View Full Version : Best hearing protection

guitars and guns
April 17, 2011, 03:32 PM
As my moniker hints at, I have LOUD hobbies (not to mention 12 years of working on airplanes). Play guitar in a band and my latest past time....shooting. Since years of rock n roll and heavy metal have taken my hearing down a few notches, I'd like to try and not do too much more damage shooting. I've used plugs alone and those do not seem to do well on their own, especially while at a range with people shooting next to you.

What muff/plug combinations have worked best for you guys.

*haha no pun intended*

Or is there a plug or a set of muffs that work well enough on their own?

Don P
April 17, 2011, 03:43 PM
Plugs and muffs together. If the plugs or muffs have a NRR of say 33 by using them together will give you a NRR of 38-39.
You get approximately 5-7 extra decibels of noise reduction of the highest rated of the two by using the combo. Defiantly worth while at indoor ranges

guitars and guns
April 17, 2011, 07:02 PM
That's what I figured. I was just wondering if any R&D on muffs or plugs had made it just as efficient as using both.

April 17, 2011, 08:36 PM
Make sure you check the reduction levels on the muffs you pick out. Some of the "low profile" types offer reduction levels in the high 20s. Its noticeable!!

Look for the highest reduction rating you can get if you are overly concerned. I shelled out $80 for a new pair of muffs through work that supposedly gives a 35 db reduction. 33db is a very common reduction level.

April 17, 2011, 10:04 PM
I admit it. I am a noise weenie. I keep an old pair crappy ear muffs hanging on the lawnmower handle. I also use them for the weed eater. I keep ear plugs in my briefcase for when I have to walk past the shrieking sirens during fire drills (and for when co-workers near by become distracting).

At the range, I usually wear silicone plugs, and regular Silencio ear muffs. I have also been known to wear foam plugs under the muffs. Both approaches work pretty well.

Shooting outdoors, it is not as necessary to double up, but I don't hesitate to do it if someone is shooting something large nearby. If I am mostly near rimfire shooters, I sometimes forget that the muffs are not down on my ears, and only the plugs are doing the work.

If I am indoors, I ALWAYS double up.

Tom Lynch

Double Naught Spy
April 18, 2011, 06:28 AM
In answer to the OP, muffs and plugs. The biggest benefit I have noticed is that each helps cover for the other. Plugs can sometimes work loose. Muffs seem to bother people such that they keep uncovering their ears at the range (see it all the time). Me? I use electronic muffs with plugs such that the muffs can overpower the plugs for normal conversation purposes.

I usually buy plugs by the 100 pack or gross or some other jumbo amount that are rated for 30 db or more. For example, here you can get 100 pairs on cords for $21. If you look around, you can find deals that are a bit better, maybe with less shipping, etc. http://www.coopersafety.com/product/howard-leight-laser-lite-corded-earplugs-100-pairs-1681.aspx?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=Base&-CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED-=Base&sid=100348&gclid=CKrxwbj6pagCFRNl7AodZH6eHw
That is enough to last you a long time and to be sure that you have spares for when your friends come along to go shoot. The cords are nice so that you don't lose them when you need to unplug an ear whilst near the range.

I admit it. I am a noise weenie.
Me too!

I keep an old pair crappy ear muffs hanging on the lawnmower handle. I also use them for the weed eater.
Me too!

I keep ear plugs in my briefcase for when I have to walk past the shrieking sirens during fire drills (and for when co-workers near by become distracting).
Okay, you lost me. :p

April 18, 2011, 07:23 AM
I had a couple of very loud guns next to me at the range yesterday (I could have reached out and touched the shooters, they are that close at our range). Earplugs alone were not enough to keep me from flinching when they fired, but putting muffs over them was quite comfortable and let me focus on my little .22s.

April 18, 2011, 09:35 AM
Shooting next to a ported rifle or handgun is the worst. Its not only the decibles, but the directionality of the blast.
I hate seeing those little holes at the end of a fellas barrel pointed at me.

Ive put my ported T/C 14" .30-30 away for the day when a young shooter takes the bench next to me.

April 18, 2011, 10:28 AM
Ive put my ported T/C 14" .30-30 away for the day when a young shooter takes the bench next to me.

That's a very courteous thing to do, kudos.

April 18, 2011, 10:51 AM
Over 20 years in the Navy around Jet engines. Hearing protection is a must for me. Foam plugs and muffs on top.

April 19, 2011, 08:42 PM
Peltor makes a good set of muffs that has a NRR of 30. Cant think of the model off the top of my head

April 19, 2011, 10:27 PM
I'd check the simple throw away types sold by www.PoliceHQ.com .
They are rated at about 33db. ;)
Another good hearing protection set up is the ZEM headset sold in the NRA gear store; www.NRA.org .
Many SWAT gear & outdoors catalogs offer the new high tech systems that increase low sounds but cut off in a nano second to protect hearing.
See www.UScav.com www.Cabelas.com www.Natchezss.com www.Actiongear.com .


April 19, 2011, 11:34 PM
Remember that you will still absorb sound through your skull and the rest of your body. I have been using plugs and muffs for years, I wear muffs when I use power tools or even a vacuum cleaner.

April 20, 2011, 09:15 AM
Asking the 'best' of anything is opening a can of worms. But, for hearing protection, you can't have too much. I use silicone (not latex) foam earplugs. I keep a pair in my pocket at all times and use whenever I'm in a noisy environment. For shooting they do well, but often not quite enough. For 'best' protection it is plugs and good muffs for me. Downside is I can't hear range officer commands and that has led to confusion.

April 22, 2011, 12:18 PM
The best AND most comfortable are custom plugs. My girlfriend got me a gift card to the local gun shop to have them done. It was about $50. They are these guys:


They work so well that I really can't hear normal conversion. I was able to hear conversation fine with either plugs or muffs, so I know these do a better job. Also, you twist them into your ear. It takes about a 1/4 turn. If you need to hear someone talking, just twist a fraction of an inch and it breaks the seal and allows you to hear, but still provides about as good of protection as regular plugs. I love mine and will never go back to regular plugs, and I can't stand muffs, they don't work well with shooting glasses. Ask your local gun shop if they can do them, or where you can have it done.