7 Best Hearing Protectors in 2020

The best hearing protector we tried was easily the Mpow 035 Noise Reduction Hearing Protectors. These noise dampening ear muffs are made from two layers of professional dampening foam, with a light form factor and an adjustable headband, for comfort.

To help you find the best hearing protectors for reducing unwanted noise throughout your day, we have tried out a multitude of top models, testing them for noise dampening technology, preparing products with multiple layers of protection, and comfort, ensuring that they provided a soft and unobtrusive form factor. We also liked models that featured adjustable headbands to fit a wide variety of consumers. Keep reading to learn more about the Mpow 035 Noise Reduction Hearing Protectors and the other models on this list.

Top 7 Best Hearing Protectors

 #1  Mpow 035 Noise Reduction Hearing Protectors

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: Features dual layers of sound dampening foam with a compact and lightweight design and an adjustable headband for comfort and to create a custom fit.

Pros
  • Dual layers of dampening foam
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Adjustable headband for comfort and custom fit
Cons
  • Reduces noise by 28dB, there are slightly more powerful picks on list
  • Not made to fit kids

This pair of Mpow 035 Noise Reduction Hearing Protector ear muffs are extremely comfortable, as they are made from ultra-soft leather and padded foam, with dual layers of noise dampening sound protection and an adjustable headband to create a custom fit. We also loved the compact design, which allows for easy folding for storage purposes, and light weight of just over 10 ounces.

These ear muffs boast a noise reduction rating of 28dB, giving them the best hearing protection for lawn mowing, though there are hearing protectors on the below list with higher NRR ratings. Additionally, the adjustable headband can fit nearly any adult-sized head, but these muffs are not designed to be worn by children. And speaking of children, check out our list of best headphones, which will surely help you block unwanted noise from the aforementioned.

 #2  Decibel Defense Professional Safety Hearing Protectors

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: Features the best noise reduction rating (NRR) on this list, with the capability to reduce up to 37dB of unwanted noise, in addition to being available in multiple sizes to suit a wide variety of head-types.

Pros
  • Best noise reduction on list
  • Available in sizes for various head types
  • Light form factor (10.7 oz)
Cons
  • Arrived tight and needed to be stretched
  • Too bulky to wear to sleep

These Decibel Defense Professional Safety Hearing Protectors are the highest NRR ear muffs on this list, with multiple layers of sound dampening foam that can effectively reduce unwanted noise by up to 37 dB. This gives them the best hearing protection for shooting, among other noise-intensive tasks. We also loved the light form factor, 10.7 ounces, which makes them comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

Though they are light, these hearing protectors may be too bulky to wear while laying down to sleep. Also, we found that they needed to be stretched out overnight before using, as they were somewhat tight upon arrival. If you need another audio device, try the best over-ear headphones.

 #3  Pro For Sho 34dB Shooting Hearing Protectors

Award: MOST MOBILE

WHY WE LIKE IT: Extremely light, just over 7 oz, and compact, with a foldable design, making it easy to carry, with availability in a small size for young children and featuring multiple color options, for aesthetics.

Pros
  • Small size great for young children
  • Available in multiple colors
  • 34dB NRR rating
Cons
  • Must be stretched out overnight over the included box
  • Fit the head tightly, so not good for sleeping

These Pro For Sho 34dB Shooting Hearing Protectors offer the best hearing protection for hunting, thanks to their lightweight, just over seven ounces, and compact form factor, making them easy to carry when not in use. These hearing protectors offer a noise reduction rating of up to 34dB, which is adequate for most tasks, and come in multiple color options. We also loved that the small size can easily fit children, though it is available in a larger size for adults.

These hearing protectors must be stretched out overnight upon arrival, however, though they include detailed instructions on how to do so. Additionally, they fit the head rather tightly, so are not a good choice for sleeping. With the best earmuffs for kids, you may want to also take a look at the best kids headphones.

 #4  3M H10A Peltor Optime 105 Hearing Protectors

Award: BEST QUALITY

WHY WE LIKE IT: High quality ear muffs, with a stainless steel headband and a double-shell ear cup design that helps to reduce both high and low frequencies, in addition to featuring a comfortable fit, thanks to liquid and foam filled cushions.

Pros
  • Comfortable fit, thanks to liquid and foam filled cushions
  • Offers attachment for helmet wearers
  • On the lighter side, at 11 oz
Cons
  • Design is not as foldable as some picks
  • Not as adjustable as some picks

These 3M H10A Peltor Optime 105 Hearing Protectors offer the best hearing protection for woodworking, thanks to a unique double-shell ear cup design which helps to reduce both high and low frequencies, with a noise reduction rating of 30dB. They are comfortable to wear for long periods of time, thanks to liquid and foam filled cushions, in addition to a relatively light form factor.

Though these hearing protectors are light, at just 11 ounces, they don’t fold down as well as some picks on this list, taking up more space in a backpack or carry bag. Also, the stainless steel headband is of extremely high quality, but is not quite as adjustable as some picks, and is not rated to fit children. If you’re at home watching TV, you might want the best headphones for TV instead.

 #5  Fnova Professional Ear Defender Hearing Protectors

Award: BEST ON A BUDGET

WHY WE LIKE IT: Budget-friendly hearing protectors with plenty of high end features, including an adjustable headband design that can fit all ages, from children to adults, and a powerful 34dB NRR rating.

