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  • Writer's pictureNoah O. Thompson

I Tested And Ranked The Best Shooting Earbuds In 2024

Shooting isn’t nearly as fun if you’re injuring yourself in the process. In order to protect your hearing the next time you hit the range, here’s my ranking of the best shooting earplugs on the market.

best shooting ear plugs

FYI, prices and ratings are accurate as of time of writing.


1. Walker's Silencer - Rechargeable Earbuds


best shooting ear plugs

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: Patented protection against gun blasts.

Helpful review: "What an awesome bit of technology I never knew existed! These were great on my hunt trip in Colorado! Comfortable enough to wear all day, the battery lasted all day. Carry case recharges quickly. I could hear all my surroundings. Bluetooth worked great! Moto G7 w/Android 10. And now... the coolest part... they really do suppress gun fire. I shoot a .338. It's a cannon! I've had to shoot without protection before. Not fun. These suppressed the gun fire from my big rifle with ease.
Was amazing when I tested them at the range before the hunt. I just left them in the entire session. I could hear and talk with everyone and never had to fiddle with pulling foams out of my ears.
As good as they are, they are not perfect. But I'm keeping it a 5 star review.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT:
Wind noise is a bit annoying. Not awful, but the microphone does cut in and out. I could see how some reviewers didn't like this. It was something I knew would be there. 90% it was great though.
EAR FOAMS:
They lasted the entire hunt trip, so they are good quality. But, Walkers needs to sell sets of the correct size, not just variety packs. Once you know your size, why purchase any other sizes. Just a waste and probably a way to simply make more money down the road.
BONUS:
These worked great this fall cleaning up leaves with a leaf blower, listening to music, and being aware of my surroundings as I live in a busy street.
OVERALL:
If you're on the fence, get them! I chose to buy from Amazon incase I didn't like them. Easy returns. Fortunately, they met all my expectations, and then some! 100% recommend these!
A FEW WORDS FROM A FRIEND:
I tried two pairs of isotune calibers before getting these. First set of the isotunes arrived D.O.A. Amazon took care of the replacement, no problem. Returned the second set of isotunes for these, because the isotunes were just horrible at noise cancelation and fell short in other areas also. These were cheaper anyway.
I was skeptical of these because every set of over the ear walkers I have tried, the ambient sound sounds like someone has recorded a live conversation on cassette tape and was playing it back. Nothing like the sound quality of MSA Sordins. But these have good ambient sound, and noise cancellation is great.
Can't report on battery life because I haven't used them enough yet.
The only two things I've found, so far that would be negative on these are:
1) The size of the case is huge compared to the isotunes and other in ear buds, but hopefully they will make that up with recharging of battery life on the buds themselves.
2) Ear tips get hard if they are cold. Makes squishing them down a little difficult when you are trying to put them in. I had them in a pouch outside of my hunting pack in just above freezing weather and the tips were hard to get squished down to insert in my ears. Next time I'll at least put them in my jacket pocket for my walk to stand. The tips are very dense to start with which should help with noise cancellation.
I like the fact they have an app for adjustments because with touch control on the buds it's a bit difficult with chilled fingers. But hey, even the Samsung buds I wear for work are touchy on the touch controls." — Joshua Hedman

Get it from Amazon now: $149.99 & FREE Returns

 

2. AXIL GS Extreme 2.0 - 25-Hour Shooting Ear Buds


best shooting ear plugs

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: Provide 25 hours of run time or 120 hours of standby time.

