View Full Version : hearijng protectors for shooting ?

March 21, 2013, 11:37 AM
I am interested in a set of hearing protectors for shooting. I am looking at the electronic ones that allow you to hear range commands, people talking etc but block out loud noises like gun shots.
What is a fairly well working set priced at ? Do I need to spend a pile of money to get one that works ?

Brian Pfleuger
March 21, 2013, 11:50 AM
I have a pair by Caldwell that I bought at Dick's Sporting Goods for about $25. They work fine. I've never tested them under "range" conditions with other shooters though. I also had a pair of Radians that were about $124, they worked well but actually had more background noise than the Caldwell. I've never used Walker's muffs but I have used their hearing aid versions and they are remarkable, though the price is also remarkably high.

March 21, 2013, 12:46 PM
There are a few top brands out there. Author & sworn LE officer Massad Ayoob wrote a few gun press items about the topic. He used a brand called Wolf Ears from Peltor(I think).
I'd check these sites: www.cabelas.com www.surefire.com www.midwayusa.com www.policehq.com www.uscav.com .


March 21, 2013, 03:22 PM
I have this pair that works great:


March 21, 2013, 03:50 PM
I have this pair that works great:



The Howard Impact electrionic ear protection work very well. And they are inexpensive...and at under $50, they are an excellent value that is pretty hard to beat. They are quite slim, which is a bonus if you are shooting from odd positions....such as on your side and shooting under a car. They also have very good acoustic fidelity...better than some very expensive electronic ears I have used in the past.

Just dont leave them in the trunk of your car during the summer like I did....the duracell batteries leaked and ruined my set. Not the Howard's fault...the batteries just got too hot.

March 21, 2013, 05:22 PM
I love my Howard Leight R-01526. If you turn them up they block out gun shots and actually amplify other sounds. I can hear people barely talking quite far away with them.

March 21, 2013, 07:55 PM
I saw a pair in SqualMart today for $60. -21Db Noise Reduction Rating. I can't recall the brand name, but their website should have it.

March 23, 2013, 12:35 AM
I use electronic earmuffs and ear plugs.

Watch those db ratings!

March 23, 2013, 08:25 AM
My buddy has a pair of these.

Tac 6 back band

He uses them for extended sessions with his 300 winmag. He had me use them a couple of time to get a feel for it, worked GREAT. Think he paid about $45 for them at a LGS.

March 24, 2013, 06:59 AM
what is the chance of a failure with electronic ear muffs and they actually amplify loud sounds and hurt your ear ? Can this happen ?

March 24, 2013, 09:01 AM
If it were to fail, I don't expect them to fail in that manner. If they were to fail, they shut off and no hearing damage. I don't think the speakers would have the power to transmit the gunshot at a level that would damage your hearing.

Brian Pfleuger
March 24, 2013, 12:46 PM
You have to really watch the NRR (Noise Reduction Rating). For instance, that "Tac 6" model is only rated at 19. I wouldn't use those without foam plugs under them if I was shooting any more than a 17HMR. I normally wear plugs under my muffs anyway, but I certainly would with those.

You have to realize, a gun shot can be as high as 165dB... immediate damage begins around 120dB. 165-19 is still 146dB, much too high. Even foam plugs, rated at 33NRR are really minimal protection.

Now this is all way too simplified, as the NRR is an average over all frequencies and some are much higher reductions than the average.... but some are lower.

March 24, 2013, 06:31 PM
The Howard Leights have a NRR of 22 and are advertised to cut off at 82dB.

According to the NRA:
Gunshot decibel levels, measured by John S. Odess, M.D., ranged between 143.5 from a .22 short to 174.4 from a .458 Win. Mag (American Rifleman, "Hear No Evil," March, 1996).

Subsonic "gallery" rounds can be as low as 90 decibels, but the average is 133 for all calibers as measured at certifiedreloader dotcom.

March 25, 2013, 08:27 PM
I've used and like both of these...

Pro Ears Predator Gold Ear Muffs (http://www.tacticalrail.com/144/pro-ears-predator-gold-ear/)


Howard Leight Electronic Ear Muffs (http://www.tacticalrail.com/98/howard-leight-electronic-earmuffs/)

The Pro Ears cost about 5 times as much as the Howard Leights.

March 25, 2013, 08:34 PM
I like the Pro Ears Ultimate 33 which supposedly has a nrr of 33.
They are comfortable and do some real noise reduction.
For motorcycle riding I use a custom made silicon which were made by pouring into the ear. They are rated at 27 and sometimes I use both at the range, if I ride the bike in.

May 7, 2013, 10:34 AM
I know this is old, but wanted further input.

Folks, do you find that these (or any) electronic muffs work less effectively when you are wearing shooting glasses? It would seem to me that any ear muffs work best when the muff cushion is sealed to the skin. However, with hair and eye protection on, the muffs don't seal as well. Thus, they don't provide the level of protection that in-ear plugs do.

