Best Electronic Earplugs for Shooting

0
1

Damaged hearing from loud noises is often irreversible, but that won’t be the case when you invest in the best electronic earplugs for shooting. 

Did you know that as many as 24% of American adults who’ve had their ears tested suffer from different degrees of hearing loss as a result of exposure to loud noises? And according to the CDC, up to 48 million people have trouble hearing in one or both of their ears because of loud noises?

The first time I came across these numbers, I couldn’t help but worry for myself, especially because I have this natural propensity to expose myself to loud sounds. You see, I’m a sucker for good, loud music (I believe that the best way to enjoy and dance to music is by turning up the volume), and I’m also an avid hunter who will take up any opportunity to go out hunt game (within the legal limits, of course). But despite being drawn to loudness, I’ve recently been made to turn things down a notch because I’m causing damage to my ears, slowly and gradually. Of course, I don’t feel it, and I know that I’m only living my best life, but protection is the best thing I could do for my ears, and since I don’t want to eventually live life without sound because of extreme and irreversible ear damage, I’ve resolved to invest in some of the best ear protection gadget. For music, I have good quality headphones that offer the best sound quality at lower volumes, and for hunting, I have some of the coolest electronic earplugs for shooting.

Essentially, loud noises cause ear damage by destroying (killing) the millions of little fibers inside your ear. These fibers are the receptors for sound, and they are essentially what allow you to hear. Now, unlike the hairs on other parts of your body, which often regrow as long as the follicles are in good shape, damage to the hearing fibers in your ears is irreversible, and there is no way to fix these fibers once they are damaged, which is why it is important that you protect your ears.

The electronic earplugs below are some of the best, and they are designed to dampen the loudness of the gunshots, protecting your delicate heating system.

Comparison Table of the best electronic earplugs for shooting

Best Electronic Earplugs for Shooting
Best for
Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)
Price

 

Decibullz Custom-Molded Earplugs
Best Overall Shooting Earplugs
31NRR
Titan Tactical 29NRR Reusable Shooting Ear Plugs
Most Durable Shooting Earplugs
29NRR
SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders Plus filtered Earplugs
Earplugs with the best filters and triple-flanged design
24NRR
American Pro Sports High Fidelity Ear Plugs
Best High-Fidelity Earplugs
21NRR
Vibes High Fidelity Earplugs
Best Invisible Earplugs
22NRR
Walker’s Silencer Digital Earbud
Best Digital Earbuds
25NRR
Walker’s Game Rechargeable Silencer Earplugs
Best Rechargeable Earplugs
23NRR

Reviews of the best electronic earplugs for shooting

  1. Decibullz Custom-Molded Earplugs – Best Overall Shooting Earplugs

First on our list is this pair of custom-molded earplugs by Decibullz. These are some of the best earplugs on the market today, and they are not only ideal for shooting, but you could also wear them to concerts, swimming, work, and also when traveling.

Besides the versatility offered by these earplugs, the other reason why these could easily be some of the best earplugs for you has to do with the fact they boast the highest noise reduction rating at 31dB. Then you also have the fact that these earplugs offer the highest possible level of comfort you could get from earplugs, all thanks to their custom shape. The earplugs will fit in your ear easily and quickly, and you will be happy with how they offer the perfect fitting in the ears, causing zero irritations to the ear canal, offering a superior level of noise protection/ isolation, and never falling out.

The comfort-fitting design of the earplugs is made possible by the easy shaping system of the earplugs. These earplugs are designed for ultimate comfort – they are heat-treated thermoplastic molds that will fit into your ear perfectly thanks to the easy shape system of the mold. You only need to heat up the thermoplastic silicone mold in some boiling water, allow them to cool for a few minutes, then naturally shape them in the ears. They also have foam tips, which mean the highest level of protection.

Pros

  • Soft and ultra-comfortable
  • Allows for custom molding specific to your ears
  • Highest NRR rating at 31decibels
  • The earplugs are reusable
  • Versatile and they can be used for different events
  • Comes with three different sets of tips in different sizes
  • Fits like a glove
  • Durable
  • Ideal for extended use

Cons

  • Molding has to be perfect to prevent leakages
  1. Titan Tactical 29NRR Reusable Shooting Ear Plugs – Most Durable Shooting Earplugs

I’m one of those people who will look for the value offered by a product I’m buying over most other features, which is why I’m easily sold on products designed to last long. If you are frugal and just like, then this pair of Titan Tactical earplugs might be the best for you.

