Why do we exactly need earplugs? A commonly asked question with a simple answer – to protect your hearing capability from long term damage due to loud noises. Lucky, with sophisticated technology, we can now protect our hearing capabilities with active or electronic earplugs.
Why Buy Earplugs?
You would be surprised to know that your ears can be damaged by sounds you may encounter on a daily basis. Sound Volumes at or below 75dB are generally regarded as safe, and anything above 85dB can have a negative impact on your hearing.
The safe range of sounds are normal conversations which are about 60dB. However, something as common as the sound a lawnmower or vacuum cleaner makes can cause hearing loss if exposed for a long time.
Earplugs, both standard and filtered, serve as protection against loud sounds; they reduce the level of sound, allowing you to avoid hearing loss and extended exposure time. Unfortunately, earplugs don’t provide complete protection, but investing in a high-quality pair will minimize the harmful effects of excessive noise.
We have tried and tested several electronic earplugs to help you invest in the best earplug according to your needs. The following five electronic earplugs outshined in terms of both hearing protection and design quality.
Let’s give a closer look at our five best earplugs for concerts, shooting, and other environments with loud noises.
1. 3M PELTOR Tactical Earplug TEP-100, 1 Kit EA/Case
The 3M PELTOR Tactical Earplug is widely popular for their excellent hearing protection and improving auditory environmental awareness and communications.
The TEP-100 offers state-of-the-art, easy-to-use technology that helps amplify low sounds and efficiently block out loud noises. Although 3M PELTOR Tactical Earplug offers a low 23dB NR rating; however, according to our experience, this electronic earplug outperforms many earplugs with a higher NRR rating.
- Highly durable and comfortable ear tips
- Wind and water-resistant
- Small and lightweight design excellent for extended wear
- Easy to clean
- Pricy option
- Unimpressive wind protection
2. Etymotic GunsportPRO Earplugs
We highly recommend Etymotic GSP15 Gunsport PRO Earplugs for competitive and casual shooting sessions. These electronic earplugs are equipped with high-sensitivity microphones, high-definition balanced-armature sound drivers, and specially developed signal processing.
Although, Etymotic GunsportPRO Earplugs impress us with its excellent built quality and design. However, the low 15dB NR rating was a major con for us as there are many other electronic earplugs with a better NRR rating at this price point.
- Excellent for long term wear
- Ear tips specifically for optimum comfort
- Pricy option
- High battery consumption
- No on/off button
3. Etymotic Research Music·PRO High-Fidelity Electronic Musicians Earplug
Etymotic is a widely trusted brand, especially popular for its remarkable quality headphones and earphones. Etymotic delivers the same premium quality with its Electronic Musicians Earplug.
The Etymotic Research Music·PRO High-Fidelity Electronic Musicians Earplug are an excellent option for music directors, music educators, entertainment industry staff, performers, security personnel, and other professionals that do not require a high NRR dB rating, but longer-lasting power and sufficient hearing protection.
- Impressive battery time
- Up to 15 dB – two amplification levels
- Comes with an assortment of ACCU-Fit ear tips
- Low dB levels
- High battery consumption
4. Westone DefendEar Digital Shooter Hearing Protection Ear Plug
Also known as the “in-ear experts,” Westone DefendEar Digital Shooter Hearing Protection Ear Plug is amongst the most popular electronic earplugs with the highest NRR of 30dB. Westone DefendEar Ear Plugs offer optimum hearing protection that makes these earplugs suitable for a spectrum of applications.
- Excellent universal-fit design
- Easily cleanable, repairable, and upgradable
- Comfortable to wear
- Up to 86 dB – three amplification levels
- No power off button
- High battery consumption
5. SoundGear Instant Fit Recreational Electronic Hearing Protection (Pair)
SoundGear Instant Fit Recreational Electronic Hearing Protection is equipped with the latest electronic hearing protection with an impressive Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) 25dB rating that can suppress noise at 93dB and 15dB of Amplification.
Soundgear Instant Fit also offers excellent customization options to ensure optimum comfort and hearing protection in the long term.
- High-definition sound enhancement
- Automatic noise suppression
- All-day, optimum comfort
- Small size that can easily get lost
Purpose of use
People commonly ask about the benefits of wearing earplugs and why should they invest in them. The most significant advantage of earplugs that is enough to convince you to consider investing in a pair of good quality electronic earplugs is the fact that over time, unprotect ears may suffer from hearing loss, especially if you are exposed to harmful loud noises on a daily bases.
Exposing your ears to sounds that are louder than 85 dB on a daily routine can drastically increase your chances of hearing the loss in the long term. Earplugs can effectively reduce the noise to a safer level.
HOW LOUD IS TOO LOUD?
Activities like shooting expose you to loud sounds so you can expect a few very loud bangs. However, it is crucial to know how loud is too loud for your ears to endure?
Is it ok not to have ear protection when engaging in activities that have loud sounds?
The simple answer is NO! It would be best to protect your ears because even a single gunshot sound can damage your ears. Nearly all calibers of guns emit a gunfire sound that is high enough in decibel (dB) level that can cause immediate harm to the ears.
The sound of close thunder and rock concerts is usually around 120 dB, which is enough for acute damage and can cause mild tinnitus and temporary hearing loss.
Compared to the over 140 decibels that a lot of calibers of firearms give, acute hearing loss can easily occur. You may experience long-lasting damage such as hearing loss if your ears are unprotected. A .22 rifle gunfire shot is around 145 dB, and a 170 dB sound from a 44 revolver can be harmful to ears even with a single shot because the sound is well over the 120 dB threshold.
Furthermore, repeated and significant exposure to sounds that aren’t as loud as gunfire (around 80 dB) can also lead to Chronic hearing loss. The lower threshold for damage is approximately 70 dB, so it is vital that you stay below that level when it comes to sound exposure in daily life.
Fortunately, earplugs are available in several variations depending on the level of hearing protection that you require daily. We have recommended some of the best earplugs that are suitable for a range of noise protection situations.
However, before buying any of these electronic earplugs, make sure that you are well aware of the level of hearing protection, do you require according to your specific needs.