11 Best Hunting Ear Protection Options For Sportsmen (2024)

Here are the best choices for hunting ear protection that hunters can use to safeguard their hearing.

I think we can all agree that we’d love to keep our sense of hearing for our entire life. After all, I’m sure you know someone who has a tough time hearing and can barely carry on a conversation. There are many different things that can damage your ears, but if you do a lot of hunting with firearms, there’s one simple thing you can do to avoid hearing loss and make sure you don’t have to wear hearing aids later in life: wear hunting ear protection.

Any noise louder than 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing loss. I cannot state this strongly enough: if it is loud enough, a single gunshot can cause immediate hearing damage. A gunshot is about 130-180 decibels (give or take): a rifle cartridge like a .308 Winchester can reach 160 dB and more powerful magnum cartridges are even louder.

While noise induced hearing loss and tinnitus are both permanent, the good news is that they’re also preventable.

The Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of ear protection describes how effective it is. Basically, a higher NRR means that hearing protection does a better job reducing your exposure to really loud noises.

But there’s more to choosing ear protection for hunting than just picking the model with the highest NRR.

You should keep in mind that some firearms produce a pressure wave strong enough cause hearing loss by damaging the bones behind the ear, even if the ear canal is protected by an ear plug. This is particularly true for people shooting indoors or those exposed to repeated shots from shotguns or rifles (such as waterfowl hunters or hunting guides).

While hunters these days have access to some outstanding electronic earplugs, ear muffs are actually the most effective shooting and hunting ear protection you can wear to protect both your inner ear and the bones of hearing. For what it’s worth, I wear electronic ear buds while out hunting and typically wear ear muffs while I’m at the range (especially if I’m shooting indoors).

So, to avoid permanent damage to your hearing, it is important that you wear appropriate ear protection when shooting or when exposed to other noisy environments. Luckily, this task is much easier than many people assume and there are a lot more good quality options for hearing protection while hunting than there used to be.

In this post, I’m going go over some of the best hunting ear protection products that you should be wearing afield to safeguard your hearing.

How I Evaluated The Best Ear Protection For Hunting

Testing the best hearing protection for hunting involved wearing my favorite models for long periods of time while afield hunting and shooting at the range. I judged each set of hearing protection using the following criteria: 


A long day of hunting may begin before the sun comes up and end after it finally gets dark. The best hunting ear protection is comfortable enough for me to put on when I leave camp (or my vehicle) at the start of the hunt, wear it for up to six, eight, ten, or even twelve hours afield without discomfort, and then finally take it off when I’m done for the day.

You never know when you’ll get a shot afield and even the best hunting ear protection is useless if you’re not wearing it when you shoot. Plus, uncomfortable ear protection is a distraction afield that can prevent you from concentrating on finding game and getting an ethical shot.

For all those reasons, I’m a stickler for hearing protection that’s comfortable enough for me to put on and forget that I’m wearing so I can focus on actually hunting.

Nose Reduction

The whole point of shooting and hunting ear protection is to protect your ears from loud noises in order to prevent high-frequency hearing loss. The best ear protection for hunting models will do this by effectively blocking sounds louder than 85 dB. Bonus points if they do so in a manner that still allows you to hear normal (or even quiet) noises while wearing the ear protection. I tested this by wearing the various ear protection models at an outdoor shooting range with multiple other shooters present.

Hearing Enhancement

While passive protection in the form of foam earplugs and traditional muffs works fine for hearing protection, but they block ALL noises and degrade the user’s situational awareness.

However, like I just mentioned, the best ear protection for hunting will also have some form of hearing enhancement that allows the user to better hear quiet noises. Plus, it’s also important that they do so with minimal or no distortion so the user can easily identify the direction the noise is coming from.

In fact, the model I consider best ear protection for hunting will even provide amplified hearing above and beyond the user’s normal hearing with naked ears and does so with very little distortion to enhance the user’s overall situational awareness.

This means it can somewhat make up for less than perfect hearing and give a hunter with normal hearing something akin to “super ears.” I tested these features by attempting to identify quiet sounds emitting from behind me (like a friend whispering or paper rustling) while wearing the various hunting ear protection models.