These earplugs have a 29NRR rating, which means that they are among the best earplugs for shooters, and they will easily dampen the gunshots around you on your next hunting trip. Each of the earplugs comes with a removable noise filter, and you also get a heavy-duty aluminum casing to keep the earplugs safely. This casing has a key ring attached to it.

These 29NRR earplugs are ideal for small and normal-sized ear canals, and you might also like them because they have been tested and passed the EPA and ANSI codes, meaning that they are ideal for use in indoor and outdoor shooting, hunting expeditions, concerts, construction sites, sports, auto racing, and all other loud activities that call for extra protection of the years. Because of their efficiency, these earplugs are the noise protection earplugs of choice for law enforcement, event shooters, and the military across the world. They offer adequate protection while still ensuring that you can hear the voices around you.

The plugs are made of non-toxic and hypoallergenic medical-grade soft silicone, as well as a removable filter that further reduces the noise levels while enhancing the earplugs’ level of protection.

Pros

  • You get to hear ambient noises around you
  • Lightweight
  • Non-toxic and hypoallergenic thanks to construction out of medical-grade silicone
  • Aluminum case to keep the earplugs safe
  • Comfortable fit
  • Durable
  • 29NRR-rated
  • Good quality trusted earplugs used by the military

Cons

  • The earplugs could easily slip off from your ear canal
  1. SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders Plus filtered Earplugs – Earplugs with the best filters and triple-flanged design

Next up, we have this pair of SureFire Sonic Defender earplugs. These earplugs come in different sizes (small, medium, and large-sizes) for different ear canal sizes, but what really stands out from these earplugs (besides the bright color options) is the triple-flanged design of the stem, as well as the foam tip; both there to provide all-day comfort. The earplugs also feature a noise reduction filter to further lower the external sound levels to a safer level, while still allowing you to hold conversations normally.

The efficiency of the earplugs is further enhanced by the fact that they are rated 24NRR, which means that they offer a high level of protection from loud noises. There’s also the newly introduced filter cap fitted into these earplugs – the cap filter snaps on and off easily, blocking ambient sound, while also offering a higher level of protection.

You might also like these earplugs for the low-profile design made possible by the innovative EarLock outer rings with 7 grab points. This low profile design allows you to wear your helmet, hat, headset, or earmuffs with the earplugs in. These earplugs are trusted by the military. They are comfortable and safe on the skin, thanks to their hypoallergenic construction.

Pros

  • Triple-flang design keeps the earplugs secured and in place throughout
  • Variable sizes and color options
  • Comfortable, hypoallergenic design
  • Low-profile design
  • 24NRR rating for noise reduction
  • Durable
  • Patented EarLock retention rings with 7 contact points for the perfect fit

Cons

  • Not the best for indoor range shooting
  1. American Pro Sports High Fidelity Ear Plugs – Best High-Fidelity Earplugs

These noise-reduction earplugs could also be a good option for you if you are looking for simple but effective earplugs for noise reduction out in the shooting range, at work, at auto racing events, or one to wear when sleeping. They have a 21NRR rating, meaning that they reduce noise levels by up to 21 decibels.

They are safe on the skin, thanks to their construction out of medical-grade and hypoallergenic soft, non-toxic silicone. They are made to fit in your ear canals like a glove, and you don’t have to worry about these earplugs causing irritation. You can hold conversations comfortably with these earplugs in the ear.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Comfort fit
  • Made of medical-grade silicone
  • High-fidelity design

Cons

  • The quality could be better
  1. Vibes High Fidelity Earplugs – Best Invisible Earplugs

Backed by Shark Tank’s investors, these 22NRR invisible earplugs could easily be some of the best invisible earplugs that will effectively keep out most of the loud bangs when shooting. These earplugs are quite versatile, and they are ideal for shooting, but you could also keep them on to reduce noise when on a motorcycle, airplane, work, etc. They are high-fidelity noise protection earplugs ideal for all sizes of ear canals. They boast some of the best-attenuating filters that will lower loud sounds thanks to the filter frequencies function, hence the best and the safest sound experiences.

Pros

  • Invisible
  • Encourages good communication
  • 15NRR with 22decibel noise reduction
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Hearing protection rating could be higher
  1. Walker’s Silencer Digital Earbud – Best Digital Earbuds

These are digital earplugs that boast the Sound Activated Compression (SAC) technology. They are uniquely designed, and sounds over 85decibels are not amplified by these hearing protection devices – instead, the sounds are reduced by 25 decibels. Each of the earplugs also features an independent volume control function for enhanced protection and sound quality enhancement.

They also feature three sets of foam tips for that tight, secure fit. They also boast dynamic-wind reduction.

These earplugs are powered by number 10 batteries, and they have a run time of about 80 hours.

