Everyone who works in a noisy environment needs to protect his ears from progressive deafness, so it pays to wear ear plugs or ear muffs, whether you work in a factory, or are a sports shooter or hunter or just enjoy some time at a shooting range. Hunters and shooters face the most dangerous and the loudest of sounds in the world. Often, small calibre weapons are also extremely noisy, and one gunshot can also lead to permanent damage to one’s hearing. Mentioned below are the gear for the best ear protection for shooting.
Best Ear Protection for Shooting
These ear muffs suppress sounds effectively and have an impressive Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 20 dB. They are made with digital chip technology and are ideal for hunting because they afford a quick shutoff and recovery time on the one hand, while on the other, they protect the ears from dangerous and sudden noises like gunshots. By amplifying the sound, users can hear soft sounds like range commands and conversations around them.
- They can be worn all day comfortably.
- They are ergonomically designed to fit contoured ear cups.
- They prevent loss of hearing against some loud noises.
- They protect the whole ear from loud noises.
- They also reduce explosive noises.
- The battery dies out within 30 minutes of use.
This hearing protector has several advantages–it muffles explosive sounds, it is comfortable to wear for protracted periods and it is ideal for all kinds of shooting activities. Its headset cups are of different colors and are easy to change. The different colors enhance the user’s safety and make him easily visible to co-hunters. It is also lightweight and foldable, thus occupying very little space in a backpack. It has an NRR of 19 dB.
- The headband adjusts conveniently to give the most user comfort.
- Volume control can be adjusted easily and has the feature of automatic shut-off.
- A radio and dog tracker are easily connected to these ear muffs.
- It can pick up low sounds in the environment and voices.
- It is easy to store, lightweight and portable.
- It is perfect for shooting as it limits amplified sounds to a maximum of 82 dBA within just five milliseconds.
- Each ear cup has separate volume and power controls.
- Its battery life exceeds 200 hours.
- Replacing batteries is both difficult and cumbersome.
- Batteries are not part of the package.
- The user manual is not easy to understand.
- External microphones jut out too much, making them prone to damage.
- It doesn’t have an LED light to indicate that the unit is on or off.
This headset and headband combination gives amplified low-level sounds and muffles dangerously loud noises. This makes it ideal for gun ranges and industry workers. It also offers voice recognition in noisy areas. It has an NRR of 26 dB.
- It is sturdily built.
- The buttons are tough and set slightly inwards, making them easy to locate when wearing a headset.
- It is very comfortable, so can easily be worn for protracted periods.
- It can be used along with portable radios.
- Its deep ear cup design and comfortable ear cushions give comfort for all-day use.
- The batteries don’t last long.
- It’s a big design, so cannot be used as a fashion accessory.
- Pro Ears – Pro Mag Gold – Electronic Hearing Protection and Amplification – NRR 30 – Shooting Range Ear Muffs
If you’re a serious shooter in search for comfort and high performance, go in for these ear muffs. These ear muffs have an amazingly high NRR of 30 dB. Their exclusive DLSC technology gives the fastest response time at 1.5 milliseconds that the industry has ever recorded. Their circuit boards are of military level and offer a tough and efficient pair of ear muffs where no wires break.
- It’s a wonderful technological marvel. The electronics of this device works in error-free fashion.
- Comfortable to wear for long periods.
- The headset seals are made of very soft leather, adding to the comfort level.
- The seals obliterate all external sounds.
- Plastic is used in the fixture above the head. For the price of this ear muff, a metal head retaining system could have been used.
These ear muffs amplify low sounds by four times so that you don’t hear sounds you don’t want to, and hear only those you want to. Their powerful ear cup design, and rubberized and comfortable pressure points ensure that the user enjoys greater durability.
They also come with an external audio jack that links up to scanner radios, MP3 players or smart phones. This device obliterates all harmful sounds automatically and acts as perfect hearing protection. An important feature here is that the headphones come with Air Flow Control Technology (AFC) that allow the user to hear conversation at normal levels while also protecting the user’s ears from high frequency noise. These ear muffs have an NRR of 30 dB.
- It works superbly in reducing gun noise though you can still hear voices around you.
- Great for the price.
- As electronic hearing protection, they are quite inexpensive.
- They are comfortable to wear for long periods.
- They are very good for pistol shooting at the firing range.
- They are bulky.
- It’s difficult to shoot with a rifle with these muffs on as they are far too thick for a cheek weld.
- Changing batteries often is painful.
Hunting and Shooting Earplugs
Let’s look at some of the best hunting and shooting earplugs available today:
These earplugs are meant specifically for hunters, and hobbyist, tactical and professional shooters. These earplugs are worn by hearing professionals, hearing-impaired patients, scientists, amateur and professional musicians and anyone who insists on having the best of sound quality. These earplugs play a pivotal role in reducing hearing damage and ringing in the ears or tinnitus that a majority of soldiers experience. Usually, soldiers prefer not to wear hearing protection because they feel it gets in the way of their awareness of sounds and people around them. These earplugs restore any blocked sounds after the ear canal is sealed compactly. They let you hear naturally and prevent any hearing damage from explosive sounds with their original hi-fi K-AMP integrated circuit. These GSP-15 earplugs are meant for gun sport freaks who need protection from gunshot blasts.
- They give excellent ear protection from gunshots.
- Sound amplification helps to hear conversations with fellow hunters to know where certain birds are or when they are behind one.
- This feature also helps one be alert to the presence of reptiles like rattlesnakes.