Note: some of the links below are affiliate links. This means I will earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase. This helps support the blog and allows me to continue to create free content that’s useful to hunters like yourself. Thanks for your support.

Best Hunting Ear Protection: Reviews and Recommendations


picture of Best Hunting Ear Protection axil xcor rifle

What’s the best hunting ear protection? Hands down, it’s AXIL XCOR electronic ear buds. They amplify quiet noises, block loud noises, and have 5.0 bluetooth connectivity. They are also extremely comfortable to wear for long periods of time, won’t affect your cheek weld when shooting a long gun, and work perfectly in conjunction with eye protection.

These electronic ear buds are a more expensive than basic electronic ear muffs and some other electronic ear buds, but are also similar in price to (or maybe even a little LESS expensive than) some of the electronic ear plugs I also recommend in this article.

AXIL XCOR ear buds provide excellent performance by digitally compressing loud noises over 85 dB back to safe levels and amplifying quieter sounds. AXIL advertises that the XCOR provide up to 6x hearing enhancement along with a NRR of up to 29.

picture of best hunting ear protection axil xcor

So, not only will they protect your hearing from loud noises, but they actually improve it as well. This is the best of both worlds when it comes to hunting ear protection.

At the range, electronic ear buds protect the hearing of the shooter, but still allow him or her to hold a normal conversation with another person. While hunting, this allows the user to hear all the little sounds he or she needs to hear, like the snap of a twig made by an approaching deer (and identify the direction that noise is coming from).

picture of Best Hunting Ear Protection axil xcor buffalo

I took my XCORs on a hunt in Africa in 2023 and the hearing enhancement they provided definitely helped me close the deal on a some game while I was there.

For example, I heard a quiet but distinct “crack” in the woods off to our side while we paused for a short break while hunting one morning. I quietly got everyone’s attention, pointed to my ear, then pointed in the direction I heard the noise.

Sure enough, a herd of impala materialized out of the bush and moved right past us strung out in a long line with the biggest ram picking up the rear.

The tracker whispered to me “Get ready to shoot and I’ll whistle to stop the big ram when he’s in a clear spot.” I carefully got ready to shoot, the tracker whistled loudly, the impala stopped and looked at us, and I squeezed the trigger. That ram staggered under the impact, took off awkwardly running, then collapsed a few yards later.

And it was all because I heard one of those creatures break a limb as they picked their way through the bushveld.

I was the only one who noticed that soft “crack” and the only reason I heard it was because of the hearing enhancement provided by my AXIL XCOR ear buds and that incident was one of the main factors that has set them apart from the competition as the best ear protection for hunting.

picture of Best Hunting Ear Protection axil xcor impala

The XCOR ear buds comes with several different foam tips of varying sizes. It is very important that you take the time to read the instructions and choose the tips that fit your ear properly. However, they work GREAT and are very comfortable to wear for hours at a time if you use the correct tips for your individual ear size.

Just slip them on at the beginning of a hunting trip and wear them until you’re done hunting. You’ll get hearing enhancement that will help you hear an approaching animal and won’t have to fumble around and put on ear protection before taking a shot.

I’ve worn the XCOR ear buds for up to 10 hours of hunting in a single day (with a short break around lunch) for over a week at a time without issues. I’ve never used any other ear protection for hunting that was so comfortable.

The fact that they also offer bluetooth connectivity is also awesome because that gives you the option of listening to music or podcasts on your phone with them. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing that while you’re out hunting, but it’s a nice feature when doing something like mowing the lawn.

AXIL XCOR ear buds use a rechargeable lithium battery to power those electronics. AXIL advertises that they’ll provide up to 12 hours of hearing enhancement and around 6 hours of Bluetooth audio mode (this matches with my personal observations of their battery life afield).

Finally, it’s important to realize that the XCORs are wireless digital ear buds, which makes them a somewhat unique form of hunting ear protection (most other models are analog). The fact that they’re digital hear protection means the XCOR ear buds provide excellent sound quality with minimal distortion. In fact, I think they have the best sound quality of all the ear protection on this list. Plus, they do that without having wires or sticks coming out of your ears.

