Duck hunting is an exciting sport that offers a unique connection with nature. However, it also exposes hunters to the loud blasts of shotgun fire. Over time, these consistent loud noises can cause significant harm to your hearing.
Therefore, duck hunting ear protection should be a non-negotiable part of every hunter’s gear. But how do you choose the right waterfowl ear protection? This guide will walk you through everything you need to know.
Types of Duck Hunting Hearing Protection
Ear protection comes in various forms, each designed to suit different needs and preferences. Here are the main types you’ll come across:
These are the most basic forms of ear protection. They’re cheap reusable, disposable, and offer decent noise reduction.
However, they can be uncomfortable if you’re wearing them for long periods and they don’t provide the best noise reduction.
These are high-tech solutions for ear protection. They amplify quiet sounds (like a duck’s quack) while automatically blocking out potentially harmful noises (like a gun blast). This allows you to maintain situational awareness while protecting your ears.
These offer a higher level of protection than foam earplugs. They cover your entire ear and provide solid noise reduction. However, they can be bulky and may interfere with your shotgun mount.
Waterfowl Hunting Ear Protection List
- Sordin Supreme Pro-X
- Radians CEP001
- Howard Leight
- 3M 1100 Foam
- Peltor Sport 300
- Caldwell E-MAX Shadows
- SureFire EP4
Top 8 Best Duck Hunting Ear Protection Reviews
Here is our review of the top-rated duck hunting ear protection options to consider:
1. Sordin Supreme Pro-X Ear Defenders
- Active Noise Reduction
- Waterproof Microphones
- Clear, Natural Sound Quality
- Military-Grade Durability
- Ergonomic Comfort
When it comes to the best duck hunting ear protection, the Sordin Supreme Pro-X electronic earmuffs check all the boxes.
Featuring cutting-edge technology and maximum functionality, these Swedish-made ear defenders are built to enhance the hunting experience while fully protecting your hearing.
Using advanced electronics, these earmuffs block out loud impulse noises over 82dB like gunshots, while still allowing you to hear ambient sounds like voices and wildlife.
With waterproof external microphones, the Supreme Pro-X performs reliably in wet hunting conditions like rain or near water. The electronics are fully sealed as well for robust wet-weather performance.
Meeting rigid military testing standards for shock, vibration, temperature, and other extremes, you can count on the Supreme Pro-X ear defenders to withstand years of hardcore use in the field.
If you want an electronic ear protection purpose-built for hunters with best-in-class noise cancellation, sound quality, and ruggedness, Just be prepared to invest in pro-level performance that can help you in your hunting journey.
For ducking hunting, these are simply the best electronic ear muffs money can buy.
2. Radians CEP001 Custom Molded Earplugs
- Custom Fit
- Soft silicone
- Discrete Appearance
When you’re out in the blind waiting for ducks to fly in, having ear protection that fits comfortably and works effectively is important. The Radians custom molded earplugs check those key boxes for waterfowl hunters.
By molding these plugs to the unique shape of your ear canal, they seal out noise and stay securely in place better than generic foam plugs. The process is simple using the included molding putty.
Despite having a custom fit, these earplugs can be washed to keep them fresh and clear of debris. Given the need to last you through years of hunting seasons, durability is a major plus.
Thanks to the soft silicone material and anatomical shape, you can keep these plugs in place during an entire early morning hunt without discomfort or ear fatigue.
With a translucent appearance, these earplugs are hardly noticeable to others once inserted. For duck hunting, the low-profile aesthetic can be an advantage.
They lack electronics of course, but provide better passive sound dampening than foam for safeguarding your hearing on the hunt.
3. Howard Leight by Honeywell Electronic Earmuff
- Sound Amplification
- Noise Blocking
- Clear Audio
- Folding design
- Auto shut-off
The Howard Leight Impact Sport earmuffs deliver great amplification of subtle sounds in the environment, while still protecting your ears when the shooting starts.
Directional microphones amplify soft sounds like bird calls, splashing water, and conversation to 82dB for improved hearing without compromising safety.
Gunshots and other loud noises over 82dB are instantly blocked to prevent hearing damage. The slim earcup design doesn’t interfere with gun stock clearance.
Patented Air Flow Control technology and directional microphones allow you to clearly distinguish sounds around you for improved hunting awareness.
The adjustable headband ensures a secure and comfortable fit for all-day wear in any condition. The low-profile design is compatible with hats and hoods.
For electronic ear protection purpose-built for hunters, it’s hard to beat the Howard Leight Impact Sport earmuffs.
Their unmatched combination of clear, amplified sound of your surroundings and instant blocking of gunshot noise keeps your hearing safe while enhancing your hunt.
4. 3M 1100 Foam – Great Duck Hunting Ear Plugs
- Hypoallergenic Polyurethane Foam
- Tapered Design
- Easy to Use
- Disposable –
While not the fanciest or highest-tech option out there, the 3M 1100 foam plugs get the basic job done for safeguarding your hearing on the water at a budget price.
The 3M 1100 foam ear plugs lack advanced features like sound amplification or noise-activated blocking, their simple yet effective design gets the job done for short-term hearing protection.
As a budget-friendly choice to defend against potential hearing damage while hunting when shots start firing, they deliver good enough protection that’s cheap and disposable.
5. Peltor Sport 300 Electronic Hearing Protector
- Impressive 24 dB
- Adaptive Noise Suppression
- Durable Microphones
- Comfortable Fit
- Vented & Adjustable Headband
The Peltor Sport RangeGuard earmuffs deliver clear sound transmission and gunshot sound suppression tailored for shooters & hunters.
Using Dynamic Suppression Time technology, these earmuffs automatically adapt their impulse noise blocking to the precise firearm you’re using for less echo and better sound quality.