Pros
  • Designed to fit all ages
  • 34dB NRR rating
  • Available in 6 colors
Cons
  • Somewhat heavy, over 1 lb
  • Cannot fit over a hard hat

These Fnova Professional Ear Defender Hearing Protectors come in at an extremely affordable price point, while still offering features in line with most of the picks on this list, including a noise reduction rating of 34dB and an adjustable headband that can fit nearly any child or adult. We also loved the soft foam around the ear cups, which we found to be comfortable, and the product’s availability in six different color options.

Though the headband is highly adjustable and rated for all head-shapes, they cannot fit over a hard hat, which could affect certain consumers. Additionally, these are somewhat heavy, clocking in at 1.2 pounds, which could impact long term use. If you’re looking for a new career, check out the best dj headphones.

 #6  Husqvarna 531300089 Professional Hearing Protectors

Award: MOST COMFORTABLE

WHY WE LIKE IT: Extremely comfortable design, which excels during long term use, with a light 10 oz form factor and a loose fit that is perfect for glasses wearers.

Pros
  • Lightweight, at just 10 oz
  • Loose fit is perfect for glasses wearers
  • Fits most head-sizes
Cons
  • 25dB NRR rating
  • Not for use with hard hat

These Husqvarna 531300089 Professional Hearing Protectors are extremely comfortable, thanks to a padded headband with pressure adjustment capabilities, soft foam ear cups and a light ten-ounce form factor, making these ear muffs ideal for long term use. We also loved that the loose fit was perfect for glasses wearers and that the headband adjusts to fit most head-sizes, including children.

Though these are great hearing protectors for glasses wearers, there isn’t enough adjustment room to fit over hard hats. Also, the noise reduction rating is 25dB, which is on the lower side compared to other products on this list, though is more than enough for most noise-intensive tasks.

 #7  Peltor 97042-PEL-6C Sport Ultimate Hearing Protectors

Award: BEST FOR CAPS AND HATS

WHY WE LIKE IT: Vented design to reduce heat build-up and featuring an adjustable headband that excels while wearing caps and hats, including hard hats, with comfortable cushioned ear pads for long term use.

Pros
  • Vented design to reduce heat build-up
  • Foldable and can be stowed away
  • Comfortable cushioned ear pads
Cons
  • Slightly heavier than some models, at 12.3 oz
  • Not for sleeping

These Peltor 97042-PEL-6C Sport Ultimate Hearing Protectors feature an innovative vented design, to reduce heat build-up, and a highly adjustable headband, making them perfect for consumers who like to wear hats and caps, including industrial-grade hard hats. We also loved the comfortable cushioned ear pads and the foldable design, which makes it easy to stow these away when not in use.

These hearing protectors are slightly heavier than similar models, however, weighing in at around 12.3 ounces, though they offer a noise reduction rating of 30dB. Additionally, these are somewhat bulky and would not be comfortable to sleep in.

How We Decided

To help narrow down to the above list, we focused primarily on noise reduction capabilities, preferring hearing protectors with high noise reduction ratings (NRR,) with a minimum NRR rating of 25dB and a maxim of 37dB. We also made sure that each of the above hearing protectors reduced sudden bursts of noise, while still allowing conversations and wanted the noise to be heard.

We were also highly focused on comfort, preferring hearing protectors with soft cushioned ear cups, often filled with liquid and foam, and padded headbands, allowing each of our picks to be worn for long periods of time without experiencing discomfort or fatigue. We also liked items that folded up when not in use, for the purposes of storage.

We made sure each of the above products could easily fit most adult-sized heads, and we took special care to choose a few hearing protectors that could adjust down to accommodate smaller heads, so they could be worn by children. Finally, we liked aesthetically pleasing models, often available in a wide variety of colors.

Best Hearing Protectors Buyer’s Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. NRR
    A product’s noise reduction rating, otherwise known as NRR, is a certification to illustrate just how much noise dampening each particular pair of hearing protectors can handle. For example, hearing protectors with a noise reduction rating of 30dB will effectively dampen and eliminate loud bursts of noise by up to 30dB. The above products are noise dampening models and not noise-canceling, so you’ll still be able to hear nearby conversations and the like.
  2. Comfort
    In order to make sure the hearing protectors you choose are comfortable for long term use, look for models that feature padded ear cups that are filled with either liquid or foam, or a combination of both. This can ensure your ears will not become fatigued as you go about your head. Also, look for padded headbands, which can eliminate any potential discomfort from the top of your head.
  3. Adjustability
    Look for hearing protectors that offer a good amount of adjustability. Many can fit multiple head-sizes, but be sure to read the fine print. Some hearing protectors are not rated to fit children or extremely large heads, while others come in a variety of sizes. If you are an average adult with an average-sized head, you’ll be fine purchasing any of the above products.

Hearing Protectors FAQs

What is the best ear protection?

To protect your long-term hearing, we absolutely recommend one of the above hearing protectors. They are filled with multiple layers of foam that help reduce unwanted noise by up to 38 dB.

What is the highest level of hearing protection?

The products on the above list feature noise reduction ratings from 25dB to 37dB. To that end, the Decibel Defense Professional Safety Hearing Protectors offer hearing protection by up to 37dB, which is enough for even the most noise-intensive activities.

How do I choose hearing protection?

Just keep an eye on the NRR rating and match it to the types of activities you often undergo. You’ll also want to consider comfort and adjustability, as you might want to look for the best behind the neck hearing protection in addition to the types of ear muffs found on the above list.

How much noise do earmuffs block?

The earmuffs on the above list can block anywhere from 25dB to 37dB of unwanted noise. Generally speaking, earmuffs excel at reducing high-frequency noise, though some products are equipped with features that tackle low-frequency noise.

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Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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