All things considered, I consider AXIL XCOR wireless ear buds to be the absolute best hunting ear protection.

Click the button below to receive discounted pricing on these ear buds ($50+ off MSRP) along with free shipping to most locations.


AXIL GS Extreme

picture of Best hearing protection for Hunting Protection axil gs extreme rifle

Next up on this list of the best hunting ear protection are AXIL GS Extreme electronic ear buds. These were my previous favorite ear protection model until AXIL released the XCOR wireless ear buds in 2023.

Like the XCOR ear buds, the GS Extreme ear buds amplify quiet noises, block loud noises, and also have 5.0 bluetooth connectivity. So, they have many of the same strengths as the XCOR ear buds that also make them excellent forms of hunting ear protection.

AXIL advertises 6x hearing enhancement with the GS Extreme and a NRR of up to 29.

However, they’re not wireless and they’re analog ear protection, so the sound quality isn’t quite as good and their wires sometimes get in the way. While they’re still comfortable to wear, I don’t think they’re as comfortable as the XCOR wireless ear buds though.

On the other hand, GS Extreme electronic ear buds are a little less expensive and are still excellent hunting ear protection.

picture of best hunting ear protection axil

For instance, I wore these ear buds on several different hunts in the United States and Canada over the course of two years before AXIL released the XCORs. Among other examples, they worked great on a west Texas sandhill crane hunt hunt where I shared a blind with 4 other hunters and 2 guides.

They performed flawlessly: I could clearly hear the distinctive vocalizations of the sandhill crane crane as they circled above us, I easily understood the whispered commands of our guide telling us to wait and let the birds come in a little closer, and they protected my ears from the sharp reports of a half dozen shotguns all firing multiple times over the course of a few seconds after our guide yelled for us to fire.

picture of Best ear protection for Hunting Protection axil gs extreme crane

A friend of mine was also wearing a set of GS Extreme ear buds on a hunt in Africa that demonstrated their benefits well.

In this case, he put his ear buds on when they left camp in the morning and they drove out to where they planned on hunting that day. To their great surprise, a giant cape buffalo bull emerged from the brush a few yards away and aggressively approached my friend and his Professional Hunter (PH) while they were exiting the truck.

The PH yelled for my friend to shoot and fortunately, he cleanly killed that buffalo. Those GS Extreme ear buds performed as advertised there too: their hearing enhancement helped my friend easily understand the PHs instructions and they also protected my friend’s hearing from the three shots from a .375 H&H Magnum (with a muzzle brake) it took to bring that buffalo down.

picture of Best hearing protection for Hunting Protection axil gs extreme buffalo

I think that story in particular is a great example of why I think they’re great ear protection for hunting.

All things considered, I consider AXIL GS Extreme ear buds to be well worth the money as hunting ear protection, especially considering the fact that they only cost a little more than traditional electronic ear protection.

Click the button below to receive discounted pricing on these ear buds (25%+ off MSRP).



picture of Best Hunting Ear Protection axil trackr rifle blind

While I think the AXIL XCOR buds are the best hunting ear protection, not everybody likes wearing ear buds. If you prefer wearing over the ear muffs instead, then you should definitely check out the the AXIL TRACKR BLU.

Like the AXIL GS Extreme and XCOR buds, these muffs block loud noises and amplify quiet noises. However, AXIL TRACKR BLU electronic ear muffs also protect the bones of hearing behind your eardrum from damage caused by the pressure wave produced by gunshots.

Like other forms of electronic hearing protection, TRACKR BLU electronic ear muffs provide excellent performance by compressing loud noises down to a safe level and amplifying all other sounds. AXIL advertises that the TRACKR BLU will provide up to 40 decibels of hearing amplification, which can be easily adjusted with a simple volume wheel on the side of the muffs.

picture of Best Hunting Ear Protection axil trackr

Most importantly, they provide excellent hearing protection with a NRR of 27. I’ve compared them side by side at the range shooting handguns, shotguns, and rifles and the AXIL TRACKR BLU provides noticeably more protection than the Howard Leight Impact Sport (which I used for well over a decade). The TRACKR BLU also has an ultra fast reaction time of just .02 seconds and will protect your ears from sounds 85 decibels or louder.

