View Full Version : DIY custom earplugs: A product review

Superhouse 15
August 31, 2009, 01:28 PM
I had heard good things about these custom molded silicone earplugs from Radians, so when I found out Brownell's had them, I added a few to my latest parts order.


I made myself a pair of tan ones. Made extra sure to clean my hands and ears with soap, alcohol, and plenty of Q tips. Followed the directions and molded them right before bed, then let them set up overnight. I would have included a picture, but it's just a odd shaped lump of tan plastic.

To the range:
The NRR is listed as 26, not as much as some muffs, so I took my Peltor muffs to the local outdoor range. I was spotting for a friend firing 40 or 50 rounds of 7mm Magnum and had no need for additional ear protection. I was spotting with my .223 rifle and I also fired about 20 rounds of .223 with no problem. Walked down to the handgun side of the range and no problems there either. There was a guy shooting an AR with a comp/brake on it and I could tell it was loud, but still not painful or uncomfortable and I had no need to add extra protection.

Pros: At the last SHOT show there were folks making them for $50, these retail for $14.99 from Brownell's. Good deal. They were easy to make, I followed the directions for once, and had no problems with the fit. They are effective when standing next to lots of magnum and .223 rifle shots, ARs with brakes, and handguns.

Cons: They seemed to make the insides of my ears sweat, but it was a hot day anyway. A lanyard cord is available, but not included. I would mold one in next time. They are one solid color, and only 4 colors are available, the ones I saw at SHOT were available in bunches of different colors and swirls if you like that kind of thing. They are not as effective as earmuffs based on the NRR.

All in all I think they're a good value, I plan on using them at the range at work, too. And even though they seem to make the insides of my ears sweat, they were still not as hot as earmuffs in the Florida afternoon sun.

Your comments, thoughts, and questions are welcome as always.

Brian Pfleuger
August 31, 2009, 01:45 PM
Looks to be identical to the material used for creating molds for hearing aids.

I worked a few months for a women who sold hearing aids and I had her make some of these for me. I don't know how far into the ear canal the instructions for these suggest you go with the silicon but when the molds are made for hearing aids they insert a tiny piece of soft foam on a string. The foam protects the ear drum from the silicon sticking to it (so I was told) and also makes extraction easier. When the silicon is injected deep into the canal and close to the ear drum you are darn near deaf as a stone. Part of the reason that the commercial variety are rated lower than muffs may be that they do not fill the canal.

You could probably go to any hearing aid sales location and have them make you a pair also. $50 is what they used to charge around here.

August 31, 2009, 01:48 PM
... at least, according to flight surgeons and physiologists:

Most people who use them don't clean them with any frequency or reliability, and so they are likely to become bacteria farms.

Navy squadrons and an airline I flew for both issued disposable, foam plugs. They fill the ear canal properly, assuming you roll compress them prior to insertion as you should; but because they are disposable, you don't reuse them.

Disposable foam plugs: better for your hearing, and better for infection avoidance.

My $.02.

August 31, 2009, 09:11 PM
Someone was making that type at the NRA convention. I considered but didnt-$50.