Helpful review: "I've used these for about 4 range visits and I've really liked them. The key thing to note is to make sure you are using the proper ear inserts for the range you are using. DO NOT use the rubber ear inserts as they are not rated for the range (this is in the instruction manual) and will not work as hearing pro.
THE PROS:
- They sit tight to the head when properly sized.
- Comfortable! I wore them for about 5 hours during a long outdoor range day and never bothered my ears.
- The little clip that attaches to the back of your shirt is nice so they don't fall to one side or the other when they aren't in your ears.
- Durable! They fell out of my bag and a buddy of mine stepped on them, besides a scratch on the plastic there was no damage to the function of the item.
- Being able to hear my training app give commands while on the firing line was nice (MantisX app).
THE CONS:
- Don't expect studio quality sound when listening to music.
- Don't expect high quality sound when calling other people.
- I was told by multiple people I sounded like I was "in a tunnel" or that I sounded like I was on a radio.
- You can listen to music while firing. However, the hearing enhancement doesn't really work which causes safety concerns. I need to test this more.
- The hearing enhancement does tend to crackle a bit depending on the level of the ambient noise.
OVERALL:
This is a really nice pair of hearing pro for the range. The concept is solid and performs well overall. It does have its issues. If you are looking for in ear hearing pro that lacks the BT capability but the hearing enhancement then go with Walker (heard good things) or Howard Leight (I've used these for about a year and just great)
A FEW WORDS FROM A FRIEND:
I really like these plugs. The buttons are chunky, but in a good way. I hate my other bluetooth earbuds that have tiny buttons that you can barely tell if you are pressing. Forget about them while using gloves. The buttons on this set are easy to press and after 10 minutes of wearing I'd already memorized the volume up and down button locations. Something I usually never do with other sets. Sound quality is right up there with a quality Bluetooth set from Amazon. Might not be Apple Air pods or Beats by Dre, but to be honest the main reason those sound as good as they do is because of the Equalizer that is tuned into them. So I'm sure that I could improve upon the sound of the Bluetooth portion of these plugs by playing with my phone's equalizer. Something I may or may never do since they sound just fine as is.
The 6x passive sound amplification feature is interesting and may or may not be something I use. I'll have to go to the range and try to hold conversations with friends and the woodland critters Christmas animals I meet along the way while shooting nonstop. Maybe I'll put these bad boys in and do a desk pop at work while talking to Martha from HR... that could be a decent test. I plan to use these while hunting also and that alone could probably be worth whatever money I pay. I hope it will help me out a lot since historically while hunting is the only time I ever shoot without hearing pro in and between that and the GWOT I now wear a hearing aid in my left ear. If I can stop that in its tracks then it's worth 4 times the price.
Anyways I was able to grab these for 80 dollars. I did this by A. taking advantage of a 50% off sale that was going on at Axil's website and B. paying with PayPal and opening up a PayPal credit line that had a promo of 20 bucks off your first purchase. Honestly, for the money, I love them and they'll probably replace at least one other set of earbuds that I have. So they may come in even cheaper since my wife and my anniversary is in a week and I can just repackage all of my earbuds sets that I will no longer use into one big super set that she can use;) What could go wrong... Cheers all and keep your stick on the ice... or in this case your weapon pointed downrange." — Herb and Lindsey

Get it from Amazon now: $148.00 & FREE Returns

 

3. GLORYFIRE - Ear Plugs for Shooting


best shooting ear plugs

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: Powered for up to 8 hours.

