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Old January 30, 2010, 08:13 AM   #1
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Hearing protection?

I use passive muffs when I shoot and they provide excellent hearing protection. Their only drawback is that they screen out all noise equally. Thus, they not only dampen the sound of gunfire but they make it very difficult to hear virtually anything else. I've always thought that this raised some safety issues. When I'm at the range I WANT to hear what others are saying and doing even as I don't want my hearing damaged by gunfire.

Which brings me to the subject of electronic hearing protection. A friend of mine recently showed up at the range sporting a pair of electronic muffs which, he boasted, screened out the sound of gunshots but allowed other noise, particularly speech, to be heard unmuffled.

I'd like to know if any of you have had experience with electronic muffs. How effective are they? Do they provide the same level of protection as passive muffs or plugs? What are the best brands and who markets them? Any drawbacks to using them?
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Old January 30, 2010, 08:33 AM   #2
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The electronic ear muffs don't provide as much hearing protection. They only lessen the noise by around 20 decibels and they cost well over $100.

Who gives a damn if you have trouble hearing a conversation? Do you really value chit chat at the range more than your hearing? You should be using 2 sets of ear plugs, the foam ones and the headset ones and make sure that the ones you are using dampen the noise by 30 decibels each.
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Old January 30, 2010, 08:35 AM   #3
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Electronic hearing protection?

I have a pair of electronic hearing protection that is between 15 and 20 years old. The technology of the day made them big and physicly bulky.
Those electric hear muffs allowed you to hear what was being said to you but, shut down when a sharp sound like a gun shot sounded. My muff even works without it's 9 volt battery.
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Old January 30, 2010, 08:41 AM   #4
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I've used the Peltor tacticals for many years now. I also have several friends that purchased them after trying mine. They do the job of protection and also allow conversation between shots.

Unfortunately, I got them too late in my shooting lifetime, because I now wear hearing aids due to hearing loss caused by not wearing earmuffs all the time.

I can assure you that if you get them, you'll never look back.
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Old January 30, 2010, 08:57 AM   #5
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Peltor Tactical 7 , NRR 24 dB
A little bulky.

Howard Leight Impact Sport , NRR 22db

Once you use them , theres no going back . Great stuff. i.m.o.
And a hugh help when teaching kids to shoot.

Last edited by noyes; January 31, 2010 at 03:45 PM.
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Old January 30, 2010, 09:05 AM   #6
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I'm with Blondie357 on this one. I always have ear plugs in a small pouch on my wheelchair, and passive muffs in the range bag. I don't carry on a conversation when I'm shooting, unless it's shooting with my brother at his house.

We don't have any problem hearing each other, but with both of us wearing protection we might be yelling at each other LOL...but who cares?
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Old January 30, 2010, 09:06 AM   #7
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If you participate in shooting sports, such as IDPA, you need to hear the range commands, not just idle conversation. Electronic ear protection does the job but you get what you pay for. I had a cheap pair, then a midrange pair, and now a set of Peltor Tactical Pros and the difference in protection is worth the difference in price.

Like TomF1938, I also wear hearing aids now as a result of my failure to protect my hearing earlier in my life. Buy the best protection you can afford.

I also see shooters wear plugs under their electronic muffs. With the gain turned up, the range commands come through the plugs while they have double protection from the shots.
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Old January 30, 2010, 09:21 AM   #8
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For years I wore a decent pair of muffs. Recently, a friend suggested I try some electronic muffs. He had a pair that he let me use and I was very impressed. I went out and bought a pair for under $50. Initially I thought that my original set blocked more noise. The next time out I tried a pair of foam ear plugs under the electronic head set and was very pleased. The noise from the guns were deadened but I could hear conversations from my friends in the adjoining lanes.
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Old January 30, 2010, 10:57 AM   #9
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And the old EAR plugs are over 30 dB.
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Old January 30, 2010, 11:04 AM   #10
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I use the $20 generic shooting muffs you can buy at any gun store. They've always worked fine for me. When I'm hunting, I'll use earplugs instead. I don't do much talking when I'm shooting. If I'm instructing someone on how to shoot, I can hear and converse just fine with standard earmuffs.

I guess I'd have to try those electronic muffs to see what all the fuss is about.
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Old January 30, 2010, 11:11 AM   #11
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The newer electronic muffs work great, and you don't have to spend a fortune, particularly if they're not for hunting use.

My standard protection, especially indoors, is a pair of foam plugs with a electronic muffs over top. This allows extra protection, eliminates the worry of a gun stock moving the muff enough to lose protection and still allows almost full clarity of conversation/range commands. At todays prices, $49 or so, I think it's crazy to not have electronic muffs.

The cheaper muffs do sometimes have static problems at higher volume levels. Personally, I'm not really bothered by it. It sounds like I'm sitting near a river. Other people though, it drives crazy. It's not really a problem for paper punching though, it's more of a hunting thing.
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Old January 30, 2010, 01:18 PM   #12
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Blondie.357 said "Who gives a damn if you have trouble hearing a conversation? Do you really value chit chat at the range more than your hearing?"

I couldn't disagree more. With the newbies and others who aren't very gun safety conscious at some ranges, hearing what's going on around you could actually save your life.
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Old January 30, 2010, 07:47 PM   #13
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That was my point exactly. The ability to hear what's going on around you while at the range is as much a safety element as is watching other shooters. I'm a long time shooter and I've observed enough idiocy in my years at the range to fill a telephone book. It occurred to me that something that screened out gunshots but which allowed me to hear what others were saying would give me just that much more protection against the crazies that occasionally show up where I shoot.
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Old February 1, 2010, 08:37 AM   #14
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I go to my outdoor shooting range for the express purpose of being able to put on a pair if shooting muffs and not have to listen to the jibber-jabber of crazy people. Some crazy talk-too-muchers require not only my shooting muffs, but a magnum handgun or sometimes a machinegun to drown out the noise.

Why would I want an expensive device that let's me hear everything a crazy jibber-jabberer goes on about. With my $20 shooting muffs I can simply continue to stare down range and keep pulling the trigger.
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