Pros

  • Convenient case for storage and transport
  • 25NRR dBa
  • Sound activated compression function
  • Foam tips included for more secure and tight fits
  • Sound quality enhancement
  • High-quality sound
  • Durable build

Cons

  • Few battery issues as they drain even when idle
  • The foam tip could be tighter
  1. Walker’s Game Rechargeable Silencer Earplugs– Best Rechargeable Earplugs

These are 23NRR-rated earplugs that boast a rechargeable design, meaning that they could be the best option for you if you are looking for high-quality rechargeable earplugs/ earbuds.

They feature advanced features like the sound suppression, the activated digital circuitry, and the sound-activated suppression, all incorporated into these earplugs for the best level of protection for your ears.

Pros

  • The charging dock is a Lithium-ion battery charging unit
  • Versatile earplugs
  • Three sizes available
  • Foam tips offered
  • 23NRR
  • Sound activated compression
  • Good level of sound amplification

Cons

  • Not the most durable set of earplugs

Buying Guide for the Best Electronic Earplugs for Shooting

You won’t always know when you are hurting your ears because not all of us get to experience the pain or the annoying ringing that often signal damage to the ears, and this means that, like me, you might find yourself only going for the earplugs after your notice changes in your patterns, for example, the need to listen to music at a higher volume. And since your ears will not get used to the noise or just because you only go hunting on occasion, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t protect your precious hearing. So, you should look out for the right electronic earplugs to help you avoid noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).

But how exactly does noise cause hearing damage?

For you to understand exactly how noise plays into hearing damage, it is important to first understand the hearing process. Essentially, the hearing process is dependent on a series of events that result in the changes and the conversion of sound waves into electrical signals. Your auditory nerves will then carry the electrical signals created into your brain, via a series of complex and millisecond steps. Below is a simplified process of how hearing works:

The sound waves from the environment enter your outer ear the travel via the ear canal into the eardrum.

When the sound waves hit the eardrum, they cause vibrations which are transmitted into the three tiny bones in your middle ear – the malleus, incus, and stapes.

These bones of the middle ear will then couple up the received sound vibration from the air, converting them into fluid vibrations in your cochlea in the inner ear (the cochlea is shaped like a snail and it’s filled with fluids). There is also an elastic partition in the inner ear that runs from the beginning to the end of your cochlea, where it splits into the upper and the lower parts. The partition referred to here is the basilar membrane, and it serves as the base on which your hearing structures sit.

So, as the vibrations travel, they cause a ripple in the cochlea, resulting in the formation of a traveling wave along your basilar membrane. Now, the basilar membrane is an important part of the hearing process because it has the hair cells that ride the sound waves. The movement of these hair cells up and down causes the stereocilia, the microscopic hair-like projections perched at the top of the hair cells, to bump against the overlying ear structure, and they will naturally bend. The bending results in the formation of pore-like channels (stereocilia tips) to open up, a process that causes chemicals to flood the cells causing electrical signals.

These auditory nerve signals will then carry the electrical signals crated into the brain where the signal is translated into a sound that you recognize and understand.

How do hearing damage and hearing loss occur?

Well, the damage and subsequent loss of hearing doesn’t happen overnight, but gradually. Essentially, every time you expose your ears to loud noise, you gradually lose hearing, even though we don’t take note. The loss happens because the microscopic fibers essential for the transduction and conversion of sound waves are irreversible damage, and when too many of these fibers are damaged, you lose your hearing.

But this is not all that happens when you are exposed to extremely loud noises. Essentially, loud bursts of sound, for example, the sound of gunshots or even explosions, will cause extreme damage to the ears, and in most cases, these loud bangs result in a ruptured eardrum or even damage to the structure of the middle ear bones. Such damage is extreme, and you may experience loss of hearing immediately after the bang and permanently.

Essentially, any noise above the 85decibel (dBA) level can cause damage to your ears.

So, how do you know which electronic earplugs to choose for shooting or hunting?

Features to look for in electronic earplugs for shooting

  • Type of hearing protection devices

Your main options for hearing protection devices include earmuffs and earplugs. For shooting or hunting, you will need the earmuffs or earplugs that provide the highest possible level of protection while blocking out the loud gunshot sounds.

The differences between the earplugs and the earmuffs are as follows:

The earplugs are some of the best hearing protection devices, and they are made of high-quality acoustic filters, which will allow you to hear the noises around you easily, while also offering automatic noise suppression from the loud gunshot sounds. The earplugs feature a small internal valve that automatically closes when it’s struck by loud sounds. They are made of silicone or dense foam, they are lightweight and very portable, and they’re also are custom-made molded earplugs that offer an added layer of protection. The custom-fit plugs offer the most comfortable fit and tighter seal against loud noises. Note that there also are earplugs with cords or straps, and you can hang them around your neck, keeping the plugs easily accessible while also keeping them safe out in the wild.

