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Best Electronic Hearing Protection: Hear Clearly and Don’t Damage Your Ears

Prevent blowing out your hearing with these electronic headphones

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BYDaniel Rika, Scott Roepel/ LAST UPDATED ON June 28, 2021

If you’re on active duty, go to the shooting range, perform in rifle or pistol shooting competitions, or work in construction, you need hearing protection. Guns are loud and can damage your ears and lead to hearing loss if used without ear protection or headphones. The same is true for construction equipment like nail guns and chainsaws. To save your ears some trouble, we put together a list of the best electronic hearing protection on the market.

Best Overall

Peltor Sport Tactical 500 Smart Electronic Hearing Protector

Summary

These provide a comfortable fit and work great both outdoors and in indoor ranges. They include Bluetooth technology so you can stream music and make phone calls with them.

Pros

Feature a 26-decibel noise reduction rating. The technology measures noise levels and automatically reduces volume and echo. Clear voice tracking. Reduced wind noise.

Cons

Lower noise reduction compared to other brands. Delay in audio streaming. Not the most durable.

Best Value

Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact Sport Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting Earmuff

Summary
A sleek and modern pair of electronic headphones with built-in directional microphones and actively listening technology. 350 hours of battery life.


Pros

Enhanced tech reduces noises over 82 decibels. Noise reduction rating of 22. Adjustable headband. Comfortable and secure. Durable. Teal color. 

Cons

Short battery life when compared to other brands. You may need earplugs when using them indoors. Pick up wind noise.

Honorable Mention

Walker’s Game Ear Alpha 360 Quad

Summary
These earmuffs come with a camouflage appearance and are designed to drown out the sound of a gunshot, but keep the sound of the animals you’re hunting within earshot.


Pros

Offers five times hearing enhancement and an impressive noise reduction rating of 24 decibels. The earpieces can be adjusted independently. Designed with microbial and wind resistance.

Cons

The pads feel stiff on the ear and may peel off with frequent use. It may take you some time before you equalize both earpieces.

Best Electronic Hearing Protection: Hear Clearly and Don’t Damage Your Ears

Best Electronic Hearing Protection Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Tips

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Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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  • Many electronic earmuffs or headphones come with the ability to play music through a built-in audio jack or audio input. They may also be able to stream through Bluetooth. This can help reduce loud noises even more.
  • Consider headphones that are brightly colored or stand out so you are more visible. This is preferable at construction sites. Camouflaged headphones are more useful for hunters or members of the military on active duty.
  • If you shoot guns for competition or indoors, choose headphones with slim or beveled ear cups to minimize interference with the weapons.
  • If you have sensitive ears, you can find headphones with independent volume control on each ear. This way you can control the noise levels on each side.
  • To help prevent hearing damage, you can also double up on protection by using foam earplugs underneath the headphones. Foam plugs are small, lightweight and fit directly into your ear canal.
  • Consider wearing a pair of safety glasses as well to protect your eyes. The rims should fit comfortably underneath the headphones without hurting your ears.

FAQs

Q: Why are premium electronic earmuffs so expensive?

A: Electronic earmuffs feature enhanced technology that automatically adjusts volume levels that reach your ears. They are also a bit bulkier and heavier than passive muffs. Naturally, this makes them significantly more expensive—in the range of $100 to $300, compared with $10 to $50 for passive earmuffs. They also come with either rechargeable batteries or AAA batteries to power them.

Q: What is the purpose of electronic hearing protection?

A: Electronic ear protection headsets can be used for a variety of things but are especially useful for hunters or members of the military. You may also need them if you compete in shooting sports or go to the shooting range. Contractors and construction workers can use them if they operate heavy machinery. They protect your ears from being blown out by loud noises by reducing and muffling the sound.

Q: How does electronic hearing protection work?

A: Like passive earmuffs, they reduce the amount of noise that reaches your eardrums. Where they differ is in how they function. Electronic muffs include technology that instantly lowers loud noises around you. This can reduce the sound of a gunshot or machinery so that it doesn’t blow out your ear. They also increase ambient sounds, so you can talk and hear people around you without taking them off.

Q: Is electronic hearing protection safe?

A: Make sure you get an NRR rating high enough to provide the protection you need. Small caliber weapons call for a minimum NRR 20. For shooting ear protection, larger bore hand and long guns call for NRR 25 or better. For large caliber and magnum handguns, long guns, and shotguns, the highest rating you can get (NRR 33) is appropriate. You can also double up on protection by wearing earplugs under your electronic earmuffs.

Final Thoughts

For one of the best electronic hearing protection, consider the Peltor Sport Tactical 500 Smart Electronic Hearing Protector for its enhanced audio capabilities. 

You could also check out the Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact Sport Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting Earmuff for the sleek and cool design and audio level functionality.

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