What Are Electronic Earmuffs?
Electronic earmuffs are battery powered electronic hearing protection. They have a microphone connected to a noise reduction circuit board. This enables the earmuffs to amplify ambient sounds and cut out the amplification of loud sounds. For example, the noise from a gunshot which can causing permanent hearing loss because of its high decimal (dB) level.
The major benefit is that you can easily communicate with other people around you who are talking at a normal level. The omni directional microphones easily pick up voices when you or someone else is shooting.
There is no doubt they are one of the best shooting accessories I own! I having been using an all black pair of Walker Razor Slim and I absolutely love them.
Electronic earmuffs do all the work for you so you can easily and effortlessly enjoy your time spent shooting. Slip on your earmuffs crank up the volume and easily communicate with the range master and other shooters with ease.
You will never have to lift up one side of your old standard earmuffs or pull out an earplug to say “What!” ever again!
What Is a NRR Rating?
It’s the law for all hearing protection products to have a NRR.
This unit of measurement rates how effective hearing protection devices will decrease your exposure to sound. They classify this by the potential to reduce the effective decibels (dB) you are exposed to. You can protect your hearing by using either earmuffs or earplugs or a combination of both.
Always Protect Your Hearing When Shooting Guns
Guns produce anywhere between 140dB – 170dB and hearing loss can occur instantly at around 120dB or higher.
With consistent or prolonged exposure to 80dB or higher without hearing protection you are putting yourself at a severely increased risk of some form of hearing damage.
Just for reference
- Jet Engine is around 140dB
- Jackhammer is around 130dB
- Chainsaw is around 100dB
- Rock Concert can reach 150dB
Every gun and ammunition setup has its own decibel level and almost everything except a .22 is fiercely deadly to your hearing. Don’t take that the wrong way I strongly recommend wearing hearing protection even when shooting a .22.
Prolonged use to any gunshot without hearing protection can and will cause hearing damage.
Any worthwhile electronic earmuffs will be between 22 and 31 NRR. If you are going to be doing mostly indoor shooting I would opt for a pair with a mid to high rating.
When it comes to hearing protection for shooting guns you have 3 options earplugs, standard earmuffs and electronic earmuffs.
The NRR will vary depending on the type and style of protection device. Earmuffs have a highest maximum rating of 31 when used alone and earplugs have a highest maximum rating of 33 when used alone. When you combine earmuffs and earplugs you get the highest possible protection of 36dB.
What you quickly notice is the decibel protection rating will commonly be inline with the quality, type and price. Generally, higher end models will receive a top level noise reduction rating. They will also have better durability as well as fit and finish.
Best Electronic Earmuffs For Shooting
Pro Ears - Pro Tac Plus Gold - Military Grade Electronic Hearing Protection
Top Grade Choice - Only Earmuff with Dual Circuit Boards
Pro Ears makes some of the highest quality electronic earmuffs around. These are military grade all around earmuffs, they are perfect for shooting but just as great for anything you need hearing protection from.
They are a made in the USA, veteran owned business who backs their products with a 5 year warranty which is one of the very best in the industry.
Now let’s talk about the Pro Tac Plus Gold series earmuffs. They have dual circuitboards which allows you to control the volume for each ear independently. This is a unique feature of Pro Ears and it is great for those with hearing loss in one ear or for situational hearing or personal preference.
Another awesome feature of having dual circuitboards is this eliminates the need for external wires passing from one earmuff to the other. So you will never have a cord get twisted and cause you problems again.
You get a 26 NRR rating which is a very good rating for low profile shooting earmuffs. They come with a 1.5 ms response time from bang to protection which is lightening fast.
They are made with some of the most comfortable ear seals around. Full leather wrap with visco elastic foam padding.
Other features that make the Pro Tac a great choice is the 3.5 mm headphone jack, fully adjustable and very comfortable headband. 4 hour automatic shutoff for saving your battery life when you accidentally forget to turn them off or they get accidentally get knocked on in your range bag.
It also comes with a super convenient low battery indicator.
Their are some very good electronic earmuffs but you would be hard pressed to find a better set then the Pro Ears. They are premium top quality electronic earmuffs. Their looks are their biggest downside but lets be honest who cares about the looks. When it comes to earmuffs its all about function.
Howard Leight Impact Sport Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting Earmuff
High Quality Mid-Range Choice - Best for Outdoor Shooting / Ranges
The Impact Sport Sound Earmuff is a good mid-range choice that will work for most people. It is slim and lightweight offers a pretty comfortable experience for extended use.
There are two convenient features about this earmuff that I like.
