Top 8 Best Ear Defenders For Shooting

Feb 21, 2024 | Hearing Protection, Shooting

Preserving your hearing is paramount when engaging in shooting sports or hunting. The loud noise of gunfire poses a significant risk, making reliable ear defenders a necessity. With an array of options available, selecting the ideal ear defenders requires careful consideration of various factors. Before we explore our top picks, let’s discuss the key aspects to bear in mind:

  1. Signal-to-noise Ratio (SNR): SNR denotes the level of noise reduction provided by ear defenders. A higher SNR signifies better protection against loud sounds, ensuring your hearing remains safeguarded.
  2. Comfort and Fit: As shooters often wear ear defenders for extended periods, comfort is crucial. Look for options with padded ear cups and adjustable headbands to ensure a secure and comfortable fit, enhancing your shooting experience.
  3. Durability: Shooting environments can be demanding, necessitating ear defenders that can withstand rugged conditions and frequent use. Opt for models crafted from durable materials to ensure longevity and reliability.
  4. Style: Ear defenders come in various styles, including passive, electronic, and in-ear variants. Consider your preferences and shooting requirements when selecting the style that best suits your needs.
  5. Affordability: Due to a number of factors such as electronics, materials and brand, ear defenders can vary wildly in terms of price. Keep in mind that regardless of cost, all of the ear defenders mentioned in this article will keep your hearing protected whilst shooting.

With that in mind, let’s delve into our top 6 best ear defenders for shooting!

 

Passive Ear Defenders

Passive ear defenders are a fundamental choice for shooters seeking reliable noise reduction without relying on electronic components. These defenders work by physically blocking sound waves from entering the ear canal, utilising dense materials such as foam or plastic in their construction. The simplicity of their design makes them durable and straightforward to use, requiring no batteries or configuration whilst still offering some of the highest levels of hearing protection.

 

SWATCOM SC12

SC12 Shooting Ear Defender

Price: £29
SNR: 29db

The SWATCOM SC12 offers the ideal combination of hearing protection paired with comfort and convenience. It has a generous SNR of 29db, meaning your hearing will be thoroughly protected from gunshot audio. Additionally, the SC12 also has a slim form factor that maximises comfort and manoeuvrability when aiming down the sights of your gun.

 

Sordin Left/Right High

Sordin Left Right High

Price: £34.80
SNR: 33db

Renowned for their superior quality, Sordin ear defenders have been used by shooters and armed forces worldwide. Their Left/Right High passive ear defender offers exceptional levels of hearing protection with an SNR of 33db, paired with a surprisingly ergonomic and comfortable fit due to the Left/Right’s unique headband.

 

Electronic Ear Defenders

Electronic ear defenders represent a cutting-edge solution for shooters seeking advanced hearing protection coupled with enhanced situational awareness. Unlike passive ear defenders, electronic models incorporate built-in microphones and speakers that actively monitor and amplify ambient sounds while simultaneously blocking harmful noise levels, such as gunfire. This technology allows shooters to maintain clear communication and remain aware of their surroundings, crucial for safety and performance on the shooting range.

Electronic ear defenders often feature adjustable volume controls and in some cases, different audio profiles to use depending on your circumstances. While slightly more complex than passive counterparts, electronic ear defenders offer unparalleled versatility and performance, making them a popular choice among shooters who prioritize both protection and awareness.

 

Sordin Supreme Pro X

Sordin Supreme Pro X

Price: £290
SNR: 25db

The Sordin Supreme Pro X is an electronic ear defender that offers a very respectable degree of hearing protection with an SNR of 25, paired with active listening technology that will allow the user to be aware of their surroundings. Additionally, the Supreme Pro X SFA also features Sordin’s unique HEAR2 technology, featuring multiple sound profiles to use depending on the discipline.

 

SWATCOM Active8

SWATCOM Active8

Price: £330
SNR: 26db

Manufactured to Military specification, the Active8 is SWATCOM’s flagship shooting ear defender. Some notable features of the Active8 include failsafe audio with twin speakers in each ear cup and silicone coated circuitry making the headset completely waterproof. For enhanced comfort, it comes with gel ear seals as standard, instead of the PVC foam you’ll typically find on an ear defender. The level of hearing protection provided by the SWATCOM Active8 is an SNR of 26db.

 

Passive Ear Plugs

An affordable option without compromising hearing protection levels, passive ear plugs are a simple yet effective solution. Despite the simplicity of this type of ear defender, you still have a lot of choice available, with a variety of different materials and shaped being used across manufacturers and ranges.

 

Moldex Spark Plugs

Price: £38.40 for a box of 200
SNR: 35db

Moldex Spark Plugs are your most basic form of passive ear plug. Made from foam, these highly affordable disposable ear plugs bring an impressive SNR of 35db to the table. Many shooter still find classic ear plugs such as these to be the perfect option for them due to the very high levels of hearing protection combined with their simplicity.

 

SWATCOM SC21

Price: £28
SNR: 15db constant, increasing with high-impulse sounds

A unique offering in the passive ear defender market, the SWATCOM SC21 is an ear plug designed specifically for the shooting industry. It uses clever design to react to high-impulse sounds such as gunshots to increase the level of hearing protection at the moment it’s required. Unlike the Moldex Spark Plugs, the SC21 is a reusable ear plug due to it’s silicone construction. If you’re shooting regularly, the SWATCOM SC21 is an effective and inexpensive solution.

 

Electronic Ear Plugs

Electronic Ear Plugs feature advanced technologies such as digital noise suppression and ambient sound amplification, allowing shooters to maintain awareness of their surroundings while protecting their hearing from harmful noise levels. With their compact size and customizable fit, electronic ear defenders are a popular choice for shooters who prioritize comfort, discretion, and precise hearing protection on the range.

 

CENS DX3

CENS DX3

Price: £749
SNR: 25db

When it comes to premium in-ear hearing protection, few products can hold a candle to the CENS DX range. The CENS DX3 are bespoke shooting ear plugs that require impressions of the users ear to be taken, in order for the product to be manufactured. This tailored approach to shooting ear plugs allows for an unprecedented level of comfort and hearing protection. The SNR of the CENS DX3 is 25db. What makes this product special are the additional modes that can be easily switched depending on the circumstances, as well as the high degree of customisation in terms of colours and patterns.

 

SWATCOM SC20

SWATCOM SC20

Price: £219
SNR: 23-24db

Another Electronic ear plug choice is the SWATCOM SC20. In contrast to the CENS mentioned above, the SC20 is not a bespoke ear plug, but can be fitted into a custom mould which SWATCOM offers separately. The SNR offered by the SC20 depends on which eartips you use, all of which come as standard: 24db with the foam eartips, or 23db with the silicone eartips. Offered in both a natural and an enhanced version, the SWATCOM SC20 packs advanced active listening technology into an easy to use, affordable package.

 

Conclusion

Prioritizing your hearing protection is essential when partaking in shooting activities. By investing in top-quality ear defenders that prioritize comfort, durability, and performance, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Whether you opt for passive, electronic, or in-ear options, our selection of the best ear defenders for shooting should leave you with a good idea about which product would be perfect for your requirements.