When it comes to hunting, you need to have a keen sense of hearing. Take a look at wild animals hunting their prey. They intently stalk their game using all their sensesuntil an opportunity to assault is there. The same is true with hunting. Here are some tips on best hearing protection for duck hunting.
Awareness of your surroundings can make or break your hunt. But unlike animals, hunters need to protect hearing against hunting-related noises especially sudden gunshots. Sadly, many hunters fail to take appropriate precautions to avoid hearing loss. Even veteran hunters often forget to wear protective gear.
Take a quick look at this table first:
|Decibullz Earplugs Comfortable Protection Shooting||3.7/5||$$||Check Price|
|Peltor Sport Tactical 500 Smart Electronic Hearing Protector for Shooting & Hunting||4.5/5||$$$||Check Price|
|Pro For Sho 34dB Shooting Ear Protection||4.6/5||$$||Check Price|
|Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact Sport Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting Earmuff||4.5/5||$$||Check Price|
Why do your ears need protection when hunting?
It is estimated that at least five out of ten hunters suffer from high-frequency hearing loss due to sudden loud explosions.A gunshot or two might not instantly damage your ears but repeated exposure even for ashort period of time can surely cause problem!
A regular hunting firearm produces 165 decibels (dB) on a single blast. This is louder than the noise of a rock concert or a passing jet engine; and way beyond the human ear threshold of 120-130 dB. Health experts recommend the use of hearing protections whenever exposed to 140 dB noise.
Modifying the firearm or use of recoil compensator can make it even louder.Aside from the deafening sound, gunshot also causes reverberation further aggravating your risk of hearing loss. As a result, the ear nearest the muzzle of the firearm suffers hearing damage while the opposite ear may be partially impaired.
While hunters are generally at risk, bird and duck hunters have higher risk because they tend to fire multiple rounds per hunting expedition. Unlike game hunters, duck hunters often have numerous targets and would have multiple attempts in a day. And unless you are hunting alone, you also have to with the gunshot of your fellow hunters.
To avoid losing your sense of hearing, it is vital that you take precautions whenever you go hunting. This is where hearing protection gears come to your rescue.
Problems that duck hunters face with hearing protection
Although most hunters are aware of the dangers of exposure to loud noise, many still shun the use of hearing protection because of a number of issues.
- Inability to hear the sounds of the hunt
Most hunters think that they can’t hear any sound if they wear earplugs or hear louder sound with amplified plugs. This is a top problem why many hunters wouldn’t wear hearing protection. In addition, duck hunting requires communication within the team (especially the caller) and ability to hear the surroundings.
- Uncomfortable earplugs
When you go hunting, you don’t want any distraction or discomfort. Unfortunately, many ear protections can cause both! These earplugs just feel uncomfortable. Some complain that their headphones are too bulky that make it harder to shoot and shoulder the gun properly. Others think that their earmuffs are too loose and might fall off when they move around.
- Occlusion effect
Wearing earplugs can trap sound pressure within the ear canal. This makes any internal sounds unnatural or too loud – an effect known as “occlusion effect.” As a result, your call might not sound right, and you might be unable to shoot ducks.
- Possible hearing problems in the future
Another misconception is that earmuffs or earplugs might cause hearing loss in the future. But this is farther from the truth. Use of earmuffs or earplugs alters the natural resonance of the ears, hence, reducing the potential impact of high-decibel sounds.
Features to look for when duck hunting
Now that you know the problems commonly faced by duck hunters, you need to look for hearing protection gears with features that solve these concerns. What are some of the features to look for in ear protection mufflers?
- Ability to hear natural noises
Unlike regular noise cancellation headphones, hearing protection for duck hunting has to bring back the normal sound of the surrounding while filtering out loud blasts from the firearms. Hunters need to be able to hear natural sounds such as clear voices, and natural noises such as water, leaves, wind, and waterfowls. These noises are essential for a successful hunt.
You need to find ear protection that fits comfortably and securely around your ears. It should provide maximum noise cancellation but should not be too bulky that it obstructs proper gun handling or interferes with beanies or hoods. Custom products that are specially molded and fitted to your ear are preferred. These products can be worn comfortably all day.
