Regular training with a firearm is very important for both hunters and sport shooters. Earmuffs are used to prevent permanent damage to the hearing. Since there are a large number of different models and price ranges on the market, the best five from a large number of models were selected and tested in this hearing protection test. Everything from the one-time product to high-end hearing protection is represented.

Is Your Hearing Protection: Active or Passive?

The distinction between active and passive hearing protection is that active hearing protection requires microphones built-in. B. turns a shot off immediately. Therefore the world can be communicated. Passive hearing protection is sufficient for anyone who has little or no conversation while shooting. Everyone else should wear active hearing protection.

What Does “SNR Insulation Value” Mean?


The abbreviation “SNR” stands for the English term “Single Number Rating”, which describes the insulation value of hearing protection equipment. Hearing protection with an SNR value of 30, for example, reduces the sound that is passed on to the eardrum by 30 dB.

Inexpensive entry-level models

If you are rarely on the shooting range or the hunt, or if you just need simple hearing protection without a lot of frills, the inexpensive products presented here will certainly be enough.

3M Peltor Bull’s Eye III earmuffs

The 3M Peltor Bull’s Eye III hearing protection has been specially tailored to the needs of hunters and sport shooters. It is available in the colors green, red and black. In addition to a sound reduction of 31 dB, hearing protection is characterized by its low weight and high wearing comfort. Foam is used to secure both the bottoms and tops of the compartments of the expandable food storage containers. This enables an optimal noise reduction in connection with high wearing comfort.

Honeywell Howard Leight Impact ( 1013530)

Our price-performance winner in the test is the Honeywell Howard Leight Impact. The active hearing protection is available starting at about 50 dollar. The two integrated microphones enable three-dimensional directional hearing. With the help of microphones, noises in the environment can be amplified up to four times. However, changes to the sound are adopted with a little time delay, setting the optimal volume a bit fiddly. From a value of 82 dB, the sound transmission of the hearing protection is automatically interrupted.

Due to the soft padding on the ear capsules, the long-wearing of hearing protection (even for people who wear glasses) is no problem. However, the hearing protection does have a small weak point. If cell phones or other electronic devices come too close to them, they can sometimes generate slight noise. A fact that is bearable given the price.

Awesome GF01 hearing protection

The Awesome GF01 is inexpensive, active hearing protection, particularly suitable for hunters and sport shooters due to its flat and compact design. Equipped with an AUX input for a 3.5 mm jack plug, this hearing protection can be connected to a cell phone, MP3 player, or radio. The device is powered by two AAA batteries. The two microphones, which are located on the outer shells, enable the user to hear three-dimensionally.

The noise transmission is throttled from a volume of around 82 dB. The hearing protection offers an attenuation value of 22 dB. The Awesome GF01 can be folded up to save space for transport. The hearing protection is available in green and black. Also, the manufacturer offers a 5-year guarantee on electronics.

However, since this hearing protection only has a comparatively low attenuation value, it may be worthwhile for one or the other user to get a few additional earplugs.

Mid-range models

Many hunters and sport shooters have hearing protection from this price range. For example, the 3M Peltor SportTac presented here represents this price category that is often found on the shooting range.

3M Peltor SportTac

The  3M Peltor SportTac hearing protection * offers a very good price-performance ratio. This closes the gap between entry-level and high-end hearing protection. You can choose between two colors (green or black). Thanks to the insulation performance of 26 dB, hearing protection can be used on both outdoor and indoor shooting ranges. The batteries (2 AAA batteries are included in the set) last about 600 hours, perfect for long sitting periods.

With a special cable (no aux cable), which is not part of the scope of delivery, it is possible to connect radios, cell phones, etc. As a little extra, there are two capsule shells in orange for free.

With the help of the active microphones, low ambient noises are amplified, and loud (pop) noises are filtered out. The sound quality is surprisingly good.

High-end hearing protection

Nothing is left to be desired; the hearing protection presented here performed extremely well in the test.

MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X with integrated LED lamp

With the Sordin Supreme Pro X hearing protection from MSA Safety, you get a lot for your money. The product is 100% waterproof and offers excellent sound reproduction. The aux input makes it easy to connect a cell phone, MP3 player, or the like to the headphones.

