Active hunters and shooters know there aren’t many things more enjoyable than heading out to the local shooting range or bringing home dinner. However, most shooters neglect the importance of hearing protection. Shooting without hearing protection can cause permanent hearing damage that cannot be reversed! It’s important for both new and experienced shooters to find the proper hearing protection that works best for them.
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngogly (AAO), exposure to noise at or above the 80 to 85 decibels (db) range can produce injury to the ear. 80 – 85db! Did you know an average gunshot is at 140 decibels?
So if earplugs and earmuffs are so important why don’t shooters wear them? Well, some shooters will tell you wearing hearing protection can be a hassle at times. For some, disposable ear plugs are a pain in the butt to insert and earmuffs can interferer with shooting techniques. Well I’m here to inform everybody, where there’s a will there’s a way!
Earplugs: Earplugs are a great inexpensive way to protect your ears. The trick with earplugs is finding the right pair and size that fit comfortably in your ear canal. Usually, when earplugs cause discomfort they are not properly inserted. Today, there’s are a variety of earplugs on the market with many different features including “no roll down” earplugs and “no-touch” earplugs. These styles eliminate a lot of concerns.
Earmuffs: Earmuffs are a great solution for those who do not prefer earplugs. Standard earmuffs are rather inexpensive and offer a noise reduction level as high as 30db. Earmuffs are usually available in two models, the classic headband model or behind the ear models. Depending on the climate, wearing earmuffs for a long period of time can get rather warm.
Electronic Headsets: Shooting and Hunting Electronic Headsets are the most common among shooters. These headsets give shooters the best of both worlds. Instantaneous protection from dangerous noise such as gunfire, along with distortion free amplification of low level sounds such as range commands and conversations. However, some hunters will tell you they can get in the way. The Peltor Tactical Sport is a popular headset because it’s designed specifically for hunters and marksmen. It’s whole reason for being is to cut-out the loud noises while amplifying the low ones AND most importantly, not get in the way!
Wearing the proper hearing protection for shooting is a must. Now that you are aware of your options, the one you choose depends on your own personal preferences. Just know, something is better than nothing!