True or false? Hearing is the second best sense us humans have? If you like to listen to music, or talk to your friends, or listen for quail calls out on the hunt, then hearing ranks pretty high. It has to. (Right behind sight, the unquestionable number one.)
But, believe it or not, 20 percent of Americans, some 48 million, suffer from a degree of hearing loss. And that’s only accounting for those who’ve actually reported. Beyond that, hearing loss ranks as the third most common physical condition, bested only by arthritis and heart disease, according to HearingLoss.org.
Luckily though, there are certain steps a person can take in order to stay far away from such statistics — and, as a bonus, get better sleep, relax in loud areas, work with your favorite music, protect others and even have more fun doing what you’re doing, whatever the clamorous activity.
One such step — likely the best — is wearing noise canceling ear muffs. In this article, we’ll discuss the five best ear muffs on the market today and then talk about the many types of ear muffs that are available, as well as their various purposes. Let’s begin, shall we?
Best Ear Muffs – Comparison Table
|Picture||Product Name||Type||Best For||NRR||Price||Our Score|
|.||Howard Leight R-01902 Impact Pro||Electronic||Stationary Shooting||30 dB||$$$||5.0|
|.||Howard Leight Impact Sport OD||Electronic||Active Hunting||22 dB||$$$||5.0|
|.||Howard Leight Leightning L0F||Passive||Universal||23 dB||$$||4.7|
|.||Champion Earmuffs||Electronic||Stationary Shooting||25 dB||$$||4.7|
|.||3M Peltor Soundtrap 6S||Electronic||Stationary Shooting||19 dB||$$$||4.4|
|.||3M Peltor Bull's Eye 9||Passive||Universal||22 dB||$||4.6|
|.||Clear Armor||Passive||Universal||34 dB||$$||4.9|
|.||Hibermate Soft Ear Muffs||Passive||Sleeping||20 dB||$$$||4.9|
|.||TEKK Digital WorkTunes||Electronic||Work||24 dB||$$$||5.0|
|.||Baby Banz Earmuffs||Passive||Kids||31 dB||$$||4.6|
|.||3M Peltor Optime 95||Passive||Work||21 dB||$||4.4|
Sound Proof Ear Muff Reviews: Our Top 5 Picks
Champion’s Electronic Ear Muffs
Though not the slimmest set on this list, Champion’s Electronic Ear Muffs hold their own in terms of superior noise production and, more importantly, price. For just over $20, you can automatically cancel out some pretty loud noises, all while amplifying the friendlier sounds in the air, all with the turn of a dial.
Each earcup also comes equipped with its very own volume knob so that you can turn up the talk in one ear, while leaving the other one to bask in a more silent serenity. Add the fact that they’re fully adjustable and easily collapsible for increased comfort and convenience and you have yourself a pretty good little product that has everything best ear muffs should have.
- NR Rating = 25dB
- GREAT FOR… Stationary hunting and shooting, especially if you want to talk to your friends and fellow hunters while doing so.
- Where to buy: Amazon ( here )
The Honeywell Impact Pro – Electronic Earmuffs
Again, not so slim, but just as effective, The Honeywell Impact Pro, produced by Howard Leight, a global provider of electronic and passive hearing protection devices, is able to amplify low-level noises, making them up to 4 times louder while negating anything over 82dB.
And, for those of you who like to whistle while you work, the earmuffs also have a hookup for MP3 players, smartphones, scanners and other such devices. Three AAA batteries will get you 350 hours of use and their sturdy construction will keep them by your side for years on end.
A bit pricey but well-worth it. If you want the best electronic ear muffs, it is actually not too much for all the benefits and quality you get in return.
- NR Rating = 30
- Designed with rubberized pressure points
- GREAT FOR… Shooting and hunting from a stationary position.
- Where to buy: Amazon ( check latest price )
The TEKK Digital WorkTunes – Radio Ear Muffs
The only set of specialty earmuffs on this list, The TEKK Digital WorkTunes, developed by 3M, a multi-billion dollar corporation that specializes in innovative consumer products, offer an all-in-one bundle package of advanced and entertainment. 3M’s product has been voted by many the best radio ear muffs on the market.
Not only can it hook up to your MP3 player and other such devices, but it comes with an AM/FM radio built right inside of its super-soft ear cushions. Lightweight — for what it is — comfortable and convenient, with a 3-bass boost option, easy-to-use auto scan and voice assist, The TEKK Digital WorkTunes is definitely the most dynamic set of earmuffs on this list.
