Updated: September 30, 2015

Hearing Protection Reviews:

How much does your hearing mean to you? You'll start to know when you have to ask people to repeat themselves or when you can't hear a movie that everyone else can. While it's a safe bet that no one wants to lose their hearing, many people are exposed to dangerous conditions through their work or hobbies that can impact hearing in the short-term and erode it in the long-term. Hearing protection is essential whether you're working in a club as a DJ or musician, you're working on a construction site, or you're target-practicing with a firearm. But how do you know which type of protection is right for you? How do you know it's going to be effective? We'll take a look at different kinds of protection and some of the top brands to help you make the right decision for your ears.
hearing protection

Why Do We Need Hearing Protection? - Say you are a 25-year-old carpenter, which is a relatively noisy profession. But at such a young age, you shouldn't be worried about your hearing, right? This is a dangerous fallacy because hearing loss can begin that early or even earlier. Your ears really don't care what your chronological age is. That 25-year-old carpenter typically has ears of a 50-year-old, according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control). That's a 50-year-old who has worked in a quiet job or who has worn effective ear protection. Imagine a 50-year-old carpenter who has not. But is there any reason that you should not wear ear hearing protection? Some people are concerned that hearing protection muffs or plugs can actually be more detrimental. They worry they won't be able to hear warning noises, like trucks backing up, people yelling, or irregular sounds in machinery that indicates a problem or danger. Some worry that because they work in a dusty or dirty area, they will get an infection. Others worry about poking their eardrum. Let's talk about that last one first. Ear drums are designed to foil the plans of little kids who poke things into their ears. It is a very irregular path, and there is no way you could put an ear plug in that could poke your eardrum. Second, infection. Use clean hands when putting them in, use muffs, use plugs with stems so you don't have to touch the plugs. An infection is unlikely. And third, will you be able to hear warning noises? Yes. Good hearing protection cuts the noise, but doesn't get rid of it completely. You want to hear - and hearing protection muffs and plugs help you do this both on and off the job. What to Look for in Your Hearing Protection - Whether you're looking for shooting hearing protection or protection for loud music, you'll want to make sure that you get the proper size and that you put them in correctly. If they are even a little small, the level of protection they can offer is much reduced. If you have hearing protection now, try the CDC's QuickFitWeb, a quick fit hearing test available here (http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/blog/nsb051208_quickfit.html). You can determine if your ear plugs or muffs are effective, the right size, and positioned correctly. If you're searching for better hearing protection, look for:

*Fit. You can have a professional fitting, which will give you the best results.
*NRR. Noise reduction rating. The highest on the market is 33.
*Protection from high and low frequency sounds.
*Specialized for your needs. You can find hearing protection geared towards shooters, hunters, construction workers, DJs, and more.
*Quality. Get the best you can afford.

You can browse the best selling hearing protection devices here.

Best Hearing Protection:

You can get disposable PVC or Polyurethane foam ear plugs, one-size-fits-all moldable plugs, or ear muffs. Your choice will depend largely on your needs. Let's look at some of the top brands. Peltor is one of the leading names in hearing protection, and they consistently review very positively with Amazon, Optics Planet, Epinions, EnviroSafetyProducts, and Cabela's reviewers. The Peltor H10A Optime 105 Over-the-Head Earmuff is a great choice because, as one reviewer points out, it quiets annoying noise but doesn't block very loud sounds completely. This is ideal because you want to hear warning sounds. The H10A hearing protection muffs are approved by CSA (independent and reputable testing lab) and have an NRR of 29. The over-the-head ear muffs have hard plastic casing with soft, comfortable ear molds, twin cups to minimize resonance, and protection from high and low frequencies. These are great for noise levels up to 105 dB. These Peltor hearing protection muffs are available for under $20 at Amazon (see all Peltor ear protection options here). For shooting and other loud conditions, try the Impact Sport Electronic Earmuff from Howard Leight. This pair of hearing protection muffs was chosen as BestCovery's best protection for shooting. They offer an NRR of 22, compact, folding design, automatic 4-hour shut-off, AUX jack for MP3 players and scanners, conversation amplification, and a single volume control knob. The great thing about this electronic hearing protection is that it automatically reduces noise to 82 dB, a safe level. At the same time, it amplifies conversation so you can use these very easily at work. In fact, it is ideal for workers with hearing issues because it reduces isolation and allows them to hear what is being said, even if the environment is loud. These are $48. Ear plugs can also be very effective. Both Peltor and Howard Leight make top-rated choices. In fact, the Howard Leight MAX ear plugs was chosen by ConsumerSearch as the best ear plugs. These are disposable and made of polyurethane foam. The bell shape allows it to fit snugly and comfortably in your ear while its contoured design keeps it there. The MAX's closed cell foam keeps them clean, which keeps your ears clean. With an NRR of 33, these offer outstanding protection. You can get a box of 200 for only $25. These receive overwhelmingly positive reviews on Amazon as well. You will find that Peltor and Howard Leight are the top-rated companies for hearing protection. Remember to buy the best you can afford (which makes Amazon very useful) and wear them correctly. Your hearing is too precious to lose if you can possibly help it, and with the best hearing ear protection, you can definitely help it.

Hearing Protection for Shooting:

Do you fire weapons at indoor shooting ranges? How about outdoor shotgun shooting? Peltor makes the highly recognized Peltor 97039 Tactical 7S Hearing Protector that gets near perfect reviews from gun owners. Features a noise reduction rating of 24 dB and it electronically suppresses sounds to 82 dB. They are comfortable (both padded and adjustable) and the 9 volt battery will provide up to 80 hours of use. The Howard Leight R-01526 is another option (and much cheaper). Some reviews say the R01526 doesn't suppress noise as well as the Peltor and a few mention that it doesn't fit small heads either. I've seen some people with the corded earplugs in shooting ranges, but the best reviews go to the full over the head noise cancelling earmuffs specifically designed for gun shooting.