TFB’s 3rd Day Of Christmas: Hearing Protection

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing! Or is it your tinnitus? If you haven’t been using proper hearing protection when you head to the range or even in the field, make a resolution to start in 2017. And don’t worry, if you’d rather “wear” your protection on the end of your muzzle, tomorrow’s Christmas surprise has to do with sound suppressors – one of my favorite subjects.

But, as we have drilled home in the past, even with the best centerfire silencers in the world, using quality hearing protection is still advised. Thankfully we aren’t stuck with the blocky, uncomfortable and unsightly muffs we had as youngsters. Depending on your price point, there are a few electronic options available that are small, effective and affordable. Of course, if you are fond of keeping a few sets of inexpensive options on hand, we should be able to help you out as well.

Protecting your hearing is like car maintenance – it can be costly and unglamorous, but in the end it can prevent long term permanent issues (Click here to see TFB’s post on Tinnitus). And what better time to get a set of quality protection – during the holidays when your loved ones will gift a set to you.

Below is a list of options for safeguarding your hearing. It is not all-encompassing, so if you have suggestions, please speak up in the comments section below.

Surefire sonic Defenders – $14 (est)

EP4 Sonic Defenders® Plus protect your hearing without interfering with your ability to hear routine sounds or conversations. Their triple-flanged stem design fits larger ear canals and provides a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 24dB. Sounds, at safe levels, are allowed to pass through into the ear canal, while potentially harmful noises (above 85dB) are reduced via a proprietary design that incorporates a special noise-reducing filter. EP4s include attached filter caps, which can be inserted for additional protection and blocking out lower-level noise, like that heard on a plane, where hearing ambient sounds or conversations isn’t critical. Right/left color-coded Sonic Defenders Plus are made from a soft but durable, hypoallergenic polymer that provides all-day comfort and an extended product life (up to 6+ months, depending on usage and care). Their patented EarLock® retention rings lock the earplugs in place, while soft, adjustable triple-flanged stems provide secure seals in the ear canals. A low-profile design means EP4s can be worn while wearing a helmet or mask, or while using a phone or headset. Available in clear, black, or orange.

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Howard Leight ‘Leightening’ Over Ear Protection – $20-$40 (est)

Leightning series’ steel-wire construction provides high performance and robust durability. Leightning stands up to daily use and abuse without compromising comfort. Howard Leight has optimized the Leightning series to deliver the highest level of comfort available, featuring an exclusive padded foam headband and super-soft ear cushions that eliminate that “squeezing” pressure on the head. The Leightning series also features Bilsom® Technology’s patented Air Flow Controltechnology for optimal attenuation across all frequencies and snap-in ear cushions for easy maintenance.

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SportEAR M4 Electronic – $120 (EST)

The M-Series is Our Dream Earmuff Inspired by our own shooting experiences, and the various earmuffs we’ve used over the years, we set out to make the perfect over-ear protection that would meld comfort, functionality and communication into one neat little package. What we came up with is the M-Series.

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Soundgear – Behind The Ear – $350 (EST)

SoundGear Behind-The-Ear (BTE) Platinum devices have 4 distinct memory modes to toggle through. The first memory (Normal) delivers amplification equally across all frequencies. The second (High-Frequency Boost) boosts higher frequency sounds like the whistling wings of ducks overhead, leaves rustling, sticks breaking, etc. This will help people who have an existing high-frequency hearing loss hear better. The third Memory (Telecoil) helps you effectively communicate on a telephone and the fourth memory (Mute) is used to mute or turn off your device.

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ETYMOTIC Gunsport pro Electronic Plugs – $300 (EST)

GSP•15 electronic earplugs allow natural hearing when no background noise is present and gradually protect from loud continuous noise from vehicles, machinery or gunfire from nearby shooters. At the flip of a switch sound is amplified, improving distance detection up to five times for enhanced awareness.

Hearing Protection

Walker’s Game Ear Razor XV – $160 (EST)

The Razor-XV incorporates a neck worn device featuring retractable digital ear buds that provide incredible comfort for all day shooting.  The “behind the neck” design allows for ZERO interference with you or your weapon, allowing for complete focus on your target. These remarkable patent-pending buds will not only protect your hearing, but enhance up to nine times your natural hearing ability as well.

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TFB’s 12 Days Of Christmas:

Day 1:  Back Up IRON Sights – ‘BUIS’

Day 2: Tools

Day 3: Hearing Protection

Day 4: Rimfire Silencers

Day 5: Cleaning Kits 

Day 6: First Aid And Survival

DAY 7: MAGAZINES

DAY 8: LIGHTS AND LASERS

DAY 9: PISTOL SUPPRESSORS

DAY 10: RED DOT OPTICS

Day 11: (ArtificIal sweetener collection)

Day 12: (Used motor oil)





Pete

LE – Science – OSINT.
On a mission to make all of my guns as quiet as possible.
Pete.M@staff.thefirearmblog.com
Twitter: @gunboxready
Instagram: @tfb_pete
https://www.instagram.com/tfb_pete/


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  • Disarmed in CA

    I have a great difficulty getting ‘in-ear’ plugs to actually get in the ear canal enough that they don’t fall right out. Any suggestions?

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      Staples.

      • Gary Kirk

        Was gonna suggest duct tape.. But..

        • Dougscamo

          I would believe that duct tape….due to the fact that there would be air trapped in the ear canal….would offer a greater db reduction…. 🙂

          • Gary Kirk

            Yeah, but if you put the staples deep enough and at the correct angle, it wouldn’t really matter anymore..

