Wanna Go Shooting This Weekend? Here Is the Best Ear Protection Around

Reuters

Wanna Go Shooting This Weekend? Here Is the Best Ear Protection Around

We present some ideas on how to tackle this important issue.

 

To give you an idea of just how loud typical noises are in comparison with rifles and firearms, we’ve created this guide to determine “painful,” “extremely loud,” “very loud,” “moderate,” and “faint” noises.

A painful noise would be considered any noise over 120 dB. This would be airplanes taking off, amplified music at a rock concert, air-raid sirens, and jackhammers.

 

An extremely loud noise would be any noise over 90 dB. For example, loud model airplanes, technical equipment or machinery, snowmobiles, chainsaw, subway, and lawnmowers. People who regularly are exposed to these levels of noise need to wear hearing protection devices all the time.

If you are mowing your lawn twice a month throughout the summer, you probably don’t need a state of the art hearing protection device, but some hearing protection is a good idea.

A very loud noise would be any noise over 60 dB including vacuum cleaners, alarm clocks, and busy streets.

Moderate noises fall between 40 and 50 dB and are typical in the day-to-day running of a household or office. This also includes rainfall and wind, in some cases.

Faint noises would be consistent with whispers in a quiet library. These are also noises you would hear around the house such as the “kick” of the refrigerator, the ticking of a clock of the furnace turning on in the winter.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF NOISE REDUCTION DEVICES?

There are so many harmful noises that can rob us of our hearing so quickly that devices have been developed to stop that from happening.

In our day-to-day lives, most noises fall between moderate and loud ratings, according to the guide above. But when shooters decide to break out the firearms, the noise rating goes through the roof.

In order to protect yourself from these damaging noises, it is important to be familiar with your options for protection.There are several types of hearing protection devices including electronic and analog earplugs and earmuffs.

Passive hearing protection is the most common form of hearing protection worn for everyday activities such as mowing lawns or doing do-it-yourself work around the house.These are soft ear plugs that are made from plastic or a foam substance that are inserted into the ear canal and help reduce the amount of noise that a person’s hearing is exposed to.

However, they are called passive hearing devices because they just sit in the ear and use physical space to reduce the amount of noise getting through to the ear canal and ear drums.

They do not offer any real form of protection for extended wearing, and because they are often very inexpensive, they are not usually made of high-quality materials. They are not recommended for long term wearing or for using rifles and firearms for any length of time.

Another form of passive hearing protection that covers the ears is a simple earmuff. These can be purchased at any department store or hardware store and are generally inexpensive and do a slightly better job of reducing the noise in the environment. However, unless they have electronic sound to actively drown out the louder noises, they are not effective at reducing the decibels for rifles and firearms for shooters.

These kinds of hearing protection devices are made from foam, plastic, and rubber and fit over the ears, rather than inside the ear canal. If they are not worn properly, they are virtually useless to protect the ear from loud noise.

The best kind of hearing protection for shooters are noise-cancelling electronic earmuffs or earplugs. These products use an electronic technology that reduces the level of noise in the area, but the noise produced is not harmful to the user’s hearing.

What is great about electronic noise-cancelling hearing protection devices is that they allow the user to continue to hear what is happening around them, so they are not totally unaware of things going on, people talking, or people approaching them from behind.

Ear plugs and earmuffs can drown out the sound making it difficult to stay alerted to your surroundings while shooting. Some models offer independent volume controls, longer lasting battery packs and amplified sound of one’s surroundings while still canceling out gunshots at close range.

Depending on the type of firearm you are going to be shooting, the environment you are going to be shooting in, and the length of time you are going to be shooting, you may want to invest in an electronic version of the hearing protection devices available on the market today.

For the occasional rifleman, regular earmuffs might do the trick, but it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to protecting your hearing.

If you are using a higher caliber rifle, it is not a bad idea to double up on the amount of hearing protection you have: you can insert earplugs into your ear canals and use earmuffs on top of them if you do not have access to electronic noise-cancelling earmuffs.

WHAT IS ELECTRONIC HEARING PROTECTION?

Electronic hearing protection takes hearing protection devices to a whole new level. They are intuitive and provide a quality experience while shooting even the loudest firearms.

The way that electronic hearing protectors work is that they will amplify surrounding sounds to the user so they can stay alert to their surroundings and actually be able to hear better than if they weren’t wearing ear muffs at all.

But! When a shot is fired from the rifle or firearm, the electronic earmuffs recognize the sudden loud noise and immediately cancel out the sounds that are coming through the hearing protection device. When the electronic earmuffs recognize that the loud sound has passed, it will resume amplifying surrounding noises.

Some even provide low level ambient noise such as soft music or patterns of sound to help rifleman relax. This switching on and off between protection and amplification is known in the industry as attack time.

When a pair of noise-cancelling electronic hearing protectors have a fast attack time, the user is cut off from the loud noise faster and thus is protected from the dangers of higher decibel sounds much quicker.

Not all electronic hearing protection devices are created equal. It is important to do your research about what you need based on your firearm or rifle being used. If you tend to use a higher caliber rifle, you will want to invest in a high quality electronic hearing protection device with a fast attack time.

Later in this article, we will review the top hearing protection devices on the market for shooters and hunters so you can see for yourself what is important and what to look out for when making your decision about which device is right for you.

HOW IS ELECTRONIC HEARING PROTECTION DIFFERENT FROM REGULAR HEARING PROTECTION?

In simple terms, regular hearing protection does not require any power to reduce the noise that is getting into your ears. By using devices such as earplugs or earmuffs, your hearing is protected to a degree by physically blocking out all of the noises around you, including the shots from your firearm.

An electronic hearing protection device can actually make everyday sounds around you louder so you can hear better but recognizes when a shot has been fired and will drowned out the sound to fully protect your hearing.

The difference in quality results in a higher priced product, but the protection and reassurance you receive through wearing electronic hearing protection devices, especially noise-cancelling ones, is worth the extra investment.

If you don’t have access to a pair of electronic hearing protection devices, regular hearing protection is better than no hearing protection, so don’t decide not to wear anything if you don’t have electronic protection earmuffs.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT APPLICATIONS OF ELECTRONIC HEARING PROTECTION?

INDUSTRIAL

There are many applications for wearing electronic hearing protection devices in the industrial and construction worlds. Extremely loud machinery and tools can cause serious damage to a worker’s ears and hearing.

It is typically standard practice to wear some form of hearing protection on the job, but electronic hearing protection should be used for greater comfort and consistency of protection.

There are a number of applications in the industrial world that require hearing protection including residential and commercial construction, road work, demolition teams, garbage crews and much more.

Military

The military is usually the first to try new technologies, and they have adopted a series of electronic and passive hearing protection devices to accommodate their various needs. This is true for militaries all over the world, not just North America.

While the military has a duty to protect soldiers during training and in combat, the products used by the military are not always the highest quality. Electronic hearing protection is necessary, however, for gunners and anyone in machinery such as tanks and helicopters.

Recreation/Sports

It can be very exciting to watch live sports, but it can also be devastating to your eardrums.

If you are into race cars and motor sport in general, then you’ll want to invest in an electronic noise-cancelling hearing protection device.