First is the auto shut-off capability, which automatically shuts off the power after 4 hours. I have on more then one occasion showed up to the range to find my earmuff batteries dead because mine were left on or knocked to the on position in my range bag. (frustrating let me tell you!). So an auto shut-off is a great feature that will help you save and extend battery life.
Second is the low profile earcups which are designed to give you maximum stock clearance when shooting rifles.
They have a 22 NRR rating which is definitely not the top of the line but generally sufficient. In my opinion these are a bit more well suited for outdoor shooting rather then indoor shooting ranges, most specifically when the indoor range is full. They will still work for indoor shooting ranges, however if you are going to be shooting indoors often then I would recommend getting a pair with a little higher NRR.
Overall these are very well made electronic earmuffs. They have a custom fit headband and they fold up to a compact size when not in use, which is great for maximizing space in your range bag and it also helps keep them from getting damaged.
I recommend these for those who don’t want to spend a lot or who shoot only a few times a year but still want a quality pair of earmuffs.
Howard Leight Impact Pro Electronic Earmuff
Top Level NRR Protection
The Impact Pro is the next step up for Howard Leight electronic earmuffs. They are larger and a bit heavier and due to their larger size do not fold up as compact as the Impact Sports model. These are a full size none slim earmuff.
The main reason for the size difference is shown in the 30 NRR rating. These provide a much higher level of hearing protection and are a great choice for indoor range shooters, high caliber rifles or pretty much any type of shooting.
These are still a well priced mid-range model at around 60 dollars. They are very comfortable with plenty of padding and a telescoping headband for a custom fit.
- They have directional microphones that will amplify things like range commands and blocks out noise that raises over 82dB.
- 4 hour auto shut-off to help preserve and extend battery life.
- 3.5mm headphone jack so you can hook up your phone, music or scanner
In conclusion, these are a great choice when you want to protect your hearing 100%. Hearing damage is no joke and usually permanent but with the right hearing protection you can prevent damage. The Impact Pro earmuffs are durable and low maintenance but also a bit bulky.
Walker's Game Razor Slim Electronic EarMuffs
Great Ultra Slim Low Profile Option
To this day my Walkers Razor’s are one of my favorite and best pair of electronic earmuffs that I own. They are ultra slim low profile and comfortable. They have endured 3 years of regular use and not one issue. I am currently getting ready to purchase a few pairs of electronic earmuffs for my kids and I will most likely go with Walkers.
Walkers Razor Slim are a great option for under 50 dollars. There are some better more high quality choices but usually are going to come with a higher price tag sometimes much higher.
The ultra thin rubberized cups are very comfortable. The headband is padded and adjustable and can easily be worn for many hours.
They are equipped with all the main features you would expect in electronic earmuffs. Omni directional microphones, 3.5mm headphone jack, raised ridge on and off switch which gives better feel when wearing gloves.
23 NRR which does the job for most situations. I wouldn’t recommend spending more then an hour or two shooting at an indoor range. Sound activation protection over 89dB with a 0.2 reaction speed.
These are a fantastic budget minded set of electronic earmuffs. If you are looking for a good value at a good price then these are a great option.
Peltor Sport Tactical 500
Digital & Bluetooth Electronic Earmuff
The Peltor line of electronic earmuffs are a high quality line of hearing protection. The Sport Tactical 500 uses smart technology to suppress high impact noise like gunshots and amplify low level noises like voices.
The Tactical 500 is a bluetooth enabled electronic earmuff with a straight forward all black design with a look all its own.
It has a headband that was designed to be worn comfortably with a hat. Honestly from someone who wears a hat often when out shooting and never had issues with more traditional designs I not sure what this will add.
- 26 dB NRR
- Easy intuitive setup with voice guidance that lets you operate without removing earmuffs.
- Recessed microphones and soft cushion earpieces for all day comfort
Overall these are a great all around pair of electronic earmuffs. Perfect for indoor and outdoor shooting not to mention bluetooth connectivity.
MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X - Premium Edition
Premium Electronic Earmuff Choice
The MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X is at the top of the game when it comes to electronic earmuffs. These were designed to conform to military specifications which means they have to stand up to the toughest conditions.
These earmuffs should last you a long time, they have all the upgrades and quality parts to do so. All the internal electronic parts are waterproofed so you can use these in the elements. There are two microphones that provide complete digital sound as well as a 3.5mm aux port. Hook up phones, radios, and other devices easily.
They keep harmful sounds compressed down to 82dB level to protect your hearing yet picks up quiet noise like voices for easy no hassle communication.
What I like most
- 3 button control system
- Gel comfort earseals
- Left & Right cutouts for easy unobstructive shooting
- 600 hour battery life
The MSA Sordin Pro X are extremely comfortable earmuffs. They have gel comfort ear pieces which are unmatched when it comes to prolonged all day comfort.
