Ears are extremely sensitive and easily damaged, resulting in long-term implications if not taken care of, especially if you’re hanging around a lot, all-day long with guns (including target practice, hunting, etc.). Even brief exposure to noise levels above 125 decibels can result in permanent hearing loss. Not to mention that unsuppressed gunshots can reach incredibly high volumes, typically ranging from 140 to 190 dB. When you combine those two factors, your hearing is almost certain to suffer damage in a dynamic shooting range.

That is why having these high noise reduction rating (NRR) earmuffs/headphones/earbuds, whatever you prefer, whenever you go shooting, is one of the best ways to protect your precious hearing. While there are no minimum NRR requirements for hearing protection when shooting, headphonesty.com recommends getting the highest rating possible or at least 22dB.

Below is our Top 6 pick that remains to carry the seal of approval from tactical shooting enthusiasts across the country.

Top 6 | Act Fire Shooting Earmuffs

The Act Fire Shooting Earmuffs are the most affordable option on the list. With this, you can enjoy all of the basic functionalities you need to protect your hearing from loud noise. In addition, this earmuff is equipped with a unique internal chip that can amplify sound, providing the user with realistic and clear amplified stereo sound that allows them to accurately determine low-level sounds and lower NRR by up to 23dB. Furthermore, this earmuff is ideal for beginners still learning the ropes of the hobby without breaking the bank.

(Image source: Gloryfire)

It weighs barely a pound (0.75 lbs), with an attack time of 20ms and a volume limit of 89dB. Aside from the basic essential features, this earmuff also has the “most aesthetically pleasing design,” which tactical shooting enthusiasts will definitely enjoy. We must take note, though, that since the product is low-cost, the durability of the earmuff might not be as heavy-duty as other premium models.

Top 5 | ProHear 016

You should be aware of two types of hearing protection: passive and electronic. And deciding between the two is dependent on what you need the protection for. Passive hearing protection, by definition, is a device that is not enhanced by technology and relies solely on the traditional thickness of the material it is made of to muffle incoming noise—and I mean EVERYTHING, including essential noises (such as range commands or comrades during a big game in the forest). Meanwhile, electronic hearing protection comes with integrated speakers that enhance the surrounding environment while simultaneously blocking out high-decibel sounds. In addition, electronic hearing protection usually includes a headphone jack or Bluetooth connection, giving you the option to listen to music as you sharpen your shooting skills.

The ProHear 016 is a passive-type of the earmuff, covering you to at least 26dB, featuring a very comfortable cushioned ear cup and an adjustable, padded headband that would surely accommodate your head size just perfectly. It’s also foldable, making it compact when being carried around. Finally, since it’s passive, the headgear is much lighter compared to devices equipped with electronic components—making it easy to wear around even after long periods.

(Image source: Amazon)

Top 4 | SureFire EP10 Sonic Defenders

Passive hearing protection also has an earplug option for those who aren’t fans of bulky headphones. SureFire’s EP10 Sonic Defenders offer an NRR of up to 30dB ( the highest of any Sonic Defenders earplug) at a weight of 0.04 lbs. Well, considering it’s an earplug, it’s not really surprising that it weighs way less than a pound. Also, because it’s so small, you can easily combine it with your other gear, such as helmets and safety googles, without having to sacrifice your hearing. Just make sure always to know where you place them because they can really get lost more often, considering their size.