- NR Rating = 24dB
- GREAT FOR… Turning loud, outdoor jobs, like mowing the lawn and edging the grass, into quiet and entertaining activities.
- Where to buy: Amazon ( click here )
The Impact Sport Noise Cancelling Ear Muffs
Slim, stylish and quite superior, The Impact Sport, designed by Howard Leight, amplifies low-level sounds by up to 4 times their normal range, all while blocking out anything over 82dB.
Its low-profile design makes it easy-to-use with any firearm and its foldable frame means you can collapse it completely and toss it right into your bag. A simple, standalone volume knob is there for easy amplification and it boasts an automatic 4-hour shutoff feature to help increase battery life. Hook up your MP3 player or scanner to it as well for some extra excitement.
One of the best ear muffs out there – and modestly priced.
- NR Rating = 22
- Comes in hunter green and — the more expensive — mossy oak.
- GREAT FOR… Active hunting, especially considering its size, color and available features.
- Where to buy: Amazon ( here’s a link )
The Leightning L0F Earmuffs
Silly name aside, the Leightning L0F, designed by Howard Leight, might be the slightest and slimmest of all the earmuffs in this article, which is awesome if you’re trying to sleep on an airplane or study in a crowded classroom. Its ultra-slim frame can also fold down to a quarter of its size, making it super easy to carry.
Add a pair of plushy ear cushions and a padded headband and you have yourself one of the most convenient and comfortable earmuffs around. And, thanks to its steel wire construction, said comfort doesn’t come in exchange for great craftsmanship.
At around $20-30 – depending on the store – it’s a pretty good purchase, especially since it weighs all of 6 ounces. Definitely one of the best ear muffs when it comes to the price-to-quality ratio.
- NR Rating = 23
- GREAT FOR… Any activity that involves loud noises. Shooting. Sleeping. Working. Hunting. On the move or not. (As long as you’re not looking for anything extra special.)
- Where to buy: Amazon ( here is a listing )
Types of Noise Cancelling Ear Muffs
Now that we’ve seen some worthy examples of ear muffs, it’s time to start breaking them down into types so that you can better understand what you’re purchasing. Here are the three main kinds that are available today.
Any noise reduction ear muffs that actively block out sound while amplifying friendly, low-level sounds are typically considered electronic. They almost always require batteries and are often filled with more goodies than their passive counterparts.
People who go electric typically do so because it allows them to talk with their friends and hear lower-level noises while partaking in loud activities.
Passive sound proof ear muffs are simple machines. Their sole purpose is to protect your hearing. They’re not made to entertain or amplify noise. They can be soft, slim, inexpensive or a combination of all three.
People who prefer passive earmuffs often do so because they’re on a budget or because they want something simple that’ll get the job done with little-to-no effort applied.
Specialty earmuffs are essentially electronic earmuffs that come with an added feature not often seen in other electronic earmuffs, typically a radio of some sort.
People who select radio ear muffs often do so because they’re looking to have a little fun while partaking in loud and obnoxious activities
Different Purposes for Using Noise Reduction Ear Muffs
Snoring husband or wife? Party in the apartment upstairs? On an overnight flight and surrounded by chatty Cathys? Ear muffs can help out with all of that. Just pop ‘em on and let the silence consume you as you drift off to sleep. zzzzzzzzzz
Some of the best earmuffs for sleeping include… The Leightning L0fs and The Impact Sports.
Shooting and Hunting
Shooting and hunting, such favored American past times they rank second on the U.S. Constitution, right behind talking without a filter. But, unless you really don’t want to hear what anyone else has to say, you might want to think about investing in a set of best ear muffs since they’re considered an essential safety item for any and all gun enthusiasts.
Some of the best earmuffs for shooting and hunting include… Any from the above list, with some variance if you’re planning on moving around.
To find out more about ear muffs for shooting and hunting, please read The Best Ear Muffs for Shooting & Hunting.
Mowing the lawn with a noisy mower or working on a rather clamorous construction site can do just as much damage as the backfiring of a gun, as far your ear are concerned. If it’s worth doing, and it makes your ears ring at the end of it, you’re probably in need of a pair of sound proof ear muffs, no matter the task.
Some of the best ear muffs for working include… Any from the above list, depending on how entertaining you want said task to be.
Protecting your Children
Did you know that 30 school children per 1,000 have some sort of hearing loss? Kinda ridiculous right? Do you want to know how you can help? That’s right, by supplying your child with a pair of their very own ear muffs, great for occasions like concerts, car races, football games and more!
To find out more about best ear muffs for the little ones, please read Baby Ear Muffs for Noise.