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Old December 4, 2017, 06:02 PM   #1
nanney1
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Ear protection level

I've seen ratings from around 20dB to 30dB. Is there a recommended level for indoor vs. outdoor?
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Old December 6, 2017, 11:27 PM   #2
johnwilliamson062
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As high as you can get for both. Try not to shoot indoor. Pretty much everything is into possible minor damage area EVEN WITH ear protection.
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Old December 6, 2017, 11:51 PM   #3
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The ear protection levels advertised ASSUME a perfect fit.
If you wear glasses or have non-short hair, you may need to try multiple sets to get a good fit.
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Old December 7, 2017, 09:08 AM   #4
rebs
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what about the Howard Leigh impact sports ?
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Old December 8, 2017, 08:17 AM   #5
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Decibel Defense has the highest "rating."
https://doctear.com/decibel-defense-earmuffs-review/
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Old December 8, 2017, 09:07 AM   #6
Jim Watson
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Strictly speaking, the best you can get is not quite enough.
Indoors, muffs over plugs are the way to go.

HL Impact Sport is only 22 dB, not much. HL Impact Pro is 30 dB, much better.
They are not very comfortable to wear and I only use them when I must hear conversation. Otherwise it is one or another 30+ dB passive, which weigh less and cost less.
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Old December 10, 2017, 12:36 PM   #7
sbwaters
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Indoors, muffs over plugs are the way to go

+1
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Old December 12, 2017, 10:10 PM   #8
Ifishsum
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Quote:
Indoors, muffs over plugs are the way to go.
Absolutely. A few years ago I noticed that I have a ringing in my ears that never disappears. Obviously a little late at this point but I now have custom molded in-ear plugs (NRR 31 ish I think) and when indoors I also use muffs. I don't like muffs when shooting rifles but even outdoors I'll use the muffs over the molded plugs when I'm scoring or otherwise not shooting. Can't protect enough what's left of the hearing.
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Old December 13, 2017, 10:55 AM   #9
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I'm having varying results re: my audiologist MOLDED plugs vs. the expanding foam.

Also getting varied answers to questions about WHICH protects better.

My customs are fairly hard. Hard to insert and hard to remove.

Well....hard-ER... than the foams.

The only foams that seem VERY good are the Flents 25 NRR ones that I got off of eBay.

I won't ever shoot indoor again and will LEAVE outdoor if anyone shows up with a PORTED or COMPED ...rifle.

THERE'S a day I'll never forget. What useless loss.
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Old December 14, 2017, 11:14 PM   #10
BillG174
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Check Amazon for Walker's ear pro. 34dB for $12.11. 34dB is the highest I have seen.

https://www.amazon.com/Walkers-Range...n+for+shooting
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Old December 14, 2017, 11:55 PM   #11
dyl
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These days I do plugs and muffs whenever I can. Not just for safety, but it cuts noise so much more it reduces flinching. Call me a cheater but having the audio part of the blast greatly reduced helps me shoot better so hopefully I'll be able to build more good habits than bad. Also Sometimes at outdoor ranges some folks won't give clear warning or ask if everyone is clear to go hot before shooting again. They would just look around and make a quick judgement call or figure you're watching them out of concern for your own hearing. Or maybe not care at all. So I always keep the plugs in and may take off the muffs. And I figure two mediocre or less-than-the-best layers of protection may rival or exceed a single fancy one.
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Old December 17, 2017, 09:17 PM   #12
johnwilliamson062
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Also, get a sound suppressor.
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Old January 3, 2018, 10:07 PM   #13
Prof Young
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You can't have too much hearing protection.

As sort of noted above, you can't have too much hearing protection. I use high quality ear plugs under high quality ear muff. Even then if the guy in the lane next to me is shooting some kind of cannon, I may step out for a while. Once you get tinnitus that's it. So far, there is no cure. I'm lucky in that mine is "light weight" and inconsistent. Some people have sirens going off in their head all day long. Don't become one of those.

Life is good.
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Old January 3, 2018, 10:35 PM   #14
Troy800
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For indoors i use muffs over plugs. I insert plugs and wear electronic muffs over them so it is easier to hear RO or other members.
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Old January 4, 2018, 06:35 AM   #15
Don P
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Quote:
Is there a recommended level for indoor vs. outdoor?
Once its gone there is no getting it back. The best you can do in both situations is ear plugs and ear muffs at a rating of 30-33 NRR. Combining both will give you a NRR rating of 35-39. Your ears, your hearing
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Old January 4, 2018, 02:32 PM   #16
45YearsShooting
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The recommended muffs all use this very cheap round plastic hinge to attach the headband to the plastic ear cup. I've had them break. I'd look for a muff with a more sturdy hinge. To answer your question, I agree you NEED both earplugs AND muffs indoors. Some people wear both even outdoors, especially at a range where others are shooting beside you.
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Old January 4, 2018, 07:28 PM   #17
Doc Holliday 1950
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Decible Defense. The best ear protection that I have. You can go the extra step and get ear plugs that fit into your ear canal & then use the DD'd also.
Try googling what are the best ear protectors for shooting or hunting.
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Old January 4, 2018, 07:38 PM   #18
Kvon2
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I recently went to a range where the benches are much closer together than my usual spot. I went back inside to double up, foam disposable ear plugs and my normal ear muffs over top. I'm sticking with the double method from now on.
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Old January 5, 2018, 11:11 AM   #19
PlatinumCore16
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As everyone has stated, 2 forms of protection are necessary when shooting. PERIOD. I have shot next to many a person with a break on their rifle and when that blast starts going sideways, you need as much protection as you can get.

