Not all shooting ear protection is made the same. In fact, a few months ago I left my muff style hearing protection in my other car, and, because time was of the essence, I decided to use the foam ear plugs I had with me. I ended up regretting that decision because my right ear rang for several hours afterward, and even ached like there was something wrong with it.
You’ll be happy to know that my ear has healed, and I now have multiple sets of ear muff noise reducers. My own humble – but accurate – opinion is that you just can’t be too safe when it comes to your eyes and ears.
This is why I tend to use a set of ear plugs along with a set of muffs to help deaden the sound of gunshot as much as possible. After all, it is not an easy task to reverse ear damage, so the best defense is to be proactive.
Generally speaking, ear plugs are totally insufficient for the gun range. While it is true that when they do work properly, they can do a halfway decent job at deadening enough sound to keep your hearing in tact. However, when the plug doesn’t conform to the ear canal properly, ear damage could ensue.
This is one of the reasons why you see some seasoned gun guys with a set of plugs and a set of muffs, creating two barriers for loud noises to get around. But, there are literally tons of different styles and makes of hearing protection that range from affordable, all the way up to forcing you to forgo your favorite cup of coffee for a few months in order to afford them.
The first type can be bought for very cheap, and can be found at just about any sporting goods department in your favorite big box store, or online from Amazon. Generally, these muffs cost between $15-$30. This type of shooting ear protection is good for the range, but lacks in one area. The wearer has a harder time hearing the softer noises, such as a deer stepping on a twig, or the range officer calling out a command.
In order to combat the fact that you just can’t hear lower level noises, some companies have developed ear muffs that electronically amplify the harder to hear sounds, while deadening the loud bangs that we’ve grown accustomed to love. While these generally tend to be a bit more expensive, the extra price you pay is worth being able to hear amplified sounds without causing ear damage.
One company lists their electronic muffs on Amazon for less than 60 dollars, and, as of this writing, the product has over 5,000 reviews. Most of those reviews are from happy customers, with an average rating of 4.4 stars.
If money isn’t something that you worry about on a regular basis, you may just want to buy some of the most expensive ear protection you can get, like these from MSA. They don’t have a lot of reviews, but hey, who wants to spend that much money on a pair of ear muffs when you are halfway able to buy a decent gun at that price. But hey, whatever floats your boat.
No matter which direction you go, make sure that your hearing protection works well, and fits you right. Because, the last thing you want is to damage or lose you hearing.