Unless you want hearing loss problems, you need to wear ear protection when hunting and shooting.
It's scientifically-proven: You must invest in ear protection if you're going to shoot guns. If you shoot without ear muffs now, today is the last day. Get with the program and scoop up a pair, because you have no more excuses.
Plenty of outdoor retailers like Cabela's have a wide range of budget-friendly ear protection options, and you can easily find quality ones with a little searching on Amazon. Make it a habit to wear these every time you're shooting, and you won't face the issues most older generation shooters are facing.
1. Walker's® Razor Patriot Series Slim Shooter Electronic Muffs
Walker's Razor electronic muffs are a great choice for clear audio from your surroundings. The muffs only block out sudden dangerously high decibel sounds. It operates on two AAA batteries and has two omnidirectional microphones for clear audio quality.
- 23 decibel noise reduction rating
- 4.6 out of 5 stars
- Under $70
2. Howard Leight Impact™ Sport Earmuff
Howard Leight's Impact earmuffs are extremely popular at Cabela's. With nearly 600 reviews, it's a top pick for ear protection. They have 4.5 out of 5 stars, and it's no wonder why. They have a 350-hour battery life, amplify low-level ambient sounds, and instantly block out damaging sounds.
- 22 decibel noise reduction rating
3. Howard Leight® Impact® Sport Bolt Ear Muffs
Howard Leight Impact Sport ear muffs react to loud noises in 0.5 milliseconds. Low-level frequencies are amplified, so you'll be able to hear directions at the shooting range, and animals when you're hunting.
- 22 decibel NRR
- Made by Honeywell
- Soft headband for comfortability
4. Howard Leight Leightning L3 Hearing Protector
These are a budget-friendly pair of electronic hearing protection muffs from Honeywell. There's nearly 80 reviews with 4.8 out of 5 stars. Many customers are amazed with their quality, especially considering the price. They're one of the best ear protection options if you're on a budget.
- 30 decibel NRR
- Under $30
5. Otis Earshield Hearing Protection
The Earshield is pretty neat. These alternatives to shooting earmuffs are cheaper than the Howard Leight Leightning muffs. If you're looking for something lightweight when you're hunting, you'll love these. They have a slim design, so you don't have to deal with the possibility of sore ears compared to most safety ear muffs.
- Under $25
- No batteries required
- 31 decibel NRR
6. Walker's Game Ear® Pro Low-Profile Folding Muffs
A slim fit similar to the Otis ear muffs is great for those who sometimes find them uncomfortable. Although, Walker's put some thought into comfort with the Game Ear Pro as well. These muffs have contoured ear cups and a padded headband that customers love!
- 22 decibel NRR
- Under $20
- 4.4 out of 5 stars
Silencer earbuds are always an option, but the reviews on these ear muffs are tough to argue with. You can go with foam earplugs, as they're cheaper than ear muffs, and some shooters really like them.
It's also worth pointing out that many people like to use earplugs in addition to ear muffs, for double the protection.
It's all preference, but at the end of the day, you have to make the right decision to protect your ears.
Hearing loss is permanent. Once your ears have been damaged, there's no going back. All you can do is prevent further damage.
Whether you decide to go with disposable earplugs or opt for an electronic hearing protector is up to you.
But some sort of device, plus some shooting glasses, are a necessity.