shooting ear muffs
Shooting Ear Muffs Are Vital
Anyone who uses guns, whether hunting or on shooting ranges, on even a semi a regular basis use some kind of noise reduction mechanism and the best ones available are ear muffs. Some people will point out that using ear plugs with a set of ear muffs over them gives extra noise protection. This is true but they also become a bit cumbersome and can be very uncomfortable.
Reduce Noise Levels By How Much?
Using both ear plugs and muffs can add up to a noise reduction of around 36 NRR, this is pretty much the best level of protection you can get unless you carry a industrial level portable hearing protection device around with you. The NRR rating of ear plugs is usually 6 while the best ear muff is usually 30 NRR, adding up to 36 NRR. The real question is whether the extra 6 NRR that you save by wearing the ear plugs is worth the extra level of discomfort.
No one can ever argue that it is essential that everyone is wearing some sort of hearing protection while either shooting guns themselves or standing around watching others shoot. People often forget that just because you are not doing the firing yourself you still are around the increased noise.
How Loud Is Too Loud
I sometimes hear young people saying that “it isn’t that loud”, no one misses their hearing till it is gone and then it is too late of course. To give you some idea of how loud is too loud.
- Talking voices – 60db
- Chainsaw -100db
- Guns -150db
To put that into some balance, anything over 85dbs can damage your hearing, so you should be wearing hearing protection while you use your chainsaws and probably when you mow the lawn. If you do a number of noisy things, e.g if you use a chainsaw in the day and go shooting at weekends then you should definitely be wearing shooting ear muffs.
Shooting Ear Muffs Or Ear Plugs
While I wholeheartedly thing that people are better with ear muffs when shooting rather than ear plugs I am sure you want to know about all your noise protection options so I shall share some info on ear plugs here
You can get the disposable poly urethane foam ear plugs, they are nice and soft but can be a bit tricky for first time users. PVC foam ear plugs are soft but not as soft and the urethane ones, they are a bit easier to put inside your ear. The one thing that people always mention is how cheap ear plugs are, this may seem like you are saving money. However if you go shooting even once a month you will end up spending more on foam ear plugs that you throw away all the time than you would spend more on them over time than you would on a decent pair of ear muffs designed for shooting.
The freebie ear plugs that are available at shooting ranges are not going to protect your hearing to any decree as they are going to be the cheapest bulk buy items that are available. Your hearing really is worth protecting.
The military will issue triple-flanged ear plugs made from a very soft rubber. These plugs come in different sizes and are color coded they are as effective as any ear plug can be but they are also a lot more costly than the pvc foam ear plugs.
Shopping For Shooting Ear Muffs
Before you go out and buy shooting ear muffs you should think about how you will be using them and ask yourself some questions.
- How often do you shoot
- Do you shoot alone
- Do you want over the head or behind the neck models
- How much do you think hearing aids will cost in the future if you buy the cheapest ear muffs now?
The more you shoot the more chance there is of damage to your hearing, you invest money in every other part of your hobby so do not be scared to spend money on a good pair of shooting ear muffs, they will last for years.
If you shoot alone then you may be happy to get a pair of ear muffs that just block out every sound but if you have other people around then you need to look at models that block out gun shots (and other loud noises) but allow normal volume of talk through. This is done by having some electronics in the headset and saves you having to constantly take your head set on and off.
If you shoot a lot you will be wearing your headset a lot, so it needs to be comfortable. If you find anything touching the top of your head to be annoying then you will need to get a set that are held together with a neckband. They may cost a little more but the extra money will be worth it in the reduced annoyance level.
Invest In Shooting Ear Muffs
Do not look on it as spending money, you are investing in your hearing when you buy shooting ear muffs