When heading to the range or out on a hunting trip, don’t forget your shooting ear protection. Learn more about why you need them below.
Shooting Ear Protection: Wear Them!
Hearing loss is incredibly common in firearms users, and the damage is permanent – and can result from just one shot.
Getting in the habit of wearing ear protection from an early age can save you a lot of frustrations, as you get older. Even if you are not the one shooting and are just observing at the range, you’ll want to use hearing protection.
If you think that shooting a pistol instead of a rifle won’t be an issue, keep in mind that exposure to noises over 140 decibels puts you at risk for hearing loss.
Almost every single firearm on the market creates at least 140 decibels of noise – even a .22 caliber rifle.
These days, the options for hearing protection are plentiful and can be quite advanced. You can choose between earplugs or earmuffs. Some devices are able to block out loud noises while amplifying soft sounds like conversations and twigs being stepped on.
Many shooters and hunters do not realize the extent of the hearing loss that they suffer from, which can lead them to believe that the people they are speaking with are constantly mumbling. They may never actually get tested for hearing loss.
High-Frequency Hearing Loss
Common in firearms users is high-frequency hearing loss, which means they have trouble hearing the “s,” “th,” or “v” sounds. High-pitched sounds are not clear to them, making it hard to hear and follow a conversation.
Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, also accompanies high-frequency hearing loss.
Ear Protection Is Often Overlooked
Despite the very real and long-term dangers to not wearing hearing protection, nearly 40% of range shooters and 95% of hunters still do not wear protection on a regular basis.
Shooting is directly related to hearing loss.
HPD Options Abound
Hearing Protective Devices, or HPDs, have advanced in recent years. Users can choose between electronic HPDs or nonlinear HPDs. Electronic HPDs amplify soft sounds until a loud sound converts them into hearing protection. They can be purchased as earmuffs, custom in-ear devices, earplugs, or custom behind-ear devices.
Nonlinear HPDs come as earplugs or custom ear-molds. They are not electronic and work by allowing moderate sounds to pass through while reducing loud sounds. The options with filters are the best choice.
Budget Should Not be an Issue
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Although comfort and features may influence your decision in what type of hearing protection to purchase, budget should not be an issue for basic HPDs.
Nonlinear earplug HPDs can cost as little as $10. If you want to invest in a high-functioning custom-made electronic HPD, you can certainly spend $1000 or more.
- NRR: 26 dB noise reduction rating
- IDEAL FOR both indoor and outdoor shooters and hunters
- BLUETOOTH TECHNOLOGY to stream music and make calls
- DYNAMIC SUPPRESSION TIME measures the energy in gunshot noise and automatically sets suppression time for reduced echoes and increased comfort
- CLEAR VOICE TRACKING seeks voice within background noise and actively filters noise for improved speech intelligibility
Next time you pack your bag for the range or for a hunting trip, be sure to throw some hearing protection in. Even disposable earplugs are better than nothing.
When shooting big-bore firearms, double up on your hearing protection – cover your earplugs with earmuffs. Your future self will thank you.
Do you already have shooting ear protection? Perhaps you can recommend a product you love in the comments section!
- How To Protect Your Hearing When Shooting
- Earplug Review: Etymotic GunSport Pro Electronic Plugs
- SoundGear Review: What is your Hearing Worth?