ears 1

Wearing Hearing Protection while Hunting Improves Your Odds

You should be wearing hearing protection while hunting, right?

Hunting ear plugs are the perfect protection from the harmful elements of hunting and improve your odds of getting the shot. Choose from three different types of hunting ear plugs depending on what type of shooting you prefer.

Don’t wait until it’s too late - put on some protective earplugs before the season starts, and you’ll enjoy a safer hunting experience.

Keep reading to learn more about the best ways to protect your ears.

Choosing the Best Hunting Earplugs in the market

Indeed, we’d all love to preserve our sense of hearing during our entire life. Surely you have met or heard about someone that has a tough time having a conversation and can barely hear a thing, and certainly, no one wishes for that to happen.

Various things can damage your ears, but if you do loads of hunting with firearms, there’s one simple thing you can do to evade hearing loss and be certain you don’t have to wear hearing aids later in life: use hunting ear protection.

Affiliate Disclaimer
As a Amazon Affiliate, we earn from a qualifying purchase   

In A Hurry?
If you require the best hearing protection and do not want to read the entire article, below are my recommended products.

permanent hearing loss

Any noise louder than 85 decibels can lead to permanent hearing loss. A single gunshot can cause hearing damage if it’s loud enough. In regard, a gunshot is about 130-180 decibels.

A single blast from a 12-gauge shotgun at close range is rated at 165 decibels (dB), louder than a loud rock concert (115dB) or a jet engine (140dB) The most audible suggested exposure using hearing protection is 140 dB, with the pain threshold beginning at 125 dB.

Hearing protection options for hunters

Foremost, forget cotton balls, tissue, packing peanuts, or an old-shooter favorite, cigarette filters.

While they are better than nothing, they also offer peculiar protection. You’ll get a reduction of somewhere around 7dB. You should look for a minimum noise reduction of 15dB, preferably 30dB.

There are various kinds of hearing protection on the market, ranging from the most simple (foam earplugs) too far more complex (electronic earplugs or electronic ear muffs). Here are the different options, so let’s see how they compare.

  • Foam Ear Plugs

    They are presumably the most straightforward, the cheapest form of hearing protection to come by. They have certain advantages, particularly the fact that they’re affordable, small, and flexible enough to be used for many applications. They also have an NRR (Noise Reduction Rating, more about it later) of 33, making them significantly reliable for blocking noise.

Although they do come with certain drawbacks, the biggest of them being that they only protect the ear canal. This means that the sensitive bones of the ear are mainly left unprotected. The second issue is that foam earplugs dampen many noises, regardless of where it comes from, making it equally hard to hear a range master’s commands as it is a gunshot.

  • Ear Muffs

    With an NRR of 30, a pair of shooter’s earmuffs may seem like a downgrade from foam earplugs, but most times, they’re actually an upgrade. You just need to place them over the ears, they are incredibly easy to use, unlike foam earplugs. Besides protecting the ear canal, they also protect the entire ear. Earmuffs can be combined with earplugs for extra protection.

They also have certain drawbacks. Earmuffs can be uncomfortable when wearing headgear, such as helmets, beanies, or hats. Sometimes they can get in the way when you need to take aim, messing up the fit of the rifle or shotgun to the shoulder. Finally, like earplugs, they block out all noise levels, making it harder to find game or hear conversations when out in the woods.

  • Electronic Ear Muffs/Ear Plugs

    Electronic earmuffs and earplugs are like their non-electric counterparts. Despite that, their major advantage is that they only block louder noises (85-95 dB) while retaining the benefits of non-electric earmuffs or earplugs. Like most products, they have some disadvantages, their major one being the cost. Electric ear muffs and earplugs are undoubtedly the priciest options out of all ear protection gadgets, with a pair of electric earplugs coming in at $125 and up.

  • Percussive Filters

    A percussive filter is like a custom-molded earplug that merges all the good of earplugs, earmuffs, and their electric cousins into one non-electric unit. They cancel out harmful noises and won’t lift off your ears during firing. One of their only drawbacks is that they don’t amplify sound, unlike electronic earmuffs or earplugs. That said, most percussive filters have two different NRR levels so that they can allow regular conversations to flow through the 10 NRR section while blocking out loud noises with the 32 NRR section.

