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The Best Noise-Canceling Earmuff for 2023

Fact checked by Andrew Carnegie

The best noise-canceling earmuffs are worthwhile to invest in, especially if you constantly expose yourself to extremely unpleasant and harmful sounds for prolonged periods, whether it is because of work, a hobby, or a task you do regularly.

In such cases, you need sound-canceling earmuffs to save you from the noise that might cause you to develop hearing impairments. The good news is that the top-rated earmuffs for noise reduction today are presently available for all budget ranges. This will give you no excuse to invest in the most appropriate set of hearing protection for you.

best noise cancelling ear muffs

The perfect choice for you can help block dangerous decibels and sounds while still letting you hold normal conversations and hear important things. Just make sure that you pick the most trusted noise-blocking earmuffs that are specifically designed to the specific purpose you intend it to fulfill.

It would be best to get one that can block only those sounds that might harm your hearing. This means that it should not cause you to not be able to hear anything. It is also crucial to make sure that it fits the specific environment you will be using it in.

With that in mind, you have to be extra cautious during the selection process of the top-tier noise-reduction earmuffs. To help make the selection process less complicated, here are ten fantastic choices for noise-canceling ear protection:

<strong>Top 1</strong>

Pro For Sho Ear Protection


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<strong>Top 2</strong>

3M Peltor X-Series Earmuff


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<strong>Top 3</strong>

Decibel Defense Earmuffs


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Top 11 Noise-Canceling Earmuffs Reviews of 2023

1. Pro For Sho Safety Ear Protection


Another product designed for ear protection is the one offered by Pro For Sho, which takes pride in its 34dB NRR. This rating is high enough that you no longer have to worry about experiencing hearing problems even if you are regularly exposed to noise that might put a toll on your ears.

I can also say that this Pro For Sho Safety Ear Protection is one of the most comfortable earmuffs you can invest in. Probably one reason why it is comfortable enough is its lightweight yet solid and sturdy structure, which is also designed to deal with all the limitations and restrictions often found in conventional and traditional earmuffs.

It is easy and convenient to carry, too, because it is compact. This means that it does not have the added bulk, making it perfect if you want to carry it in your bag. Despite its focus on giving users extreme comfort, I am sure you will also fall in love with its ability to offer maximum hearing protection.

It is also tough and durable, too. It even has an industrial-grade structure, so you will feel protected in all sorts of situations and conditions, including construction work, hunting, shooting, woodworking, and even when you are studying and want to concentrate by canceling unwanted noise.

The overall construction is solid, too. The fit is tight but not to the point that you will already experience discomfort on your head. It also has sufficient padding over its foldable and adjustable headband, so you can wear it in comfort.

One possible drawback, though, is the slight difficulty in hearing voice commands when you wear it on a shooting range.
What We Like
  • Tough, solid, and industrial-grade structure
  • Superior hearing protection and noise-reduction capability provided
  • Adequate padding integrated into its adjustable headband
  • Compact and easy to carry and store
  • Secure yet comfortable fit guaranteed
What We Don’t Like
  • Causes some slight difficulties in hearing voice commands
With the ability of this Pro For Sho earmuff to silence the world, this is surely a big help to adults and kids who are sensitive to noise. Add to that its light, small, thin, and comfy structure and you will certainly love putting it on to receive superior hearing protection.

2. 3M Peltor X-Series Over-the-Head Safety Earmuff


I also suggest checking out the Peltor X-Series Over-the-Head Safety Earmuff offered by the famous and reputable brand, 3M. What I find so incredible about this safety earmuff from 3M is that it has a good noise reduction rating (31 decibels to be specific). It also takes pride in holding the highest attenuation from the brand, allowing it to work perfectly for high-noise exposures.

I am also delighted with the flexibility and versatility of this earmuff. It is noticeably flexible as you can use it in numerous situations and applications. The typical applications where you can use it include woodworking, construction, steelworks, heavy engineering, printing, manufacturing, and metal processing.

I also find pleasure in its twin headband design. It is because this design contributes a lot in preventing the buildup of heat provided you adjust it in such a way that it finally fits you well. The headband is also amazingly designed because it makes use of a dielectric or electrically-insulated wire.

With such a structure, it can lessen your exposure to some of the most dangerous electrical hazards. Another advantage of this earmuff is that it is equipped with earcups that tilt, thereby ensuring a more customized and comfortable fit depending on the size of the user.

The combined highly advanced technologies in this earmuff, including its innovative foam cushion, modernly designed spacers, and uniquely formulated earcup liners, are also among the major reasons behind its high attenuation. It can significantly reduce your exposure to dangerous noise levels, making it truly protective.

Furthermore, it promotes good hygiene as you can easily replace the foam liners and ear cushions, maintaining the cleanliness of the earmuff and further extending its life.

However, it is quite heavy, although the added weight does not result in excessive discomfort.
What We Like
  • Decent amount of hearing protection and attenuation provided
  • Electrically-insulated wire integrated to the headband, making it protective against electrical hazards
  • Customized and comfortable fit guaranteed regardless of the user’s size
  • Promotes good hygiene, thanks to its replaceable foam liners and ear cushions
  • Twin headband design, preventing heat buildup
What We Don’t Like
  • Quite heavy
Overall, investing in this 3M over-the-head safety earmuff will never let you down because it can genuinely provide you with the kind of protection you need in the majority of dangerously noisy environments and surroundings.