Helpful review: "I opted for these electronic hearing protection devices as a cost-effective alternative to pricier, renowned brands, and I must say, they exceeded my expectations. Considering their price point, they offer exceptional value for money, making them a wise investment in preserving your long-term hearing health.
What sets these devices apart is their remarkable ability to amplify regular conversations with crystal clarity, even in the midst of hushed discussions within a duck blind. Simultaneously, they effectively suppress loud gunshots and other high-volume noises, providing a balanced audio experience. Furthermore, the inclusion of a convenient charging case, capable of multiple recharges before requiring its own, adds to the overall convenience.
While these devices offer approximately 25 dB of noise reduction, slightly lower than traditional foam earplugs that typically provide around 30 dB, their performance remains impressive. Despite wearing them, I can still accurately discern the direction of sounds, granting me a heightened situational awareness. While they may not allow me to detect the minute wingbeats of ducks a hundred yards away, they enable me to anticipate approaching ducks by detecting their whistle and determining their general direction. This improvement is a game-changer compared to relying solely on regular ear protection.
Without a doubt, I wholeheartedly recommend these devices to anyone seeking reliable hearing protection that also enhances situational awareness. Their compact design surpasses earmuffs, allowing for comfortable use with hats or beanies, without interfering with cheek placement when aiming a rifle. Unlike my previous earmuffs that would consistently hit the stock, these compact devices eliminate that issue. I am eagerly looking forward to taking them hunting this weekend!
One of the standout features for me is the impressive directionality perception they offer. Unlike many other earmuffs I've tried, which tend to project sound into your ears without clear localization, these devices excel in accurately conveying sound direction. This is particularly valuable during hunting activities.
I was pleasantly surprised by how securely these devices stay in my ears, even during vigorous movement such as walking, climbing, and even while eating. In comparison, the fit of regular earplugs I use for work doesn't come close to the level of comfort and stability these provide. Moreover, the convenience of their rechargeable nature and USB-C compatibility, similar to my other electronic devices, eliminates the need for battery replacements. If you're still using anything else, you're simply wasting your money.
In summary, these electronic hearing protection devices are a standout choice among the options I've tried. Their affordable price, compact design, excellent directionality perception, secure fit, and convenient rechargeability make them a clear winner in the market. Don't miss out on the opportunity to invest in superior hearing protection that truly delivers on its promises." — Ed Geoffrey

Get it from Amazon now: $299.99 & FREE Returns

 

4. Caldwell E-MAX Shadows - Electronic Hearing Protection

Top-rated: 842 ratings


best shooting ear plugs

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: continuously suppress sound to a safe level without clipping.

Helpful review: "I was skeptical about these as I have read mixed reviews, but after using them for over a year I can say that these are the best shooting Bluetooth/noise canceling/touch control earbuds I have found. They pair automatically, cancel pulse/gunfire sounds while letting background sound through, take and make calls well, and they sound fine playing podcasts or music. They aren’t gonna deliver booming bass, but they’re completely great for functionality, and they do everything they say they’ll do.
I am an avid shooter and I also work behind a 372xp chainsaw every day, and have tried 3 different sets of various brands of Bluetooth noise canceling earphones -and have been disappointed with them all, until I found these. The others all stay in the drawer now because these Caldwells are GREAT. The slide volume control must be swept up or down a few times as each sweep does a small adjustment, but once you get the hang of it, it works fine to adjust volume. All the other touch controls are fairly intuitive and straightforward. These work one at a time as a single earpiece or simultaneously as Bluetooth headphones and have fully ambidextrous/identical controls on each bud. Although there is a right and left earbud, either bud can be used in either ear. They stay securely in the ears once you find your proper tip that fits (I use the large foam tips for the best fit/seal/noise protection), and the FDE color matches a couple of my guns and gear👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼
*The foam tips MUST be used for sufficient ear protection while shooting. Outdoors anything non-magnum is fine with these. Indoor range visits and I’d double up with earmuffs worn over these for full sound protection
Overall, I am EXTREMELY happy with these. One or both of them are in my ears almost all day long. They have a few specific quirks that I had to figure out (see re-syncing process outlined below), but these are hands down the best Bluetooth noise canceling earbuds around for the price. On the newer model of these (the emax PRO version) I think that Caldwell shouldn’t have made the right and left earbuds have different controls on the new “PRO”. These original Shadows are far more utilitarian with the exact same touch controls on either earbud. Just something to consider if you’re deciding between these or the Pros, I’d pick these original Emax shadows all day long over the new PROS for that reason
Many have complained about the earbuds losing sync with each other, and then the user has a very difficult time getting them to sync with each other again as a set. I can say that the number one cause of them not syncing with each other is because whatever Bluetooth device they were paired to MUST be turned off. When these earbuds lose sync with each other, their device (usually a phone) will then recognize each earbud as a separate unit, and only one earbud will give sound at a time. The fix for this is:
1. TURN OFF YOUR PHONE so no Bluetooth pairing is possible with that device. These earbuds WILL NOT sync again if one or both of them is paired with a phone or similar device, or if said device (or any other device within range) “remembers” either of them and is trying to pair with them. Turn off the device.
2. Perform the factory reset. It is a 20 second process that has a YouTube video under “Caldwell Emax shadows factory reset”
3. Once factory reset is complete (making sure your phone remains off), place earbuds back in their charging case and make sure the light on the back of each is either solid green (fully charged), or solid red (partially charged/need charging).
4. Remove both earbuds from the case at the same time and place them in your ears. They should turn on and pair with each other automatically in a few seconds. Usually if you put them right in your ears you will hear the “paired” BOOP sound in both earbuds. You can perform a 2 second touch/hold on one earbud to activate passthrough mode and listen if both earbuds then allow you to hear outside sounds (make sure your phone remains off for these steps!). If the long hold on one earbud doesn’t activate passthrough mode on both earbuds, they aren’t synced and the first steps outlined here should be performed again.
5. Once you’ve determined that they are synced by doing the passthrough mode test, you can turn your phone back on, enable Bluetooth, and click on “SHADOWS” under your Bluetooth menu. Click on it and you are back in business with a “paired” status on your phone and a BOOP sound in both ears to confirm the connection
Your phone must be turned off and factory reset performed for them to sync with each other once they become unsynced or else your phone will pair with each earbud as a separate Bluetooth device, preventing them from ever syncing with each other. That can be really frustrating, so follow the steps above.
I hope this helps those who have been frustrated by them not syncing. These are great Bluetooth shooting earbuds, especially for the price. I own 3 sets so I always have a charged one or pair in my ears. CALDWELL FOR THE WIN!!! And if you have any problem with these, contact Caldwell and they will take care of you with excellent customer service and warranty." — Matt Briggs

