The standard test for hearing protectors cannot be applied to determine the attenuation values for low frequency noise or for noise consisting of high intensity impulses. Moreover, the aging of earmuffs and the use of spectacles may cause leakage which decreases attenuation mainly at low frequencies. To study the real attenuation of earmuffs, noise measurements were taken outside and inside the earmuffs of workers at industrial work places, and of military conscripts when shooting with different firearms. The effect of spectacles on the attenuation was measured under laboratory conditions. In industrial workplaces the average attenuation was 4 dB in the 63 and 125 Hz octave bands. For shooting noise the attenuation was found to be good for small calibre weapons but poor for large calibre weapons, which generate very high peak level impulses at low frequencies. Spectacles decreased earmuff attenuation by 9–11 dB.