Why use Ear Protection?
If you have ever been nearby when a firearm has been fired you are familiar with the ringing and temporary deafness that occurs if your ears are uncovered. Most firearm calibers fire at 140 decibels: to put this in perspective a normal conversation is around 60 decibels, a lawnmower is around 90 decibels and a rock concert 120 decibels. Sustained high decibel noise can cause irreparable damage to your eardrums. If you visit a gun range consistently and forego ear protection you will experience hearing loss at some point. Buying ear protection to prevent this is a smart investment and can save you from pain and money spent on medical expenses.
There are many varieties and options available to protect your ears while shooting your firearm at a gun range. These options vary in price, style and functionality. So how do you know what to buy? First decide what your personal needs and preferences are; internal or external protection, basic or best electronic earplugs for shooting? The NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) is also important to take into account when purchasing ear protection.
Passive Ear Plugs
If your budget is your concern look to the basic options of passive ear plugs. This option is perfectly safe and will protect your eardrums from damage without breaking the bank while also remaining nearly unseen while in use. These are usually made from a soft, moldable plastic or foam. With so many varieties of plugs available make sure you go with one that is PVC free and provides a moldable or changeable tip for maximum protection, comfort and proper fit. One of the current top rated passive ear plugs online are the SureFire Sonic Defender Double Flanged Ear plugs.
Passive Ear Muffs
Another basic option is the passive ear muffs. These are made of a cup that covers the entire ear and are attached to a headband to hold them in place. This option will cancel more noise than the ear plugs since they cover the entire ear and not just the ear canal. They usually come with adjustable headbands to ensure proper fit, although some of the cheaper models may not have this option. While these are great for cancelling out the sound of your firearm they will also cancel out all other sounds as well. They provide adequate protection for the ears while shooting and come in a variety of styles. Pro-Ears is a great brand providing a variety of options, styles and prices.
Electronic Noise-Cancelling Ear Muffs
The most expensive option of ear protection are the electronic ear muffs. These use technology to cancel out the sound of your firearm while still allowing the user to hear ambient noises and conversations. This has many practical applications such as allowing shooting instructors to speak to students during training and allowing hunters to hear animals and noises while stalking. Many models also come with other available options such as noise amplifiers and volume controls for music. Howard Leight Impact Sport & Pro are quality options for use with a variety of firearms.