Last Updated On June 10th, 2020
Ear defenders are primarily designed to provide hearing protection, but they can also be a key to better concentration, as well as help improve the comfort of those who suffer from various hearing and sensory conditions.
Whether you work on construction sites or suffer with noisy neighbours, it’s clear that there are endless scenarios where you could benefit from wearing a pair of ear defenders. However, with such a wide variety of models available on the market, it can be difficult to decide which are the best ear defenders for your particular needs.
Well, we’re here to help! In this article, we’ve have examined ten of the top ear defenders on the market, to help you make the right choice. Read our ear defender ratings and reviews below to find the perfect pair for your circumstances.
Our Favourite Ear Defenders Compared
Best Ear Defender Reviews – Top 10 Picks
If you are looking for an excellent pair of ear defenders, take a look at our editor’s choice and top pick – the X5A by 3M Peltor.
This model benefits from an impressive 37db noise attenuation, protecting your ears even from the highest level of noise. Equipped with Bluetooth wireless connectivity, you can automatically pair and connect to your smartphone with a simple touch of a button, even when wearing gloves.
Highly resistant to weather, perspiration and temperature, this pair of noise reduction tool offer high-quality hearing protection. Just bear in mind that they are a little bulky for household use and they do not fold away. For noisy building site use, you may want to consider the helmet attachment version as this model is incompatible with a hard hat.
As these ear muffs are rechargeable, you won’t have to worry about replacing batteries. Additionally, the three hours charge gives you approximately eight hours of streaming or talk time. As far as comfort goes, you could easily wear these defenders for long periods, thanks to their twin headband design and foam. These reduce heat build-up while ensuring a good fit and balance.
All in all, this ear defender is an excellent choice if you need serious hearing protection from intolerable noise levels, such as those found in industrial environments.
Treat your ears to our luxury choice ear defenders – the SportTac Headset by 3M Peltor.
With an SNR of 26dB, this model will provide hearing protection from loud impulse noises. It has enhancing microphones that increase the audibility of ambient noise. This makes these ear defenders an excellent choice for hunting and shooting. They are battery-operated but benefit from extra-long run time. Thanks to its adjustable headband, this headset is comfortable to wear. Moreover, it’s also easily collapsible for convenient storage and transportation.
As a luxury choice, this model is understandably fairly expensive. If you decide to purchase the SportTac and wish to connect an external radio, bear in mind that you will need to purchase a special connection as the audio input jack is 3M specific.
Unfortunately, the main drawback to these ear cups is that it is not waterproof. Hence, you would have to be careful about using it during unpredictable weather. However, overall, this is a great model for blocking noisy environments and protecting your hearing, while improving your ability to hear conversations and instructions.
This electronic shooting earmuff by Awesafe is our top budget ear defender pick.
With its 22dB Noise Reduction Rating, these earmuffs offer hearing protection designed to block all noises over 82dB, while allowing you to remain aware of your surroundings. The double shell, low profile cups allow for firearm stock clearance, while the adjustable headband ensures a personalised, comfortable fit. This model also has the advantage of folding down to a pocket-size for lightweight and compact storage.
Additionally, these ear defenders offer headphone functionality – thanks to the auxiliary input and the included 3.5mm connection cord. Just bear in mind that this cord is a little on the short side. Hence, you may like to source a replacement for additional length. Furthermore, as these are battery-powered, you may find that they do tend to require frequent battery changes.
Also, according to an ear defenders review we’ve read, there can be some audio crackling from the headset switch, which you might find irritating. However, given their low price, we still think this model is great value for money and offers excellent functionality.
If you are looking for the best electronic ear defenders, then have a look at our top electronic pick by Protear.
These ear defenders have an excellent Single Number Rating of 30dB for good hearing protection in noisy, industrial environments. Thanks to their rechargeable lithium, you won’t have to pay out for batteries, nor worry about replacing them.
This model also comes equipped with Bluetooth connectivity so you can pair it with your smartphone. With its integral DAB+ and FM radio, complete with auto-search function and 20 presets, you can listen to the news or music from your favourite radio station whilst working. Just don’t expect the sound quality to be as perfect as if it comes from a sound bar.
If you opt to wear this model, you may find the initial setup awkward, as the instructions are rather poor according to a review we saw. That said, while these DAB radio ear defenders are on the expensive side, we feel that they offer excellent protection, connectivity, and entertainment.
Look after your hearing in industrial locations with the Peltor X2A, our top pick for ear protection. Designed for moderate to high-level noise environments, these highly durable ear protectors provide an impressive 31dB attenuation.
While they do feature a very tight fit, this is necessary for effective hearing protection. However, you may find they become uncomfortable if worn for long periods without taking breaks. Although the ear cups are fairly bulky, they offer special soft and wide cushions designed to reduce pressure and increase comfort and wearability. The cups also feature large internal spaces to help reduce uncomfortable moisture and heat build-up.
If you need to communicate whilst wearing this headset, note that it is compatible with the 3M Peltor wireless communication accessory for easy, push-button pairing with your smartphone. Fairly adjustable with an electrically insulated wire headband, these ear defenders are an excellent choice when you need good all-around noise protection.
Overall, these ear defenders are a great option for all high noise level environments such as construction, manufacturing, and roadworks.
If you are looking for the best kids ear defenders, we recommend taking a look at the Kid Earmuffs by 3M Peltor. A model ideal for parties, fireworks, and festivals.
With a Single Number Rating of 27dB, your child’s ears will benefit from a high level of hearing protection – without missing out on what is happening around them. Their low profile design ensures the constant pressure necessary for reliable, continuous protection for your little one’s ears. The soft, liquid sealing cushions enhance comfort and reduce pressure.