- Ability to hear calls
If you’re an avid duck hunter, you’ll know how important it is for you to be able to hear natural calling sounds. As such, you need to choose a hearing protection that has this sound property. Look for a hearing protection that is capable of filtering out dangerous levels of noise while allowing call sounds to be heard clearly. Duck hunting requires communication with the caller so your hearing protection should be open enough.
What are some of the recommended hearing protection for duck hunters?
There are a lot of hearing protection gears but not all gears are equal. Here we check out some duck hunter favorites.
The makers of Decibullz Earplugs take into account the fact that no two people’s ears are the same. It is made of thermoplastic molds that can be easily and quickly molded to suit the exact contours of your ear. Molding it onto your ears is easy. You just need to heat it up in boiling water, cool it off for a bit, and then shape them to your ears. It’s also re-moldable (just in case you don’t get it on your first try or it doesn’t fit securely). Since it molds securely into the ears, it provides optimum noise protection during your hunting trip.
Perfect for duck hunting, these electronic earplugs have the ability to hear normal sounds and amplify low-level noise. It uses Peltor’s 3M SMART Technology, which is an advanced audio filtration technology that automatically regulates sound depending on the surroundings or gunshot blast.
It measures the external sounds and sets suppression time for better communication and comfort. When a sound goes beyond the 82 dB threshold, it is automatically muffled. Meanwhile, low-level sounds are amplified to a comfortable level. This ensures better experience.
This Peltor Hearing Protection is equipped with microphone and can also be paired with your smart gadgets. You can listen to your favorite tracks and even do calls while using them. Of course, don’t expect the sound quality for music to be as good as your other headphones as this is not built for appreciating music.
Pro ForSho 34dB Shooting Ear Protection – Special Designed Ear Muffs Lighter Weight & Maximum Hearing Protection – Standard Size, Grey
If you’re looking for an affordable duck hunting hearing protection, then the Pro ForSho fits the bill. This over-the-head folding ear muffs weighs just around 7.2 ounces. It comes with a simple design (with 8 color variants) that emphasizes functionality and ease of storage. With its easy adjustments, it can be easily fitted onto your head.
After a couple of use, they would feel perfectly fitted into your head that you won’t even realize wearing one. But most importantly, Pro ForSho perfectly covers your ears allowing it to have reliable noise cancellation. Your ears are definitely protected from the loud gunshot blasts when you wear this.
Perhaps, the only downside with these earmuffs is that the plastic ear padding tends to soften up much longer than other similar muffs.
Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact Sport Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting Earmuff, Classic Green (R-01526)
Designed with shooting sports in mind, the Howard Leight by Honeywell Shooting Earmuff solves all the basic concerns of duck hunters. It uses a dynamic sound reduction and amplification technology to protect your ears from loud noises while allowing natural sound to pass through. These earmuffs enable you to hear sounds less than 82 dB while filtering out or reducing damaging noise. With this, you can communicate clearly with your fellow duck hunters, listen intently to the surroundings, and enjoy the natural sounds of the outdoors.
Howard Leight Shooting Earmuffs fit comfortably snug into your head – like it won’t leave your head. At the same time, it’s not too tight like other headache-inducing headsets. It’s also lightweight so you won’t feel like you’re wearing it throughout the day. Its 350-hour battery life is just enough for a week of hunting spree. Lastly, aside from its pro-looking-design, it is also ergonomically design to ensure ease-of-use.
Best hearing protection for duck hunting is important
Whether you regard duck hunting as a hobby, a sport, or a livelihood, one thing’s for sure: It’s a lot of fun. But as you enjoy this outdoor activity, you have to mindful about the dangers it poses on your well-being. You surely don’t want to trade off your hearing with a few hours of happiness, don’t you?
Give your ears the same love that you give to this pastime. So before you head out to your next duck hunting expedition, be sure that you have a reliable hearing protection ready. You definitely want to enjoy many more hunts in the future.