Hearing Protection

I was unpleasantly surprised to find out my local range is now charging a rental fee for hearing and eye protection (they started this within the past week).

Anyway, I had some cheap hearing protection but I lost it during a move. I’m wondering if I should just stick with the basic hearing muffs I can get for $10 or if I should/ would it be worth getting something nicer. Any thoughts?

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I had the Brownells range kit. Very good for the price. I’m currently shopping around myself. I’m thinking that I might make my own version of Walter’s game ear. The peice for it is only $4.99 and $50 for a set of hearing enhancements.

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I’m sure a lot of people know more about this than I do, but wanted to share that I got some Pro for SHO earmuffs that are 34d protection for about $15, size S; large was a little more. Non-electronic, nothing fancy, just basic protection.

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In my misspent youth I did a lot of shooting without hearing protection. Back in those days we just laughed about the ‘ringing’ in our ears because after a day or so it went away. Today my hearing is so bad that unless you type in CAPS I can’t hear you. Anyway, take hearing protection very seriously or there will come a time when you will wish you had.

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I just picked up some Caldwell electronic ear muffs. These things are awesome. They allow me to hear conversation, yet offer great protection from firearms reports. They even deadened while using the staple gun. Only about $30 at Cabela’s.
Like others, my hearing is bad from too many years neglecting to protect my hearing in my youth. Money well spent on the Caldwell muffs.

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I bought the Walkers Alpha Pro 360 for Nancy and I, thay do pick up the wind a little to much otherwise work well for both of us. :wink:

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I noticed the same with the Caldwell’s. I had to turn the volume down so the wind wouldn’t drive me crazy(er). :wink:

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Cheap is good, once you know what to buy. Mostly, ear protection depends on personal preferences, but for me spending a lot of money for fancy stuff is not needed.
Most important - higher NRR, better protection.
I personally use EP10 SONIC DEFENDERS, NNR 30dB - cost $15 - $20, they last for 2 years.

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Get the best rated hearing protection, that fits your ears, and use them. If you are shooting indoors, wear plugs and muffs. I use the Pro Ears electronic now, and while they are not the highest rated, they do allow me to hear commands in competition. If I use the plugs I cannot hear commands. Next step is probably some expensive in ear electronics I suppose, but the muffs are working ok.

Your hearing is not worth being just cheap.

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I use these (in olive drab green) and they work great. Highly recommend :ear:

Walker’s GWP-RSEMPAT-FDE GWP-RSEMPAT-FDE Hunting Earmuffs

I believe that all of the ranges around here charge a buck or two to rent. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

Personally, muffs are in the way of the glasses for me. I use ear plugs instead. Very cheap. You can share with friends when they forget theirs.

You can hunt for best pricing. What I use

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I have a pair of Walkers that picked up the wind noise. Trimmed a piece of felt and glued over the microphone screens. No more wind noise and they pick up talking and there sounds just fine. Friend of mine did it to his as well with same result.

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These weren’t a problem at all with my glasses.

Great tip!

I bought a pair of Walkers, I use them all the time not just at the range. They work great for snow blowing and mowing the grass as well as using power saws.

I keep some foam plugs in my range bag but never plan on going back to normal (?) hearing protection.

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If you are trying to go as cheap as possible but still be effective, I don’t think you can beat the price for disposable foamies. They are typically over 30NRR, and they can commonly be found for 200/$20. I keep them as spares for loaning out

I’m a big fan of electronic ear muffs, so that’s most of my experience. I don’t mind spending a few extra bucks here and being able to hear range commands. Also just being able to talk to whoever I’m at the range with, sometimes giving a newbie instructions, hearing their questions, or just discussing where to eat afterwards is invaluable.

I’ve had 3 different sets of electronic ear pro. Howard Leight Impact Pro, Peltor Sport Tactical 500, and currently Walker’s XCEL 100 & 500.

My first pair was the Howard Leights. Comfortable, the cups never had any issue going over eye pro/eyeglass lens frames. Electronic amplification is pretty decent, if you’ve never had it it seems like a miracle. Their NRR is on the low side, I think around 22NRR if memory serves. I’m basically always at an indoor range, so frequently I would have to double up on ear pro using foamies underneath the cups if people were shooting large caliber pistols or rifles. If you primarily shoot outdoors this may be less of an issue. Batteries (AA?) last effectively forever. They are very slim profile, so I never had to worry about shooting rifles with these on. If you want inexpensive electronic ear pro, around $50 or less online, and don’t mind the lower NRR these are an excellent option.

Next up I bought the Peltors because I wanted improved NRR. They are/were over $100. The increase in NRR is very noticeable. I rarely doubled up on ear pro anymore after switching to this pair (caveat below). The most impressive feature that I didn’t think would be that big of a deal is the cutoff when switching amplification on/off. What I mean is this… Imagine someone is talking to you at the range and mid-sentence someone fires. The mics switch off/reduce for just a moment during the “bang” and then come back up. On the Howard Leights, this off/on cycle was noticeable, you could miss whole words in the lag. But on the Peltors it was basically negligible. It made having conversations much easier, almost as if you weren’t surrounded by people shooting. Their only downside is that they are not very slim, so firing rifles the stock would frequently “bump” the ear cups off of the ear and let in volume. So whenever I would shoot rifles I would have to double up, which basically negated the entire reason for my “upgrade” from the Howard Leights. They were awesome when using pistols though, and depending on where youe face is against a rifle stock it may not be as much of an issue for you.

My current and most recent purchase is Walker’s XCEL series. They have the same NRR as the Peltors but are almost as slim as the Howard Leights. Additionally, the cost splits the difference as well. The 500 model (which has bluetooth) is available in a lot of places for less than $100, but if you don’t need bluetooth the 100 model is at least $20 less and I’ve seen it as low as $70. MidwayUSA has them right now for $40 for hulk green and $45 for orange if you don’t mind the garish color. They have 4 “amplification modes” Universal, Speech Clarity Mode, Hi Frequency, and Power Boost. The speech mode really brings out people’s voices, and supposedly the HiFrequency setting is good for hearing steel rings at distance (I dont have experience with that though). Most importantly for me is their slim profile doesn’t get bumped off by a rifle stock. They are a very good choice and worth the price, and a steal if you don’t mind an ugly color :wink:

The Peltors and Walkers have Bluetooth which I don’t use, but I hear in theory you could take a phone call or listen to music. I have been tempted to pick up a shot timer app, which would play the “go” audio tone in my headset, but I don’t know how it would pickup my gunshot audio amongst all the other shooters at the range.

Overall, I’d recommend the Walker’s XCEL in either 100 or 500.

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I go pretty basic. Years ago I started buying disposable earplugs for work for sanitary reasons, and the fact that I find safety glasses with muffs too uncomfortable, and stuck with it since.

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I like the earplugs because these are closer to everyday life than earmuffs and work with every kind of hairstyle :wink:

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I’ve been using the same $30-40 ear muffs for about 20 years now and I have been very happy with them. IMO, the $10 are not worth much more than some nice foam disposables.

The downside to the large earmuffs (like mine) are that they can slightly interfere with some rifle stocks with low mounted scopes or iron sights. Another downside to earmuffs in general, are if you use thick armed eye protection, i.e. protective glasses that go over regular glasses. The thick armed eye protection can reduce the seal around your ear and the muff.

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