6 Best Electronic Hearing Protection in 2020

After more than 12 hours of research and testing, our pick for the best hearing protection goes to the Peltor Sport Tactical 300 Electronic Hearing Protection. It is an all-around winner with a high 24dB noise reduction rating, SMART technology-enabled amplification, and a low profile design that matches well with long-range target practice.

Choosing the best electronic hearing protection could mean the difference between loud blasts ringing in your ears and a peaceful session every time. Our evaluation focused on the type (in-ear or over-ear), battery life, effectiveness (e.g. dB rating), materials, and auxiliary features such as carry cases and integrated volume knobs for sound amplification. Keep reading to learn more about our top pick and the other best electronic hearing protection available for purchase.

Top 6 Best Electronic Hearing Protection

 #1  Peltor Sport Tactical 300 Electronic Hearing Protection

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: This is the best hearing protection for the range thanks to its 24dB noise reduction rating and SMART technology which makes it easier to hear low-level sounds.

Pros
  • Best for the range
  • Low-level sound amplifier to facilitate conversation
  • Comfortable, cushioned and low profile earbuds
Cons
  • 2 AA batteries (not included)
  • Rubber headband may be uncomfortable for some people
  • May muffle quieter rifles

This electronic hearing protection is very effective with a 24dB noise reduction rating and a low-level sound amplifier, which works great to cut down on wind noise and hear voice commands from instructions without any distortion or compression. Low profile cups also make it work great with long rifles. Its over-the-ear setup is very comfortable to wear, heavily cushioned with vented headbands to alleviate sweat. Kudos for weighing only 1.29 pounds, so we can barely feel it while wearing it.

We especially love this electronic hearing protection’s Dynamic Suppression Time mechanism, which automatically adapts noise reduction depending on your firing activity. All in all, we were very impressed with this electronic hearing protections overall build quality. For the rest of your listening needs, take a look at our guide to the best kid’s headphones.

 #2  Howard Leight Electronic Hearing Protection

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: This is the best hearing protection for hunting thanks to built-in directional microphones that amplify sounds to 82dB, keeping you well alert with approaching animals and normal conversation with fellow shooters and instructors.

Pros
  • Comfortable, telescoping headband
  • Air Flow Control technology for noise reduction
  • Outstanding battery life (up to 350 hours)
Cons
  • Wind noise not intercepted as easily
  • Snap in-ear cushions could be better affixed

We love how effective this Howard Leight ear protection is. Built-in directional microphones help amplify sound, catching any animal calls and footsteps. Any noise above 82dB is automatically filtered, so you will always catch instructor commands and normal conversation. Its recessed design also works tremendously in reducing wind noise.

Low profile ear cups also provide ample clearance with longer firearms. A padded, telescoping headband and snap-in ear cushions also produce comfortable pressure. Kudos for a 4-hour automatic shutoff feature and superb battery life, lasting roughly 350 hours with regular use. You might also be interested in our guide to the best over ear headphones.

 #3  Howard Leight Impact Sport Electronic Hearing Protection

Award: DOUBLES AS HEADPHONES

WHY WE LIKE IT: This electronic hearing protection comes with distortion-free amplification of natural sounds up to 82dB and external audio jack, great for people who want to listen to music or podcasts while on the range.

Pros
  • Connects to audio jack for music listening
  • Helpful integrated volume knob to control sound amplification
  • Outstanding battery life (350 hours) with automatic 4-hour shut off function
Cons
  • Not as comfortable for people with larger heads
  • 22dB noise reduction not as effective in indoor ranges
  • Padding could be thicker

These Howard Leight Impact Sport electronic earmuffs are very effective, with crisp and clear amplification of natural sounds up to 82 dB. Automatic noise-blocking works well with a noise reduction rating of 22dB. An external head jack and ultra-slim ear cups also convert these to comfortable studio headphones for music or scanner playing, so we especially love it for heavy equipment operators and construction workers.

If you need a way to listen to music outside of your work site, you might also want to read our guide to the best wireless earbuds. One of our favorite features with this electronic hearing protection is its extended battery life, lasting up to 350 hours with a 4-hour automatic shutoff function. It runs on only 2 AAA batteries, which are included.

 #4  Act Fire Electronic Hearing Protection

Award: MOST COMFORTABLE

WHY WE LIKE IT: This electronic hearing protection comes with a 23dB noise reduction rating and an ultra-plush headband and deep ear cup, making it great for people who want to prioritize comfort.

Pros
  • Easy adjustable headband for a snug fit
  • High fidelity noise reduction (23dB)
  • Long battery life (6 to 8 days with normal usage)
Cons
  • May hear light humming/static sound on lower volume
  • 3.5mm aux jack could be sturdier
  • Loud beep when turning on

Our favorite feature with this electronic hearing protection earmuffs is its 23dB noise reduction rating, which does an excellent job of protecting the eardrums in indoor ranges. Sound amplification is very pronounced, with the slightest shrub movement and other nature sounds captured well. Kudos for its slim and foldable design which makes it easy to carry around.

These over the ear earmuffs come heavily padded, with a relatively thicker headband and muffs, making it comfortable for all-day wear. While testing, we experienced no pinching or skin compression. Kudos for a 6 to 8-day battery life under normal usage using only two AAA batteries, which are not included. For another high-quality listening device, take a look at our guide to the best noise-canceling headphones too.

 #5  Caldwell E-Max Low Profile Electronic Hearing Protection

Award: BEST ON A BUDGET

WHY WE LIKE IT: This budget-friendly electronic hearing protection headset comes with a low profile design for better cheek weld, great for people who want extra help with the perfect shot.

