- Science Related to Your Ear Protection
- Things to Consider While Buying Hearing Protection for Shooting
- How to Choose the Best Hearing Protection?
- Hearing Damage and Its Symptoms
- Benefits of Using Hearing Protection or Electronic Protection
- Types of Shooting Headphones or Hearing Protection Available for Shooters
- Top 4 Shooting Headphones that You Can Buy for Hearing Protection
No matter what kind of activities you are doing, whether you are going to the range for target practice, to hunt or just to shoot soda cans, it is quite essential that you should protect your ears from the loud sound of a gunshot. There are lots of applications that the gun owners can use to protect their ears from the gunshot sounds, such as earplugs, earmuffs or headphones and some electronic device.
Talking more about is, the earplugs get perfectly fit inside your ear canal, and the earmuffs are designed in such a way that they wore over the ears. Both the equipment provide utmost protection, and you can bring with you anytime you are going for shooting. Some people think that since they are only firing occasionally, they don’t need any kind of protection for this. But the truth is a single shot has the potential to cause permanent hearing damage. So, it will be wise for you to use Shooting Headphones while shooting.
Science Related to Your Ear Protection
The sounds are measured regarding Decibels (dB). Normal human speech produces around 60 dB of the noise level. The car engine can produce around 70-90 dB sound level. It has proved that sounds with more than 100 dB can damage the hearing in the long run. But a single instance of noise more than 140 dB can damage the ears for the permanent period.
A 12-gauge shotgun produces over 156 dB which is harmful to ears. Since most of the guns surpass the safe level for hearing, it is important that you should use protection whenever you fire a gun, whether it is a pistol, shotgun, or rifle. Protecting the hearing using shooting headphones considered as a part of basic gun safety.
Things to Consider While Buying Hearing Protection for Shooting
In the market, you will find a lot of shooting hearing protection. That’s why it is important to consider various factors while buying such hearing protection. Some major factors are.
Amount of usage
Are you planning on just going out shooting for once in a blue moon? Are you a person who practice shooting frequently? If you are not a dedicated type shooter or regular shooter or hunter, then simpler options will be perfect for you. If you are a regular shooter, you should buy dedicated and custom shooting headphones. It will be a better and cost-effective option for you.
Type of use
The type of headphones that you get for hearing protection also depends on the way you are going to use them. If you need to hear conversations or commands of your ringmaster or trainer, the foam made headphones are not for you. Such kind of earphones completely blocks the sound, no matter what is the source of the sound. Some options allow you to hear lower-decibel noises. You can go for electronic shooting headphones.
Check the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of the headphone
All the hearing protection devices available in the market come with a Noise Reduction Rating. It shows how effectively the headphone can protect your ears from loud sounds by reducing the sounds entering the ears. Different headphones have different NR ratings. Foam headphones come with lowest NRR rating.
Level of comfort
Different options provide the shooter different comfort level while shooting. This factor is something that completely depends on your personal preference. It’s up to you. Try the device to know the comfort level. This way you can choose the best shooting headphone for you.
Battery life of headphones
While buying electronic headphones, you should know how long does the headphone will last. You should go for the headphones that do not require frequent battery replacement. Besides, check the battery with a shorter charging duration. To know about this, you can go through the manual. You can even check the website to know more about the headphone.
When it comes to protecting your hearing, you can’t compromise with it. But some users don’t even care about it. They assume all the electronic shooting headphones available in the market offer the same quality. While buying the headphones make sure you have verified the company reputation, the materials they have used, and the durability of the products. You will want to buy a headphone and then not use it because they are poor in quality or they break soon after you use them.
Some hearing protections are quite better than other options when it comes to shooting. The right choice depends on your personal preferences as well as your budget.
How to Choose the Best Hearing Protection?
The best ear protection may vary from person to person, depending on the following factors:
- The person’s level of comfort.
- Ear canals size of the users.
- The environment under which the hearing protection will be used.
- The expected noise levels.
The primary objective of hearing protection is to provide maximum protection to the ears. They reduce the amount of noise of a gunshot. There are also some other benefits like noise suppression which allow the shooter to hear the command, protect the ear canal or bones and more. Make sure the hearing protection offers you’re all such benefits.
Hearing Damage and Its Symptoms
There is a lot of symptoms of hearing damage, which may present over time or immediate of post-noise occurrence. The symptoms include:
- Sounds will become distorted and muffled.
- You will feel difficulties while hearing and understanding the talks.
- Tinnitus, a ringing or roaring in your ears.
- Hearing loss for the temporary period, it can be for one to two days.
