Accessories & Gear
Shooting Ear Protection
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.
August 10, 2015 at 10:02 AM
Let me enter into this conversation as well. I am a 32 Disabled Veteran whose life was spent behind a rifle. With what I was actually doing, hearing protection was NOT provided as it could be used against me if ever found. This ultimately led to hearing loss for which I receive compensation today.
Once I retired I joined the NRA & bought their hearing protection, as I found that after being in the range I could barely hear a thing. The NRA, “plugs on a headset,” did virtually nothing to alleviate this problem. Then I ran across the Peltor double system. Muffs & plugs combined. The plugs have two types conjoined as well. When I need to hear something like deer, I can use just the one side of the plugs & forgo the muffs. If I need a bit more for an “outdoor” range I can simply flip the plugs to the other end or use the muffs with the first side of the plugs. When inside however it is full blown protection with the second end of the plugs & the muffs.
It really gets old having to remind everyone to speak up or asking, “WHAT?” I hate it but actually, they hate it more!
November 5, 2015 at 10:51 AM
Thank you for your service.
July 3, 2015 at 9:48 AM
shooting for over forty years and it took 15 of those to get smart , and price of my first set of hearing aids. was enough to get me warring both ear plugs , and a good set of muffs. I am not preaching I am just trying to save others the expense and pain I have been threw.
July 2, 2015 at 10:14 PM
I carry both in my truck..The foam and muffs..Works great…