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Howard Leight Impact Sport Electronic Earmuffs

A couple months ago, my wonderful wife bought me a set of Howard Leight Impact Sport Electronic Earmuffs, and I’ve been testing them on and off (mostly on) since that time.

The Impact Sport earmuffs by Howard Leight are electronic and definitely fall into the high value category. If you’ve never run electronic earmuffs before, you’re really missing out. The concept is simple – the earmuffs automatically shut off sound that is above a specified number of decibels, while allowing safe decibel levels to pass through the earmuff, and even be amplified. So if you’re shooting, you can have a conversation without shouting, while wearing earmuffs.



The bullet list below are the features as described by the manufacturer.

  • Amplifies ambient sound to safe 82 dB – response technology revert to passive hearing protector when noise reaches 82 dB
  • Allows wearers to hear important communications, including other shooters and environmental sounds
  • Directionally placed stereo microphones amplify and enhance sound for more natural hearing
  • Non-deforming outer headband withstands rough treatment in the toughest workplaces
  • Low-profile design with cut-out allows for full clearance of firearm stock, eliminating interference while shooting
  • Khaki colored earcups ensure uniformity with camouflage outfit if necessary
  • Features Bilsom Technology’s patented Air Flow Controlâ„¢ technology for optimal attenuation across all frequencies
  • Snap-in ear cushions make replacement quick and easy
  • AUX input allows connection to external MP3 players or other audio devices for additional listening off the field


After over two months of testing, it’s hard to not be impressed with the Impact Sport earmuffs. Are they perfect? Nope, but for the price, they get a lot right.

Sound Management

The Impact Sport earmuffs have a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 22, meaning that harmful noise is reduced by 22 decibels. This honestly isn’t great. For rimfire and most centerfire pistol shooting outdoors, I found them to have a sufficient level of hearing protection, but for indoor shooting or centerfire rifle shooting, not so much.

To shoot anything with more boom than 45 ACP I had to double up hearing protection by adding on some in the ear foam plugs. I don’t think this is the end of the world, but important to note. A NRR of 22 just isn’t an ideal level of hearing protection for me.

The Impact Sport sound amplification works really well – much better than I expected actually. With the volume turned all the way up (which you won’t need unless you have ear plugs in), I get just a little feedback, but other than that they work great. Is it the best sound quality? No, but the sound quality is more than adequate.

Battery life is rated at 350 hours with the included two AAA Alkaline batteries. There is also an automatic shutoff after 4 hours, which is very helpful if you’re like me and you leave them on, like all the time.

Fit and Comfort

I found both fit and comfort to be pretty good overall. I have largish ears, so sometimes earmuffs pinch or don’t fit me right, but the fit on the Impact Sport earmuffs is pretty decent. The headband is well made and is non-deforming, and has a fair amount of padding without being bulky.

The Impact Sport earmuffs are low-profile and have cut-outs to prevent the earmuffs from interfering with stock cheek weld. For me this worked well, and I don’t have any trouble getting a proper cheek weld with the Impact Sport earmuffs.


Value is where the Impact Sport earmuffs shine. There are, of course, better electronic earmuffs, but at the time of writing, you could buy Howard Leight Impact Sport Electronic Earmuffs for under $50. That’s great value in my opinion, and I think they are worth every penny.

Wrapping Up

If you haven’t tried electronic earmuffs, these are for you. They are pretty affordable, and while they aren’t perfect, they are well worth the price and work well. Also worth noting is how popular these earmuffs seem to be. A couple weeks ago I shot with Mr. Colion Noir and Nam and Rachell, and interestingly enough we all showed up wearing Howard Leight Impact Sport Electronic Earmuffs.

Want to see more photos? Like us on Facebook and check out our Howard Leight Impact Sport photo album.

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3 Responses to Howard Leight Impact Sport Electronic Earmuffs

  1. Tim S. September 6, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

    This is Tim, Paul’s buddy in Chicago. I have these ear muffs and love them…although I did lose the battery cover fairly easily when doing some backyard skeet shooting at the cabin up in WI…also on those hot outdoor range days I’ve noticed the black “padded” pieces get stuck together if the muffs are in a hot truck for a little while…just my $.02…other than that I love these!

    • Brandon September 6, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

      Thanks for the feedback Tim. I’ve noticed a little sticking too lately, but only if I leave them in the truck. Haven’t lost the battery yet, but I’ll keep an eye out for it.

  2. Jordan November 9, 2013 at 6:06 am #

    I know this is not pertinent to shooting sports, but if you use these in a high communications systems environment, VHF, doppler, radar, The electronic ears pick up a TON of interference in the form of pings and ambient high pitched whistle. Also these will pick up diesel engines idling, example. if my truck is idling 75 feet away, and i have the ears on full sensitivity, it will make it sound as if the truck is maybe 15 feet away. Also, as Tim S. said above, in hot temperatures the ear padding will melt together and stick.