Hearing protection is essential for every gun owner. When exposed to loud noises over extended periods of time, our hearing can be irreparably damaged. This is known as noise-induced hearing loss, and it affects more than 33 million Americans. According to hearing experts at NH Hearing Institute, gunfire is one of the primary causes of noise-induced hearing loss, so you need to think about investing in some good hearing protection if you plan on shooting regularly. There are several different types of hearing protection available on the market today, but not all are created equal. Some types may even compromise your safety instead of protecting you from danger. To help you make an informed decision about which type of hearing protection is best for you, we’ve outlined what we believe are the 4 best options available today:
Electronic Hearing Protection
Electronic hearing protection, or “electronic earmuffs”, are probably the most effective type of shooting hearing protection you can use. These devices use cutting-edge technology to create a sound-filtering system that blocks out loud noises while amplifying softer ones. This allows you to effectively protect your hearing while still being able to safely hear the instructions or warnings of your shooting buddy. You can also use your electronic earmuffs to enhance your communication. Some models allow for the use of a built-in microphone and speaker, which works great for hunting. Whether you’re at a shooting range or in the field, electronic earmuffs are a great choice. Their only major downside is their somewhat high price tag. If you’re a frequent shooter, however, they’re a worthwhile investment.
Noise Cancelling Ear Muffs
While they’re not as effective as electronic earmuffs, noise-canceling earmuffs are a worthy alternative. They use sound-blocking technology to filter out loud noises while allowing you to hear soft sounds like your fellow shooters, instructors, or other people around you. For best results, look for earmuffs that are NRR 32 or higher. The higher the number, the better the protection. The only downside to noise-canceling earmuffs is that they don’t amplify soft noises as electronic earmuffs do. This can be a problem if you need to communicate with your fellow shooters. However, if you plan on hunting, you’ll be able to hear wildlife without being distracted by other noises. Overall, if you’re looking for hearing protection that will help you focus but isn’t electronic, noise-canceling earmuffs are a great choice.
Traditional Ear Plugs
If you’re on a tight budget but still want to protect your hearing, traditional earplugs are the way to go. They’re the most inexpensive type of hearing protection available, and they’re readily available at most sporting goods stores. You simply put them into your ears and they form a tight seal that blocks out most noises. If you plan on hunting or shooting in an area with a lot of ambient noise, however, you may need an extra pair of earplugs for each ear to get the full protection you need. Unfortunately, not all earplugs are created equal. Make sure that the ones you buy are NRR 33 or higher to get the protection you need. Ear plugs are particularly useful for indoor shooting ranges that have a lot of noise, like the ones you’ll find at many gun clubs.
If you’re a marksman who’s looking to excel at long-range shooting, a suppressor or silencer might be right for you. This type of hearing protection uses a series of baffles and sound-dampening materials to reduce the noise of your firearm to a safe level. While they don’t provide any real protection against loud noises, they’re a great tool for long-range shooters. If you’re a hunter, a suppressor can also help you get closer to your targets without scaring them away. If you’re interested in this type of hearing protection, you’ll need to check your state’s laws first. While they’re legal in most states, some states have restrictions on who can use them. Another thing to keep in mind is that suppressors can reduce your overall accuracy, as they reduce the sound of your gunshot. So, if you’re looking for hearing protection that also enhances your accuracy, this is not the best option.
Hearing protection is essential for all gun owners. Unfortunately, while there are many types of hearing protection for hearing health available on the market today, not all of them are created equally. To make sure that you get the best protection possible, make sure you choose a pair of electronic earmuffs, noise-canceling earmuffs, or traditional earplugs. If you’re a long-range marksman, you can also use a suppressor to protect your hearing while still getting accurate shots. The best hearing protection is the one that works best for you.