3. Decibel Defense Professional Safety Earmuffs


This next pair of professional safety earmuffs is the one offered by the trusted Decibel Defense brand. I specifically like this pair of safety earmuffs because of its high 37-decibel noise reduction rating, making it perfect when used in the shooting and hunting range.

Aside from the maximum and high noise-canceling rating that it offers, the overall structure of this earmuff is also impressive because it is solid and sturdy enough. This enhances its ability to last for as long as possible. It can be conveniently carried and kept in a tool case or gun bag.

This earmuff is also applicable and appropriate in a variety of applications and situations. I find it useful during concerts, when using power tools, at noisy work environments, and when woodworking, lawn mowing, and completing construction projects. It can protect you anywhere that puts you at risk of hearing damage.

I like the way this earmuff is built, too, because I noticed how safe and convenient it is when used by different kinds of users, including kids, toddlers, and adults. Decibel Defense did not compromise the comfort of users, too. This is the main reason why it built the earmuff’s headband using a well-padded and smooth cell design.

With such a design, I am quite sure you will enjoy superior comfort for long hours. Add to that the compact and foldable design of this earmuff and I am certain that you will find it enjoyable to wear on most occasions that require hearing protection.

However, it is quite uncomfortable if you put it on with eyewear.
What We Like
  • Incredible noise-canceling or noise reduction capability
  • Offers superior comfort for long hours
  • Safe for different kinds of users, including kids, toddlers, and adults
  • Features a well-padded and smooth cell design for its headband
  • Useful in most applications and environments
What We Don’t Like
  • Quite uncomfortable when used together with an eyewear
For its price, this Decibel Defense noise-canceling earmuff is decent and high-quality enough in the sense that you will receive your desired level of hearing protection in the majority of occasions and cases.

4. Fnova 34dB Safety Earmuffs


You can also pick the Fnova 34dB Safety Earmuff, which many consider as one of the highest noise-reduction earmuffs available today. You can get more than enough hearing protection from this earmuff because it falls under the category of the highest dB earmuffs.

With its 34dB NRR, I can assure all its users that this earmuff can give them the highest level of protection. This is achievable through the use of the distinctive dual-shell technology, which is capable of blocking sound transmissions, especially those that can damage hearing.

Combine that with its high-sealing and solid cup design as well as dual-layer noise-dampening foam, and I am sure you will never have any reason to fear to damage your ability to hear in the long run. This pair of earmuff is also a pleasant addition to your personal protective equipment collection because of its durability.

It has an industrial-grade construction, which makes it not only durable but also comfortable so it can efficiently and conveniently withstand prolonged periods of repeated and heavy uses. I like how it is stylishly and attractively designed with a modern flair, too.

I am even pleased with its glossy and rounded ABS cup shells. I also noticed right away how conveniently portable and compact this earmuff is. It even takes pride in its folding headband, which makes it a lot easier to store and carry around. Expect a perfect fit from its adjustable headband, too, because it allows complete vertical adjustments.

Furthermore, you will be delighted to know that its well-padded headband, as well as its swivel cup design, has a soft and comfortable lining made of soft and comfortable foam cushions. This can offer you hours of comfort not only around your ears but also your entire head.

One gripe I have with this earmuff, though, is that there are instances when it is quite difficult to put on because its overhead pad is prone to sliding across the headband.
What We Like
  • Excellent noise reduction capability
  • Stylish and attractive design
  • Adjustable and folding headband, which allows complete vertical adjustments to provide the best fit
  • Well-padded and properly cushioned for comfort
  • Portable and compact
What We Don’t Like
  • Slightly difficult to put on at times
To conclude, I find this noise-canceling earmuff from Fnova a valuable investment for its price as it does not seem to fail to perform its function of substantially reducing harmful and unwanted sounds.

5. Walker’s Game Ear Low-profile Passive Folding Earmuff


Another hearing protection device that I discovered is the Walker’s Game Ear Low-profile Passive Folding Earmuff. With its highly effective noise-reduction or noise-canceling capability, I am satisfied with the kind of hearing protection it provides to its users. It is well-designed plus comes in a nice color combination of black and orange.

It takes pride in its 31-decibel noise reduction rating, which assures you that you will be protected in various environments. The low-profile design of this earmuff is also what makes it capable of maximizing its overall functionality and comfort. It also boasts of its lightweight design, promoting ease in bringing it anywhere.

I am sure you will love the long-lasting comfort and convenience it provides, thanks to its padded headband and low-profile contoured cups. These contoured cups are helpful for all hunters and shooters out there. As for the padded and adjustable headband, it is a big help for those who want to enjoy a comfortable fit.

With such kind of comfort, you will not experience any problem wearing it for an extended period. I like the soft PVC ear pads of this earmuff, too, as these further make the item more comfortable. The design is foldable, leading to ease of maneuverability and use.

