Ear muffs are high-tech hearing protection available in a large variety of different models. They also come with a wide variety of options to choose from. This can make choosing the best ear muffs for your unique ear a challenge.
I have compiled the following checklist to guide you through some of the most fundamental and important functions.
Situational Awareness, Amplification and Safety
The main difference between ear muffs and a plain old and non-electronic hearing protection is electronic sound amplification. Wearing earplugs or any other kind of old hearing protection, you make a compromise with your ability to clearly listen to what’s going on around you. Ear muffs can easily solve this issue. With microphones around the outside of the ear cups and the speakers in each ear cup, ear muffs “listen” to the ambient noise and play those sounds back so that you can clearly hear the voices and other relatively quiet noises.
The Clipping Issue and Audio compression technology
Electronic earmuffs amplify the ambient sounds – so for these earplugs to protect you from dangerously loud gunshot sounds, the amplification of sound of course needs to be immediately closed when a loud noise is about to reach the ear.
Fortunately audio compression technology is developed to solve the sound clipping problem. Instead of shutting down, the amplifier runs continuously – and when a hazardously high noise occurs, the amplifier modifies the incoming audio stream, and rebalances the sound. So the dangerous noise volume is turned down, while ensuring that the low-volume sounds remain audible through the electronic hearing speakers.
Noise Reduction Rating(NRR)
NRR is essential, regardless of what type of protection you choose, and ear muffs are no exception. Regardless of the features an ear muffs offers; the amount of hearing protection you get from ear muffs depends entirely on NRR. The higher the NRR, the more protection you get.
For your earmuffs to be effective in protecting your hearing, make sure that the ear muffs you are using provide a good seal around the ear without touching the ear at all. The ear pads must be soft, so that they can adapt well to the shape of the head and form an effective seal against noise. Every little hole where the ear pads don’t seal the skin can precariously reduce the protection an ear muffs provides.
Color is not just a stylistic choice – it is also a functional feature that you should consider when choosing your ear muffs. For hunters, a vibrant Safety Orange the best option throughout the gun seasons, for other sports, camouflage might be essential for a good concealment. Fortunately earmuffs are available in a variety of colors, from bright neon for convincing camo, so you can choose the color that fits your unique needs.
Overall, there is much to consider when it comes to choosing the right ear muffs. The features listed above are among some of the most essential features that you need to consider in order to find the very best shooting hearing protection for your unique ear.