If you are a serious shooter, you should take a second look at what you use for hearing protection. Those little orange squishy foam earplugs just don't cut it for long term use. You should consider electronic hearing protection to ensure that you avoid hearing loss from cheap, disposable earplugs.
Don't just take my word for it. Ask any professional firearms instructor. They'll tell you the same thing. Buy electronic hearing protection. If you don't believe me, check Larry Vickers's website for an in-depth discussion on the best hearing protection.
Electronic hearing protection allows you to not only protect your precious hearing but also to hear the world around you. You can shoot and listen to commands and instructions at an indoor range or outdoor shooting range. When hunting, you keep your situational awareness.
The best news is there are lots of electronic earplug options. We've gathered some of the highest rated out there.
The 3M Peltor TEP-100 Tactical Digital Earplug
Etymotic GSP15 Ear Plugs
Westbrook DefendEar Digital Shooter
Walker's Game Ear
1. The 3M Peltor TEP-100 Tactical Digital Earplug
These are the Cadillac of electronic hearing protection. These Peltor tactical earplugs were explicitly designed with shooting in mind and adapted for tactical use. The TEP-100s are a favorite of law enforcement and military personnel.
They are not only fantastic at protecting against hearing loss but also, they are incredibly comfortable and durable. They fit in the ear canal perfectly and block external noises by simply sealing your ears. Their fit is perfect. Once they are in; they stay in.
The TEP-100 hearing protection is IP67 water-resistant and can even be submerged for 30 minutes in up to a meter of water. These small earplug style TEP-100s will also fit under tactical helmets and hard hats comfortably. They are perfect for use with eyewear.
The NRR rating is 23 decibels which means they will make gunfire perfectly hearing safe. The TEP-100s are rechargeable and function for 16 hours between chargings. These electronic earplugs don't just block loud sounds--they provide sound amplification for ambient sounds.
They amplify noises making it easier to hear someone talking. This feature is invaluable if you are taking a firearms safety class. These earplugs do come with an optional harness to keep them together as well as multiple soft rubber earpieces.
They allow for a proper fit and maximum comfort. Their case acts as a charging station. These earplugs charge via a standard USB connection. These are not the cheapest electronic ear protection, but they are designed for dangerous and austere work.
If you are in that line of work, then they are likely worth the money.
2. Etymotic GSP15 Ear Plugs
GSP stands for Gun Sport Pro. The GSP earplugs are comfortable and are the earplug of choice for hunters, 3-gunners, and IDPA/USPSA shooters. These earplugs are amazingly soft. Etymotic offers six different styles of removable plugs to maximize fit and comfort.
The GSP earplugs use #10 Zinc-air batteries for power that lasts for days. The GSP15s block loud noises and provide sound amplification for ambient noise. Amplification is optional though. Each earplug has a small switch with which the amplification can be disabled.
The noise passed through the GSP15s is clear and concise. The earplugs will not muffle conversations and instruction. This is a must when involved in shooting sports or trying to listen for a deer coming in.
In this mode, normal sounds like conversations still pass through the earplugs. The GSP15s are quite comfortable and fit deeply in the ear. They stay in place even when dynamic movement is required.
These are professional grade earplugs and are quite durable. These would be perfect for those looking for a low-profile option for shooting sports or hunting. They are comfortable and well made. The optional amplification is a handy feature.
The GSP15s provides 15 decibels of automatic hearing protection as soon as noise exceeds safe levels. This is perfect for blocking out gunfire. I wouldn't expect them to make something like explosions safe so keep this limitation in mind.
3. Westbrook DefendEar Digital Shooter
DefendEar has to be one of the most clever names for hearing protection out there. A good name is nothing without a good product. Is the Westbrook DefendEar a good product?
You bet it is. The DefendEar is electronic hearing protection earplugs from a company that knows how to protect your ears against hearing loss or hearing damage. They produce ear protection for construction, shooting, recreational activities, and concerts. Protecting ears is their job, and they do it exceptionally well.
The DefendEar Shooter earplugs are perfectly designed for a variety of shooting applications. This includes hunting, shooting sports, and even tactical use. The DefendEar Shooter earplugs block up to 30 decibels of noise. That level quiets the loudest of guns.
They come with a series of ear tips, cleaning implements, batteries, and a storage pouch. The Shooter earplugs run on zinc-air batteries. The six included batteries each provide 3 days of battery life.
They come in a sturdy case that locks and features a custom cut foam to accommodate the earplugs and to protect them. The DefendEar Shooter plugs come in alternating colors that make it possible to identify which earplug is which instantly.
The DefendEar Shooters can amplify your hearing. They feature three different amplification levels. They also have built-in wind noise reduction so you can easily hear the world around you without a constant ssshhh noise.
The DefendEar Shooters are well made, easy to use, and will serve you faithfully for years.
4. Walker's Silencer
Walker is another major company in the hearing protector world. The Walker's Silencer is not a device you attach to the end of your gun to make it quieter. While those are nice, these do not require a tax stamp. Instead, these are electronic earplugs that block your gun's noise.
The Silencer Earplugs come in three different models--standard, blue tooth, and rechargeable. The standard Silencer earplugs are the most affordable electronic earplugs on the market.
The blue tooth and rechargeable models are a little more costly. They all provide the same level of protection. The base model would be my choice because of how cheap they are.
Powered by #10 zinc-air batteries, the Silencer earplugs last 80 hours. The Silencers come with three different sized earplugs and independent volume control knobs on each earplug. These earplugs provide 25 dB of sound reduction and instantly block out any noise above 85 dB.
The Silencers provide an incredibly comfortable fit. The noise they let through is clear and consistent. This allows you to easily hear conversations or moving game while still allowing you to maintain maximum situational awareness.
The Walker Silencer Ear Buds feature integrated directional microphones.
At this price, the Silencers are remarkably well made and extremely high quality. They are the best bargain for electronic hearing protection in earplug form.
5. Walker's Game Ear
Are you a hunter? If so, Walker's Game Ear hearing protection might be for you. These are a set of earbuds that connect via a wire with an input jack. In the middle is a simple remote system that makes it easy to control audio input for both earplugs.
This control system minimizes movement, which is critical for a hunter waiting for game. The cord connecting the two earplugs also makes sure they aren't easily lost when being worn in the woods.
Walker's Game Ear has a noise reduction rating of 29dB. This makes it perfect for any type of hunting. These earplugs work for you from a single blast of the deer hunter to the multiple blasts of the bird hunter.
The rechargeable battery features a 15-hour battery life. This is an impressive performance for small, light earphones.
They come with three foam tips in small, medium, and large sizes. The Game Ear amplifies the noise of the area around you. This allows the wearer to hear animals often many times before the animal detects them.
The Game Ear is fitted with HD speakers that make the noises clear and distinct. The game Ear headphones have sound-activated compression. As soon as you shoot, the noise-canceling design takes over.
The Game Ear is a small, lightweight set of earphones designed for hunters. They not only protect your hearing but also provide you with an edge in the field.
Whether you choose digital earplugs or electronic earmuffs, protecting your hearing is an absolute must. When it comes to shooting, you must have earplugs or safety earmuffs to protect your eardrums from harmful, loud noise. Without them, you are violating the firearms safety rules.
Hearing protection is a must-have. Selecting an electronic hearing protector is an even better option. It's become affordable and is the standard. It gives users a distinct advantage when training, participating in a shooting competition and hunting or whenever you're exposed to loud noises for extended periods of time.
There is a wide variety of types, styles, and designs when selecting hearing protection devices. There has to be one that will provide you with the best ear protection for shooting.