How Do Electronic Ear Muffs Work

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Protecting your hearing on the range is important. Cheap foam ear plugs do the job, but the shooter can’t hear much of the surroundings, which means they can’t hear and talk while loud gunshots are popping off constantly.

Noise induced hearing loss is a permanent hearing impairment resulting from prolonged exposure to high levels of noise.

At the end of this post you will learn how do electronic ear muffs work, which will better educate you on why you need it, and what’s the best product to get.

Be sure to check out the best electronic ear pro here on our site.

How Does An Electronic Pro Work

How an electronic ear muff work is very simple, the earmuff blocks loud gunshot and other harmful sounds away from the shooter’s ear, and it also amplifies surrounding sounds such as people talking, ambient noise and other low volume sounds.

It fit over the entire outer ear to form an air seal so the entire ear circumference of the ear canal is blocked, and they are held in place by an adjustable band.

If the muffs sense a loud sound above a certain decibel level, the amplifier simply shuts off. When the sound stops the amplifier turns back on.

One great advantage of electronic hearing protection is that the shooters don’t have to pull their ear pro off to have a conversation. Usually as soon as they do that, someone nearby start firing unexpectedly, and they rush to put it back on.

How Many Decibels Do Electronic Earmuffs Block?

A well made earmuff that seals around your ears perfectly can reduce noise level from 15 to 30 dB. Earmuffs for electronic hearing protection have standard ear cups with sound absorbing foam just like in passive muffs.

So when the battery dies, your hearing will still be protected.

The higher the number, the more harmful sounds it blocks.

Active Noise Cancellation

Electronic ear pro functions just like noise canceling headphones. The sound wave created by the headphone speaker cancels out the noise created by external source is the basic idea.

The earmuffs contains the noise cancellation system, which includes these major parts:

  • Noise sensor
  • Driver
  • Pressure servo
  • Ear cushion

Battery Source

The earmuff requires a battery source, typically AAA batteries are used. If you’re worried about dead batteries, most electronic earmuffs usually last between 400 to 500 hours.

You get what you pay for, and even if the battery dies and you lose the audio amplification, it will still protect your hearing on the range.

Directional Speakers For Better Audio Situational Awareness

Some models have directional speakers built-in so the user can hear which direction the sound is coming from. In addition, there is volume control the user can adjust.


Benefits of Electronic Ear Muff For Shooters – Hear & Communicate Clearly Over Harmful Loud Sounds

This technology allows maximum audio situational awareness and the ability to communicate over loud noises such as gunshots.

Some tactical electronic earmuffs also include microphones so the users can communicate and hear clearly from his/her team while in loud gunfight situations.

The users can adjust the volume best for them.

Do you need ear protection for shooting?

Absolutely! protecting your hearing is as important as not getting hurt on the range. Noise-induced hearing loss generally starts right around 90 dB and above if you are exposed to it as long as 8 hours or 110 dB for just 1 minute.

To put things in perspective, normal conversation volume is at 60 – 70 dB, the movie theater is about 70 – 104 dB, a chainsaw is about 120 dB, a fireworks show is about 140 – 160 dB.

Take a guess on how many decibels is a gunshot?

How many decibels is a gunshot?

A gunshot sound level depends on the weapon that can go from 140 dB to 190 dB.

Sound are broken down into 3 parts:

  • Frequency – Sound waves measured in hertz
  • Duration – How long the sound wave lasts
  • Intensity – How soft or loud a sound is measured in decibels

Typical gunshot sound level based on calibers.

  • 9mm – 160 dB
  • 45 ACP – 157 dB
  • 380 – 157 dB
  • 44 Mag – 164 dB
  • 5.56mm – 160 dB

Read Complete Caliber Decibels Here

NRR Ratings – Best For Electronic Ear Pro

NRR stands for Noise Reduction Rating, and it’s a measurement used to determine the effectiveness of hearing devices to decrease sound exposure within a given working environment.

The higher the better.

For electronic ear protection, NRR 22 – 31 can be found readily available online.

Check Out: Best Electronic Ear Muff For Shooting

Regular foam earplugs has about NRR 29, and an earmuff has about NRR 27. When used together they produce about NRR 34.

All hearing pro must be tested and approved by the ANSI (American National Standards) in accordance with OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration).

How many decibels can kill a human? – 195 dB or More

About 195 decibels or above is totally enough to kill a person.

Average gunshot decibels around 150 – 160 dB can burst your eardrums and other serious damage on long term exposure. Hearing loss is painless and gradual, which can go unnoticed until the loss.

Loud sound can even damage buildings, cars, aircraft and spacecraft, which is explained below.

Sound is a mechanic wave caused by oscillations in air pressure. The greater the change in air pressure, the higher the sound amplitude, the more energy it carries and the louder we interpret that sound to be.

A human being can take 60 – 70 decibels range or sound frequency of 20 – comfortably, and anything above that can cause damage.

If gunshots a loud enough without any hearing protection, it can shatter things into pieces…

Think about the sonic boom from a F18 fighter jet that shatters building windows when it fly by super fast at Mach 1…

Think about the water suppression system that damps out the sound of the space shuttle launch in order to reduce air pressure on the structure of the shuttle.

Check Out Additional Resources: NCBI Hearing Pro Studies

Wrap Up

It is important to practice hearing conservation by using hearing protection to prevent noise-induced hearing loss.

A pair of electronic earmuffs protect the shooter from damaging his/her ear on the range, while still provide amplified sound so the shooter can still talk and hear the surroundings.

Gunshots over 160 decibels can be easily tuned out when wearing electronic ear pro while still be about to hear and communicate.

Sound over 190 decibels can kill you, and you want to protect your hearing on the range as much as possible.

60 – 70 decibels are the most comfortable sound level for a human beings

Be sure to check out the best electronic hearing protection here on our site.