Howard Leight 1030110 Sync Noise-Blocking Stereo Earmuff Review

Design Overview

Design-wise, this is perhaps one of the coolest set of earmuffs you’d be proud to wear before you even arrived at the shooting range. They look very modern; like something a top DJ would use with the diamond-shape imprinted headband and forked attachments joining the headband to the ear cups. Black just works well with these earmuffs as the dominant color, while the plastic and metal materials complement the black appearance very well. These Howard Leight’s, which are one of the top-rated earmuffs in the market, don’t look like noise-blocking earmuffs at all and because of the integrated electronic features, you’ll probably use them for more than just protecting your hearing from potentially damaging noise levels.

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Features & Application

With a more than adequate Noise Reduction Rating of 25dB, these earmuffs deliver safe hearing protection, which is naturally the primary function of any set of protective earmuffs used by a shooter, industrial worker or anyone who’d be exposed to dangerous levels of noise.

Now the electronic aspect of this set of protective earmuffs is pretty much what makes them come alive, although they don’t make use of their own power source, so no batteries required. The audio you’d be playing through the earphones is essentially powered by the device you’d be listening to, such as your iPod. This is a great alternative for natively powered protective earmuffs because there are a lot of people who would appreciate protective features in a set of headsets, which they can then extend the capabilities of by using that same set of earmuffs as audio headsets. Basically whether you have power or not, the NRR of 25dB doesn’t change.

Being a device that’s free of buttons, switches and other “loose” connections makes it very sturdy and durable. It can appear to be a bit too sturdy though because the issue of comfort comes into question again. You can’t really use them for too long without feeling a bit of irritation due to tightness, but after a few patient uses, they start to become a little bit loose and make for a better, more comfortable fit. This means that you shouldn’t lend them to a fellow shooting enthusiast with a much bigger head than yours, or at least not for a very long time because they might become a little too loose to fit your own head again.

When you’re not playing your own music through the audio jack input, external noises aren’t completely blocked out, but are rather reduced to safer levels.

Once you’ve used these earmuffs a few times and effectively “broken them in,” they become very comfortable and double-up as protective earmuffs and headsets nobody could ever guess were actually earmuffs to protect your hearing.



  • The audio jack is included, which essentially turns these into more than protective earmuffs and makes them very hip-looking audio headsets as well
  • Your audio input also remains at a threshold of 82dB, which makes them safe whether you’re blocking out external noise or playing audio from your MP3 player, iPod, Smartphone, etc.
  • The input jack cable is a decent length, but we understand why it might be a bit too short for some people. It can be extended or replaced easily however to match your input device since it’s detachable
  • The ear cushions can be replaced for easy cleaning and maintenance


  • Not the most comfortable protective earmuffs around, especially if you consider that you might want to use them sometimes just as audio headsets
  • The headband could’ve been made to extend a little further than it does, so as it is now this only adds to the discomfort of the tight fit

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If you’re wondering exactly what type of noise this set of earmuffs can block out, think of a chain saw. You won’t want to use them for too long however, because the noise is reduced to just a barely comfortable level while their tight fit is also a bit uncomfortable if you use them too long. They work well to block gunshot sounds as well, but you’ll have to plug in your iPod or other audio input device to block out noises such as human voices and other people’s loud music. Otherwise this is a great pair of what we could call semi-electronic earmuffs which double-up as very modern-looking audio headsets.