Additionally, they may also be combined with ear plugs for extra protection in extremely loud environments. This makes them an incredibly effective form of shooting or hunting ear protection.

So, not only will they protect your hearing from loud noises, but they actually improve it as well. This is the best of both worlds when it comes to hunting ear protection.

The sound quality of the TRACKR BLU ear muffs is also significantly better than the Howard Leight Impact Sport and it also uses AAA batteries.

Some people do not like to use ear muffs when shooting a rifle or shotgun because they think they’ll get in the way. Personally, I have not had this problem with the AXIL TRACKR BLU muffs.

picture of Best hearing protection for Hunting Protection axil trackr rifle

Notice the shooter’s good check weld in the photo above? And how the muffs don’t contact the stock?

TRACKR muffs are designed specifically for hunters and shooters and therefore have a low profile design that does not interfere with my cheek weld when I’m shooting rifles and shotguns. They’re also very easy and simple to properly use and have adjustable headband that will fit a wide range of users.

For this reason, many hunters use them for their shooting and hunting trips (including both big game and waterfowl hunting).

Finally, the TRACKR BLU muffs also offer bluetooth connectivity, so you can listen to music or podcasts on your phone with them.

All things considered, I consider AXIL TRACKR BLU ear muffs to be well worth the money as hunting ear protection, especially for those who just prefer to use ear muffs.

Click the button below to get the best pricing on these ear muffs (up to 50% off MSRP).


Pro Ear Gold II

picture of best hunting ear protection pro ear gold ii

Hunters desiring high end over the ear muffs should definitely look at the Pro Ear Gold II. Like the AXIL models, these muffs block loud noises and amplify quiet noises (about 8x sound enhancement for this model).

With a NRR of 26, they provide a similar level of protection to the AXIL models. However, the Pro Ear muffs do have a little better sound quality. I think they’re also a little more comfortable than the AXIL TRACKR BLU.

They’re also made in the USA and have separate volume controls for each ear so the user can fine tune their adjustments for best performance.

Pro Ear Gold II earmuffs also have a low profile to avoid interfering with cheek weld, but without compromising hearing protection.

That said, Pro Ear Gold II muffs are quite a bit more expensive than the other over the ear muffs on this list and do NOT have any bluetooth functionality.

All things considered though, the Pro Ear Gold II ear muffs are an excellent for those who don’t mind spending a little extra money for the best possible electronic ear muffs for hunting or for use at the range. They’ll work for hunting (though I don’t think they’re ideal), but I think these are the best shooting ear protection you can wear at the gun range.

I’ll usually wear them when I’m at the range doing some serious target practice (especially if there are other shooters around) where I need to protect my hearing from really loud ambient sound levels and still hear range commands.


Howard Leight Impact Sport

Best Hunting Ear Protection howard leight

While I don’t think they’re the best hunting ear protection overall anymore, I still think Howard Leight Impact Sport electronic ear muffs are the best value hearing protection for hunting. Like the AXIL models and the Pro Ear Gold II, these muffs block loud noises and amplify quiet noises.

The Howard Leight Impact Sport is slightly more expensive than ear plugs or regular ear muffs, but they are still pretty reasonably priced.

With a NRR of 22, they don’t provide as much protection as the AXIL models, but the Howard Leight Impact Sport still provides ample hearing protection under most circumstances. I definitely recommend combining them with ear plugs for extra protection in extremely loud environments though (like shooting indoors or near especially loud rifles).

best hunting ear protection electronic earmuffs

I bought my first set of Howard Leight Impact Sport ear muffs over 10 years ago. They were cutting edge then and I wore them on a lot of successful hunts.