The fact that it has a foldable and compact design is also a huge advantage as it lessens its footprint, making it more convenient for travel or storage. Furthermore, it is made to be non-irritable even when used for long hours.

One problem I encountered, though, is that it is quite hard to fold and unfold initially.
What We Like
  • Provides superior noise-canceling feature and hearing protection
  • Foldable and compact design, making it easier to use and maneuver
  • Comes with a padded and adjustable headband for comfort
  • Equipped with low-profile contoured ear cups, making it appropriate for shooters and hunters
  • Easy to store and bring with you when traveling
What We Don’t Like
  • Not that easy to fold and unfold at first
Overall, this is a great product to buy if you are searching for an earmuff with an incredible noise-canceling feature as well as a durable and comfortable structure.

6. Honeywell Howard Leight Amplification Electronic Earmuff


There is also no reason why you should not pick my last recommendation, which is the Howard Leight Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting Earmuff by Honeywell. It tends to fulfill its promise of blocking hazardous sounds and noise. What it does is it actively listens then shut off the amp automatically whenever the sounds go beyond 82 decibels.

It also blocks passive noise at 30 decibels. The high 30-decibel NRR of this electronic shooting earmuff also makes it appropriate for pistol and handgun shooters who are aiming to get a hearing protector with such a high protective rating. It is flexible in the sense that it is appropriate for use on indoor ranges as well as other shooting environments with extremely loud sounds.

It also works for covered shooting ranges. I am also impressed with how secure and comfortable this electronic shooting earmuff fits. I think one reason behind this is the comfortably padded headband, which also comes with telescoping height adjustments that you can use in making it fit comfortably and securely.

Another remarkable advantage of this earmuff is that it can prevent gunstock scratches, thanks to its rubberized pressure points. This earmuff also seems to perform well when it comes to delivering distortion-free amp of low-level and non-dangerous sounds, such as range commands.

I am also pleased that this earmuff has an external audio jack. You can use this to make it perform another function of being a stereo headphone. All you have to do is to connect it to a source of audio, like an MP3 player. I also love how easy it is to maintain this earmuff, thanks to its easy-to-replace snap-in ear cushions.

However, one thing I dislike about this noise-canceling electronic earmuff is that it is not built to be foldable, causing it to consume some space when stored.
What We Like
  • Blocks hazardous sounds while still letting you communicate with others
  • Comes with an external audio jack, making the earmuff act as a stereo headphone, too
  • Easy to maintain, thanks to its replaceable snap-in ear cushions
  • Features rubberized pressure points that aid in preventing scratches
  • Comfortably padded headband included
What We Don’t Like
  • Not foldable, causing it to consume space
Overall, Howard Leight by Honeywell Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting Earmuff delivers an excellent performance, especially for those who need superior ear protection while guaranteeing high comfort level and their ability to listen to other sounds that are not that harmful, like voice commands.

7. Alpine Muffy Earmuffs for Kids 3-16

My kids sometimes struggle to sleep. Thus I need to find them a pair of noise-canceling ear muffs for sleeping. When searching for a comfortable product, I stumbled upon these Alpine earmuffs.

With an attenuation of 25dB SNR, Alpine’s ear protection device has received certifications from US and EU safety standards. Besides helping them sleep better, these are also great for concerts, in airplanes, or watching fireworks.

Besides the reliable hearing protection, these are made of premium materials that feel gentle on the skin. Meanwhile, the color options are eye-catching for the kids. Plus, they are effortless to clean!

Even better, these noise-reduction earmuffs fit my children’s heads perfectly. Even when they move a lot, the ear protection devices do not fall off their heads. Thankfully, the headbands are adjustable to keep up with my kiddos growing bigger by the year!

These muffs are rather durable. This gives me peace of mind knowing that my children can be rough.

Perhaps the only issue I’ve had thus far is that a few strands of my daughter’s long hair got caught in the hinges. I had to remove it and pull out the strands carefully. No big deal, as it did not hurt her!
What We Like
  • Offers attenuation of 25dB SNR
  • Great for sleeping, concerts, in airplanes, or watching fireworks
  • Made of premium materials that feel gentle on the skin
  • Very easy to clean
  • The headbands are adjustable
  • Durable products for kids’ use
What We Don’t Like
  • Long hair can get caught in the hinges
The robust construction and skin-friendly materials make these earmuffs safe for children. Their attenuation rate of 25dB SNR can put my kids at ease in a noisy environment!

8. ZOHAN Electronic Ear Protection

High NRR ear muffs would be around 30dB, and this electronic hearing protection from ZOHAN offers only 22dB. But I wouldn’t worry so much about its low rating. I’ve relied on this ANSI-approved muff for work, hunting, mowing, and shooting, and it has kept my ears safe against loud sounds.

With its sound amplification feature, I can turn up the volume so that the earmuff can pick up the faint noises that animals make from a distance during hunting. The volume dial is placed on the outer side of the earcups, allowing me to access it quickly when needed.

Furthermore, this versatile piece’s sound quality is rather good, which allows users to listen to MP3 quite well.

