With louder and louder weapon systems being developed and military personnel being exposed to steady noise levels approaching and sometimes exceeding 150 dB, a growing interest in greater amounts of hearing protection is evident. When the need for communications is included in the equation, the situation is even more extreme. New initiatives are underway to design improved hearing protection, including active noise reduction (ANR) earplugs and perhaps even active cancellation of head-borne vibration. With that in mind it may be useful to explore the limits to attenuation, and whether they can be approached with existing technology. Data on the noise reduction achievable with high-attenuation foam earplugs, as a function of insertion depth, will be reported. Previous studies will be reviewed that provide indications of the bone-conduction (BC) limits to attenuation that, in terms of mean values, range from 40 to 60 dB across the frequencies from 125 Hz to 8 kHz. Additionally, new research on the effects of a flight helmet on the BC limits, as well as the potential attenuation from deeply inserted passive foam earplugs, worn with passive earmuffs, or with active-noise reduction (ANR) earmuffs, will be examined. The data demonstrate that gains in attenuation exceeding 10 dB above the head-not-covered limits can be achieved if the head is effectively shielded from acoustical stimulation.