What is a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)?

A Noise Reduction Rating or NRR is a system used to measure the amount a hearing protection device is capable of reducing sound exposure in decibels. The higher the NRR of a hearing protector, the more effective it will be at reducing noise.

The amount of exposure to sound when wearing a shooting hearing protection device is based on the NRR of the device. As mentioned before, the NRR is measured in decibels. It’s important to know that the amount of decibels being reduced are not equivalent to a device’s NRR though. In order to figure out how many decibels of exposure are actually being reduced, you must subtract 7 from the NRR and then divide by 2. So if a hearing protector has a rating of 33 NRR, you would do (33 – 7) / 2. This comes out to be 13. So in actuality, only 13 decibels are being reduced. If you are being exposed to 100 dB with the naked ear, putting the protectors on would reduce it to about 87 dB in this case.


In order to receive the maximum NRR rating from a device, it must be worn properly. Certain employees are required to wear hearing protectors. If you are exposed to 85 or more decibels of sound for over an eight hour period, which is the case on certain jobs, then you must wear hearing protectors. This amount of sound is considered excessive noise. All protectors being worn must also meet the ANSI S3.19-1974 testing of NRR ratings.

Of course, anytime you go hunting, to the shooting range or even if you are goofing around shooting soda cans out back; it’s essential to protect your ears from gunshot noise.  Exposing your ears to even one gunshot could cause serious damage, making it vital you never shoot without protection.


Regardless of whether you need hearing protection for your job, or simply for the times you go hunting or shooting, consider upgrading your protection by investing in custom hearing protection from ESP. Our products utilize “smart technology,” which allows you to hear the things you need to hear (such as a conversation), but still protects your ears from the blast of a gunshot or the loud sounds of a factory machine.


For more information, please browse our site, our contact us today with any questions you may have.

One reply on “What is a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)?

  • Bryon Karow

    I’ve had tinnitus for years, trying various methods to get rid of it, nothing much seems to make a difference. Loud noise, let’s say a concert for example, goes through my head like a nail, and I already
    wear ear plugs. I’ve literally had to walk out of a few concerts just because the noise was more than I could take.

    I love great music so my question to you is: can I purchase a set of ear protection from you folks that will lower the decibels of the concert to the point where I can still sit there (looking like a complete dork) and listen without it hurting my head?

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