Even more impressive is that its ear cups are big enough to cover my ears. Yet, with a slim profile, I do not accidentally nudge them upward with my big gun. Comfy and light, it does not weigh me down at work or in the range.

In terms of maintenance, the snap-in ear cushions enable me to remove them effortlessly when I need to replace them.

Designed for traveling, I like that it can be folded into a compact size. As a bonus, it comes with accessories, a 3.5mm audio cable, a bag, and a manual. Sadly, it does not include batteries. Luckily, I have spare rechargeable AAA batteries at home.
What We Like
  • ANSI-approved muff for work, hunting, mowing, and shooting
  • Can pick up the faint noises
  • Plays MP3 with rather good quality
  • Comfy and light design for long-hour wear
  • Has snap-in ear cushions that are easy to replace
  • Folded into a compact size
What We Don’t Like
  • Does not include batteries
I have nothing negative to say about this muff. Well-designed for hunting and work, I can protect my ears and listen to music while on a break.

9. G & F 12010 Safety Earmuff


I also highly recommend wearing the G & F 12010 Safety Earmuff, which, I think, delivers pretty good performance when it comes to protecting your hearing. It can supply superior hearing protection at 34 decibels. With its high noise reduction rating, expect it to defend you from harmful noise at work, during sports events, or when you are shooting and in festivals and concerts.

The fact that this pair of safety earmuff applies the unique double-shell technology also further maximizes its hearing protection capabilities. It has a modern and attractive style combined with its nicely designed glossy abs and rounded cup shells. The structure is durable and industrial-grade, allowing it to withstand repeated use and abuse.

The portability of this safety earmuff is also worthwhile to mention. You will never experience any problem carrying it around because it is compact and portable enough. Storing it is also easy because the headband is foldable. Aside from that, the foldable and adjustable headband is designed in a way that it can give you a perfect fit.

It is because it allows you to obtain complete vertical adjustments. No matter how long you wear this earmuff the whole day, I am sure you will not complain because it is also completely comfortable. I think such a high level of comfort can be attributed to the right amount of padding in the earmuff’s headband.

Furthermore, it is lined with comfy and soft foam cushions so expect comfort even when wearing it around your ears and head for long hours. Since it is fully adjustable, it also provides a superior fit for users of all ages, whether kids or adults.

However, expect a little discomfort during the first few uses that will go away eventually with proper adjustments.
What We Like
  • Offers superior protection to the ears
  • Perfect fit provided by its foldable and adjustable headband
  • Sufficiently padded and cushioned, making it comfortable
  • Comes with a modern and attractive design
  • Easy to store and carry around
What We Don’t Like
  • Slight discomfort, although this only happens initially
For its budget-friendly price, this safety earmuff is never a disappointment, especially if you consider how superior it is in offering hearing protection without compromising its flexibility, comfort, and adjustability.

10. Husqvarna 531300089 Professional Hearing Protector


Another exceptional product that I will certainly recommend to anyone in search of the top-quality noise-canceling earmuffs is the Husqvarna 531300089 Professional Hearing Protector. Numerous things make me want to purchase this item – one of which is that it is proven to be reliable when canceling and blocking hazardous sounds.

For its affordable price, this hearing protector from Husqvarna can already give you a 25-decibel noise reduction rating, which is already more than adequate for the majority of situations requiring hearing protection. It blocks all types of noise from different environments – both indoors and outdoors.

I am also glad to announce that this hearing protector is lightweight, so I am sure users will never complain about it being hard to use and carry. I love the fact that its headband boasts of flexible padding, too. It is because the padded headband makes sure that you will not encounter discomfort even if you wear it for long hours.

The headband also allows pressure adjustment, making the hearing protector even more comfortable. This specific adjustment also makes it easy for you to adjust it so it will fit you appropriately and securely. I am also impressed with the nice cushioning on top as well as the additional padding, which makes it all the more comfortable.

The perfect fit it promises means you can wear it for several hours without discomfort. Plus, its soft foam padding makes it possible for you to wear it comfortably together with glasses.

One drawback of this hearing protector, though, is that it is not suitable for use when you are also wearing a hard hat.
What We Like
  • Provides 25-decibel noise reduction rating, making it appropriate for most noisy environments
  • Nice cushioning and well-padded
  • The built-in headband allows pressure adjustment
  • Rigid and durable structure
  • Promotes a truly secure and nice fit
What We Don’t Like
  • Can’t be worn with a hard hat
With the help of this budget-friendly and feature-filled Husqvarna 531300089 Professional Hearing Protector, you will be able to use something that can prevent you from experiencing hearing loss without compromising your comfort.

11. Snug Earmuff/Hearing Protector


The Snug Earmuff  also deserves to form part of any list reviewing the top-tier noise-canceling earmuffs today. It is because many already discovered how useful it is in muffling and blocking noise and how safe it is to use for kids and adults, alike. It even works appropriately for autistic kids as it blocks out noisy crowds and other potential triggers of the condition.

I found out that this hearing protector is effective in preventing any hazardous sound from damaging your ears. Among the sounds that it can block are those triggered by sports events, large crowds, household and gardening tools, and airports. It is also versatile that it can block all dangerous and bothersome sounds and noise.