The earmuffs, on the other hand, would be a good alternative for you if you find the earplugs to be uncomfortable. There are electronic and passive earmuffs, but earmuffs generally offer protection to your ears while also amplifying low-level sounds, meaning that you can hold conversations easily with the earmuffs on. The electronic earmuffs have basic ear cups with sound-absorbing foam, and they allow for sound-level-adjustment – the amplifier also goes off when the external hunting sounds exceed a specific level. The passive earmuffs have no batteries, and they are not as efficient. Note that the earmuffs are also not a good choice for you if you use long guns.

  • Noise Reduction Rating or NRR

Now that you understand the hearing process and how hearing loss and ear damage happens, the first thing you need to do when looking for earplugs is the rating for noise reduction for the electronic earplugs.

The best hearing protection devices are well regulated, and they are often inspected thoroughly before they are sold to the public. In your search for the best earplugs, you need to keep in mind that the earplugs with a higher NRR rating on the plugs will offer a higher level of protection to your ears. Most of the electronic earplugs are rated at a range of between 22 and 30 decibels. Of course, there are others with higher ratings. Basically, all the earplugs on the market should be NRR-rated, and you should avoid the ones with too low or even no rating. The recommended NRR for shooting is 33.

  • Ear Cup fit

The fit of the ear protection device you choose is also important as it affects your comfort levels when shooting. You need hearing protection devices that will not get in the way of your shooting, especially if you prefer the long guns or shotguns. That said, the best electronic earplug is the one that covers your entire ear, with the cups fitting flush against your head. A loose-fitting protection device will offer much help, and the muffs or plugs are pretty much useless when they don’t fit.

  • Shooting type

Do you shoot the long guns only, or do you also shoot handguns? And if you prefer the long guns, which type – do you go for the AR shoots only? The type of gun you shoot with must be compatible with the earplugs you buy. Generally, the wide-cup ear style earplugs offer to create some interference when you are shooting with the shouldered rifles or even a shotgun, which is why most people using the long guns opt for the earplugs – the earplugs fit the ear canal better, and you won’t have to worry about the gun getting in the way of your ears’ protection.

  • Durability

While electronic devices are pretty much delicate and prone to breaking, you need to look for earplugs made of durable materials, including robust hinges connecting the headband. The earplugs are not, however, as durable as the earmuffs.

  • Comfort and Size

Choose a comfortable size for your earplugs. Comfort is one of the most important factors that you need to keep in mind when looking for earplugs because you don’t want to struggle with irritation, pain, and soreness of your ear canal after some time on the hunting grounds.

FAQs

Why do hunters require hearing protection?

Though neglected by many hunters, hearing protection is essential for the protection of the ears from damage and potential risk of hearing loss in the long term. Shots made on the hunting grounds are quite loud, reaching highs of 165 decibels – this is loud enough to cause significant damage to the ears, which is why you need hearing protection to reduce the effects of the deafening shots.

What is the shooter’s ear?

Also called the hunter’s ear, the shooter’s ear refers to the condition that causes an asymmetrical hearing loss when a shooter’s ear is exposed to the loud gunshot noise.

Which are the signs of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL)?

Exposed to loud gunshots when hunting or when you are out on the shooting range results in gradual loss of hearing, but the process is gradual, and you won’t really know that the loss/ damage is happening unless you notice some changes. Some of the things to watch out for include distorted sounds from the environment, finding it hard to understand conversations in loud settings, ringing, pain, and in extreme cases, bleeding.

Conclusion

The best electronic earplugs are designed to meet the highest hearing protection standards for devices. They offer the best level of protection, and the earplugs reviewed above are some of the options you might want to try out.

Previous articleBest Binoculars Under 200 Pounds
Next articleBest Hunting Binoculars Under $2000
Terrence Miller
Terrence Miller is a hunter by birth, picking it up from a lineage of hunters and will probably hand the skill down to his son. He has been hunting since he was a young boy and has knowledge of both the new and old hunting equipment. This goes to say that the information provided is very reliable and conclusive. Using the hunting rifles and getting the right hunting gear seems to be a challenge for many individuals who want to learn the skill of hunting. And the reason why the information presented by Miller has detailed coverage on the different types of rifles, and rifle scopes. When not in the wild hunting, Miller loves horseback riding.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here