Hearing protection is a vital piece of sporting kit. With modern designs and technology, there's no excuse not to protect your hearing and The Field is on hand to help with our guide to the best ear defenders for shooting

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Even the very best ear defenders for shooting are a relatively inexpensive bit of sporting kit but absolutely vital. Shoots are noisy places, and guns should never underestimate the potential, permanent damage that can be done to their hearing. Sir Johnny Scott advises all young shots to take steps to protect their hearing. “My generation tended not to, which is why most of us are now deaf,” he says. “It just wasn’t considered the done thing when I was young but now I advise everyone to make certain they wear ear defenders. I gave my son a Peltor pair. Expensive but well worth it.”

Unlike so many things in life, hearing can’t be replaced. “For those of us with noise-induced hearing loss, the frustrating of wearing hearing aids or struggling to hear can be debilitating. My hearing loss comes through a lifetime of military explosions and shooting but I do not wear it as a badge of honour,” insists Ian Bell, CEO of BASC. “When I shoot or I’m in the vicinity of those shooting, I always wear hearing protection – CENS in-ear protector over Peltor ‘cans’ – as  even common calibres of rifle fitted with a moderator can still cause hearing damage.”

A shot viewed from behind wearing a tweed cap and ear defenders for shooting

Given sleek designs and modern technology, wearing ear defenders while shooting shouldn’t reduce manoeuvrability. Furthermore, it shouldn’t mean blocking out all sound so you can’t hear what friends are saying or take advice from an instructor. Some even allow you to tune into the sound of incoming quarry or listening to music and voicemail messages. So what’s the excuse for not protecting your hearing? And here to help is The Field, with our guide to the best ear defenders for shooting. And now we’ve ‘got your ear’, don’t forget to get the lowdown on the best shooting coats and the best gumboots.

Best for comfort

The Peltor SportTac Electronic Earmuffs (RRP £210) are foldable and were designed specifically for shooters with a slim profile to ensure they avoid contact with the stock. They also feature a smooth active-volume function to eliminate abrupt sound cut-off and can connect to a two-way radio. Available with green and orange or red and black interchangeable cups.

Best ear defenders for shooting in comfort

Considered by many to be the best shooting ear defenders for shooting in comfort: Peltor SportTac Electronic Earmuffs

Best for staying power

Sordin Supreme Pro X Electronic Earmuffs (RRP £310) offer over 600 hours of battery life from two AAA batteries, have a battery-save function and a low-battery warning. They are also waterproof and have a five-year warranty. They are close fitting, foldable, flexible but stable and cleverly amplify sound while actually protecting your hearing.

Sordin supreme Pro x electronic earmuffs

Sordin Supreme Pro X Electronic Earmuffs

Good-value best-sellers

The every-popular Bisley Active Electronic Ear Defenders (£85) feature independent volume controls and have no external wires that might get in the way. Equally, the slimline cups are also foldable. They can be used alongside behind-the-ear style digital hearing aids.

Best-selling Bisley ear muffs

These Bisley electronic ear defenders offer excellent value

Custom-made hearing protection

CENS ProFlex DX5 (from £899) is an unobtrusive, custom-made alternative to tradition ear muffs. It has five digitally optimised modes: Game, Clay, Range, Wireless comms and Hunter, as well as a mute function. Available in a wide range of colours from hot pink to white.

The CENS ProFlex DX5 in action in the field with George Digweed

Discreet protection on a budget

If you’re looking for something compact and discreet with a smaller price tag, check out the ISOtunes Sport Caliber shooting earbud (£179.99). It has up to 13 hours of battery life and delivers amplified natural sound while reducing gunshot noise. This in-ear device is Bluetooth enabled so you can take phone calls and listen to music.

Green Sport Caliber green ear buds and their box

Protection for those who think the best things come in small packages – ISOtunes Sport Caliber

Best for young guns

Peltor Kids Earmuffs (£29.95) come in a choice of neon colours. This colourful aesthetic is not just fun but has a safety aspect as they help children to be easily seen. These ear defenders provide comfortable hearing protection for children over five and reduce noise level by to 27dB’.

Peltor kids earmuffs in neon pink and green

Protection on a budget

TRACKR Electronic Earmuffs (RRP £80) run on two AAA batteries and provide 25 dB NRR hearing protection while auto-blocking technology shuts off all sounds over 85 dB. They are sweat and water resistant and are mounted on a comfortable headband.

These ear muffs offer offer hearing protection on a budget

Do you need more tips for life in the field?

Check out our guide to the best shooting gilets by clicking here. The Field is packed with informative content for guns, such as our guide to judging range while shooting and our 11 top tips for shooting pheasant.

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