Get it from Amazon now: $129.99 & FREE Returns

 

5. Walker's Omni-Directional - Earbud-Rope Hearing Enhancer


best shooting ear plugs

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: Perfect for wearing around your neck.

Helpful review: "I bought these specifically for pheasant hunting, and considering there are few reviews, I figured I'd throw them in my 2 cents. One issue I've always had for bird hunting is finding a balance between protecting my ears and hearing when a bird flushes. With the cheap foam ear plugs, I always settled on using just one ear plug so I could still hear. Not the case anymore. These Walkers do work well as I have heard every bird flush, and the gunshots are well muffled whether I am pulling the trigger or someone nearby.
However, I have 2 small issues with these. First, I used them at the range (which is a confined space) and I could not use them with the power on. It was still just a little too loud, but that's probably due to firing with a cement wall to my immediate left and a roof over my head. Simple fix...turn them off when shooting, turn them on when not shooting and you hear conversation plain as day. Secondly, as one previous review had stated, it picks up and amplifies the sound of the wind. Not a huge deal to me as I got used to it as the day went on, but nonetheless it was still slightly irritating when the wind gusts.
All in all, since there isn't an option for 4 1/2 stars, I settled on 4 stars, but they're really close to 5 starts for me. Hope that helps someone else considering these
MY NEIGHBOR’S REVIEW:
I got these to enhance my hearing while hunting and shooting. Was a little nervous the first time I shot, but they worked perfectly. I could hear much better talking with my group while we were sighting in my 308 and every time I shot, the protector kicked in to bring the noise down to a bearable level. It is important to get the foam earpiece that fits snug in your ear - they are also part of your protection. make sure they fit tight and seal well - if you shoot with the sound silencer off they should work to reduce the level on their own. Then when you turn them on they enhance the hearing, but also block 85db and above.
I wish they had replaceable batteries instead of rechargeable ones, but so far they hold up well - we'll see if they still do come hunting season. I will probably carry a power bank just in case.
The only issue I really had was typical of all sound amplification assistance devices I've tried - they amplify everything and don't really filter out sounds like engine noise, loud vibrations and such which obscure voices. I was hoping to use it while driving with my wife in the car, but the other noises still drowned her out - just like in my hearing aids. Great for shooting though and hoping they hold up well in the field this season.
A FEW WORDS FROM A FRIEND:
I saw some reviews that panned these for not cutting out the sound. Thought I'd give them a try anyway. Put them on, a little difficult and not quite the comfort I'm used to, and turn the volume up like 3 or 4. Was pretty good. I fired a few shots and heard everything so I was thinking the same as the other reviews BUT, I wanted to put it to the test. I pulled one ear out and fired the same gun and my ear was ringing pretty badly. It absolutely does cut the sharp loud noise, and I was impressed. I am used to 33 dB soft ear plugs, very comfortable but absolute noise stifling. I could hear normal everything plus amplified (but I seriously doubt you could hear a deer from a mile away) But kept the bang out. I used .32, 9mm. .45LC/410ga and smg. All but the last are single shot or semi so I could see doing a bang at a time but the last was smg so a long constant bang of about 11 seconds straight. Good job. Only drawback was the comfort/positioning. Highly recommend it. " — Dave J. Peterson

