Looking to save your hearing?
After years of shooting and thousands of rounds with different sets of hearing protection, it’s time to take an in depth look at some of the most popular sets on the market.
The most common muzzle blast comes in at around 140 decibels. A magnum cartridge will be more and a smaller cartridge like 17HMR will be less.
To avoid causing serious and permanent hearing damage, you need quality hearing protection for shooting. Your ears get damaged from vibrations of the gunshot, this damages the tiny hairs in your inner ear.
Once these hairs are damaged it can lead to permanent ringing in the ears. The damage is cumulative also, so each exposure compounds the damage done.
Now that we know gunshots can cause hearing loss, lets look at some of the different types available. There are plenty of options for hearing protection such as earplugs, earmuffs and active hearing protection.
Earplugs are usually made of small pieces of foam that insert into the ear. The foam forms a seal and blocks sound from entering the ear.
Earplugs tend to be more suited at handling lower level noise and are very common to help people sleep by blocking out sound.
When hunting earplugs can be a great choice as they fit in your pocket and take up almost no weight. Once you spot game and are getting ready for the shot, its simple to reach into your pocket and fit earplugs.
These are the lowest cost hearing protection you can get and if you lose one its easy to replace.
- Least expensive option
- Extremely compact
Using a chainsaw or operating heavy equipment you would have used earmuffs. These are the next step up from earplugs.
Earmuffs use a headband and foam pads to block out unwanted sounds. There is no electronic component to these, so all sound will be muffled by the pads.
These are favored because of the comfort the headband and foam pads provide when wearing them for an extended time.
You can use these with earplugs for added protection as well.
- Comfortable for extended use
- Easy to use
One size fits all, the ProCase earmuffs are adjustable and comfortable.
Howard Leight Earmuffs
A great slimline set of earmuffs providing both comfort and durability.
Sordin Supreme Pro X
This headset is used all over the world by military, range shooters and heavy equipment operators.
The electronic function of the headset works by compressing harmful levels of noise whilst allowing surrounding noise in.
When looking at high quality hearing protection for shooting, you want to ensure you are getting the best sound cancelling capabilities.
The Sordin’s don’t completely cut off loud noise, they compress the noise down to a safe level and amplify the lower sounds. Being used by the military and special operations units around the world you can rest assured these earmuffs will last.
They are completely waterproof and are designed to work in a range of environments and conditions and still perform. The Sordin’s have dual microphones which provide a stereo effect which aids in identifying the direction of sounds.
The Supreme-Pro X’s weigh in at 330 grams, making them lightweight and easy to throw into the range bag. The fit and feel of the Supreme-Pro X’s will not disappoint, their solid construction and comfort is what makes them one of the best hearing protection headsets on the market.
The gel seals on the Supreme-Pro X’s offer a form fitting seal around your ear. The gel cups are a lot more comfortable than typical foam ear cups. Foam ear cups also tend to lose their spring and wear down over time.
The Sordin’s take 2 x AAA batteries which last for around 600 hours of use. They will turn off after 4 hours of use to save battery in case they are left on.
These electronic earmuffs hit every mark for providing you with the best hearing protection for shooting and a high-quality design.
They leave competitors behind and remain the top model of hearing protection available. They really are the best on the market.
- Rugged military spec construction
- 600 hours battery life
- Extremely comfortable
- AUX Input
Howard Leight Impact Sports
If you don’t have the money to spend on the Sordins, there are cheaper alternatives that can get you by. The most popular and affordable hearing protection on the market today are the Howard Leight Impact Sport’s. I can guarantee you would have seen these being worn at the range or by a Firearm personality on YouTube.
Like the Sordins, the Impact Sports have an integrated microphone which enhances speaking voices and natural sounds. The active hearing component blocks out gun shots and other loud noises over 82 decibels.
These have an average battery life of 350 hours and are powered by 2 x AAA batteries.
- Directional microphones
- Low profile earcups
- AUX input
- 350 hours battery life
The absolute rival in the same price range as the Impact Sports, is the Walker Razor’s. These are very similar however the Walker’s do have a more padded headband.
The one advantage the Impact Sport does have over the Walker’s is that they fold up smaller. This may come into play when storing them in a range or work bag.
Both are great products and compare very favorably to each other.
- Directional microphones
- AUX input
- Easy access volume control
- Low profile
If you are in situations where you don’t need active hearing, such as out hunting, then grab some earplugs.
Mack’s Ultra Soft Earplugs x 50
Going to be wearing hearing protection a bit more regularly? Stay on a budget and upgrade to earmuffs, get the ProCase or Howard Leight earmuffs.
If you need active hearing then get the Howard Leight active hearing set.
Howard Leight Impact Sport Active Hearing
If you can afford it, get a set of the high quality Sordin’s.