Things to Consider When Purchasing Hearing Protection for Hunting

There are various types of hunting hearing protection on the market. Because of such a broad choice, how a hunter or shooter needs to test several factors when picking out the type of hearing protection they’d like to buy. These are the factors that should be considered:

  • Amount of Use: Are you planning on just going out hunting or to a shooting range once in a blue moon? Or perhaps you are someone who hunts every season? If you plan to go rarely, then more basic options might be the best choice. For a regular hunter, getting a pair of dedicated, custom hunting earplugs is often a better and more economical option in the long run.
  • Type of Use: The type of hearing protection you get depends on how you need to use it — specifically, what you need to hear. If you need to hear conversations or a range master’s commands, then foam earplugs may not be the best choice since these dampen or block all sound regardless of the source. Other options allow the shooter to hear lower-decibel noises but then activating to muffle or dampen higher-decibel noises (usually anything over 85-95 dB).
  • The Product’s Noise Reduction Rating (NRR): Each type of hearing protection on the market has a Noise Reduction Rating stating how much the given kind of hearing protection will reduce sounds entering the ears. Each type of hearing protection has different NRRs, with foam plugs often having some of the lowest.
  • Comfort: A shooter’s comfort depends on preference. It’s up to the hunter to choose what they are most comfortable using and wearing, as different options give a hunter different levels of comfort.


Myths about hearing protection while hunting

When hunting, many people don't realize the importance of not only wearing hearing protection, but also selecting the right type of hearing protection.

However, there are some myths:

Myths 1 - Build Up A Resistance

You can build up a resistance to noise - No, the hearing protection has to be worn constantly to block out the noise. A noise above the usual levels will cause damage, even if you have previously been a hunter or worked in a noisy environment.

Myths 2 - Noise Can Hurt Me Unless Its Loud

If the noise is not loud, it cannot harm me? - No, this is incorrect. Normal sound levels of 85dB can be damaging to your hearing.

Myths 3 - I Can Duck In And Out Of A Noisy Place Before It Can Effect My Ears

Again, No - This is incorrect. Noise exposure will have an effect, even if it is intermittent, the damage will still happen. If you do not wear hearing protection, your ear's will be damaged.

Myths 4 - It Isn't Too Big A Deal If I Can Hear My Explode

Noise exposure can affect your brain, and the effect is worse in noisy places. This is why ALL firearms should be muffled. Remember the noise level is 85dB at best (the international safety standard that is quoted), and wearing hearing protection will reduce this by 20-30dB.

Myths 5- My Hearing Will Come Back If I Avoid Noise

No, it won't - The hearing is permanent. You can push it to the limit, but you will still be deaf in the long run. The damage will cause your ears to become permanently damaged.

Hunting Hearing Loss Is Caused By 3 Things

Decibel Level, Distance and Time, and the amount of exposure. All three are essential for a true result.

If you are hunting with your firearm, low decibel levels combined with long exposure is extremely dangerous.

Decibel Level

is the level of sound, or noise, that causes damage. The decibel level of a gun at 30 feet away is 155dB (DB). When you are around 85dB, you will be exposed to noise that could eventually cause harm to your hearing.


is how far away the gun is from your ears when it fires. For example: if the gun was 2 feet from your ears when it fired, it would be at 110DB. You should always have at least 20dB of protection and preferably 30dB+, depending on the type of firearm used, and your distance from the firearm when it is fired.


for shooting is short, but Decibel Level is high. The longer you are exposed to loud noises, the higher the chance of hearing loss.

Decibel level is what you need to protect against. Your ears are a delicate organ that can be damaged by all forms of noise. Many people don't realize the seriousness of hearing damage, and think that if you wear protection it will not effect you.


If you are going to hunt, or shoot a gun, ensure you wear hearing protection at all times.

Wearing hearing protection will protect your ears from any sudden loud noises, such as a gunshot. It is the best way to protect your ears from hunting related hearing loss. Hearing damage can leave you permanently deaf.

So when you are hunting, wear hearing protection.

