Best Hearing Protection for Hunting of 2020: Top 6 Picks

Last update: Sep 20, 2020

Hunting is fun and rewarding, but along with those great feelings during your hunts, you also need safety.

One of the most vulnerable parts, when you go hunting, is your ears, meaning your hearing. The loud noise from gunshots can hurt your ear canals and reduce the hearing ability over time.

To avoid this unfortunate outcome of hunting, you need the best hearing protection for hunting

Here are the best hearing protection for hunting you can buy in 2020:

  • Best Overall (Earmuffs): Howard Leight R-01526-PK2
  • Best for Medium-Volume Range (Earmuffs): Walker’s Razor Slim GWP-RSEM
  • Best for Loud Gunshots (Earmuffs): Caldwell E-Max Behind-the-Head
  • Best Overall (Ear Plugs): Decibullz Thermo-fit Molded Earpieces
  • Best for Duck Hunting (Ear Plugs): Acu-Life Shooter’s Hearing Protectors
  • Good for Turkey Hunting (Ear Plugs): Walkers Silencer NRR25dB
6 best hearing protection for hunting
Best Overall
Howard Leight R-01526-PK2
  • Earmuffs
Best for Medium-Volume Range
Walker’s Razor Slim GWP-RSEM
  • Earmuffs
Best for Loud Gunshots
Caldwell E-Max Behind-the-Head
  • Earmuffs
Best Overall
Decibullz Thermo-fit Molded Earpieces
  • Ear Plugs
Best for Duck Hunting
Acu-Life Shooter’s Hearing Protectors
  • Ear Plugs
Good for Turkey Hunting
Walkers Silencer NRR25dB
  • Ear Plugs

Best Overall (Earmuffs): Howard Leight R-01526-PK2

Howard Leight R-01526-PK2
Howard Leight R-01526-PK2
9.4Outstanding
Pros
  • Convenient to store – the size of 3.8 x 5 x 8.2 inches; lightweight with 12 ounces
  • Sound amplification – Built-in directional microphones
  • Multifunctional - Connection for MP3 Players and radio using 3.5mm headphone jack included
Cons
  • Not enough muting for indoor range shooting

The Howard Leight R-01526-PK2 offers the best value for its price with great amplification, allowing you to even hear more than you usually do. It also excels at eliminating loud sounds from multiple calibers.

Even when noise cancellation is off, the earmuffs still provide good protection for your hearing. Complimented for the quality material, too.

It features a 3.5mm AUX input and a connection cord for scanners, along with an MP3 player for music or radio listening. Besides, the batteries last really long, up to 350 hours.

From those highlights stated above, we find this product to be suitable for outdoor shooting and where you need to ear protections.

Howard Leight R-01526-PK2 Specifications

Weight

12 ounces

Battery Run Time

350 hours

Noise Reduction Rating

22

Highlight features

Weigh 12 ounces, measures 3.8 x 5 x 8.2 inches; built-in directional microphones; Headphone jack

The Howard Leight R-01526-PK2 would make a perfect companion for you when hunting and shooting outdoor.

Best for Medium-Volume Range (Earmuffs): Walker’s Razor Slim GWP-RSEM

Walker’s Razor Slim GWP-RSEM
Walker’s Razor Slim GWP-RSEM
9.6Outstanding
Pros
  • Good protection – activated when sounds exceed 89dB with a fast reaction time of 0.02 seconds
  • Easy to store –folding design, measured by 10.4 x 7.9 x 3.8 inches, the weight of 1.44 ounces
  • Allow for audio listening – 3.5mm headphone jack
Cons
  • Higher volume setting picks up white background noise
  • Not the most comfortable for long periods

The Walker’s Razor Slim GWP-RSEM is good at picking up conversations and sounds indoor on a medium to a low setting.

It also features amazing noise reduction and protection thanks to sound-activated protection that reacts really fast at only 0.02 seconds. It can reduce loud noises by 23 decibels.

Its slim design is great for shooting with long guns. The earmuffs also generate moderate pressure on the ears and head, making it fit well and avoiding bouncing when in use.

Batteries are included so there’s no need to take off the ear cups to put batteries in and the on/off dial is easy to find and use with one hand.

Walker’s Razor Slim GWP-RSEM Specifications

Dimensions

1.44 ounces

Noise Reduction Rating

23

Highlight features

Folding design; Sound Activated Protection at 0.02 reaction time; NRR of 23dB

If you are looking for a perfect pair of electronic muffs to use in a medium-volume range, like indoor environments, the Razor Slim Muff is the right choice.