They also have a headband wrap that gives a bit of added comfort and if you want you can swap it out with other colors and designs depending on your preference or activity.
Overall MSA makes some of the best electronic earmuffs on the market. They are premium, even their older or step down models are a great choice and still very high end. If you can afford the high price tag this is one purchase you would not regret and would definitely get your moneys worth over the long haul.
AKT1 Sport Sound Earmuff
Great Sound Quality
The AKT1 are a worthwhile pair of earmuffs. They have great sound quality and good comfort. You can only get these in black so if color or design is important to you then you may want to choose something like the Walkers Razor Slim.
They have a very good 25 NRR and a 6x sound amplification.
AKT1 likes to feature their hand-stitched memory foam ear cushions and headband. How true that is I am not sure. However, they are comfortable and soft and overall well made.
They are equipped with a simple on/off toggle switch, audio jack for easy radio hookup. Adjustable fit headband, dual microphones, and a cutout for your rifle stock.
In conclusion, the AKT1 Sport electronic earmuffs are a good buy. They are more on the high end price range coming in at around $100 dollars give or take (as of this writing). I found them to be very comfortable with good sound quality which are two of the most important things I look for when choosing a pair of earmuffs for shooting.
Walker Razor Behind The Neck Hearing Protection Ear Buds
Best Non-Traditional Pick
Walker Razor is a major player in the electronic earmuffs industry. They are now adding to their collection of traditional over the head earmuffs with these new behind the neck retractable ear buds.
These are a great choice if you don’t like like the traditional bulky earmuffs. These do not interfere with you shooting in anyway. Bring out your rifle and shoot freely without any obstruction.
- These are bluetooth enabled so you can use them as a headset as well.
- Amazing 31 NRR rating (top level protection)
- Rechargeable 250 mAH battery (up to 10 hours of continuous use)
- Auto shutoff after 4 hours of no use to help save battery life
These shooting earbuds are possibly the new wave of hearing protection. It is no secret that ear plugs provide a higher level of hearing protection than earmuffs. Now when you combine the power of ear plugs with the digital sound amplification of earmuffs you have a better less intrusive and more effective hearing protection device for shooting.
The independent volume control allows you to control the volume through the earbuds or through your bluetooth enabled device like your phone.
Now with that being said there do happen to be a few drawbacks. Sometimes it was hard to tell which direction the voice was coming from when someone is talking to you. I did not find that to be a big deal but I suppose it could bother some. As long as I can hear voices such as my shooting partner or range master then its fine. Also, the volume levels could be a little adjusted to work more accurate.
All in all I thought these were a really great pair of shooting earbuds. They give you a different option for those who either want better hearing protection or a lighter and less bulky alternative. Earplugs are not for everyone, but if you like the idea of these they do come with 3 different size plugs so you can find one that fits good. These are a worthwhile pick and hopefully Walker will continue improving and fine tuning future models.
Peltor Sport Tactical 100
A Good Reliable Pick
Peltor has a good reputation in the shooting and hunting world for their reliability. They have a large choice of earmuffs ranging in price form budget to premium bluetooth.
The Tactical 100 is a good mid range choice from Peltor that works for any type of shooter. Whether you are going hunting or hitting the range you will not be disappointed with a pair of these.
What I like most is the way they get a good seal around your ears. They keep out sound very good and are comfortable to wear. There is other earmuffs that have a more comfortable earseals, but these still do a nice job.
You also get a 2hr auto shutoff to save battery life, 3.5mm headphone jack and low profile ear cups to make room for rifle shooting. You have an adjustable headband and a recessed microphones to help fight against wind and a recessed volume control knob.
Overall, I really like the Peltor Sport Tactical 100 electronic earmuffs they look the part and they function very well. These are a great mid range option that will work for most shooters.
I have been shooting for many years and the for the first couple of those years I just used earplugs. Earplugs work great especially the tapered form fitting style which give a great seal and keep the decibel level at a safe volume. The problem though, is earplugs are somewhat annoying and can make it hard to hear other people when they are talking, like your shooting buddies or the range master. The only way to combat against those problems is by constantly taking your earplugs out whenever the shooting stops (annoying!).
Electronic earmuffs are truly the best accessory for shooters. These battery powered earmuffs work wonders and you can shoot all day and never take them off.
They have adjustable fit headbands, soft earseal cushions, and microphones connected to a noise reduction circuit board which amplifies noises like voices and cuts down the amplification from gunshots or other loud devices to a safe level.
Talk normally, shoot normally and never worry about your hearing again. Electronic earmuffs are the greatest accessory to the modern shooter.