In-ear hearing protection technology has been growing in popularity over the last few years. Thanks to companies like Silynx Communications, Invisio Communications, Surefire, OTTO, and others, in-ear headsets are being reinvented for comfort and style.

In-ear headsets are noticeably less bulky and have the same features including situational awareness, noise reduction ratings, comms capabilities, and more that you’ll find in an over-the-ear headset.

In this article, we’re going to dive into the best in-ear hearing protection options that are popular in 2024.

Who Wears In-Ear Headsets?

Many people and industries prefer the light and small design of in-ear vs over-the-ear headsets. Industries such as hazmat, chemical spill cleanup, nuclear inspectors, firefighters, or personnel that wear gas masks. In-ear headsets are great for these industries because the small design doesn’t interfere with PPE and helmets.

In-ear headsets are also great with shooting, both tactical and recreational.

Best In-Ear Electronic Hearing Protection

This review of the 5 best in-ear hearing protection headsets should provide you with all the information you need to make the best choice when selecting a headset.

We are going to separate these headsets into two categories: Hearing Protection with Built-In Communications and Hearing Protection Only.

Hearing Protection with Built-In Communications

  1. 3M Peltor TEP-200
  2. Silynx Clarus XPR
  3. OTTO Hurricane 3
  4. Invisio X5

3M Peltor TEP-200

3M Peltor TEP-200 Electronic Earplugs

3M Peltor TEP-200 electronic earplugs provide both hearing protection and communication. The TEP-200 reduces noise around you to 82 dBA. The neck loop attachment (sold separately) allows for audio signals to be received wirelessly through a tiny antenna on the earpiece.

These electronic earplugs are rechargeable and give you about 16 hours of continuous operation. The earplugs come with a storage and charging case which can be charged with 3AAA batteries or a USB.

Lastly, various communication ear tips can be replaced for additional hearing protection and improving comfort.

Best Feature: Our favorite feature of the TEP-200 is the environmental microphones which provide level-dependent hearing protection in both quiet and loud environments. It also provides situational awareness so you can keep notice of what’s going on around you.


Silynx Clarus XPR

Silynx Clarus XPR In-Ear Headset

Silynx Communications has designed a tactical hearing protection and communication headset, the Clarus XPR headset. This headset is lightweight and connects directly to your two-way radio for comms.

This headset provides you with 3 critical communication experiences: hearing protection, hearing enhancement, and an in-ear microphone.

Hearing protection provides an NRR of  25dB while the hearing enhancement feature gives you full situational awareness.

The Silynx Clarus XPR has an in-ear microphone rather than a traditional bone conduction microphone which we see often in these types of headsets. Bone conduction headphones rely on your tragus to pick up voice vibrations. The problem with this is that some people don’t have a strong enough tragus making picking up your voice more difficult. The Silynx in-ear microphone detects the audio around you better and provides you with clear verbal communications no matter what.

The Clarus XPR is known by the industry to be the smallest push-to-talk with radio communication available.

Best Feature: The in-ear microphone technology is noticeably better at picking up your voice for communication rather than bone conduction that we see often.


OTTO Hurricane III

Otto Hurricane 3

The Hurricane III (H3) by OTTO Communications is a lightweight low-profile headset with patented Surefire® Earlock Retention Rings and Noise-Reducing Filters.

Like the other headsets, the OTTO H3 has both hearing protection and situational awareness. The nice thing about this headset is it gives you the option to switch the filter off which shuts off the situational awareness functionality. Turning off this will give you an NRR of 21db.

This headset automatically blocks loud noise and provides hearing protection of up to 40 dB whether the switch is on or off. The open position lets ambient noise and conversations be heard clearly.

This headset has a unique design compared to other in-ear headsets. It uses a noise-canceling boom microphone, unlike what we see in the other headsets, which uses in-ear microphones to pick up your voice.

Best Feature: The best feature of the OTTO H3 is the patented earlock technology that lets you turn on and off the situational awareness giving you control of how you hear.


Invisio X5

Inviso X5

The Invisio X5 is similar to the Silynx Clarus XPR headset because it uses separate control units for comms. The control units connect to your two-way radio and allow for PTT buttons to communicate back and forth.

Suggested Reading: Silynx CLARUS vs Invisio X5 Headset Comparison

Like every headset mention in this article, you have situational awareness and dual-sided hearing protection. The X5 has a noise reduction rating of 29 dB.

This headset has external microphones that give you natural hear-thru. The unique thing about this headset is the bone conduction microphone. Bone conduction relies on your tragus (inner part of your ear) to pick up your voice for comms.

Lastly, this headset has six sizes of interchangeable form plugs so you can switch them out for a more comfortable option that fits your needs.

Best Feature: The bone conduction microphone is a nice feature that picks up your voice naturally.


Hearing Protection Only

Surefire Earpro 9 (EP9)

Surefire Earpro 9

The Surefire Sonic defenders Earpro 9 are great earplugs for blocking out damaging loud noise. The EP9 is a patented full-block earplug that delivers superior hearing protection while still letting you hear ambient sounds. These earplugs have an NRR of 26 dB.

Their design is soft and has triple-flanged stems that make it adjustable and great for all-day use.

Lastly, since these are low profile, it makes them perfect for use with PPE, masks, helmets, and more. People also use the earpro for shooting.

Best Feature: The Surefire earplugs are permanently attached to a lanyard so you’re less likely to lose them while working and come in a carrying case.


Now that we’ve reviewed popular in-ear headsets that are popular in 2024, you’ll be able to make the best choice in the type of headset you want to use. Remember, situational awareness is important in keeping an eye on your surroundings and noise reduction is important to protecting your hearing, which are great features to have in a headset.


How we can help

First Source Wireless is a dealer of 3M Peltor and Silynx Communications headsets and accessories. Interested in improving your communication and hearing protection? Let us help you with our wide selection of in-ear headsets. Shop now or give us a call to discuss available options at 800-991-4569.

TAYLOR THOMAS is a Marketing Manager at First Source Wireless. With her experience in critical communications, she helped public safety professionals enhance their communication through the help of two-way radios and headsets.

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