Hearing protection NRR


September 1, 2009, 04:53 PM
Iam looking for electronic ear muffs.

well you see how every companies/products have NRR numbers on their ear muffs.

basically higher the better?

iam looking at these

MSA Supreme Pro™-X Ear Muff NRR=18

Proears Pro Tac Slim Gold NRR=28

Should i go with higher NRR number?

someone educate me. :o

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September 1, 2009, 05:23 PM
I would. Higher=better.

September 1, 2009, 06:05 PM
Yes. Noise Reduction Rating is the EPA rating standard which is required by Federal Law on all devices sold as hearing protection. Since Decibels are an exponential rather than a linear scale, numerically small differences in noise volumes and hearing protection make a big difference. The difference between 27 NRR and 30 NRR is a LOT more than 10%, in other words.

There are arguments about the adequacy of the NRR rating method, but because of its standardization it is certainly the best method available to the consumer to evaluate hearing protection.

Hearing protection, in terms of NRR at least, is one of those unusual areas in which you don't get what you pay for--or rather, you can get what you don't pay much for. The best single method of hearing protection commonly available according to NRR is a pair of inexpensive foam plugs that will get you 33 decibels reduction. For example:


You can stack muffs over plugs for even better protection, though the effect doesn't simply double.

September 1, 2009, 07:03 PM
I think the technology is probably matured, and it now comes down to how cheaply it can be made. So, look for not only NRR, but other specs, such as battery life, battery type, and shutdown response time. Over a nominal fifteen year period, I'm on my 4th pair of electronic muffs.

The first pair, a set of high-end Silencios, used 9-v. batteries; a later pair from (the name escapes me--top end, about 1997) used 'N' batteries, but had much faster response time. They were great at a summer camp where I oversaw about 40K rounds of .22LR being shot.

The preceding year, the slow cutoff time of the first-generation Silencios kept the muffs generally "shut down" on a range where up to twelve campers were firing at will.

Then two years ago, I picked up a new set, major brand, but cheaper--obviously made in China. They use AAA cells--IIRC, four of them. Interestingly enough, these had a slower response time, and were 'mushy' . They were also cheaply made. So, I looked again--I wanted a new set of of more "ergonomically" designed muffs--e.g., something I could comfortably wear under a hat to protect my now-mostly-bald head.

This latest set is the "Impact Sport" by Howard Leicht. Again, better electronics--two AA batteries this time. One-third the price of the 1997 muffs (not corrected for inflation). Not quite as crisp cutoff as those 1997 muffs--but just fine for my handgun shooting. The quality of assembly and materials is excellent. Were I running a firing line again, I would probably look for "better" ones again.

Are there reviews out there? That would be the only way I would know to get at least a specification of the cutoff time.

Jim H.

September 2, 2009, 10:10 PM
I have seen good reviews for the Howard Leight Impact Sport E-Muffs and will likely be ordering them soon. Midway USA has them on sale this month for $46.99USD and they have a NRR of 22, but the thickness and good reviews are the selling points for me. :)

September 2, 2009, 10:23 PM
Electronic muffs are the way to go. I know the guy that invented the technology and holds the patent. Very cool guy and knows a lot about human response to sound. He's an advisor for my suppressor division.

September 2, 2009, 10:27 PM
plugs + muffs = good

high NRR plugs + high NRR muffs = great

high NRR plugs + high NRR electronic muffs = ideal

That is assuming that they are properly used. Most people fail to properly insert ear plugs and almost as often fail to use ear muffs properly. Make sure you minimize the gap that your safety glasses make with the pads of the muffs and that your plugs are inserted well into the ear canal.

September 2, 2009, 10:30 PM
Plugs, muffs, suppressor= the best option.

September 2, 2009, 10:32 PM
freakshow10mm is right.

If you can use a suppressor with the plugs and muffs you would actually have the ideal situation.

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