          • Dougscamo

            Oh…..OOOOHHHH!

          • Gary Kirk

            Huh??? I just tried the staple thing..

          • Dougscamo

            I’m sorry….WHAT?….actually quite common phrase around my house….to my wife’s constant consternation…….

          • Gary Kirk

            I feel your pain.. Or should I say hear your ringing..

          • Dougscamo

            The ironic thing is that the ringing goes away when I wear my hearing aids….but then I have to listen to my wife….

          • iksnilol

            I don’t have hearing aids, or a wife…. so I guess those two cancel each other out?

          • Dougscamo

            All I can say is….Lucky You…but yeah…..null….

          • iksnilol

            Booze and tinnitus, what more does a man need in life?

            Yuuup, life’s pretty great. Wubba lubba dub dub indeed.

          • Dougscamo

            My Disqus finally started working again….reference the second part of your comment…WHUT?….by any chance did you get your teeth tangled in your mustache?

          • iksnilol

            wubba lubba dub dub? That’s a reference to RIck and Morty

          • Dougscamo

            Gave you an upvote….though I haven’t a clue as to who Rick and Morty are….

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      Same here. Most come with different sized inserts. I usually pick the smallest and set them pretty far in. Still, if I sweat, they will eventually walk out.

    • QuadGMoto

      My wife and I have opposite ends of this problem. Her ears are too small for most things. Mine are too large. (SG’s standard in-ear models could actually turn sideways in one of my ears. Ouch!)

      I wound up getting SoundGear’s custom molded in-ear protection. There were two surprises when I got them.

      First, unlike most hearing protection, they’re actually sold through the audiologist who makes the mold. It turns out they were significantly discounted over the pricing shown online. They’re still pricier than the behind-the-ear models, but worth it IMHO.

      Second, because of my larger ear canals their db reduction is actually higher than their stated spec.

      Since they’re custom molded they’ll always fit.

      • Disarmed in CA

        Wow on those prices, even a 90% discount would not take the bite out, but I do appreciate the suggestion and I was thinking the custom mold route might be the best but not super high-end.

        • Rick Grimes

          I had the exact same problem as you and decided custom molded was the way to go. I went with Decibullz. About fifty bucks and they work great.

          • Rick Grimes

            Oops, my cost to get them in Canada was about $50 Canadian. They’re $26 USD plus shipping

        • QuadGMoto

          I was just going to suggest what Rick suggested: custom molded non-electronic plugs. You don’t get the advantage of being able to hear normally, but you’re not spending big bucks either.

          I also have a box of disposable foam plugs that I use which are really good (33 db reduction): E•A•R Soft Blasts. I use them when constant noise reduction is fine and I don’t want to use ear muffs. You roll them very flat then insert them. They expand to fit and are quite comfortable to wear for hours at a time.

    • DrewN

      Go to any audiologist and get a pair custom molded. It’s not super expensive.

  • Major Tom

    I like muffs, electronic or otherwise for ear pro. (I’m also the kind of guy who likes Walkman style headphones or full headsets instead or ear buds.)

    So much more comfortable and useful. I have a set from Winchester I got from wal mart and I use it for shooting and when running loud equipment such as a propane burnisher.

    • Dougscamo

      I like the electronic muffs when waterfowl hunting….the only time that I can stand the heat…..BUT I’m hoping that there will be a Walker Razor in the stocking this year….

      • Gary Kirk

        Have you (or anyone else) tried the Walkers? I pay for Xmas in my house, and was definitely thinking of a set from Santa

        • Dougscamo

          Only the reviews including guys that were using them to hunt as well as on the range….pretty impressive if it works as they say….BassPro has them for $99 unless you want Bluetooth….

          • Gary Kirk

            Needs the Bluetooth.. Must have my heavy metal while shooting.. Although, probably won’t help the hearing damage as well..

          • Dougscamo

            $125….

          • Gary Kirk

            $115.69 on Amazon with Bluetooth..

            May also check out Greentop, or Gander Mountain

          • Gary Kirk

            94.99 w/o Bluetooth

          • Dougscamo

            Dammit! I’m the Santa around my house….KNEW I shoulda waited until closer to Christmas….Greentop in Ashland?

          • Gary Kirk

            That’s the one (and only I know of)..
            Don’t know what they’re price is yet, but if I make it by will post it..

          • Dougscamo

            Ahh, a fellow Virginian….of the “right” persuasion….
            No need to post for me….already purchased…. 🙁
            But there may be some other Virginia Gentlemen out there… 🙂

          • Gary Kirk

            Alas, I’m stuck on the wrong side of the Potomac as of now.. But may be heading there in the foreseeable future.. Then hopefully on further south..

          • Dougscamo

            Poor lad….the People’s Republic of Maryland….you have my sympathies, sir….
            Come on down when you can….
            As I told my son when he was contemplating working there….”They don’t like our kinda people there”…. or any point north of there for that matter….

          • Gary Kirk

            I am in st. Mary’s at least.. But it’s going to Hell even here anymore..

  • QuadGMoto

    All I want for Christmas is the Hearing Protection Act passed.

  • A bearded being from beyond ti

    I want the ones hickok45 use.

  • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

    I don’t know if I would have recommended the Sportear muffs ….

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      The conclusion of your review seemed positive?

      • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

        No, they were disposed of. The wind noise issue made them unusable.

  • Dougscamo

    Anyone notice that we had 2 days of Christmas today?…..