Ear muffs are powerful tools for studying. Often used by Memory champions, people who can memorize a pack of cards in under 2 minutes. Because they know the importance of avoiding distractions. Studies support this idea and show that silence or slight ambient noise is the best study environment. 1
Therefore, keeping in mind performance, price, and comfort, we recommend the Walker’s Razor Slim Electronic as the best ear muff for studying. Also, stay away from knockoff brands. A rule of thumb to follow is to look for a unique design.
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10. 3M Peltor Optime 98 Earmuff
These ear muffs are not the most attractive around, but couple them with big black-rimmed glasses, or a casual hipster outfit and you can easily pull it off. They are cheap and will get the job done.
They may hurt your ears in the beginning. It’s the unfortunate side effect of some headsets. But in time you will get used to it. I know I did.
Noise reduction rating: 25
9. Howard Leight by Honeywell
This powerful headset offers the ability to communicate while blocking out excess sounds. Due to the built-in directional microphones and software, it amplifies lower volume speech. Furthermore, ignores high-volume gunshots or other noise.
The Howard Leight looks synthetic & industrial because they are made to provide comfort and hearing protection – function over style.
Noise reduction rating: 22
8. Vanderfields Hearing Protection for Shooting
These are the best noise-canceling ear muffs for studying
Noise reduction: up to 125dB, SNR of 26. The SNR means it is according to EU standards. The design is simple but solid – you have nine colors to choose from black, violet, brown, green, pink, red, iron gray, marine blue, and turquoise.
An obvious downside is that it is not super flexible. Probably due to having to provide a certain level of hearing protection in a laboratory setting. This means it most likely follows industry standards and actually is effective.
7. 3M PELTOR X5A Over-the-Head Ear Muffs
You can choose among five models. Each is colored differently and with a different level of noise reduction. The black ones almost reach the max theoretical noise reduction possible for an ear muff.
Some adjustability, but not a lot. Unlike the cheaper 3M model, these come with replacement parts and a cleaning kit.
6. Ear Defenders Adult
Ear Defenders Adult is an eloquent design coupled with serious hearing protection. This Ear Defenders model comes in five dark colors: green, black, blue, brown, and gray. Quickly adjust the headband to achieve that blissful silence that only arrives with a comfortable perfect fit.
However, they claim a 32dB SNR but the advertising may be a bit misleading. Reduces up to 125dB (e.g. live rock concert) makes it seem like you can go to a rock concert and not hear a thing. Rather it reduces the overall volume down to a construction site level of noise.
5. G & F Earmuffs
This company is an example of why you cannot trust the rating system. They use false advertising to seem better than they are. Take for instance “NRR Sound Technology.” This only makes sense if you don’t know what a noise reduction rating actually is. It seems like whoever wrote the product description barely understands English. Furthermore, the black minimalist design seems like it’s made of cheap material. It also says it reduces up to 125dB – this is not how noise reduction works.
Ecommerce sites need to do a better job vetting companies they allow on their platform because this is amateurish.
4. 3M Worktunes
This design is more industrial but at least with 3M, we know what kind of hearing protection we get. Unlike most highly rated ear muffs there is no false advertising and whoever does the marketing for this company actually speaks English.
Noise reduction: 24 dB NRR
3. AmazonBasics Earmuffs
Identical to some models on Amazon. This means they are using white label products to market as their own but at least we can trust the NRR rating. Color choices are black and red or black and purple. However, these can be rough on the ears if you are sensitive.
This very simple design is sturdy and affordable with an NRR of 26.
2. Walker’s Hearing Protection
Plenty of color choices: black, black/orange, black/teal, brown, gray, mossy oak camouflage, pink, pink mossy camouflage, purple accent, and yellow. However, it is the same white label base model as AmazonBasics or Vanderfields just a slight difference in the headband.
Noise reduction: NRR is 22
, not 31 as advertised. Seems like they fixed the false advertising. Only worth getting over the other options if you really want the difference in the headband
1. Peltor Sport Tactical 300
The Peltor Sport Tactical 300 is expensive – AAA batteries must be included at such a price point, but they are not. Great for shooting or construction work. Amplifying voice, but not gunshots or other noise. Unlike other ear muffs on this list, it is a work of love. Highly adjustable, comfy, and reliable.
Noise reduction: 24 dB NRR as advertised
For the best studying experience with ear muffs, you have to pay a little more. You get the most noise reduction with muffs that are airtight around your ears, which also means that they may be less comfortable than expected. Always check out the worst reviews. They will tell you if the company engages in false advertising. It seems like a lot of companies do. Furthermore, go deeper into the searches. The first few pages are full of copy-cat ear muff companies. Many of them use the same base models, only to rebrand with their logo and design, and images.
What is Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)
Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) is a measure of the effectiveness of a hearing protection device to reduce noise levels. The need for NRR came from hazardous work environments with high levels of sound pollution.
For instance, I remember visiting a glass factory with my grandfather. The glass factory was memorable. Because my grandpa was 2 feet away from me, and even if I yelled, he could not hear me. The ambient noise in the factory was overwhelming.
NRR is measured in dB(A) with 20 dB being the level of volume expected in a study room and 130 dB expected at a live rock concert, coincidentally the threshold for pain. Studies show that for the best outcome you should make sure the earmuff has a proper fit with your ears. It is also important to keep your expectations realistic. Ear muffs will not mute the world.
The equation for calculating a rough estimate of dB reduction from the NRR value is the following: (Environment noise dB) – ((NRR-7)/2)
- Cassidy, G., & MacDonald, R. A. (2007). The effect of background music and background noise on the task performance of introverts and extroverts. Psychology of Music, 35(3), 517-537.
Last update on 2023-03-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API