I have a pair of Radians electronic muffs that have served me well for several years. They don't seem overly rugged but they got me through several years for about $100. Walker's Game Ear products also work very well but they are an order of magnitude more expensive. The Howard Leight line seems to get good reviews and they're not expensive at all.
As far as protection goes, they're mostly all the same, decibel for decibel anyway. Higher decibel protection is better. Where you pay the big money is for less background noise and higher sound quality. Some people are bothered by a little static, some aren't. I have used the cheapest products and some of the most expensive and I find them all acceptable.
The electronic muffs are fantastic. They keep your ears warm, allow you to hear BETTER and still protect your hearing. I would not hunt without them.
On the subject of batteries, I've never had muffs that won't go at least 2, maybe 3 years, on one set of batteries. The only annoying feature that they all seem to have is "Auto-off", which might be good for batteries but is obnoxious when your hearing goes off every couple hours.
It is foolish to fire virtually any firearm without hearing protection. It doesn't matter if it "bothers you" or not, it bothers your ears.... and you only get one pair of ears.
Still happily answering to the call-sign Peetza.
The problem, as you so eloquently put it, is choice.
He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose.
-Jim Eliott, paraphrasing Philip Henry.