- Batteries die out soon.
- The slightest breeze distorts the noise.
These reusable earplugs can be worn several times while they work to protect your hearing without preventing you from hearing conversations or other sounds around you. Their stem design includes foam tips and they come with an NRR of 28 dB. They do not allow explosive sounds into the ear canal through their design that includes a filter for noise reduction. Filter caps offer extra protection and block out low level noise.
- They are great for hearing protection.
- They are designed for the user to hear better when people around him talk and when there’s no shooting going on.
- These ear pieces fit easily under a cap, helmet or hat.
- Users can keep them on for eight hours without any problem.
- They disintegrate in the rain.
- They aren’t easy to wear.
Designed specially to mould the shape of users’ ears, these earplugs are perfect for leisure activities like swimming and travelling and outdoor ones like shooting. They are extremely comfortable because of the ultra soft thermoplastic material used, so wearing them for a long duration does not cause discomfort or pain in the ears.
- Since they are re-moldable, it’s easy to get the perfect size of earplugs to match users’ ears.
- These earplugs protect the ears from explosive sounds and increase the user’s hearing quality.
- Only standard sizes are available, which might be problematic for women.
- The entire remolding process may go awry if the guidelines are not adhered to strictly.
- SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders Plus Filtered Earplugs, Triple Flanged Design: Filtered, Triple-Flanged Earplugs with 24 dB NRR
These ear plugs give you the best hearing protection without interfering with your ability to hear conservations and other background sounds. Their three projection design of the stem fits larger ears and provides an impressive NRR of 24 dB. They distill safe sounds from explosive ones, allowing the former only. They are made of hypoallergenic polymer that is both durable and comfortable and assure the user of daylong comfort. Their triple-flange stems fit the seals securely in the auditory canals. Users can choose from orange, clear and black.
- They are extremely comfortable.
- They are lightweight, small and low profile.
- They are worth their price–in fact, they are priceless..
- The hearing protection given by these earplugs is not enough for an indoor range.
Why do we need shooting hearing protection?
To prevent such a situation, it is necessary to understand the need for shooting hearing protection.
Sounds pressure is measured in decibels. We can hear comfortably up to 84 decibels. Beginning 85 decibels or more, any sound we hear damages our hearing. So, gunshots of 140-190 decibels or more can cause tinnitus or ringing in the ears and pain, accompanied by permanent loss of hearing and damage to the ears. That’s how loud a gun can be. Prolonged exposure to loud sounds over 85 decibels can lead to loss of hearing.
How to choose shooting ear protection
All gunshots exceed the normal level for hearing, so it becomes imperative for you to use hearing protection when you shoot. In fact, you should consider doing this as primary gun safety. There are several options for hearing protection, each depending on your preference and budget. Here they are:
Ear plugs: Ear plugs are made of soft and compact foam. They are also comparatively inexpensive and can fade noise and so protect your hearing. They are also available in disposable form, and are easily available. However, the downsides are that you might be uncomfortable wearing something in your ears.
Besides, since they muffle out noise, you won’t be able to know how much noise you’re making and if an animal is near you or not. Since they block out noise, this will mean that you won’t be able to speak to those you work with. And, if your hands are cold, you’ll find it difficult to insert them in your ears, so you will have to roll the foam into a compact coil and pack them tightly into your ears.
Ear muffs: There are two kinds of ear muffs that help bring about noise reduction while hunting or indulging in sports shooting. They are:
- Passive ear muffs: These specialized hearing protection devices cover the whole outer ear. They are identified by their plastic can appearance that have a lining of foam. This helps seal the side of the head to block out unnecessary noise. These muffs give the best protection for your ears, though you cannot hear anything with them on. In fact, if you’re shooting with them on, you cannot communicate with those around you.
- Electronic ear muffs: These muffs are made with modern space-age technology to block out sound selectively. Basically, they are passive ear muffs with holes that make room for an electronics package to send in muffled sounds while shutting out louder ones. The advantage here is that you can hear the noise and conversation around you but at a reduced noise level and you get the best hearing protection.
Now that you know the kind of hearing devices that are available, you should check them out online before buying. Read up as much as you can about them and then make an informed decision. You can also read user reviews so that you also know their drawbacks.
The durability of hearing protection devices is also something to consider. After all, you want the product you buy to stay useful to you for a long time to come. Once again, only research can come to your aid regarding the durability aspect of these products. To know how durable they are, you need to know the materials that are used to make them, so yet again, research is the key
Noise Cancellation Levels
The efficiency of these products to reduce or negate noise will make the cut when choosing one kind of hearing protection device over the other. So, check out their noise cancellation features. This will help you determine the kind of sound you hear when you wear them. Other features to look out for are battery life, inbuilt microphone and active ear muffs.
The right hearing protection device needs to come with relevant and vital certifications. This will tell you whether or not the product you’re looking at meets industry standards.
Your comfort level when wearing these devices depends on the duration of your wearing them. If they are comfortable to wear and safe to wear, you’ve got the right pair. Because ear plugs, press down on the sides of the ear canal, obliterating all sound, you could feel uncomfortable with them on after some time. However, earmuffs could give you a lot of comfort due to their shape and the cushioned headband.
How effectively these hearing protection devices work on reducing or negating noise levels will determine their worthiness in terms of money. If they are good at this and are well-priced, people will gladly buy them.
To get the widest range of the best ear protection for shooting and the best deals, it’s better to research about them. You can also compare their features over here and buy.