Best for Loud Gunshots (Earmuffs): Caldwell E-Max Behind-the-Head

Caldwell E-Max Behind-the-Head
Caldwell E-Max Behind-the-Head
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Sound clarity and amplification – inbuilt microphones amplify
  • Protection – Automatic shut-off when sounds exceed 85dB & 21 NRR
Cons
  • Batteries not included

These ear cups with adjustable volume are excellent in noise reduction, making them the best candidate for loud gunshots. But don’t worry, they still let you talk with people normally. They shut off very fast when detecting gunshots, which protects your hearing phenomenally well.

With low-profile ear cups, featuring foam cushion, it feels comfortable to wear and won’t hurt your ears even for prolonged shooting periods.

The behind-the-head design helps avoid pressure on the top of the head.

The cups are slim enough to not interfere when you shoulder a rifle. The batteries last for hours so you can go on prolonged shooting sessions.

Caldwell E-Max Behind-the-Head Specifications

Dimensions

9.6 ounces

Noise Reduction Rating

21-25

Highlight features

Cushioned foam ear cups, behind-the-head band, Folding muffs; Automatic shut-off; 21 NRR

If you’re going to a shooting range where there are frequent shots fired, the Caldwell E-Max Behind-the-Head is an ideal option, it does an amazing job in protecting your hearing.

Best Overall (Ear Plugs): Decibullz Thermo-fit Molded Earpieces

Decibullz Thermo-fit Molded Earpieces
Decibullz Thermo-fit Molded Earpieces
8.6Great
Pros
  • Allow you to hear ambient sound & permitting voice if detecting no damaging noise - Decibullz Filters
  • Good noise cancellation – 31 NRR & Decibullz Percussive Filters
  • Simple to use - no batteries required
Cons
  • Not suitable for use with .308 rifle
  • Vague printed instructions

The Decibullz Thermo-fit Molded Earpieces is made for shooting as well as military use, featuring unique physical filters that offer up to 31 noise reduction rating. It can suppress loud noises to safe levels to protect your hearing.

With filters ANSI IPIL certified up to 166 dB, the product lets ambient noise and voices in when you want while protecting the ears from high-level percussive and impulse sounds.

It requires no batteries so you won’t have to worry about disrupted protection from loud gunshots.

These earpieces are shaped easily and quickly to fit your ears, offering amazing noise isolating capability along with comfortable, secure feelings when in use.

Decibullz Thermo-fit Molded Earpieces Specifications

Weight

0.46 ounces

Noise reduction rating

31

Battery Run Time

None

Highlight features

3 sizes of foam tips, 3 sizes of silicone tips; the Decibullz Filters; the Decibullz Percussive Filters

Your search for the best overall earplugs is over with the Decibullz Thermo-fit Molded Earpieces. It offers everything you need, hearing protection, comfort, durability, and affordability.

Best for Duck Hunting (Ear Plugs): Acu-Life Shooter’s Hearing Protectors

Acu-Life Shooter’s Hearing Protectors
Acu-Life Shooter’s Hearing Protectors
8.4Good
Pros
  • Protection for multiple purposes – 18 DECIBEL NRR
  • Convenient for reuse and travel – size of 1.5 x 1 x 1.8 inches & weight of 0.48 ounces
  • Eliminate the plugged-up feeling efficiently – able to blocks impulse sound
Cons
  • Awkward to clean

The Acu-Life Shooter’s Hearing Protectors are comfortable to wear all day long.

The earplugs excellently protect your hearing from sudden loud noises like gunshots while letting you hear environmental sounds, making them the best for duck hunting or bird hunting.

While electronic muffs block duck calls and their microphones let in wind noise, there don’t. They let you hear your call and quiet sounds like goose calls from far off.

Acu-Life Shooter’s Hearing Protectors Specifications

Weight

0.48 ounces

Noise reduction rating

18

Batteries

None

Highlight features

18 DECIBEL NRR; able to blocks impulse sound; the size of 1.5 x 1 x 1.8 inches & weight of 0.48 ounces

If you’re going on a duck hunt or a bird hunt, these are must-have earplugs, it’s like they are particularly made for this type of activity.

Good for Turkey Hunting (Ear Plugs): Walkers Silencer NRR25dB

Walkers Silencer NRR25dB
Walkers Silencer NRR25dB
8.2Good
Pros
  • Good hearing protection – NRR of 25 dB & Sound Activated Compression
  • Enhanced hearing experience – independent volume control on each earbud
  • Secure fit - 3 foam tip sizes
Cons
  • Fast battery drain when not in use
  • Not rechargeable

The Walkers Silencer fits your ear perfectly because their tips are real foam that expands for a perfect seal when putting into the ear canal.