This is a kid-friendly earmuff, too, considering how comfortable and lightweight it is. You would not have to worry about this item causing discomfort to kids and even adults. The built is solid and robust, thanks to its high-quality and durable components. I like how stylish this earmuff is, too.

You can even choose from its wide array of colors. It boasts of its low-profile clam design, which is a major help in making it securely and safely fit small ears. I also find its padded ear cushions very impressive as these do not only guarantee a snug fit but also maximum comfort.

The headband is adjustable, allowing it to fit kids and adults of all ages. The foldable design also makes this earmuff highly portable and easy to store.

However, it is not that easy to use and wear at first.
What We Like
  • Superior hearing protection guaranteed
  • Safe for both kids and adults
  • Available in different colors
  • Features a low-profile clam design, promoting a secure and safe fit
  • Maximum comfort guaranteed, thanks to its padded ear cushions and foldable design
What We Don’t Like
  • Not that easy to use at first
Considering its affordable price and its overall quality and the many useful and functional features it has, this hearing protector from Snug is certainly a wise addition to your collection of personal protective equipment.

Mpow 035 Noise Reduction Safety Earmuffs (Outdated)

Mpow 035 Noise Reduction Safety Earmuffs

One of the top-tier pairs of earmuffs for noise reduction that deserves your money is the Mpow 035. I think one trait that it takes pride in is its amazing versatility. It is versatile as it can protect your hearing from a wide array of environments and applications, including hunting, shooting, concerts, sports events, festivals, as well as when you are doing landscaping and construction work.

This pair looks great, too, with its sleek and edgy design and full black color. These sound-blocking earmuffs are beautifully designed in the sense that you will love bringing it to your shooting adventures or any other active lifestyle activities. Apart from black, it also has other color variations – like the royal blue and red.

I like that it applies a genuinely good NRR sound technology. It boasts of its dual-layered professionally-designed noise-dampening foam that does a good job in blocking unwanted noise. The earmuff also takes pride in its high noise-canceling or noise reduction rating that reaches up to 28 decibels.

It also further improves its noise-canceling capabilities with the aid of its distinctive double-shell and high-sealing solid cup. As for comfort, I can’t find any flaw from this Mpow earmuff. It is due to the adjustable headband, which features a retractable stainless steel material at its end.

You can use this to make adjustments so it can fit comfortably and perfectly regardless of your size. It is known for having a portable and compact structure, too. It is lightweight plus it is foldable since it has collapsible ear cups.

A bonus is the travel drawstring bag, which adds convenience as it means you can easily pack the earmuff when not in use or when you want to bring it on your trips.

However, I discovered that it is not that comfortable when used with glasses.
What We Like
  • Can be used for almost all environments and applications that require hearing protection
  • Equipped with an adjustable headband
  • Collapsible ear cups, making the earmuff foldable
  • Portable and compact structure
  • High noise reduction rating
What We Don’t Like
  • Not that suitable for those who wear glasses
With the effectiveness of this earmuff to block or muffle noise without causing any discomfort, I am pretty sure that buying this one and using it in any situation that requires you to reduce unwanted and harmful noises will be worth it.

What is a Noise-canceling Earmuff


Are you one of those people who can’t seem to concentrate unless it is completely silent? Are you easily distracted by every little sound? Earplugs can somewhat help but they are not the most comfortable hearing protection gear to use. What you need to use is a comfortable pair of noise-canceling earmuffs.

Noise-canceling earmuffs are different from traditional ones because these have sophisticated electronic components that scan for outside noises and create inverse sound waves to cancel them out. You might still hear a bit of murmuring. However, this is not so much that you would mind hearing them at all.

How Does it Work

There are two types of noise-canceling earmuffs – those that provide a passive noise-canceling feature and those that provide an active noise-canceling capability. All earmuffs can be considered as passive noise-canceling devices. This is because they are all made of materials that block out a lot of the sounds coming from the outside.

This especially holds true for the ones that have a higher sound frequency. The top-quality passive noise-canceling earmuffs are usually huge and they are packed with dense, noise-absorbing foam. With all this extra weight and size, you can only get around 15 to 20 (maybe even as high as 25) decibels of noise reduction.

Active noise-canceling earmuffs can do everything that a passive one does and probably more. Aside from blocking out external sounds, active noise-canceling earmuffs can erase the lower frequency noise that makes it through the noise-insulating materials of the earmuffs.

These earmuffs do this by analyzing the noise and then creating an inverse sound wave to counteract the noise. This will essentially cancel out the low-frequency noise, thus giving you total silence. As you might have guessed, several components tend to work together to make noise-canceling headphones work. These include:

A tiny microphone placed inside the ear cups – These microphones listen for any external sounds that were not passively blocked by the ear cups and the foam lining.

Noise-canceling circuits – These miniature electronic boards (there is one in each ear cup) receive the input from the microphone. They then analyze the noise and accurately measure the amplitude and frequency of every sound wave.

They then create an identical sound wave. The only difference is that it is flipped 180-degrees from the original so that they will cancel each other out.

