7 Best Ear Muffs For Hearing Protection In 2023: Reviews & Top Picks
Whether your job requires ear protection, or your hobby makes a lot of noise, ear muffs are a must for loud activities where you don’t want to use ear plugs. Ear muffs that can comfortably adjust tend to fit better than ear plugs, which may be uncomfortable for individuals with a tiny ear canal. Plus, you can easily take them on and off, such as when a neighbor approaches you for conversation while you’re blowing leaves (or you could just pretend you didn’t hear them since you’re obviously wearing ear protection). Here’s our top 7 picks for the best ear muffs for hearing protection this year, including reviews of what we liked and what we thought could be improved.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Professional Safety Ear Muffs by Decibel Defense||
|Best Value||V-Slick Shooting Ear Protection Earmuffs||
|Premium Choice||3M WorkTunes Connect Hearing Protector with Bluetooth||
|3M PELTOR X5A||
|ProCase Noise Reduction Safety Ear Muffs||
The 7 Best Ear Muffs for Hearing Protection
1. Professional Safety Ear Muffs by Decibel Defense – Best Overall
Our choice for the best overall ear muffs for hearing protection, the Professional Safety Ear Muffs by Decibel Defense put up the best fight against hearing damage by providing the highest NRR rating of 37 dB. They’re available in two sizes and are adjustable. You can also fold them for more compact storage. Best of all, they’re not as expensive as some other models despite the high quality. They’re pretty basic; you won’t find any fancy Bluetooth or radio functions here. However, they’re well worth the money and do the best job at canceling out loud noises.
- Good price
- Highest NRR rating
- Available in two sizes
- No extra features
2. V-Slick Shooting Ear Protection Earmuffs – Best Value
Vanderfields V-Slick Shooting Ear Protection Earmuffs score as our best ear muffs for hearing protection for the money by providing exceptional quality for under $20. They’re only available in one size but are adjustable and come in a variety of colors. Some users say they run a little small, so they might not be the best option for someone with a larger than average head. Although 20 dB is a pretty low NRR rating, most users say they work well. They’re simultaneously one of the least expensive and highest ranked ear muffs on Amazon.
- Great value
- Under $20
- Most users say they work well
- Available in different colors
- Low NRR rating
- Some users say the size runs small
3. 3M WorkTunes with Bluetooth Wireless Technology – Premium Choice
The 3M WorkTunes Connect Hearing Protector with Bluetooth Wireless Technology enables you to take calls and listen to media all while protecting your hearing. One button controls your media output, so you don’t even have to take off your headset to answer the phone. The only downside is that you still need to keep your device handy because the ear muffs don’t have volume controls. You can use the ear muffs to protect your hearing without power, and the media functions recharge by micro-USB so you don’t have to worry about changing batteries.
As our premium choice, these ear muffs protect you from outside noises while providing you with entertainment while you work. The 24 dB rating is decent. It’s not as high as our best overall choice, but these ear muffs make up for the difference with the extra features.
- Bluetooth capability allows you to listen to music and answer calls while wearing your headset
- One button controls the media functions
- Headset recharges via micro-USB
- NRR rating could be higher
- Ear muffs don’t have volume controls
4. 3M PELTOR X5A
The 3M Peltor X5A is one of the best pairs on the market. With a 31 dB NRR rating, only Decibel Defense, ProCase, and 3M Pro-Protect come close to the same level of hearing protection. The replaceable ear cushions and liners are definitely a perk because they’re usually one of the first things to wear out on a pair of ear muffs, especially if they’re regularly used outside with exposure to the elements.
Some people say the size runs small, but they’re adjustable. If you’re looking for a headset, these aren’t the pair for you since they don’t have any extra functions like radio or Bluetooth capability. However, they’re good at what they do, so much that reviewers frequently compare similar products to the 3M Peltor to see how they stack up.
- High NRR rating
- Replaceable ear cushions and liners
- Runs small
- Basic functions
5. ProCase Noise Reduction Safety Ear Muffs
The ProCase Noise Reduction Safety Ear Muffs are available in a wide range of colors. The 360° rotating caps give you some flexibility. Although these ear muffs are adjustable, users say that it’s a little difficult to adjust and it runs a little too small for larger adults overall. However, the 28 dB NRR rating is relatively high, so they’re a good buy for kids or if you have a smaller head.
- High NRR rating
- Comes in a variety of colors
- Rotating caps give versatility
- Users say the muffs are hard to adjust and run small
6. 3M Pro-Protect with Bluetooth Wireless Technology
We like how the 3M Pro-Protect headband is thin enough to accommodate other PPE, including hard hats. These ear muffs are adjustable to fit a kid or adult. They are a one-size-fits-all. However, they may not fit very young children or adults with larger than average heads. At 30 dB, these ear muffs are about as good as they come, and for a lower price than you might expect. They don’t have any special features, but users claim that they’re better at blocking sound than more expensive ear muffs.