The product excels at protecting your hearing, especially in outdoor shooting sessions. But you can still talk to other people at a range and a conversational volume while hearing one another perfectly.

They work well for long guns as well. The volume control range is good and the sound quality is reasonable, which makes it ideal for turkey hunting.

Although they get worn out over time, we feel pleased to repurchase them forever for the quality and as they are cheap to replace.

Walkers Silencer NRR25dB Specifications

Weight

1.6 ounces

Noise reduction rating

25

Battery Run Time

80 hours

Highlight features

Sound Activated Compression; Independent volume control; NRR of 25 dB; 3 foam tip sizes

If you’re going for turkey hunting and need a pair of earbuds to protect your hearing from loud gun noise while providing crystal clear communication, this is the one to buy.

How To Choose The best hearing protection for hunting?

Design

The first thing to consider is design, which you have to choose between electronic hearing protectors or level-dependent hearing protectors.

Level-dependent hearing protectors are traditional protectors incorporated with specialized acoustic filters. This design helps increase noise reduction in proportion to the sound level that the wearer is exposed to.

Meanwhile, electronic hearing protectors use technology to maintain or enhance the wearer’s hearing ability depending on the sound level. They have inbuilt microphones to pick up low-level sounds, and they amplify them. They also compress loud sounds to a safe level.

Both these designs protect your hearing from peak noise while allowing for hearing environment sounds, but electronics protectors let you control the volume.

Types

Once you have decided which design to go for, the next step is to choose which type of protector to use, there are four options.


Highlight features

Pros

Cons

Disposable earplugs

Made of soft foam

Shaped like thin tubes then expand to fit the ear canal

Affordable

Easy to find in stores and online

No medical or custom fitting required

Low maintenance

Require carefulness

Require clean hands before use

Need replacing after each use

Need restocking regularly

Reusable earplugs

Made of rubber or flexible silicone

Shaped like cone or flanged

May feature a headband/cord

Various size for fitting

Reusable

Easy to insert and remove

Need washing, rinsing, and drying after use

Don’t mold or expand to the ear

Need replacing periodically

Earmuffs

Over-the-ear design

Adjustable headband

Cushioned foam or liquid muffs

Reusable

No “plugged up” feeling

Various styles and sizes

No medical or custom fitting required

Can be worn over earplugs

Some feature Bluetooth

Heavy, hot feeling over time

Required routinely cleaning and airing out

Can’t be worn with glasses, hats, or helmets

More costly

Less portable

Custom-molded earplugs

Designed to fit the ear canal

Great comfort

Last for years

High efficiency

Various styles

More costly

Require custom mold fitting

Required routinely cleaning

Which Brands Make The best hearing protection for hunting?

Caldwell

This brand aims at perfection for your gunshots while hunting. It’s determined to offer you the best products with high precision to help you hit your target.

Decibullz

It works continuously to make custom-molded earplugs that fit each and everyone’s ears. The brand has achieved several awards like the Best Earphones of 2015, CES 2014, and 2016 Innovation Award.

Walker's

With 25 years of experience, this brand is committed to offering innovation in protecting and enhancing your hearing. Its products set the industry standard for shooting safety and protection.

FAQs

How loud is too loud?

The safety threshold for sounds is 85 dB, meaning any sound exceeding that level is too loud and will likely damage your hearing.

Do you wear hearing protection while hunting?

You need to wear hearing protection while hunting because loud gunshots close to the ear can hurt your hearing ability over time.

Are earplugs or earmuffs better for hunting?

It seems that earmuffs are better for hunting because compared with earplugs, they protect the entire ear rather than just the ear canal. They are also easier to use properly.

How many decibels should hunt ear protection?

Sounds of over 85 dB are dangerous to the ear, so hunting ear protectors should work based on that threshold.

However, there are products that protect your ears from 82 dB while others protect your ears from 89 dB and higher.

What is the best NRR rating for hunting?

The best NRR rating for hunting is between 28 and 31, some protectors can go up to 33 NRR.

Conclusion

Every hunter should wear the best hearing protection for hunting, and so do you. Hearing protectors will protect your hearing when you’re exposed to extremely loud noise but they still let you have normal conversations with people.

So, don’t hesitate and get yourself a pair of hearing protectors before hunting.

We hope that these guidelines will prove useful when you choose hearing protection for yourself.


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