actually receive an additional 10% off AXIL products. Therefore, even though these may seem on the high end you definitely get what you pay for.
Hearing Loss For Hunters & Shooters –
Being exposed to sound in our environment is natural in our everyday routine. From music on the radio to sound coming from a TV, even household appliances and traffic. Most of the time these sounds are safe and the levels of sound won’t damage or affect our hearing. However, there are sounds that can cause damage to our inner ears and cause noise-induced hearing loss or NIHL.
Noise-induced Hearing Loss –
Typically, NIHL can be immediate or it can take a long time for it to be detected. It even can just be temporary, however, the more severe can cause permanent damage where it can affect one or both ears. For many hunters, they don’t know they are causing any harm or damage to their ears, until many years down the road. For example, down the road, you may have a hard time hearing people talk, especially on the phone or in a crowded room. However, at a younger age, you may have no idea you are causing any harm to yourself.
Who is Affected –
No matter your age you can be affected by NIHL. Therefore, if you hunt with your children or your dad even no matter the age people in your shooting or hunting group can be affected. Millions of people each year are at risk and affected by NIHL. There is no reason one age group is less likely to be affected than another. Unless protection or safety is considered.
Causes of NIHL –
I was surprised when I first found out that NIHL can be caused by just one single occurrence of an intense or “impulse” sound. For example, that shotgun or rifle going off just once without protection can cause NIHL. Long exposure to other sounds as well can cause NIHL. For instance, you can be at risk if you ride loud recreational equipment, listen to loud music, or even play in a band. Even a lawnmower or leaf blower can cause NIHL.
To get a better understanding of what sounds can cause damage or impair your hearing we first have to measure it. Therefore, sound is measured in dB or decibels. Sounds less than 75 dB even with long exposure are highly unlikely to cause hearing damage. However, when exposed to noises at or above 85 dB hearing loss can occur.
Below is a list of examples of typical noises to better understand noise and the damage a firearm can cause:
- Running Refrigerator – 45 dB
- Conversation & Talking – 60 dB
- Heavy city Traffic Noise – 85 dB
- Motorcycles & Recreational Vehicles – 95 dB
- Music At Max Volume – 105 dB
- Police Sirens – 120 dB
- Firearm & Shotguns – 150 dB
As you can see a shotgun is one of the loudest noises we are exposed to. That doesn’t even take into effect the damage that can occur when 4 or 5 hunters are all shooting together at some geese or ducks. As you can see it doesn’t take much for hearing damage to occur when hunting or shooting.
Finding The Best Ear Protection For Shooting –
When it comes to ear protection and preventing hearing loss there are numerous forms and products on the market. To help understand which is the best fit for your hunting and budget needs we have broken them down to explain the benefits and drawbacks.
Foam Earplugs –
The most common and most affordable ear protection are foam earplugs. They are very inexpensive and easy to use. Simply compress the foam and insert into your ears. As the foam regains it’s shape it fits the contours of your ear allowing for noise reduction up to 32dB. Typically, these can be ordered in bulk. Making them very handy for tossing into your truck or blind bag. Since they are low cost you won’t have to worry about losing a pair or tossing them out.
However, the drawback is they only offer protection. They don’t amplify your conversations or the noise around you when wearing them. This is one reason many hunters prefer to not wear them. Although, these are a great back up or inexpensive way to protect your ears from gun blasts.
Ear Muffs –
The second most common pair of hearing protection for shooting are ear muffs. They are sold in a single ear muff pack and are non-disposable like the earplugs. However, similar to earplugs they only protect your ears. They don’t offer any amplification for when hunting and you’re not shooting.
Many hunters find these to be more comfortable as they are worn on the outside of your ears and are fully adjustable. With an SNR rating of 36dB they offering plenty of noise reduction when hunting or shooting. The benefit of a pair of ear muffs is that they require no batteries and they are easy to find in your bag. The downfall is that they can affect your shooting if they are too large and get in the way of how your shoulder and sight your shotgun.
Overall, these are great as a backup or alternative to earplugs. If you do hunt often and like to talk in the blind or boat you may want to consider an amplified ear muff set.
Electronic Ear Muffs –
For a few more dollars over a set of earmuffs, you can get a set of electronic ear muffs. These will not only cancel loud sounds such as gunfire, but they amplify the noise around you. This allows you to keep your ear protection on while hunting and have normal conversations. However, as soon as the shooting begins the muffs automatically reduce the sound to none-damaging noise decibels.
Similar to ear muffs in many ways they are fully adjustable and require little to no maintenance. Once folded up they are about the size of a baseball and can easily be packed. The only drawback is they can be wider than your head since they go on top of your ears. However, numerous manufacturers such as this one create there’s with sliming material to keep them as little as possible.
I would recommend this style for people looking to goose or duck hunt if you’re doing it with others. This way you can carry on conversations when the shooting is stopped. However, as soon as it begins you can fire away and know your ears are protected.
Electronic In-Ear Plugs-
The most expensive style of ear protection is electronic in-ear plugs. They can range from $100 to thousands of dollars. This all depends on whether you get universal ear sizes or custom fit. The custom earplugs take a mold of your ear and allow for a truly comfortable fit unlike anything else. This results in a much higher price point, however, if you hunt a lot this could be a lifesaver for your ears down the road.
This style has the best of both worlds, they fit inside your ear which won’t allow them to interfere with your shot. Yet they still can amplify and reduce the noise around you. If you choose this direction for ear protection you will experience the best ear protection for shooting and hunting. However, it may cost you more upfront, although, they typically last for ears and many manufacturers such as this one offer warranties.
Don’t Forget To Use WATERFOWLHUNTER18 for 10% off your AXIL Order.