- High NRR rating
- Thin, flexible headband leaves room for other PPE
- May not fit small children or adults with large heads
- No extra features
7. PROHEAR 037 Bluetooth 5.0 Hearing Protection Headphones
The PROHEAR 037 allows you to listen to Bluetooth audio and take phone calls while protecting your hearing. These ear muffs feature built-in controls so you can adjust the volume and skip songs without having to hold your device. With a 1100mAh battery that holds a 40-hour charge, you can use these muffs on the go, or you can plug them into a 3.5mm aux cord for continuous play.
The ear muffs charge via USB for 4 hours, although you can still wear them to cancel out sound without the Bluetooth functions. The NRR rating is decent at 25 dB, and the head band is adjustable to fit teens and adults. The PROHEAR 037 is likely too large for children under 12.
- Lets you listen to music and take calls without needing your device to control settings
- Bluetooth capability has a 40-hour charge
- Adjustable to fit teens and adults
- Not intended for children under 12
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing The Best Ear Muffs for Hearing Protection
Whether you go to loud concerts occasionally or simply mow the lawn every Saturday, it’s worth investing in a pair of ear muffs so that you can protect your hearing. Thankfully, ear muffs aren’t very expensive. Most models cost around $25, with some as low as $15 for a budget buy, and others costing as much as $75 if they’re Bluetooth enabled. Here are some criteria we considered when picking which products to review to help you reach a decision about which one is the right fit:
The noise reduction rating (NRR) is the single most important thing to note about ear muffs. If a pair has a 30 dB NRR, that means that you can subtract 30 decibels from the current level to equal what it will be like with ear muffs. In other words, a 30 dB rating doesn’t mean 30 dB is all you’ll hear; rather it’s how many decibels the ear muffs will cancel out. For example, if you’re at a concert where the music is at 110 dB and you wear 30 dB ear muffs, the new level will be 80dB. Where your ears would have been in danger before, they’re now resting just under the 85dB threshold where possible hearing damage can occur.
Ear muffs are only as good as they are comfortable. Ill-fitting ear protection does little good if any, and it can hurt your head to wear the wrong size for too long. Conversely, it’s also annoying if they’re too big and fall off your head. While most ear muffs are adjustable, it’s important to note if they’re made for children, teenagers, or adults in order to judge whether they’ll fit your head. We recommend reading the reviewer’s notes to have an estimated idea of how well they’ll fit.
Consider what tasks you’ll be performing while wearing your ear muffs to decide which ones will work best for you. If you’re doing monotonous work, maybe you’ll want a pair with Bluetooth capability to power you through your task. If you’re responsible for answering calls for work, you might also want Bluetooth so that you can talk on the phone without interrupting your task. Bluetooth enabled ear muffs still protect your hearing without a charge, so you’re not stuck if you accidentally forgot to plug it in. Some ear muffs even have FM/AM radio for extra fun.
Ear protection is important to preserve your hearing for the long run. Our best overall choice, the Decibel Defense, had the highest NRR rating of 37 dB. At under $20, we liked the V-Slick as an economical option, but it only had a NRR rating of 20 dB. Products like 3M WorkTunes, our premium choice, also feature Bluetooth so that you can enjoy your tasks and keep up with phone calls while still being safe around damaging decibel levels.
When looking for ear muffs, consider the work you’ll be doing while wearing them to determine which type is best for you. People who still need to pay close attention to their surroundings or hear other people while wearing ear protection might prefer a basic pair of ear muffs. Conversely, others who work more independently may opt for a pair with special features.
Featured Image Credit: Virrage Images, Shutterstock
- 1 A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
- 2 The 7 Best Ear Muffs for Hearing Protection
- 2.1 1. Professional Safety Ear Muffs by Decibel Defense – Best Overall
- 2.2 2. V-Slick Shooting Ear Protection Earmuffs – Best Value
- 2.3 3. 3M WorkTunes with Bluetooth Wireless Technology – Premium Choice
- 2.4 4. 3M PELTOR X5A
- 2.5 5. ProCase Noise Reduction Safety Ear Muffs
- 2.6 6. 3M Pro-Protect with Bluetooth Wireless Technology
- 2.7 7. PROHEAR 037 Bluetooth 5.0 Hearing Protection Headphones
- 3 Buyer’s Guide: Choosing The Best Ear Muffs for Hearing Protection
- 4 Conclusion