Pros
  • Built-in cheek weld for increased accuracy
  • Amplifies sounds below 85dB really well
  • Dual microphones on both ears & comes in a variety of colors
Cons
  • 2 AAA batteries not included
  • Battery life could be much longer (3-4 hours with normal usage)

We really like this electronic hearing protection’s utility. It comes with a 23dB noise reduction rating to muffle loud blasts and uses dual microphones in each ear to amplify sounds under 85dB. This is really effective at tracking animals while hunting or listening to your instructor bark commands.

On the comfort side, these electronic earmuffs are a pleasure to wear. an oversized adjustable headband and padded ar cups provide enough cushioning to wear all day. Our only knock is that its battery life is lower than the picks we tested. Using two AAA batteries, we experienced roughly three to four hours of run time with normal usage before it ran empty. You might want to take these earmuffs with you on your next hunting/shooting trip.

 #6  Awesafe Electronic Hearing Protection

Award: BEST HEADBAND

WHY WE LIKE IT: This electronic hearing protection comes with low profile earcups and distortion-free amplification up to 82 dB, making it a great choice for outdoor shooters.

Pros
  • Built-in microphones for effective sound amplification (under 82 dB)
  • Low profile cups for better positioning
  • Made in the U.S.A. & includes carrying pouch
Cons
  • Headband stitching could be better quality
  • No cut out for cheek weld

We are very impressed with this ear protection’s overall function. Noise dampening is solid, blocking out any noise above 82dB. Conversations can easily be heard within range while blocking out those loud blasts. An adjustable headband also makes it very easy to wear with nice snugness “down to the millimeter” for your own personal comfort level.

This electronic hearing protection has excellent battery life. While testing, we ran it for roughly four hours on normal usage before replacing the batteries. with a 4-hour automatic shutoff function to save even more power. Kudos for its headphone compatibility, which works well with construction workers out on the field all day.

How We Decided

In determining the best electronic hearing protection to buy, we explored the type (in-ear or over-ear), battery life, effectiveness (e.g. dB rating), materials, and auxiliary features such as carry cases.

In our opinion, over-the-ear headphones offer the best noise reduction ratings, amplification power, and all-around ear protection. Large padded headband and earmuffs should be very comfortable to wear enough all day, especially out in the wild.

As for battery life, many of our picks clock 300+ hours of battery life, such as the Howard Leight by Honeywell Electronic Hearing Protection. The Act Fire Electronic Hearing Protection also lasts 6 to 8 days with normal usage. Continually swapping out and buying AAA batteries could be tiresome after a while, so this is an important benefit.

Look for electronic hearing protection benefits that offer a nice, snug fit. Padded headbands and oversized plush earmuffs should be comfortable enough for all-day wear.

Best Electronic Hearing Protection Buyer’s Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. Type (In-Ear or Over-Ear)
    All of our recommended picks offer over the ear designs, which we feel works better in sealing the ear and taking full advantage of noise reduction and amplification. They do the best job at limiting the amount of noise that penetrates your eardrums. Design is also very important. Some electronic hearing protection headphones have beveled ear cups or cheek welds that allow users to better hold their choice of artillery when on the range. Others come with volume controls on each ear to calibrate amplification perfectly depending on your surroundings.
  2. Battery Life
    Look for electronic hearing protection with a minimum battery life of four hours with normal usage. Some of our better picks have 300+ hour battery life,m, good for nearly weeks of normal use without having to replace batteries. This is truly exceptional.
  3. Effectiveness
    At a minimum, we recommend electronic muffs with noise reduction rates of at least 20 dB. Most of the picks on our list offer 25+ dB noise reduction ratings, which is enough to notice a significant difference with muffled blasts. For even more protection, wearing earplugs is optional. Anything we can do to prevent hearing loss is very important. We also prioritized the amplification of noises under 85 dB. This allows users to better hear the instructor’s words or catch animal movement out in the wild. Noise reduction should not kill vital sounds needed to navigate your environment.
  4. Materials
    We prefer plush, well-cushioned headbands, and earmuffs. They should be comfortable enough to wear all day without skin pinching or compression.

Electronic Hearing Protection FAQs

Are electronic ear muffs worth it?

For indoor and outdoor shooting activity, we feel it is definitely worth it. The best earplugs for shooting muffle sounds above 85 dB while amplifying sounds under that. For outdoor shooters and hunters, that may allow users to better track animal movements. For indoor shooters, it works wonders to protect ears and hear the shooting instructors' instructions without having to remove the earmuffs. Don’t forget your safety glasses!

What is the best noise reduction rating?

Electronic hearing protection earmuffs can go as high as 33 decibels. However, the best on this list tops out at 24dB, which is more than respectable for a wide range of guns including pistols and long guns.

What level of hearing protection is needed for shooting?

We recommend electronic hearing protection with a minimum NRR rating of 22 dB. While testing, this offered enough muffling to notice a real difference for “pro ears.”

Are earplugs or earmuffs better for shooting?

We like using both to get the best effect of muffling a loud shot. Even foam plugs can make a difference. Note, the best in-ear electronic hearing protection for shooting or the best electronic earplugs for shooting provide an overall better seal of the inner ear canal. However, wearing both earplugs and an earmuff could drown out your shooting instructor’s instructions, so an earmuff that can amplify sounds below 85 dB and noise cancel 85 dB sounds could do an awesome job.

What other electronic earmuffs do you recommend?

Although it did not make our list, we really enjoyed the Peltor Sport Tactical 500 and the 3M Peltor SV tactical pro hearing protector. We love it for shooters and construction workers, as it has a noise reduction rating of 26 dB and low-level sound amplification. Its deep ear cup design is very comfortable to wear enough all day.

Also why not check out:

Ray Prince

Diehard UFC/MMA fan and all-around techie who loves to write.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
Close