While there are a few minor drawbacks such as poor instructions, some stiffness when adjusting, and the fact that these ear defenders are not foldable, on the whole, these ear defenders offer excellent, high-quality protection for your kids. Designed for use over many years, the cushions and inserts are replaceable for optimum hygiene and durability.
Thanks to their stylish looks, comfortable ear pads, and vibrant colours – these ear muffs are sure to be an instant hit with your child.
The Mpow 044 is one of the best ear defenders for shooting. With a Single Number Rating of 36dB, they are designed to cut out high-level noises.
Equipped with an adjustable headband as well as soft ear cushions, you can wear these ear protectors for long periods without discomfort. The durable ABS outer makes them suitable for use outdoors and ensures a long product lifespan.
On the downside, these ear muffs are a little bulky and not much of a lightweight type. Hence, you may prefer a slimline model that won’t interfere with your rifle stock placement during shooting events. Also, this model does not have any connectivity which could be useful when you’re out in the field.
Although it comes with a handy storage bag, note that this shooting ear muffs are not foldable. However, given its low price and a long 18-month product warranty, you can purchase these ear defenders with confidence.
EDZ Kidz Ear Defenders are the best baby ear defenders in our selection. If you have a very young infant, bear in mind that they are only recommended for babies over six months old.
Lightweight for little heads and with a comfortable padded headband, these ear defenders have an SNR rating of 24.3dB to effectively muffle any loud noises. Ideal for fireworks, air shows, and concerts – your baby will be able to enjoy the ambience without worrying about damage to their sensitive hearing.
Compact and foldable, this model is available in a wide range of bright, fun colours. Although fairly tight-fitting, the EDZ Kidz ensures effective noise muffling. Also, you may find it a little tricky to get a perfect fit on your baby, especially the first few times.
Nonetheless, this model is a fantastic pair of ear defenders. Baby ear muffs from EDZ ensure that your child remains comfortable and protected, without missing out on any of the entertainment.
Looking to protect your child’s ears on a noisy Bonfire Night or at a loud concert or event? If you wish to buy a pair to pack together with your festival tent, check out these specially designed children’s ear defenders by Zohan.
Rated a respectable 26dB SNR, this model is excellent at muffling noise and providing effective ear protection while allowing your child to still hear what is happening around them. The unisex pattern is appreciated by most children – young and old. Additionally, the adjustable headband means they can still wear these ear muffs as they grow.
The ultra foam pads make these defenders quite comfortable to wear and can fold up for simple transportation in the provided carry bag. Just be aware that these are fairly bulky when folded compared to some other models. Moreover, as mentioned in a review, the Zohan is also a bit fragile and you may find that the ear pads come off regularly if your child is a little heavy-handed.
However, given its good looks and excellent protection, this model is one of the superb ear defenders kids will not hesitate to wear.
If you are looking for a discreet pair of ear muffs for use when shopping or in busy places, then this slimline model – which is easily mistaken for headphones – makes a good choice.
With a 26dB Noise Reduction Rating and a double shell design, this pair is perfect for wearing out and about. It provides hearing protection by reducing background noise effectively – without leaving you completely unaware of what is happening in your surroundings. The Vanderfields pair is also foldable, so you can easily transport them in your bag or briefcase.
While the padded headband is comfortable, it can be fairly tight. A downside that makes this model unsuitable for anyone with a larger-than-average head. Furthermore, if you’re quite active or live in a warm, humid climate, note that these ear defenders will lead to an increased perspiration build-up which you may find uncomfortable.
While this model does not have any connectivity options, for the price, we think it is an outstanding product. Vanderfields ear defenders offer a highly effective solution for reducing stress caused by surrounding noise – with a notably unobtrusive, slim design.
How Do Ear Defenders Work?
Sound travels as waves which are essentially vibrations in the air. These vibrations can be strong or weak. But the stronger the vibration, the louder the noise.
In order to protect your hearing, ear defenders are designed to absorb energy from these sound waves and block them from reaching your ears at such high intensities. In order to do so, these rely upon layers of materials such as acoustic foam. This type of foam is lightweight, and – thanks to its porous nature, is the key to stopping large sound waves.
Because it contains so many tiny holes, the little pockets of air within foam interrupt the passage of strong sound-waves. This is important in slowing down a sound wave’s rate of vibration, thereby reducing the noise level that you hear. By slowing down the intensity of these vibrations, ear muffs protect your sensitive inner ear, which is made up of many thousands of easily damaged hair cells. Without ear defenders, repeated exposure to loud sounds or one-off exposure to very loud noises can irreparably damage these cells, thus resulting in hearing loss.
The noise reduction efficacy of ear defenders is measured by what is known as a “Single Number Rating“. This provides an estimation of noise reduction that you can expect to experience when wearing your ear protectors, rated in decibels. However, this estimation is not always fully accurate, and in real life, you’re unlikely to benefit from the full noise reduction stated. This is particularly true if you wear loose-fitting ear muffs, which tend to lose a lot of their rated effectiveness.
There are plenty of excellent ear muffs to choose from depending upon your needs. The key to finding the right pair is to know exactly the maximum intensity of noise you wish to be protected from. However, if you are looking for the ultimate ear defenders, we highly recommend the X5A by market-leading company 3M Peltor.
As seen in our review, this model combines excellent noise reduction, with an impressive 37dB attenuation, and enhanced functionality – thanks to its Bluetooth connectivity. This allows you to stay protected without having to remove your ear defenders to make calls or to receive instructions.
We also love how this model is adjustable, rechargeable, and highly-resistant to perspiration, temperature changes, and inclement weather – making it an excellent choice no matter where you intend upon wearing it. Its twin headband design increases its comfort, which provides a highly-effective product suitable for extended wear periods.