Speakers – The inverse noise sound waves created by the on-board circuits are played through speakers in the earmuffs. These speakers are pretty much the same as the ones you see in audio headphones, which is why most noise-canceling earmuffs also have audio input jacks so you can use them to play music if you wish.

Battery – Active noise-canceling earphones need to have their power supplies so they can function. Some brands can get all the power they need through the audio cable. However, with that said, you also need to plug them into an audio device to work. If they are to function independently, they need to use batteries.

Some earmuffs have built-in rechargeable batteries. Others, on the other hand, feature battery compartments so you can charge batteries when they run out of juice. Even though active noise-canceling earmuffs have all these extra electrical components, they are surprisingly smaller and more compact than most passive noise-canceling earmuffs.

For passive noise-canceling earmuffs to block out the same amount of noise as active canceling muffs can, they will be so huge and heavy that they will be too encumbering to use.

Types of Noise-canceling Earmuffs


As mentioned earlier, there are two distinct categories of noise-canceling earmuffs: those with passive noise canceling and those with active noise-canceling features. Here are some of the things that you should know about the two types:

Passive noise-canceling earmuffs – Passive noise-canceling earmuffs rely on their construction and their materials. This means that the ear cups alone are what block out most of the sounds from the background. These earmuffs have heavy-duty plastic, sometimes metal, outer shells to block out most of the sounds.

Inside, these hard shells are several layers of sound-insulating foam. These absorb a bulk of the sound that went through the outer shells. The cups are also lined with soft and comfortable yet dense foam (memory foam is usually used).

This does not only make the earmuffs comfortable to wear. It also creates a seal around the ears to prevent noises from getting inside the ear cups.

Active noise-canceling earmuffs – These earmuffs look similar to passive noise-canceling earmuffs but they have hidden electronics inside the ear cups that make them more efficient in blocking out sounds. There are microphones inside the ear cups to scan for any noises that managed to sneak past the passive noise-canceling components.

There are electric circuits that analyze the noises picked up by the microphones and then create sound waves that cancel them out. They are then played through speakers that are inside the ear cups.

These ear-canceling earmuffs can almost completely block out all ambient sounds, unlike passive noise-canceling earmuffs that allow low-frequency noises to get through.

Why Do You Need an Earmuff for Noise Reduction

It is quite unfortunate that not that many people consider hearing protection as urgent as vision protection. People think this way because they do not notice the effects of hearing damage as immediately as they would eye damage.

This is unfortunate because hearing loss is easily preventable. If you are still undecided on whether or not you should take hearing protection seriously, here are some valid reasons:

Exposure to loud sounds can cause permanent hearing damage – Did you know that exposure to 2 hours of continuous 90-decibel noises is enough to cause permanent hearing damage. To give you some perspective on just how loud that is, 90 decibels is the same amount of noise that a powered hand drill makes.

If you are exposed to that kind of noise for just a couple of hours, you just did a significant amount of damage to your ears, even if you have not noticed anything wrong yet.

Hearing protection prevents other kinds of ear problems – Your ears are not just there to help you hear sounds in your environment. They also have other uses, one of which is keeping one’s balance. This is why people who have inner ear infections tend to suffer from vertigo.

Wearing hearing protection also prevents dust and other particles from getting inside the ears and causing damage. Tinnitus is also a hearing condition that you can get from excess exposure to loud noises. Tinnitus is the annoying ringing in the ears.

The ringing is not that “loud”, but it can be agonizing if you have to hear all that ringing the entire day. Also, you cannot even do things like cover your ears to escape the noise because the ringing is coming from within your ears.

You will save a lot of money in the long run – As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure”. This holds a lot of truth especially when it comes to hearing health. Keep in mind that when you have irreparable hearing damage, you will be spending thousands of dollars on surgeries and hearing aids.

If you will just spend a hundred or so dollars on hearing protection products like noise-canceling earmuffs and the like then you can prevent huge medical expenses in the long run.

Buying Guide


Noise-canceling earmuffs can be quite expensive, especially if you have your eye on the higher-end ones. To make sure that you get the top-quality that your money can buy, you should consider the following factors when you are checking out different earmuffs.

Sound Attenuation – Sound attenuation means the amount of noise that the earmuffs can effectively block. Earmuffs and all kinds of ear protection for that matter have a Noise Reduction Ratio (NRR) rating. This tells you how many decibels they can lessen the noise in your background.

For instance, if you work in an environment where the noises can get as loud as 90 decibels, like if you are working with heavy machinery or if you are in a mechanic’s garage or a modern smithery, then you may want to lower the noise levels to a healthy level

In such a case, you need ear protection that has at least a 15-decibel NRR, although a higher NRR is preferable. However, note that higher NRR is not always better. The NRR is the average amount of decibels an ear protection gear can block across all frequencies.

This means that if a pair of earmuffs have excellent noise blocking at low frequencies, it could not have the top-rated performance when it comes to blocking higher frequencies.

Frequency Filtration – Different sounds fall under different frequency ranges. For instance, machinery noise and the sound of human speech do not have the same frequencies. This is why it is of the utmost importance to know if the earmuffs you are getting are good at buffering the noises that you do not want to hear.