For instance, I took the pronghorn in the photo below using Howard Leight muffs. In that case, I spotted the buck at a long distance, make a stalk using a low ridge as cover, put my muffs on, then crawled to the top of the ridge for my shot.

picture of Best Hunting Ear Protection howard leight pronghorn

I also wore them on many deer hunts from a stand and, not only did they protect my hearing, but their hearing enhancement alerted me to the sound and direction of approaching game more than once by allowing me to notice changes in environmental sounds.

The Impact Sport muffs still work fine now, but there are definitely better options for shooting and hunting ear protection these days. My biggest complaint about them (and the reason I switched from over the ear muffs to ear buds for hunting) was they were pretty hot and uncomfortable for multiple hours of use.

For this reason, I’d just carry my Howard Leights in my pocket and slip them on right before I’d shoot. That worked fine until I got an unexpected shot on a javelina at close range one day. I wasn’t wearing my muffs at the time and didn’t have time to put them on.

I should have passed on that shot, but I didn’t and it took several days for my ears to stop ringing after that shot from my 300 Win Mag (which has a muzzle brake)! I switched over to AXIL ear buds as my preferred ear protection for hunting shortly after that particular experience.

The price of the Howard Leight Impact Sport muffs is their best selling point these days and they remain good choices for hearing protection for those on a more strict budget, especially considering the fact that they only cost a little more than a traditional pair of ear muffs.

If you’re on a strict budget and want ear protection for hunting that protects the bones of hearing and also provides hearing enhancement, then the Howard Leight Impact Sport is the best hunting hearing protection for you.


Walker’s Razor

picture of best ear protection for hunters walker razor

Very similar to the Howard Leight Impact Sport, Walker’s Razor electronic ear muffs are another great choice for hunting hearing protection. They also amplify quiet noises, but shut off to block loud sounds above 85 decibels.

With a NRR of 23, they also provide ample electronic ear protection under most circumstances. You can also combine them with ear plugs for extra protection in extremely loud environments.

Just like the name says, the Walker ‘Razor’ shooting earmuffs have a very low profile to avoid interfering with cheek weld, but without compromising hearing protection. The Razor series also comes in a bunch of color options (including camo).


Howard Leight Quiet Band

picture of best hunting ear protection howard leight quiet band

Designed to be worn around your neck when not in use, the Quiet Band is well suited for hunters: wear the band around your neck while you’re trying to find game, then just simply pop the plugs in your ears right before taking the shot. This gives you the best of both worlds by having full use of your hearing most of the time while still protecting your ears at the moment of truth.

The Quiet Band has a couple of shortcomings when used as ear protection for hunting though.

Yes, it allows the hunter to use their normal hearing most of the time, but it does not provide hearing enhancement.

It also only protects the ear canal and not the bones of hearing behind the ear, so the Quiet Band suffers from the same drawbacks as other ear plugs though. For this reason, I don’t advise using it for situations where you’ll be exposed to high levels of continuous gunfire for long periods of time (like waterfowl hunting or shooting at an indoor range). The design of the Quiet Band also prevents it from being used in conjunction with over the ear muffs like traditional foam plugs.

Unfortunately, this is a “good but not great” ear protection for hunting option. It’s certainly a big improvement over wearing nothing at all, but don’t rely on the Quiet Band to completely protect your ears from ferocious muzzle blast either.

For instance, I blasted my guide with a shot from my 300 Win Mag (which has a muzzle brake) on a hunt many years ago. He was sitting next to me watching the animal through his binoculars when I fired, but the brake on my rifle directed a big chunk of the blast into his face.

Man, I felt like a jerk afterwards.

He was wearing a Howard Leight Quiet Band at the time. I have no doubt it prevented even worse hearing damage, but he said his ears were ringing for a couple hours after the shot.

So, keep the disadvantages of this hunting ear protection in mind!

All that being said though, the Howard Leight Quiet Band is inexpensive, lightweight, easy to use, and will provide good hearing protection for most hunting situations. These characteristics make it a great choice for hunters on a budget. Yes, this is the same ear protection Hickock45 wears in his YouTube videos.

For what it’s worth, Peltor also makes a very similar product called the Peltor Banded Hearing Protector that works very well as ear protection for hunting too.