I would also like to extrapolate on something, someone else said hinting at actual levels: when you see the NRR (stands for Noise Reduction Rating) that is the absolute maximum reduction when using with a perfect fit. Not all ear plugs fit perfectly. The expanding foam earplugs are some of the best plug-type hearing protection you can get without going custom (which are amazing and worth the money if you will be wearing for long periods of time, imho) because they conform to YOUR ear canal. Which are almost more individual than fingerprints. Usually the max a dense, moldable, foam earplug will reach is some 35+NRR. Next you need to put over-ear-type protection. Again, you must have a "perfect" seal around your ear to reach the NRR stated on the box/bag/specs. So hair, glasses, weird facial contours all make a difference. The maximum NRR I've seen on muff-type hearing protection is in the low 30s(but that's just my research ymmv).

The thing is, you can't just add the two together. They work in conjunction, but the absolute maximum NRR is a function. Google it up, there are quite a few resources and Wikipedia actually does a fair job of explaining it as well. The reason you should use both, not just one or the other, is the way hearing works:

Sounds travels in waves due to molecules in the air knocking into one another. However, those molecules also knock into everything. Some of your hearing comes from the bones/tissue surrounding your ear/the ear itself. The plugs do a really good job at knocking down high frequency stuff, but the muffs help to knock down some of the lower frequencies that actually come through the side of your head.

Anyways, hopefully that is an overwhelming amount of information and should prove to ANYONE who shoots, indoor/outdoor, break/comp/homemadepieceofmetal, that you NEED to wear 2 sets of the best ear protection you can afford. Regardless of how long you've been shooting. If you can spend $500+ on a rifle/shotgun/pistol, you can spend $100 on good muffs and foam moldable ear plugs. If you shoot a lot (more than the average joe), I would highly recommend looking into custom molded ear plugs.

(EDITED: for completeness)
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Old January 8, 2018, 09:21 PM   #20
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I use plugs and muffs, but still have a complaint. Magnums with muzzle brakes. Actually anything with a muzzle brake is pretty bad. I wish they would legalize suppressors.
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Old January 9, 2018, 01:25 AM   #21
Machineguntony
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I wear ear plugs and 34 decibel muffs, and as others have stated, even thats not enough; however, it is the best you can currently do.

Part of the problem is that, even with muffs, sound can get in through the muffs and through your bones around your ear.

I would gladly contribute to a fund for someone to create a totally encapsulated helment that a shooter would wear as hearing protection. It would be like a motorcycle helment and would provide complete protection, thus preventing as much sound and vibration from penetrating to the shooter. Sure, people would think it’s weird at first, but a stylish design can help promote acceptance; and as more people wore it, it would become normal. My hearing means a lot to me, and I’d gladly wear a helment, if the helment would be the ultimate ear protection.
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Old January 9, 2018, 08:15 AM   #22
PlatinumCore16
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Machineguntony, if you simply wear a motorcycle helmet as is, with plugs on underneath, you will already get a huge amount of sound dampening. Modern helmets are designed with acoustics in mind and help to quiet down road/wind noise a lot. Granted they are not generally designed with shock-wave supression in mind. Just not sure how much more real sound de-amplification you would get with separate materials in the same format. Most of sound/acoustic suppression comes from dense/layered materials with air gaps. It's all about isolation, but also weight. You would basically have to have a booth to completely eliminate sound from your left and right and you would still get reflection from downrange unless there was some sort of "porthole" affair to shoot through.
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Old January 9, 2018, 08:35 AM   #23
Plunderer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jugornot View Post
I use plugs and muffs, but still have a complaint. Magnums with muzzle brakes. Actually anything with a muzzle brake is pretty bad. I wish they would legalize suppressors.
Jugornot, I'll agree with you on that one. Some seem to bite your ears no matter how good your earpro is.

I recently passed on a sweet-looking braked 10" .204 Ruger Contender barrel. It looked like it'd be a boatload of fun, but I bet that thing is louder than hell.
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Old January 11, 2018, 01:38 PM   #24
cw308
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I bought from Midway , you mix two compounds together insert in each ear to form fit ear plugs . Sounds crazy , was thinking I probably would have to take a drive to the hospital . Didn't and for me they work great , made a few . Even shoot indoors with them . Headphone type bothered me banchrest shooting ,that's why I gave them a try . That's the only hearing protection I wear . What is the first word I say though for some reason . Only kidding .
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Old January 12, 2018, 09:58 PM   #25
bellguy
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...a totally encapsulated helment that a shooter would wear as hearing protection. It would be like a motorcycle helment and would provide complete protection, thus preventing as much sound and vibration from penetrating to the shooter.
Funny, I've thought exactly the same thing for the past year or two. It might not work too well for aiming a rifle but would be great for handguns.
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