You also have to find out if you need them to let you hear the sounds that you want. For instance, if you work at a shooting range, you would want to block out the sounds of gunshots and hear it when a customer or a co-worker needs to tell you something at the same time.

This is why you need to figure out the range of frequencies that you want your earmuffs to block. This requires you to find earmuffs that can block the said frequencies well. You can find out the latter by checking out the earmuff performance data provided by the manufacturer, which is often at the back of the packaging.

Let us go back to the example of working in the gun range. You want to block out as much gunshot noise as you can and these usually range in frequency from 2 kHz to 3 kHz. You also want to still hear people talking, which is usually within 85Hz to 255Hz.

In such a case, you should look for earmuffs that can reduce the number of decibels of noises from 2 kHz to 3 kHz. However, you also need to make sure that it does not block frequencies from 2 kHz to 3 kHz that much.

Usage – When shopping for the best noise-canceling earmuffs, you need to take into consideration what you will be using them for. Do you work in a noisy factory? Do you need them for studying? Or do you need them to sleep? Most kinds of earmuffs are designed for specific uses.

This means that they have the right combination of sound attenuation, size, comfort, and other factors. For instance, if you work in a construction site and you are required to wear a hard hat all the time, then you could not possibly wear noise-canceling headphones that are used for listening to music.

You need to use earmuffs that have extra wide bands, or the ones that use neckbands. You may also want to choose the ones that clip onto the sides of hard hats. However, if you are searching for one to get a peaceful sleep then take note that you could not possibly sleep wearing the bulky earmuffs that are meant for work purposes.

Durability – Most earmuffs, at least those designed for work environments, are built out of tough materials. However, some manufacturers tend to cut corners just so they can make the most profit. That is why you need to inspect the products carefully before you buy them.

You can usually tell just by looking at them if a pair of earmuffs is any good. You should look for factory defects, like plastic flashes, sink marks, and other signs of poor manufacturing and quality control.

Also, check if the earmuffs are resistant to high heat and flames, electricity, and others. This is important if you will be working in hazardous environments, like a blacksmith’s shop, machine rooms, and others.

Comfort – If your earmuffs are not comfortable then you will most likely want to avoid wearing it even if you need it. Even if you manage to force yourself to wear the earmuffs, you will be constantly adjusting them to make them feel somewhat comfortable.

The problem is that too many adjustments might also greatly reduce their noise reduction performance. If you will be wearing the earmuffs in a hot working environment, like in a construction site in the middle of summer, you should one with real leather as they keep the ears cool much better than synthetic leather.

However, real leather needs more maintenance compared to synthetic leather. If you are going to use the earmuff in a hot environment, you may choose the ones with leather ear pads that will keep the ears cool. Also, choose earmuffs that have headbands that are not too stiff that they give you a headache every time you put them on.

Care and Maintenance

Noise-canceling ear muffs are relatively low-maintenance and they do not take much to clean them and keep them working properly. Why do you need to clean your earmuffs anyway? There are many reasons why but the most important ones involve hygiene and health.

If you do not clean your earmuffs regularly, it can cause all sorts of different health issues, like inner ear infections, impacted cerumen (earwax), and others, all of which will result in an expensive trip to the ear doctor’s clinic. You do not need to do too much to clean your earmuffs.

You just need a soft, clean rag, some rubbing alcohol, and a bit of water. Dampen the cloth with some water and rubbing alcohol then rub it all over the surface of the earmuffs. Make sure that you get as much of the dust and dirt as you can.

When it comes to cleaning the ear pads, use a bit more rubbing alcohol than water to kill germs and bacteria left behind from your last use. However, do not go overboard with the water and alcohol solution. If you get the electronic components of the noise-canceling earphones wet, it might cause a short circuit and the components to break.

If you will be storing away your noise-canceling earmuffs for a couple of months or so, remove the batteries from the battery compartment and then place them in the carrying case. You may also roll them in a soft towel if they do not come with a case.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the highest noise reduction rating for ear muffs?

Today, the highest-decibel ear muffs available in the market offer an NRR of 31dB. Meanwhile, other types of ear protectors, such as earplugs, have a rating of 33dB max.

I know you have probably seen some products claiming to provide NRR 37dB. Experts explain that such high-decibel ear muffs are not possible. The number ‘37’ refers to SNR, which stands for Single Number Rating, a European measurement for noise attenuation.

For earmuffs for noise reduction sold in the US, make sure to check the label that clearly states their NRR as this is mandated by the EPA. Steer clear from products without this information.

Are there ear muffs that block all noise?

No hearing protection ear muffs, or even earplugs, can block 100% of the sounds as they do not only reach the cochlea through the ear but also the skull.

Even if you use the most advanced active noise-cancelling ear muffs, the sound will travel through other openings like your mouth and nostrils.

Experiments have shown that wearing a special type of helmet can block other sounds, which is never possible with the highest number of noise-reduction rating earmuffs and plugs.

Still, most jobs require communication and situational awareness and helmets aren’t always comfy in some settings, particularly in warmer conditions.

Are noise-canceling headphones the same as ear muffs?

