The Top 6 Shooting Ear Protection Product Review
Your ears are very sensitive, and nothing can damage them quite like loud gunshots. While a day at the shooting range may be a fun activity, losing your ability to hear is far from enjoyable. The good news is, with the right preparation and knowledge you can protect your ears and still enjoy shooting. Keep reading to learn more about those amazing things on the sides of your head and
how to keep them safe during your favorite activities.
What Causes Hearing Loss?
If the nerves of your ear are damaged, they cannot properly carry the information to your brain that processes sound. This issue also occurs if any part of your ear experiences trauma or significant damage. While hearing loss may be temporary in some cases, irreparable damage can lead to a permanent loss of hearing.
Your inner ear contains thousands of hair cells that help your brain pick up on sound. While these cells can suffer damage and continue to function properly, repeated damage will lead to hearing loss. Exposing yourself to loud noises can greatly impact your hearing because these noises cause your hair cells to bend. If the increased noise level is a one-time or infrequent occurrence, your cells will be able to return to normal. However, if the experience is repeated or exposure occurs over a long period of time, the damage may become too great to undo.
Loud noises can also damage the nerve that transmits sound information to your brain, called the auditory nerve. You may find it difficult to hear in a louder environment or experience hearing loss over an extended period of time. The effects of hearing loss are not always evident right after exposure to loud noises.
Noise-induced hearing loss can affect one or both of your ears at any age. More than 10 million U.S. adults who are younger than 70 suffer from noise-induced hearing loss. This condition can be caused by repeatedly attending loud concerts or playing music at high volumes with headphones on. You could also experience hearing loss if you spend any amount of time around guns.
Decibels (dB) are units used to measure sound levels. Higher decibels indicate louder sounds and lower decibels indicate quieter or softer sounds. There are ranges of decibels that are considered safe for humans and do not cause hearing loss. However, there are decibel levels that are dangerous for human ears and can cause pain or damage with increased exposure.
The standard “safe” decibel level is anything less than 70dB. Sounds at this decibel level or below will not have a great impact on your hearing or cause hearing loss. Normal conversation is considered to be about 60 to 70dB and most average home noise is around 40dB, making both of these sounds safe for extended periods of time.
Sounds at or above 85dB are considered dangerous. These sounds can cause hearing loss after long exposure or frequent exposure. Sounds that have a higher decibel level require less time to cause hearing loss. A rock concert is around 120-129dB, which explains why your hearing may seem muffled the day after you attend a concert. Gun shots tend to range much higher in decibels, averaging about 140dB.
How to Choose the Right Ear Protection
For people who spend time hunting or shooting recreationally, it is crucial that you protect your ears. Guns have very high decibel levels and cause significant damage to your hearing after prolonged or frequent exposure. You may recognize the signs of hearing loss right away, or you can suffer from delayed hearing loss later in life.
When it comes to selecting the right ear protection, there are a couple of factors to consider. You should ensure that your ear protection provides the necessary level of noise reduction that you need for your activity. Also, it should be comfortable enough to wear as long as needed. You do not want ear protection that you need for a whole day to become uncomfortable after just five minutes.
Most ear protection can provide at least 10dB of sound reduction, however this is not enough for handling weapons. You should look for ear protection that can reduce the decibel level of your gun to something in a safer range. Try to get the total decibel level as close to 80dB as possible to protect your ears and hearing.
Different Kinds of Ear Protection
There are a lot of types of ear protection to choose from when it comes to shooting. Again, it is important that you select ear protection that is comfortable enough for extended periods of time. You want to be able to wear your ear protection for as long as you want to shoot.
Disposable earplugs can go inside your ear to protect your ear from loud noises. This tends to be the cheaper option for ear protection, and you can purchase earplugs in bulk at a deep discount. The materials can mold to your ear and provide a fit that is custom and comfortable. This type of ear protection is very portable and does not take up much room when traveling.
Surefire 4 – Sonic Defender Earplugs
This product offers a 24dB noise reduction rating, which significantly lowers the noise level around you. They are made of hypoallergenic material and medical-grade polymer. The earplugs will stay soft in your ear and remain comfortable throughout the day.
You can easily fit a helmet or hat on over these earplugs because they stay out of the way. The convenient cord keeps the earplugs from falling out and getting lost. You can also clean and reuse these earplugs many times. At just $13.49, these earplugs are a great value for your money.
Westone DefendEar Digital Shooter Earplugs
If you are looking for something a little more fancy, these earplugs offer unmatched protection with a sleek look. The digital earplugs have a noise reduction rating of 30dB and amplification levels up to 86dB. They are designed for shooting or hunting activities because they block almost all noise around you and keep the short, loud bursts of sound from damaging your ears. This is a considerably more expensive option though, with the set setting you back $299.
Howard Leight Shooter’s Earplugs
For an economical noise reduction solution, these earplugs offer protection at a lower price. The earplugs feature a 25dB noise reduction rating to keep your hearing safe while shooting. They are surprisingly comfortable thanks to the Conforming Material Technology that fits the earplugs to your ear canal by using body heat.
This set of earplugs comes with a cord to keep your earplugs from falling or getting lost while shooting. You also receive two pairs in a pack for only $6.29. The earplugs are designed to fit any ear and stay comfortable for extended periods of time.
Earmuffs are a convenient way to protect your ears while shooting. They are designed with a headband that keeps the earmuffs in place and the pads form a protective seal around your ear. You can experience a higher level of comfort throughout the day and this type of ear protection is more durable than earplugs.
The lightweight earmuffs from Pro For Sho are easy to carry around and compact enough to fit in almost any bag. This is an affordable ear muff option to protect your ears at the shooting range or while hunting. They offer one of the highest noise reduction ratings at 34dB, which will significantly reduce loud, sharp noises.
These ear muffs are available in a wide range of colors to match any style. The solid plastic design is durable enough to last for many uses, and the product will only set you back $16.45.
ClearArmor Professional Ear Muffs
The folding ear muffs from ClearArmor offer a comfortable product that reduces noise around you. The ear muffs offer protection for short noises at 125dB or extended exposure over 85dB. The ear pads feature soft foam cushions that form a seal around your ears. The padded head band is comfortable enough to wear all day without slipping off your head.
Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact Sport Sound Amplification Electronic Earmuff
For a sophisticated set of ear muffs, this pair from Howard Leight will do the trick. The electronic microphones built into the headphones can keep sounds above 82dB out of your ears. These ear muffs feature a noise reduction rating of 22dB. You can connect your MP3 player through the AUX input and adjust the headband for the best fit.
This product is comfortable and offers padded earcups for a soft seal. They fold up for easy storage and are very portable. They will set you back $51.84, but the quality and durability are worth the cost.
When it comes to protecting your ears, you can never be too careful. A day of recreational shooting shouldn’t lead to a lifetime of hearing problems. By incorporating a simple and inexpensive product into your shooting or hunting activities, you can save yourself from a lot of frustration, medical bills, and regret.