Please Note: Just because an ear defender is marked, for example, "Gunshot" - it will still cover other things, like "explosions"

Walker's's Razor Quad Electronic Shooting Hearing Protection Muff (Camo) and Protective Case Kit
  • BUNDLE INCLUDES: Walker’s Razor Slim Electronic Quad Muff (RealTree Xtra) and Shooting Hearing Protection Case
  • ERGONOMIC DESIGN: This muff features four hi-gain omnidirectional microphones to assure that you don't miss anything and get crisp clear audio. It is engineered with ultra-low profile ear cups with rubberized coating
  • NOISE REDUCTION RATING (NRR): Delivering an impressive Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 23 dB, this muff is sure to protect your hearing, without interfering
  • SOUND QUALITY: The Razor Slim Muff features sound dampening composite housing for providing smoother and suppressed sound quality
  • SOUND ACTIVATED COMPRESSION: It is frequency tuned for natural sound clarity and also features sound activated compression, which will start after 0.02-second reaction time
Sordin Supreme PRO X - Adjustable Active Safety Ear Muffs Hearing Protection - Camo Canvas Headband...
  • All Sordin military hearing protectors have been updated with a new advanced natural sound reproduction system. They now feature improved noise amplification of their surroundings compared to previous MSA Sordin models.
  • The PRO X from Sordin comes with 4 levels (1:4) levels of sound amplification. Integrated speakers in the head set amplify quiet sounds and reproduce surrounding noise crystal clear.
  • The sound reduction rating of the headset is rated at SNR: 25dB, a mean value. This means that noise around you can be reduced by up to 25dB.
  • Each microphone has been water proofed, making the earmuffs perfect for outdoor use in the woods or field. It can also be used indoors at shooting ranges or noisy workplaces.
  • Two microphones in the ear muff recreate excellent 3D audio. You will not have to worry about losing your orientation in any noisy situation.
Walker's Silencer Bluetooth Digital Earbuds, Rechargeable, NRR23dB, Voice Prompts, Sound Activated...
  • Advanced digital circuit for delivering true crystal clear audio
  • Digital Bluetooth synch with mobile devices
  • Free control App- Allows complete control of your silencer BT from your smart phone: Adjust volume, monitor battery levels, control program settings
  • Rechargeable- No longer have to deal with carrying extra batteries
  • Four program settings 1-universal, 2-voice clarity, 3-hi frequency boost, 4-power boost

Last update on 2023-11-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Other Questions

Is deer hunting cruel?

No, it is not cruel. Deer hunting is a cultural tradition, so hunters believe that hunting is humane, necessary, natural, and therefore ethical. It means if you kill the deer in a humane and ethical way, then it is not cruel.

The best way to kill a deer humanely is to not alarm or chase it and give it an instant death with no pain by taking a clear, accurate headshot. The deer population is increasing day by day which affects other life in the ecosystem which can negatively affect the environment as well. Deer hunting maintains a balance in nature.

Is hunting better than buying meat?

No, hunting is not better than buying meat. It is because hunting is costly. The equipment you need for hunting such as a rifle, a good scope, ammunition, and maintenance gear alone costs a lot. Then you have to get a hunting license is also not cheap.

Hunters also have to spend a lot of time on the road. Most of the time they have to travel to forests or other locations which are quite far this means spending a sizeable amount of money on fuel or on tickets. After hunting, the animal needs to be stored or hanged in a cool place, which is another costly task.


Can you eat deer meat right after you kill it?

Yes, you can it. Clean it first, take off the skin, and cut it into pieces. However, deer can sit before processing for five to seven days. It's better to tenderize the meat before you kill it. If the temperature is around 50 degrees, the meat of the deer doesn't spoil for three to six hours after being killed so you can eat it whenever you want during this time.

It is recommended to put the meat in the fridge for some time because the cold from the fridge helps to tenderize it, making it more chewable and tastier.


If you require more information, please check these references

Effectiveness of earmuffs in protecting hearing during shooting practice: a case-study , article, "www.tandfonline.com", retrieved on, Wed 28-October-2020

Determining Attenuation of Impulse Noise With an Electrical Equivalent of a Hearing Protection Device , article, "www.tandfonline.com", retrieved on, Wed 28-October-2020

Shooting habits of U.S. waterfowl hunters , article, "www.noiseandhealth.org", retrieved on, Wed 28-October-2020


Please enter search query below:

Affiliate Disclosure

EarsToday is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program.

Nick Le Page

Experience : Hi, I am Nick, and I have suffered with ear problems my whole life, mainly tinnitus. I have tried a lot of products to help protect my ears over this period, and several devices to block out the constant ringing

“Are you having problems hearing? If so, those around you already know it. Hearing loss is no laughing matter, so don’t be a punchline.”

Follow Us!

Click on the links for our Social Media

Amazon Affiliate

EarsToday.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program

An affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.

Designed And Developed By 8r1ght.com
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram