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Best Ear Protection for Shooting
How Can Shooting Affect Your Ears and Hearing
Firing a gun has the ability to hit over 140dB to 190dB, this is enough to permanently damage your hearing when not wearing ear protection.
Due to the angle at which you fire a gun, means that one ear tends to be more exposed than the other. Being right handed this will be your left ear and being left handed this will be your right ear that is most exposed.
Noise Induced Hearing Loss
Constant exposure to the loudness level of shooting causes damage to the inner ear hair cells especially those responsible for high frequency hearing. Noise induced hearing loss is permanent and measures should be made to reduce the occurance of it. It is also noted that with noise induced hearing loss can result in tinnitus (see http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrhtm/rr768.htm) .
Tips To Protect Your Hearing and Ears Whilst Shooting
- Shooting carriers one of the loudest noise exposures in lesiure activities, make sure you always wearing ear protection firing a gun and the are specificually designed for shooting.
- Keep a pair of disposable ear plugs as a back up
- Double protect your ears, using both ear plugs and noise cancelling headphones
- Avoid shooting in groups or in areas where sound can reverberate
Best Ear Protection for Shooting
Protecting your ears while shooting is crucial. It is one of the only sports that exposes your ears to sudden loud blasts over 140dB. It can be enough to cause permanent hearing damage and tinnitus. There are a few different methods and choices from in the ear devices, to noise cancellation headphones. Due to the nature of the sport and the potential dangers that come with using a riffle the ability to hear conversation and some of your surroundings helps with your safety and general enjoyment and should be a factor when finding ear protection that it takes this into account. Below are a few options to make you think about the pros and cons of what choices are there for you.
Auritech Shoot ear plugs are made from a silicone free, hypoallergenic thermoplastic outer construction that is a universal fit for all ears. Made by a company with over 20 years experience of designing hearing protection and a unique designed ear piece makes this a quality product.
They used patented ceramic sound filters for maximum protection, the filter is also placed further into the ear plug and therefore sits deeper into the ear canal than other models. This ensures optimum attenuation. The patented ceramic filter is frequency selective and allows you to still hear normal conversation and relevant background noise such as the clay pigeon release or rustles in the trees. These ear plugs have been reviewed and tested by many shooting magazines. The mean measured sound level attenuation is 29.5dB.
What you will want to do is once comfortably and securely in place is leave them be this after your shooting session is over. By fiddling with them to much taking them in and out of your ear may cause your ear to get sore. These ear plugs are reusable and only require a wash in warm soapy water and dried out to then make them safe to use again. They are EN352-2:2002 certified and come in a small key ring size hard carry case.
The Surefire EP7 ear plugs are made from soft medical grade polymer. The ear plug uses an ear retention lock that sits comfortably from the helix lock to the back of the concha to the tragus lock there are infact 7 points it aims to gently lock the ear piece into place to help keep it secure. This design is also flush with your ear making them easily worn with headphones, ear muffs or helmets over the top. With this particular design they are individually suited for right and left so you will need to make sure they go into the correct ear when fitting them. The filters are colour coded so that the red piece goes into the right ear (remember, Red for Right). While the rentention lock keeps the ear piece in place the foam tip provides a comfortable seal of your ear.
The Surefire EP7 should last over 6 months of use. They come with a handy lanyard to prevent them from getting lost and you have the option of Small, Medium or Large in size at time of purchasing with Medium being a good size for most people.
The 3M Peltor Headphones are an investible pair of headphones for the avid shooter. They are sleek in design and robust in their use and nature. Powered by two AAA batteries, It has an adjustable volume control so that you can make loud noises even quieter when you are out.
These headphones need a snug fit so that they can provide you with at least 26dB noise attenuation. The headphones also come with green and orange interchangable plastic shells for extra camoflauge, or to be seen. Included with the headphones is a good book of instructions showing everything they can do and how good they are at doing that. The batteries are added on the front of each ear piece and the battery compartment cover has a locked clip making it secure so that the batteries will not fall out during use.
Unforunatley these headphones do not come with any kind of hard case but the headphones are collapsible making them easy to store compactly in your bag and do come with a two year guarantee.
There is a button to the front of the headphones, you will hear a little beep and that lets you know the headphones are now fully on. The headphone can connect up to a radio that you use while out shooting. These headphones are designed to cut out as much noise as possible and as said previously this can be adjusted further with the volume control. What i would say is be careful when wearing these headphones in wet conditions, they do not look that waterproof and do not state that they are either, it is only a thin plastic shell protecting the batteries and wiring so I would avoid wearing in lots of rain or wear something over the top to protect them.