Impulse Ear Plugs

best ear protection for hunting surefire

Impulse ear plugs are a significant step up in capability when compared to traditional foam ear plugs, but still go for a very reasonable price. I have a set of SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders that work well for me (I also have used Safariland Pro Impulse Plugs that I like).

Unlike the Howard Leight Quiet Band, impulse plugs are designed to be worn all the time. The big advantage to these plugs as ear protection for hunting is that they allow the user to hear ambient noise relatively well while still providing protection against gunfire and explosions when they’re used in the noise activated mode.

That is why similar ear plugs are issued to Soldiers in combat zones.

Since impulse ear plugs allow you to hear the much of the noise present in the environment around you, this also makes them good choices for hunting ear plugs.

While they are a good product, impulse ear plugs do not provide a very high level of protection overall (they claim to have a Noise Reduction Rating of 24, but that seems a little high). With that in mind, they aren’t the best form of hunting ear protection if you’ll be spending a lot of time at an indoor shooting range or shooting short barreled rifles. Use some higher end ear plugs or ear buds (or over the ear muffs) for that sort of shooting.

However, they are a pretty good choice for protecting your hearing while hunting if you’re on a budget (they’re the least expensive of the group). Additionally, they do not provide any hearing enhancement at all. All things considered, these are the best earplugs you can get for hunting ear protection at their price level.


In addition to the ones made by Rooth, Earmonyx, Safariland, and Surefire also make similar impulse ear plugs.

Howard Leight Impact Pro

best hunting ear protection electronic earmuffs pro

For those that want to spend a little more money for an increase in performance in a set of hunting ear protection, you should really consider a set of top of the line over-the-head electronic ear muffs. In addition to the Impact Sport model previously discussed, the same company also produces the Impact Pro.

The Impact Sport model is great, but the Impact Pro headset has a higher noise reduction rating noise reduction rating of 30, which makes them a better choice for hearing protection in really loud environments.

At the same time, I would not describe these muffs as having a low-profile design and they are a little larger and bulkier than the Impact Sport electronic muffs.

This may make it more difficult to get a good cheek weld on your rifle, which is one of the things that keeps me from saying they’re the best ear protection for hunting.


The two Howard Leight ear muffs models are by far the best value choices for hunting ear protection. The Impact Sport muffs also made cut for my holiday gift recommendations. To see what other stuff is on the list, check out the following article:

101 Best Gifts For Hunters

best hunting caliber e book 1

Electronic Ear Plugs

best hunting ear protection game ear

For those that want the performance of electronic ear muffs in a smaller package, there are several different types of electronic ear plugs on the market today that are good choices for use as hunting ear protection. Etymotic Gunsport Pro electronic ear plugs are one really good choice. The same goes for Walker’s Game Ears and Walker’s Silencer Digital Earbuds.

Like electronic ear muffs, they block loud noises and amplify all other sounds. However, since they are similar in size to old school hearing aids (or even smaller in the case of the Gunsport Pro), they are much smaller and more portable than electronic ear muffs.

8 Best Hunting Ear Protection gunsport pro

Since they are ear plugs, they do not protect the outside of your ears. As a result, they are designed more for hunters than for shooters (though they may be used for both). On the other hand, they have the advantage of not getting in the way of a rifle or shotgun and they can be worn with any headgear.

I have a pair of Walker’s HD Pro Elite plugs and I used them on multiple hunting trips around 2013-2014 with good results. They truly were cutting edge products at the time providing electronic protection.

Once I got them adjusted properly, the Walker’s Game Ears were fairly comfortable to wear for hours at a time (even when wearing shooting glasses or headgear) and did a good job of amplifying and blocking the proper noises. I did have one problem with the tip of one of my Walker’s Game Ears detaching and getting stuck in my ear canal.

Not sure if that was a one off problem, but it was frustrating to have it stuck in there for a couple of days until I returned home where I could get my wife to pull it out with a set of tweezers.

That said, the AXIL earbuds at the beginning of this article are much more comfortable (and less expensive) ear protection for hunting than these older analog or digital ear plugs.