Get it from Amazon now: $89.99 & FREE Returns

 

6. ISOtunes Sport Caliber BT - True Wireless Shooting Earbuds


best shooting ear plugs

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: Signature noise suppressing technology blocks percussive noise from firearms and air compressors.

Helpful review: "I've been using these for two weeks now and I'm glad to find ear pro that can keep up!
As a 3-gun shooter and match director I wanted ear protection that was secure, comfortable, wireless, could protect well enough with my competition rifle (with muzzle break), and play music/take phone calls while doing match setup and stage reset. These deliver!! I was also excited to discover they have two levels of impact noise suppression. Slower fire allows safe sound to still be heard, like shooting rifle steel at distance, while faster fire completely cuts out loud noise, like shooting a plate rack with my pistol. These react to the specific hearing needs of the situation and either limit noise in short bursts, or completely cut out all noise in continuous fire arrays. Recovery is fast in either case, so I can still hear what I need to, but avoid what I don't.
Being in competition, I'm usually wearing ear pro for 6-12 hours at a time. Having a device that can protect when I'm the shooter, but also play music when I'm just resetting is a game changer. It's only been a few weeks but I've never had the battery die, even when used for 11 hours straight.
Getting a good fit is not too bad, as long as I get these seated all the way into my ear. Inserting into my ear and then rotating down they seem to lock in place. I think some reviews about low volume and bad protection are probably not seating these as recommended. The max volume is almost too loud when inserted correctly, and 7 different sizes of ear tips made it easy to get a good sound seal.
The touch pad took a little getting used to but I'm pretty good at it now. I can use Siri to make phone calls without getting my phone out. I wish they worked better with gloves, but that's another story. I also like that they automatically pair with my phone after the initial setup.
All in all, these are ultra secure. They have great audio quality, unique sound suppression, great price, and super long battery life. So they are definitely a solid choice for those that shoot a lot!
A FEW WORDS FROM A FRIEND:
I've used a pair of Etymotic GunSport Pro in-ear hearing protection for several years and enjoyed their day-long comfort, but one broke as I was changing the foam earpiece. It came apart and pulled the very small wires off the shoulder. I fixed this but don't have full faith that it won't happen again. I purchased a set of the IsoTunes Caliber, liking the idea of bluetooth functionality and rechargeable batteries, two features my Etymotic's didn't have.
The Caliber ear pro is less expensive than the Etymotic by $100 or more. Not uncommon for the same or better tech to get less expensive as time goes by. The Calibers can amplify ambient noise louder Than the Etymotics but is less sophisticated at the bottom end where you want just enough sound to carry on a conversation but no more. Even at the lowest setting the Calibers amplify too much. This is probably great for hunting but less useful at the range.
I have enjoyed listening to music at the range between sessions or when walking out to change targets and the rechargeable feature is great. As a test I made a phone call as well and that worked great. Two things I could not have done with my old ear pro.
One possible negative for others is that I actually had to return the first set as the right earpiece didn't work at all out of the box. Amazon replaced it within 3 days of my request and the second set has worked as expected so far after two tips to the range.
On balance I would think these were great and worthy of 4 or more stars if I hadn't owned the Etymotic's prior. The Caliber is not as good on the low amplification setting and heavier making them less comfortable. No complaints about them being uncomfortable, just heavier and bulkier. I think this is a good buy and I'd buy another set with my experience so far." — Hank Topher

Get it from Amazon now: $199.99 & FREE Returns

 

7. Walker's Silencer NRR25dB - Electronic Sound Suppression


best shooting ear plugs

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: Amplifies low-level sounds WHILE suppressing harmful noise.