With that said, how about the hearing aid-type electronic ears? Most of them seem to provide +/-25dB. Seems to be the standard. The higher end ones use a digital circuit to detect sound/pressure.

I've seen various advertisements in Cabela's, Front Sight, and various magazines. They are EXPENSIVE. The prices ranged from $900-$3,000 a pair?!? Recently I found another company called SoundGear (http://www.soundgearhearing.com/)and read a really nice review (http://www.policemag.com/channel/weapons/articles/2012/01/police-product-test-soundgear-by-lapierre-digital-hearing-protection.aspx). For $600, it seems to be the best value in in-ear electronic digital protection.

Any personal experiences with ANYof them? I would like to invest in a set, but hate to spend $900+ for a set. Or worse, spend $600 and get a piece of crud.

May 7, 2013, 11:09 AM
I've worn eyeglasses since I was in second grade, but when I wore contact lenses instead, I did notice that ear muffs were more effective. It's not a real big difference, but it's noticeable. I've worn ear muffs over a wool knit cap and they still seemed to be pretty effective, but I wouldn't do that with any really loud guns. When I'm going to be shooting a lot, I double up with ear plugs and ear muffs.

May 7, 2013, 11:47 AM
Eye and ear protection are the two areas where you really do not want to go the cheapest route - as these senses cannot be fixed once damage is done, so preventing it from the beginning is a must.

Loud weapons, especially indoors should be handled with the 33db foam plugs AND the muffs, as the muffs help prevent vibration transmission to the middle and inner ear.

As someone with tinnitus, aka ear crickets, high-end hearing loss is something I have dealt with for over 30 years - mine came from too much Jimi at volume 9 with headphones - but shooting hasn't helped.

Avoid standing to the side of folks who use guns with muzzle breaks, as the blast from high-pressure rounds is substantial and painful - even with hearing protection

May 7, 2013, 08:59 PM
I attended a 4-day practical rifle course at Gunsight last month. I was wearing electronic muffs and it did very little to pressure and noise. All of us were standing 2-4 feet apart from one another. The ringing in my ears lasted all day and it bothered the crap out of me.

I wear glasses and usually use Sure-Fire EP3 plugs. They work well for most handguns and rifles up to 308win when I'm outdoors. When I'm hunting, I don't wear anything. Most of the time, it's just fine. I'll shoot my 30-06 and not have any ringing or pressure pains. The only time I flinch is when my brother brings out his 300WM with a muzzlebreak. That's when I put my gun on safe, then stick my fingers in my ears.

I don't shoot in indoor ranges because it's way too loud and I find it hard to breathe in them.

As an instructor I provide electronic muffs for all my students because I want them to hear all of my range commands. I have a collection of Peltors, Pro Ears, and some cheaper ones I purchased from MidwayUSA. Some of them have also commented that they still get ringing in their ears, too.

I'm seriously considering getting a set of SoundGear. I was just hoping for some actual testimonials before I drop $600.

Brian Pfleuger
May 7, 2013, 10:31 PM
No way I'd pay $600 for 25 NRR.

Id much rather wear plugs and a good set of electronic muffs, which is usually what I do. Much cheaper and much higher protection.

BTW, it doesn't matter if you "notice" or it doesn't hurt or ring. It's called auditory exclusion and its independent of the damage done. Shoot a gun without protection, you permanently damage your ears. Each time. Every time. Never shoot without protection unless your life depends on it.

May 8, 2013, 01:09 PM
I used the plugs I got issued from the Army, plus a set of muffs. No problem.

May 8, 2013, 07:39 PM
I have no doubt that plugs or plugs + muffs will give superior protection against hearing loss. I guess the real benefit of going with $600 electronic plugs are that they are custom molded to the ear, plus you can hear when there are no shots being fired. That would be difficult if you have plugs or muffs on.

As a student, I would want to make sure I hear the instructor. As an instructor, I want to be able to hear my students, too. This is also a benefit when I'm hunting.

Decisions decisions.

Brian Pfleuger
May 8, 2013, 07:54 PM
ELECTRONIC muffs. They're plenty loud enough to hear range commands, or anything else, through the plugs and you get more protection than either one alone. I often wear plugs under electronic muffs during deer season. With the plugs in, I can STILL hear better than "natural" hearing.

I don't see any indication that those things are custom molded. Where do they say that?

May 8, 2013, 08:02 PM
Compare them by noise reduction number.
That's what counts.

May 8, 2013, 09:48 PM
Some of the better models (Peltor is one, I don't know about others) can be fitted with gel earpads instead of the foam pads that come standard. The gel pads are expensive, but they are not only much more comfortable that any foam pads, they seal much better, especially around glasses.