Walker’s Game Ears, Walker’s Silencer Digital Earbuds, and Etymotic Gunsport Pro earbuds are all great choices for hunting ear plugs. You’ll probably find that one of those electronic hearing protection devices fits you a little better and is more comfortable to wear than the others though.

While they are good choices for hearing protection while hunting, electronic ear plugs have two significant drawbacks: their cost (they are by far the most expensive option for protecting your hearing while hunting) and the fact that they do not protect the bones of hearing.

The price is a bit steep for a casual hunter or shooter but they are well worth the money for a serious hunter who will frequently use them and take advantage of their awesome features.




I hope that you’ve found this article on the best hunting ear protection choices both helpful and informative. As long as you take the right precautions, it is possible preserve your sense of hearing despite exposure to noisy environments. Trust me, you will be glad that you wore proper hunting ear protection many years from now.

Why Trust The Big Game Hunting Blog?

I originally started The Big Game Hunting Block in 2012 as a resource to give average hunters the straight scoop and help them make the most of their time afield. As a hunter myself, I got sick of how few unbiased and accurate resources existed to help hunters like me learn what gear I should (and shouldn’t) be using.

So I decided to create something better. Advertising does not influence my gear reviews. If I say something is great, I’m saying that because I truly believe that’s the case as a result of extensive testing at the range and/or afield.

Final Thoughts on the Best Hearing Protection For Hunting

While bilateral high frequency hearing loss (hearing loss in both ears) is extremely common with shooters and hunters it’s also common for shooters to have worse hearing in one ear than the other. In those cases, the ear on the side opposite from their dominant hand will have worse hearing.

For example, a right handed shooter will commonly have worse hearing in his or her left ear if that person does not protect their hearing.

The best hearing protection for hunting not only make a day afield more enjoyable and will protect your ears at the moment of truth, but they may even help make you a more successful hunter. Choose the ear protection model that best fits your needs and budget, and wear them each time you go afield. 

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9 thoughts on “11 Best Hunting Ear Protection Options For Sportsmen (2024)”

  1. I have a pair of the tactical black ones with the cute little box as well. I started out with a green pair that my guests now use. I’ve purchased pairs for all 4 other shooters in my family as well. Virtually everyone of the instructors at Gunsite had them when I went there, so I took that as a recommendation.

  2. The electronic earmuff you mention in this article is Howard Leight Impact Sport , it is good for hunting as its streamlined design very suitable for hunting trip. Howard leight has other type of electronic earmuff , its impact pro. It has 30db NRR and very god for indoor shooting, i’ve been using it for years now.

    • I use Howard Leight Impact Sport earmuffs while hunting with a muzzle brake. I like them because I can wear them continuously in case I need to take a quick shot. They instantly shut off when the gun goes “BOOM.” I can hear great with them otherwise. Once the elk is down, I simply take them off and put them in a backpack. Wearing ear protection at the range, and then shooting in the field with out ear protection, causes flinching and hearing damage. Ear plugs tend to become dislodged throughout the day, which can be problematic when it comes time to shoot. I normally wear my ear muffs over my hat and under my hood when needed. Whether you use a muzzle brake or not, wear hearing protection while gun hunting. Stay safe out there!

  3. I am also sold on the Howard Leight Impact Sport. I was using military grade Peltors in the field for a while, but the arc of the headband contacted my large melon in a way that gave me a headache by the end of the day. Not so for the Impact Sport – very comfortable. They offer the functionality I needed in the Peltors (gunshot cut off, not the mil spec comms plug ins) at a much cheaper price. The materials feel a bit cheaper, but the muffs have held up. I tried the Walker Game Ears more recently. Nice feel, but the headbands are more uncomfortable than the Peltors. They fit my kids fine, though. The bottom line is I don’t hunt without ear protection.

  4. For many years I have just used regular ear muffs and I hated wearing them so I stopped and the last time I shot a shotgun while hunting I did not wear them. After the shot I could not hear for 2 hours. I went to a doctor to get it checked out and he suggested using ear plugs instead. So, after all that I purchased a set of Howard Leight Quiet Band and I love them.


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