Re: Newbie would love some help regarding best headphones and hearing protection
For drumming along to music, the Vic Firth isolation headphones work very well, and I would definitely recommend them. They are fairly inexpensive. With a 300 budget, though, you could afford some nice in-ear monitors, which will probably offer better sound quality and isolation. But for practice at home, I like the Vic Firths because they are very easy to put on and take off.
For playing without added audio, I either use foam earplugs, or more recently, I've been using 3M Professional Earmuffs that I bought from Lowe's. I use them at home and at band rehearsals. It's easy to take them off between songs to chat with my bandmates, and my drums sound a lot better than they do with earplugs for some reason.