Hearing loss caused by noise is permanent and cannot be repaired. So always make sure your ears are covered when out shooting.

Electronic ear defenders are an excellent way to protect your hearing from permanent damage. We’ve all been out in the field with somebody who says: “Sorry, deaf as a post. Never wore any ear protection when I was younger.”

Whatever you choose, you need to make sure that you are conscientious about wearing your electronic ear defenders. Have them with you every time you go out into the field or clay ground.  Most 12-bore gunshots produce a sound of around 150 to 160 decibels (db), while a .30-06 rifle with a 24in barrel produces around the same. Consistent exposure to sounds of more than 95db is bad, and noises of more than 120db can cause permanent damage to your hearing in seconds.

The misery of tinnitus

Mark Williams, a leading tinnitus expert comments: “The most worrying aspect of noise induced hearing loss is that the damage to the hearing organ is permanent, with no prospect of repair.”

Tinnitus is a miserable affliction which causes a constant ringing sound in the ears.

So what you should choose to protect your hearing?

Electronic ear defenders come in both customised and off-the-peg versions. They’re much improved in recent years too. In the past you could hear nothing at all, cut off from any noise of your surroundings. But today ambient sound levels can be adjusted to make sure that baying dogs, warning calls and other sounds are clearly audible. Hunters will appreciate how earphones headsets amplify all and any environmental sounds.

We asked a few shooters which electronic ear defenders they recommended. Here is what they said.

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#Repost @henry.carney ・・・ Always look after your hearing! I’m terrible for forgetting right up until the last minute. I know a lot of people who wear hearing protection when shooting clays but never whilst shooting game • I always where them even and there are all sorts out there. From the 50p foam plug in ones to the more expensive protection. There really in very little excuse for not protecting your hearing • @james_and_archiebald did a fantastic post on this not so long ago – worth checking it out! • @censdigital proflex 2 looking after my ears this week just like the last 10 years ☺️ • #shooting #shootingtime #shootinglife #countryside #countryboy #countrylife #rural #rurallife #peglife #countrysports #fieldsports #gun #shotgun #beretta #12bore #berettapride #pheasanthunting #pheasant #partridge #partridgeshooting #duckhunting #gameseason #hobby #sporting #tradition #englishman

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Reader Mark Buckley said: “CENS all the way for me, I find over the ear ones interfere with gun mount.”

So let’s take a look at CENS electronic ear defenders, or rather digital ear plugs. These are custom-made to fit into an individual’s ear and users like them because they are very comfortable, lightweight and compact. They come in a range of colours and styles and are tested to meet European standards.

Users wear them for clays, driven days and walked up days and comment that after a while you forget you are wearing them. If you find overhead ear defenders cumbersome, this may the option for you. CENS protect your hearing but give low level safe amplification.


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MSA Sordin Supreme Pro IV

MSA Sordin Supreme Pro IV

2. Sordin Supreme Pro IV

The sound on these is amplified up to ten times so you will actually hear better, although your hearing will be protected at the same time. Clever.

  • Battery life: 600 hours of two AAA batteries
  • Weight: 300g
  • Automatic shut off: Yes
  • Foldable: Yes
  • Sound protection: 82db
  • Price: from £150


3M Peltor ProTac Shooter

3M Peltor electronic muffs

3. 3M Peltor ProTac III electronic muffs

These are the choice of Matthew Clark, editor of Sporting Gun. You will be protected from the harmful sound of gunshot but you’ll be able to hear what’s going on around you.

  • Battery life: 100 hours of two AA batteries
  • Weight: 355g
  • Automatic shut off: Yes
  • Foldable: Yes
  • Waterproof: Weatherproof
  • Sound protection: Reduces harmful levels of sound to 32db
  • Price: RRP £98.39
  • Extra features: 3.5mm jack. A listen-only stereo input to connect to a mobile phone, radio, two-way radio or other external devices.
electronic ear defenders

Walkers Razor slim electronic muff

4. Walkers Razor Slim Electronic Muff

  • Battery: 2 ‘AAA’ batteries
  • Foldable: Yes
  • Sound protection: Reduces harmful levels of sound to 22db
  • Price: from £69.99
  • Extra features:  Features Sound Activated Compression (SAC),  a special electronic circuitry that will compress gunshots and other loud noises down to a safe level, without completely shutting the noise off. This allows you to hear range commands or communicate with your hunting partners, even when shots are being fired around you.

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electronic ear defenders

Caldwell E-Max electronic hearing protection

5. Caldwell E-Max Low Profile

These amplify sounds below 85 decibels (normal communication range) but blocks off above 85 decibels.

  • Battery life: Untested, two AAA batteries
  • Weight: 408g
  • Automatic shut off: No
  • Foldable: Yes
  • Waterproof: Water resistant
  • Sound protection: Blocks sounds above 85db
  • Warranty: 12 Months
  • Price: £42.99
  • Extra features: Two microphones offer stereo sound; low-profile earcup for ease of shooting.