Until you get to experience the pain from your ears, you cannot see the importance of protecting your ears right now while on a shooting range. Some people have ended up with a substantial hearing loss or continuous ringing in the ears because they could not take a moment to find the right hearing protection. If you are new to shooting, you have to always pay attention to the instructions from the trainer about protecting your ears.
It is common that the sound of gunfire can be heard from far. Just imagine that you are the one firing the gun, the noise would just be overwhelming. It is crucial that you get a way of protecting yourself. It does not have to be the continuous exposure to the gun noise, but a single gunshot can often lead to some temporary hearing loss. It would be accompanied by a humming or hissing noise in the ears.
The different pistols and rifles would have different noise levels, but one thing to note is that they often have a noise level of above 150dB, for example: my .22 caliber rifle noise levels is 130dB. For the human ear, having a noise level of 90dB exposed to the ears for 8 hours could lead to more damage.
Hearing Protection Types
By now, you must be thinking about the best ways you could use in protecting your ears. A number of options exist, so make sure you get to choose the one that works great for your environment and also personal preference.
- Electronic noise-canceling protection
This type of hearing protection will have an electronic technology that can be engaged to help reduce the noise to a minimum and not harmful anymore. The whole dampening of the noise happens instantly the moment it is detected to have passed a certain threshold. The best part is that you would still be able to hear what is happening around you unlike when using the earmuffs.
- Passive hearing protection
This type would feature other hearing protection such as the earmuffs that come with a cup that would cover the whole ear. The earmuffs come with a headband to hold the cups in place over long periods. As much as they would not be electronic, they help a lot with dampening the gun noise and still be comfortable to wear as compared to the ear plugs.
- Passive ear plugs
These are the basic type of hearing protection that you can get for yourself today. You would find them being made of soft plastic or foam so that they can easily get into the ear opening. The work of the plugs is to dampen the noises from the surroundings that your ear might be exposed to. The name passive is used as they do not come with any electronic connection that would be used for dampening the noise.
Considerations for choosing the best hearing protection
- The Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)
This is definitely the most important consideration to always consider when looking to buy the best hearing protection. This is what will provide you with effective protection. Depending on the model, you want one that can reduce the noise to 33dB or lower. You would get most of the earplugs having an NRR of 23 to 33dB. Having the lower NRR is something that will drive you to pick the model. The trick is to always compare between the various models to end up with a model that will deliver the best performance each time you get to use them.
- The comfort levels
As much as you want to protect your ears from the loud noise, you also have to consider the comfort levels you would be getting from the model. Different manufacturers would try to make the hearing protection to be a great fit for noise reduction, but still comfortable for long wearing sessions. Think of yourself being outdoors hunting for hours, make sure that you get a model that will keep you feeling comfortable or it could turn into unbearable irritation. Keep in mind that some materials could cause allergies or skin reactions. If you have a sensitive skin, keep in mind the type of material used to make the hearing protection.
- The appearance
The appearance in this guide is not how they look, but rather the functionality of the design. You need to keep in mind things like the color when buying the hearing protection. You do not want to have earplugs of red color, yellow or any color that would scream your presence in the area. You can be sure that the game would easily spot such bright colors and easily give away your position. Looking for hearing protection that would be designed to integrate well with the surroundings and easily give you an advantage when hunting.
You have to consider what more are you getting from the hearing protection other than the noise reduction and the comfort. Depending on the model, you can get some of the electronic types being great even for listening to music and watching moving. Some of the earplugs would be waterproof so that you get to exploit outdoor shooting during the wet weather too. Consider comparing between the different models to see which one can offer the best option.
- The price
The price is something that will never miss when it comes to the consideration of the hearing protection. Some models would be more expensive than others and still offer less. The price would determine what the user would choose in the end. The trick is making sure that you get a model that shows the best features and most importantly the protection is guaranteed.
It is important that you get to pick the right model of hearing protection at all times. From the tips given, you should be in a position to pick the best model that works great and ensure that you get to keep your hearing abilities. Always advise your friends to pick the right ear protection if you see them not using one while at a shooting range.
Roy Ayers is a dedicated and a full time survival author, editor and blog writer on hunting. Over the years, I have managed to work on various article and blog series that all talk about hunting and surviving the wilderness. I manage to do this because of personal experience outdoors. This has always helped me to having an easy time crafting the articles for my audience over the years. Keep on reading my articles and blogs to get the useful tips and guides important for outdoor survival and hunting. Come back more often to my website: MyhuntinGear to update yourself on the best new hunting and survival tips.