What Kind of Ear Protection is Best for Shooting Range?

If you are someone who frequently visits a shooting range, then you must be aware of the importance of ear protection. Shooting can generate sounds that are loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage to your ears. However, with a little precaution and the right gear, you can ensure that your ears remain protected from these harmful noises. In this post, we will discuss the different types of ear protection that you can use while shooting, and which one is the best for you.

Shooting at a range requires ear protection to guard against the harmful effects of loud noise exposure. There are several types of ear protection available on the market, each with its own unique features and benefits. It’s important to choose the most suitable ear protection to ensure your hearing stays safe while shooting. In this article, we will explore different types of ear protection for shooting range and their benefits to help you make an informed decision.

The Importance of Ear Protection

Before we dive into the different types of ear protection, let’s first understand why it is necessary. Shooting, even with a small-caliber firearm, generates a sound that can exceed 140 decibels. This is the threshold beyond which sound can cause permanent hearing damage. If you shoot without ear protection, you risk damaging your ears, which can lead to tinnitus, hearing loss, or other hearing-related issues.

Types of Ear Protection

There are two main types of ear protection that you can use while shooting: earplugs and earmuffs. Let’s take a closer look at each of these options.


Earplugs are small and easily portable, making them a popular choice for shooters. They fit snugly into your ear canal, creating a seal that blocks out most of the sound. They are available in two types: disposable and reusable.

Disposable earplugs are made of foam and are inexpensive. They are designed to be used once and then discarded. Reusable earplugs, on the other hand, are made of silicone or other materials and can be used multiple times. They are more expensive than disposable earplugs but are often more comfortable to wear.


Earmuffs are another popular option for ear protection while shooting. They are larger and bulkier than earplugs and cover your entire ear. They work by creating a seal around your ear, blocking out most of the sound. Earmuffs are available in two types: electronic and non-electronic.

Non-electronic earmuffs are simple and affordable. They work by blocking out all sound, making it difficult to hear anything other than the sound of your gun. Electronic earmuffs, on the other hand, are more advanced. They use microphones to amplify low-level sounds, such as someone talking to you, while blocking out loud sounds, such as gunshots.

Which One is Best for You?

Both earplugs and earmuffs are effective at protecting your ears while shooting. However, which one is best for you depends on your personal preferences.

If you prefer something small and portable, then earplugs are a good choice. They are easy to carry around in your pocket or bag, and you can quickly put them in and take them out as needed. Additionally, they are less bulky than earmuffs, making them more comfortable to wear for extended periods.

If you prefer something that is more comfortable to wear and provides better overall protection, then earmuffs are a better choice. They cover your entire ear, which means that they block out more sound than earplugs. Additionally, they are more comfortable to wear for extended periods, making them a good choice for longer shooting sessions.

Additional Tips for Ear Protection

While earplugs and earmuffs are the two most popular types of ear protection for shooting, there are a few other things that you can do to protect your ears while shooting. Here are some additional tips:

  • Double up: If you are shooting indoors or with a large-caliber firearm, consider doubling up on ear protection. This means wearing both earplugs and earmuffs for maximum protection.

  • Use electronic earmuffs: As we mentioned earlier, electronic earmuffs are more advanced than non-electronic earmuffs. They allow you to hear low-level sounds while blocking out loud sounds, which can be helpful if you are shooting with others or need to communicate with someone while shooting.

  • Take breaks: Shooting for extended periods can be tiring and can also cause ear fatigue. Take breaks every 30 minutes or so to give your ears a rest.

  • Keep a safe distance: Finally, keep a safe distance from others while shooting. If you are shooting with others, make sure that you are not standing too close to them, as this can increase the overall sound level.

FAQs for what kind of ear protection for shooting range

Why do I need ear protection when shooting?

Shooting can be a very loud and potentially damaging activity for your ears. The sound of gunfire can reach levels of up to 140 decibels, which is well above the level that can cause permanent hearing damage. This can happen even if you are only exposed to the noise for a short period of time. That’s why it’s important to wear ear protection when shooting.

What are some of the different types of ear protection available for shooting?

There are a few different options when it comes to ear protection for shooting. Earplugs are a popular choice because they are small, easy to use, and come in disposable or reusable varieties. Another option is earmuffs, which fit over your ears and provide a more complete seal against loud noises. Some people even choose to double up and use both earplugs and earmuffs for maximum protection.

How do I know what level of hearing protection I need?

The level of hearing protection you need will depend on a few different factors, including the type of shooting you plan to do, the type of firearm you are using, and your own personal sensitivity to noise. In general, you should look for ear protection that has a noise reduction rating (NRR) of at least 25 decibels.

Can I use regular headphones or earbuds for shooting?

Regular headphones or earbuds are not designed to provide enough protection for shooting. They may block out some noise, but they are not designed to protect your ears from the loud, sudden noises produced by firearms. It’s important to use ear protection that is specifically designed for shooting to ensure your ears are properly protected.

How do I properly insert earplugs for shooting?

First, make sure your earplugs are clean and dry. Roll the earplug between your fingers to compress it, then pull your ear upward and outward to straighten your ear canal. Insert the earplug and hold it in place for a few seconds until it expands to fit your ear canal. Make sure the earplug is snugly in place, but not so tightly that it causes discomfort. Repeat with the other ear.

How do I properly fit earmuffs for shooting?

To properly fit earmuffs, you should adjust the headband so that it fits snugly around your head without causing any discomfort. Make sure the ear cups completely cover your ears, with no gaps or leaks around the edges. You can also test the seal by putting your hands over the ear cups and seeing if you can still hear anything. If the seal is good, you should not be able to hear anything with your hands over the ear cups.

Is it necessary to wear ear protection if I am shooting a small gun or only shooting once in a while?

Even if you are shooting a small gun or only shooting once in a while, it’s still important to wear ear protection. The noise produced by firearms can cause permanent hearing damage even after just a few shots. It’s better to err on the side of caution and protect your ears with proper ear protection whenever you are shooting.