To reduce the number of damage shooters should wear shooting ear muffs. They work by reducing the amount of noise entering the ear.
Benefits of Using Hearing Protection or Electronic Protection
Protect you against ear infections
Headphones made of cheap materials can lead to ear infections. In the case of electronic headphones, you will get high-quality materials, and they come coated with antibacterial layers. It completely prevents the bacteria from growing.
Perfectly fit your ears and offer maximum comfort
If you are looking for a comfortable fit, go for electronic shooting headphones. They will get perfectly fit with your ear and offer you much comfort. You can even wear them regularly. It is a great way to protect your hearing.
Prevent hearing loss and damage
They are like the best defense against your hearing loss. With better fitting, they will feel more comfortable. They come with noise cancellation features which automatically block louder sounds.
Train in real time
The headphones do not affect your communication with the trainer. It only blocks the louder noise. You can still hear the command of your trainer.
Types of Shooting Headphones or Hearing Protection Available for Shooters
These are the easiest, cheapest form of hearing protection that you can use. These earplugs are less-expensive, small and versatile and can be used for different purpose. With 33 NRR, it is quite effective for noise blocking. However, they have some drawbacks too. They only can protect the ear canal, which means the other sensitive bones of your ear will leave unprotected. Another drawback is, the earplugs dampen all noise and you will not be able to hear the commands of your trainer.
These are easy to use. Earplugs require a special technique to insert properly. But in the case of ear muffs, you don’t need to do any kind of adjustment. Moreover, the shooting ear muffs of Light Speed, Boss, Walker, etc. protect the entire ear, unlike the earplugs which protect only the canal. To achieve better protection, you can combine with earplugs.
But there are also some drawbacks like you will not be able to wear the headgear comfortably. Like the foam earplugs, they block out all types of noise.
Electronic ear muffs and ear plugs
These devices have a major advantage like they block louder noises with NRR of 85dB to 95dB. You will also get all the advantages of non-electric shooting headphones. Talking about the disadvantages, these are quite costliest options for hearing protection. The price can go up to $120 and more.
These are like custom-made earplug which combines all the features of best shooting ear protection. They prevent all the harmful noises and will not put stress on your ears while shooting. The downside of these is they don’t amplify the sound. They can block out loud noises with 32 NRR. They allow regular conversations with 10 NRR.
Top 4 Shooting Headphones that You Can Buy for Hearing Protection
Howard Leight R-01526 Electronic Earmuff
The headphone is made of high-quality material, and you will get two just by paying for one. Such electronic headphone protects your hearing while still being able to hear the voice of your trainer. The noise reduction rating of the headset is 22dB, and noise cancellation rate is 82dB. This headset is perfect for shooting caliber firearms continuously.
It has a sleek curve at the bottom of the earpieces which offers smooth and fluid shouldering. The headset has two AA batteries which run for a long time. It has the automatic shut-off feature after 4 hours. You can even connect MP3 players with it. It will offer you long-lasting hearing protection.
Howard Leight By Honeywell R-01902 Shooting Headphones
This headphone comes with the noise reduction rating of 30dB. The noise cancellation level is more than 82dB. If you are using a high-caliber firearm, this will be a better option for you. With 2 AAA batteries, it features automatic shut-off after 4 hours. The battery last for around 350 hours. The headphone features low profile earcups, adjustable headband, compact folding design which make it very convenient for storage. It offers more natural hearing and better communication.
Walker’s Razor Slim Electronic Hearing Protection Headphone
These shooting headphones work very well outdoors, and the design is more for visual appeal. They are designed in such a way that you can hear the voice of animals and people when you are hunting or shooting. Each of the earpieces is adjustable. They come with ultra-thin rubberized cups, with wind resistance, microbial resistance. It has two omnidirectional microphones. It has sound activate protection more than 89dB and the noise reduction level is 23dB. It works on 2 AAA batteries.
3M Peltor Ta
The earphone has an NR rating of 20dB. There is an audio jack through which you can connect external devices like cell phone or MP3 players. There is also an external battery compartment, which has 2 AAA batteries. The device has an auto shutoff feature. The shape of the ear-cups is very comfortable and get fit well. You can put the earmuffs on the whole day while shooting.
While shooting, you should protect your ears, but at the same time, you need to be able to communicate with your trainers. This is something that not all the headphones will able to provide you. The level of comfort also differs from headset to headset. Some will offer you fewer features while some come with some useful features. You should take your buying decision very carefully. Do sufficient research about the headphones with shooting ear protection before buying one. Buy the best one and maintain it properly to keep it running for a long time.