Clear Voice Tracking actively filters background noise to make voices and subtle environmental sounds more discernible and true-to-life.
Recessed external microphones resist damage while also reducing distortion from wind noise for better directional hearing.
For advanced electronics and adaptive noise filtration purpose-built the Peltor RangeGuard tactical earmuffs deliver. They’ll give you an advantage in the field while guarding your hearing at the same time.
6. Caldwell E-MAX Shadows Bluetooth Electronic Hearing Protection
- Volume Control
- Custom Fit
- High-Quality Stereo Sound
The Caldwell Shadows deliver great signature sound suppression for safety along with seamless Bluetooth streaming.
With premium speakers and Bluetooth wireless connectivity, you can enjoy top-quality music, podcasts, or calls without missing crucial environmental sounds.
Multiple sizes of foam tips ensure you find a perfect seal and comfortable long-term wear even with a hat or hood.
Strategically placed microphones allow discerning sound directionality for improved situational awareness while shielding ears. The case keeps your earbuds powered up and also functions as a storage container you can toss in your blind bag.
To improve, it seems the earphones would need upgraded audio drivers, a more ergonomic design, and most critically, better noise-dampening/cancellation technology specifically tuned for suppressing loud gunshot sounds.
Relying on passive noise isolation alone appears insufficient based on user reports.
7. Decibullz – Custom Molded Earplugs
- 31 dB
- Custom Fit
- Reusable & Remoldable
Tired of earplugs that don’t fit right and fall out all the time? Decibullz lets you melt and mold your own custom plugs so they shape perfectly to your ears.
With a 31-decibel rating, these plugs significantly tone down loud gunfire and engines while still allowing conversational sounds through. So you can talk to people at a normal volume but loud bangs get brought down to safe levels.
You can remold Decibullz too whenever you need to adjust the fit as your ears change over time. Meltable thermoplastic means you heat and press to refit the shape.
For hunters and shooters wanting effective hearing protection tailored specifically to their ears, Decibullz brings custom, high-fidelity noise filtering to the table.
Shield those eardrums from waterfowl gunshots without discomfort or loose plugs falling out.
8. SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders Plus filtered Earplugs
- Situational Awareness
- Comfortable Fit
The SureFire EP4 earplugs are pretty good for hunting since they let you control how much sound gets in. They’ve got these little filter caps you can pop in or out whenever you want more or less noise filtering. Kinda like volume control for your ears!
When you need max noise cancellation during some heavy-duty shooting, just pop those caps in and it’ll dampen those loud gunshots.
But if you wanna chat with your friends or listen for ducks flying by, take the caps out so you can hear everything around you. Adapt on the fly for whatever kinda situational hearing you need at that moment.
And you can double up too if things get really loud. The EP4s have a comfortable in-ear design that’ll nest right in there under muffs, masks, hats, etc.
That way you’re protected from all angles if you’re at a busy range blasting off rounds all day. Can never be too careful with your hearing!
I’d say they’re a smart choice for hunters and shooters wanting flexibility with good ear protection. Filter cap on, filter cap off…you’ve got control over what’s going into those ears. And staying alert without damaging your hearing is what it’s all about in the field.
Choosing The Best Hearing Protection For Duck Hunting
Choosing waterfowl hearing protection isn’t just about picking the first or cheapest option you come across. Here are key factors to consider:
Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)
This is a measure of how well a hearing protector reduces noise. The higher the NRR, the greater the noise reduction. For hunting, look for an NRR of at least 22 to 33.
Comfort and Fit
Whether you’re out on a short morning hunt or spending all day in the field, you want ear protection that’s comfortable to wear for extended periods. Look for adjustable bands and cushioned ear cups.
Durability and Water Resistance
Hunting gear needs to withstand tough conditions. Your ear protection is no exception. Look for options that are durable and have some level of water resistance.
Ease of Use and Portability
You want ear protection that’s easy to put on and take off, adjust, and carry with you. Compact, lightweight options are often best.
My Final Thought: Duck Hunting Ear Protection
When it comes to the best hearing protection for waterfowl hunting, there are a few excellent options to consider. There are a bunch of good options out there for hunters, you can go with those high-tech electronic earmuffs that let in natural sounds while blocking the gun blast.
If you wanna save some cash, you can just throw in some basic foam earplugs under a regular pair of earmuffs. As long as you’ve got some kind of barrier for the noise, you’ll be way better off than nothing at all.
Trust me, you don’t wanna be going “huh?” after every conversation when you’re older because you didn’t protect the ears in your younger days.
Do you wear ear protection while duck hunting?
Yes, it is highly recommended to wear ear protection such as earmuffs or earplugs when duck hunting. The gunshots from du can reach dangerous decibel levels and repeated exposure can lead to noise-induced hearing loss over time.
Wearing proper hearing protection helps prevent both short-term and long-term damage to your ears. Most duck hunters and safety experts advise always wearing ear protection.
What is the safest position for duck hunting?
The safest position for duck hunting is to remain low in a seated or kneeling position. Squatting low to the ground provides more stability and a lower center of gravity compared to standing.
This wider, grounded stance helps manage recoil when firing shots. Sitting or kneeling also presents a smaller target profile while allowing hunters to aim more accurately and avoid potential injury from falling if hit by recoil when standing upright.
Can shooting hurt your ears?
Yes, exposure to shooting sports and hunting firearms can potentially hurt your ears. The noise from a single gunshot can reach 140 to 170 decibels which is dangerously loud.
Any repetitive loud noise over 85 decibels can cause gradual hearing damage over time. Shooting without proper ear protection commonly leads to irreversible noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus or ringing in the ears.
All firearm users should wear professional-grade ear protection to prevent both short and long-term hearing loss.