Helpful review: "As with any review, the item must be reviewed with the understanding that most things have limitations. That’s why despite the wind noise issue I still give these buds a 5 star rating.
I have been a waterfowl and upland game hunter my whole life. I have never been a fan of hearing protection for the same reasons that most hunters shy away from it: It’s too bulky (causes issues with cheek weld with rifles or shotguns), and you can’t hear required ambient sounds of birds on approach etc. When I waterfowl hunt solo, I can control my shots and the noise doesn’t have too much of a noticeable effect on my hearing (it does, whether I admit it or not). However, while hunting with my son or in groups, especially in pit style blinds, adjacent shots can be a real hearing killer.
I decided to give the Walker’s Silencer buds a try. The Bluetooth rechargeable versions were interesting in concept, but I really didn’t want to deal with the Bluetooth connectivity, pulling out my phone to adjust, etc. so I opted for these and saved some money.
I used them for the first time on a pit blind waterfowl hunt yesterday. They ran great! The simple on off switch and manual volume adjustment knobs were very simple to get used to. The adjacent shots from other hunters were eliminated to a dull puff. They were comfortable in my ears. I wore them all morning without any pain or discomfort. They fit my ears very well and felt secure.
As with any electronic hearing protection, wind noise is terrible. I’ve used top end over ear muffs that suffer from the same issue. We had 15 -20 mph winds in the blind and no matter what I did the wind came through, hard. Despite that, the benefit of these buds is apparent. There are many days where there are minimal or zero winds. These will work great those days. I am also going to work on a solution with some sort of tiny baffle from the microphone area. If the wind gets too much, a simple flick of the off switch turns them into solid ear plugs.
As for battery life. They run off of size 10 hearing aid batteries. I bought a 60 pack of batteries for less than $20 here on Amazon. At less than .30 cents for each battery, the cost is a non issue. I ran them all day yesterday, forgot to turn one off when done and it is still going strong this morning. As a hunter in my late 40’s, I can’t tell you how bad I have been to my ears over the years. I am beginning to pay the price. I will force my boy to wear these from now on. If not these, get something!! Good luck!
A FEW WORDS FROM A FRIEND:
After numerous outdoor range sessions firing everything from 9mm to .308, and a four day training course with over 30 other shooters these buds are my total go to solution when firing pistol calibers up to .45. In fact, these perform better than my Walkers active earmuffs in a handgun environment, even with dozens of other shooters on the firing line.
During the four day class I mentioned above, on the first day I thought we had completed shooting activities late in the day, and so I removed the ear buds and placed them in the range bag. Upon returning to the firing line the instructors started lining us up for another drill, and I found myself without my ears. Not good. Hurriedly, I ran back to my range bag and got the active muffs because they are faster to put on. But when the firing started, I was very surprised to note the muffs were very noticeably less effective than the ear buds had been.
Afterwards I mentioned this to my wife, who was not a fan of the buds because her ears hadn't gotten used to them. The next day I noticed she went straight to the buds, and wore them all day. That afternoon, she said that I was right, the buds were better than the muffs.
For rifles they're good up to 5.56, but if I'm shooting bigger stuff, or if someone else is firing anything with a compensator close by, I'll generally wear the muffs over the ear buds, and leave the muffs turned off.
Battery life has been excellent as long as I remember to turn them off, and they're plenty comfortable once you have given your ear time to adjust to them (just like any other in-ear headset).
In terms of sensitivity, you will find you can hear more detailed sounds and conversations from further away than normal, albeit with a loss of fidelity (read, stuff sounds a little tinny). Wind noise will also be somewhat accentuated at times." — James Zimmerman

Get it from Amazon now: $84.99 & FREE Returns

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