According to the manufacturer, the two AAA batteries required for an operation last up to 600 hours. With the gel cushion attachments for the auricles included in the delivery scope, wearing the hearing protection is almost invisible—a huge advantage, especially for those who wear glasses.

The flat design is a great advantage, especially for hunters and sport shooters. The Sordin Supreme Pro X is available with or without an LED lamp. MSA Safety offers a five-year guarantee on the Sordin Supreme Pro X.

3M Peltor EEP-100 EU in-ear hearing protection

The 3M Peltor EEP-100 EU is my recommendation for in-ear hearing protection. Since this model is active hearing protection, you can hear your surroundings perfectly even when wearing this hearing protection. The sound transmission can be regulated in three stages or deactivated completely. The 3M Peltor EEP-100 is operated by a built-in battery charged via the charging box with a micro-USB cable. To charge the earplugs in this model, the box must be connected separately to a power source (power bank, charger, etc.).

Since this hearing protection is plugged directly into the ears, it is ideal for people who wear glasses. According to the manufacturer, the EEP-100 achieves an insulation performance of 32-38 dB, depending on the type of plug attachment. The transmission volume of the microphones is reduced from an ambient volume of 82 dB. The weight per plug is just 4g, which benefits the comfort. The battery life is also impressive; the best shooting ear plugs can last for up to 16 hours on one charge. After that, they have to be charged again for about 3 hours.

Hearing protection test for hunters and sport shooters – purchase advice

When it comes to finding the right hearing protection for you, it is important to find out about this topic well in advance. This is the only way to maintain an overview and find the right hearing protection for your needs. For this reason, I will now deal with the most important points about hearing protection in this section.

Differences between the different variants

If you are currently looking for new hearing protection, you have probably already noticed that these are available in a wide variety of versions and designs. I will detail the following section on the most important differences between the various models.

Hearing protection: passive/active

First, you should consider whether you want to get active or passive hearing protection. Active hearing protection allows the wearer, thanks to built-in microphones, spatial hearing. Also, with most models, the noises from the surroundings can be amplified, similar to a hearing aid. As soon as the noise level (e.g., by firing a shot) exceeds a limit value, the transmission of the volume is throttled or completely suspended for this period.

Active hearing protection is particularly suitable for hunters or sport shooters who want to communicate with other people on the shooting range or when hunting or who want to hear their surroundings.

Passive hearing protection, however, does not need microphones and electronics. That is why passive models are usually a lot cheaper than active versions. If you are mostly alone on the shooting range or when hunting and do not attach importance to hearing your surroundings, then you can easily use passive hearing protection and thus save money.

Hearing protection: over-ear vs. in-ear

Next, you should consider whether you would prefer to wear ordinary earmuffs or in-ear hearing protection (earplugs). Both variants are available as both active and passive models.

The earmuffs are probably the most common model among hunters and sport shooters. Probably the biggest advantage of this variant is the very good noise reduction.

In-ear hearing protection can also achieve good insulation values, but they do not usually get good ear protection. The advantage of these models is their size. Since these are kept small and compact and only have to be plugged into the ears, earplugs are usually a lot more comfortable to wear in the long term and do not disturb the user when the weapon is attacked before the shot is fired.

Pay attention to this as you need to when purchasing hearing protection, because of the danger of noise damage. Before buying hearing protection, you should check carefully whether the respective model meets your requirements. For this reason, you will find a summary of the most important points that need to be observed here.

Good grip: A good grip on the head or in the ears is very important for hearing protection. If this slips before the shot is fired and therefore no longer sits optimally on the head, the insulation performance can be severely impaired, leading to increased noise pollution and consequent permanent damage to the hearing. Comfortable fit: Since hearing protection sometimes has to stay on for a longer period, it is all the more important that it has a certain level of comfort when worn.

As flat design as possible: Hearing protection for hunters and sport shooters should be designed as flat as possible, as this can otherwise disturb the shooter when striking the weapon.

Sufficient noise reduction: It is also important to ensure that the hearing protection has a sufficiently high SNR attenuation value. When shooting rifles in an indoor shooting range, hearing protection should have an SNR value of at least 25 dB. In the case of smaller calibers or firing a shot outdoors, this value can usually be lower.


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