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.
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 Control™technology for optimal attenuation across all frequencies and snap-in ear cushions for easy maintenance.
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.
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.
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.
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.