In short, no. Traditional earmuffs are not electronic, even though they look like headphones. Moreover, they are made of insulating material to filter out noise.

Noise-canceling headphones work differently. They are primarily used for listening to music while also blocking ambient noise. Note that these are not as effective as noise-reduction earmuffs in blocking out high-intensity sounds.

While it can somewhat dampen the rumbling leaf blower, you can’t expect it to provide hearing protection for chainsaw.

That said, it is worth noting that modern innovations have paved the way for the creation of electronic safety ear muffs. Several models come with Bluetooth connectivity that allows the user to sync music players or mobile phones.

How long do noise-canceling earmuffs last?

Although soundproof earmuffs can last a couple of months to over a year, safety authorities recommend replacing them when their parts are damaged. Here are signs of wear and tear:

  • The cushions are no longer flexible
  • The headbands are way too stretched
  • The earmuff lose the quality of their performance

What are the most popular noise-blocking earmuff brands?

When shopping for noise-canceling earmuffs, it is crucial to research the most reliable brands that can give you the kind of protection you need from hazardous sounds. Among those brands that can fulfill such promise are Mpow, 3M, Fnova, Pro For Sho, G & F, Decibel Defense, Honeywell, and Husqvarna, so make sure that you include the products offered by this brand in your options.

How to use the noise-canceling earmuff?

Using noise-canceling earmuffs is straightforward. You just put it over your head and place the cups over your ears. Make sure that your ears are perfectly centered inside the ear cups to create a good seal. If the earmuffs feel a bit too tight, adjust the length of the headband so that it fits firmly over your head, but not too tight that it is uncomfortable.

The ear cups should not press down on your ears. They should just stick on top of your ears instead. Once you have adjusted the fit of the earmuffs, you can turn on the noise-canceling feature.

In a moment, the sophisticated circuitry inside the earmuffs will analyze any sound that is in the ear cups then produce an inverse sound wave that will cancel it out. You will not be able to hear a single thing when you put on your noise-canceling headphones.

How to care and clean the noise-canceling earmuff?

Noise-canceling earmuffs are easy to clean. You just wipe the surface thoroughly with a soft cloth dampened with some water and rubbing alcohol (you can use hydrogen peroxide too if you want) to remove most of the dirt and kill any germs and bacteria on the surface.

If you will be traveling or if you need to put your noise-canceling earmuffs in storage, you need to remove the batteries. Give the earmuffs a good wiping down and put them in their carrying case. If your earmuffs did not come with a carrying case, roll them up in a small towel and secure the package with a couple of rubber bands.

What is the usual warranty for noise-canceling earmuffs?

If you are out shopping for your first pair of noise-canceling earmuffs, look for the ones that come with limited lifetime warranties. If the companies that made the earmuffs are so confident that their products will not fail (except for user error) even after many years of use, then you can take your word for it. Note that not that many manufacturers will put that much trust in their products.

Do they block out all sounds?

No, despite being called noise-canceling headphones, they do not block out all sounds from the environment. However, they do significantly minimize almost all of the harmful loud noises. The microphones that are inside the ear cups of noise-canceling earmuffs pick up only the low-frequency sounds.

It is because most of the high and mid-range sound waves are already blocked by the earmuffs. Common loud noises, like the noise coming from traffic, engine noises, and the like are in the 500Hz range, which is the kind of frequencies that active noise-canceling technology can block.

Current ANC technology can only somewhat work well with noises up to 1000Hz. This is to your favor, especially if you are working with other people because noise-canceling earmuffs cannot block human speech effectively. In some cases, they amplify voices, which makes them great for workplaces like construction sites.

If you want to make your noise-canceling earmuffs block out almost all sounds, you should wear comfortable, yet snug, earplugs underneath your muffs.

Where to buy noise-canceling earmuffs?

The most trusted places to buy noise-canceling earmuffs, in terms of the number of choices, are through online shopping sites. You can find several brands and models in your local construction supply stores.

The ones that you find in music supply stores are not suitable for the workplace as they are quite fragile and might not survive falls and blunt hits. When you go shopping for your noise-canceling earmuffs online, you will find that there are many options laid out before you.

Some will be quite affordable while others will most likely be downright cheap. However, do remember that you will get what you paid for, so you should not settle for the cheapest one that you can get.

However, that does not necessarily mean that the most expensive ones are better. You need to check out the user reviews of the different brands and modes to find which ones deliver on their promises.


Noise-canceling earmuffs alone cannot completely block out all sounds but they do minimize the sound levels enough that they can be bearable, or at the very least, they should be down to a healthy level. There are many kinds of noise-canceling earmuffs currently available but they might not all fit your needs.

You need to take into consideration if you will be using them for work, or to help you sleep better. Although noise-canceling earmuffs do not completely block out all sounds, they do work better than earmuffs that do not have any active noise-canceling features.

The great thing about earmuffs with active noise-canceling is that they block out all the unhealthy sounds and let through the sounds that you need to hear. These include the voices of your co-workers and emergency alarms. It is always the right time to start thinking about how you can preserve the health of your ears, so start looking for the best noise-canceling earmuffs right now.

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