3 Things to Look for in Electronic Hearing Protection

Gunfire can cause hearing loss, but with a good pair of earmuffs, you can protect your hearing from a lifetime of damage.

Any type of firearm practice demands hearing protection. If you are just kicking out a few rounds to get sighted in before deer season, the standard silicone or foam earplugs may be all you need. But for any extended practice or competition, consider investing in muff-style protection. The most advanced models incorporate electronics that both suppress loud noise while amplifying ambient sound, such as social talking or range commands. Here are the features to look for.

Noise Reduction Rating

Honeywell Impact Sport Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting Earmuff
Honeywell Impact Sport Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting EarmuffHoneywell Impact

In addition to protection afforded by the muffs themselves, electronic versions actually cancel out the explosive noise of a gunshot. The unit's Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) defines the amount of protection each pair provides. Standard Noise Reduction Ratings for electronic earmuffs range from about 22 to 31 decibels—the higher the number, the better your protection.

Amplification

Peltor Sport Electronic Hearing Protector
Peltor Sport Electronic Hearing ProtectorPeltor

Electronic hearing protection is also designed to amplify low-level ambient sounds for better communication on the range. Noises above a safe level are electronically shut out, but you can still hear what your shooting partners are saying both on the range and long after you leave.

Comfort

Walker's Razor Slim Electronic Muff
Walker's Razor Slim Electronic MuffWalker's Game Ear

Electronic hearing muffs can be a little bulky, but some models feature streamlined profiles to make them less burdensome while still offering the protection you need. Be sure the model you choose has an adjustable headband for a custom fit and a profile low enough that the muffs do not interfere with your gun's stock.