best hearing protection products

Discussion in 'Main Message Board' started by pgg, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. pgg

    pgg

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    What do you like? I hate most muffs and plugs use them but dont like them. What is the best item you have used and where can you get them. Thanks PG
     
  2. K0na_stinky

    K0na_stinky

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    I'm not a fan of muffs because they get in the way and they don't offer the best protection. But muffs are nice because they only take 1/2 second to put on or take off.

    I find that the normal 3M orange throw away plugs work the best. They offer the most protection that I've found so far.
     
  3. Travelor

    Travelor

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    Mack's Ear Seals work the best of any ear plugs I have ever used. They are even better than my ear muffs.

    http://www.macksearplugs.com/details/ear-plugs-for-water/ear-seals-earplugs

    There are two "problems" with them though. First they work so well it is hard to impossible to hear the range commands and you need to cement the cord to the plugs as they seal so well they are hard to get out of your ears if the cord pulls out of the plug.

    I use these exclusively when I am shooting. I buy mine from Walgreen's.

    George
     
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  4. HillbillySniper

    HillbillySniper You miss 100% of shots not taken Silver $$ Contributor

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    I'm not a fan of the ear muffs either they always seem to git in the way. I always use the orange ones you roll up and put in your ear.

    Hillbilly
     
  5. dreever

    dreever

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    I finally bit the bullet and went to an audiologist and had custom ear molds made. They work great for anything that isn't braked. On my braked .308 I add muffs for a bit better protection.

    Danny
     
  6. Dave2

    Dave2

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    Of the foam ear plugs, I also like Mack's Ear Seals the best. They seem to be the most comfortable and effective.
     
  7. Forum Boss

    Forum Boss Administrator

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    Best noise reduction plugs
    Super - Leight tapered foam plugs, NRR 33
    [​IMG]
    NOTE: to get full benefit, you must roll these tight and insert well into ear canal. It helps to moisten before insertion.

    Best plugs for regular insertion in/out
    Leight Smart fit corded, NRR 25
    [​IMG]
    The orange plastic is temp-sensitive. It flexes and molds to the ear channel. It helps to moisten before insertion. They are actually super-quiet once fully warmed and molded. I use these when I'm at an event and I must frequently remove plugs to do an interview etc. NOTE: These are much "softer" feeling than other similar plugs that have a 3-4 flat, stacked baffles.

    Best Neck-Band Device (Good for Instructors, Rangemasters)
    Leight Quiet® Band, NRR 25
    [​IMG]
    You hang this around your neck and pop them into your ears as need. They work surprisingly well. There are other brands, but the Leight maintain tension better and have removable ear "buds".


    Best Over-muffs for rifle shooters with plugs underneath.
    Peltor shotgunner muffs or Allen copies, NRR 21
    [​IMG]
    These are very light, very comfortable (Peltors use gel foam), and are tapered for minimal interference with the stock. Because they are only NRR21, I recommend use with plugs underneath.

    Best Full-seize Muffs -- your call. All I can say is that the industrial-grade Peltors are VERY quiet, but also heavy and bulky. I'm not a big fan of most of the electronic muffs, just because they eat batteries.
     
  8. normmatzen

    normmatzen Silver $$ Contributor

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    Now you guys are in trouble! You have lit my fuze!

    I spent the last 30% of my career working in the hearing industry. I am an Electronic Engineer by training as well as taking the Audiology masters program at a local university. I worked for a company that did "Research and product developement for the ear." We sold the first and most successful compressor amplifier for hearing aids as well as the best high fideleity ear plugs and insert ear phones available. And, as I am both a long distance shooter and a motorcycle rider, I became somewhat knowledgable in both wind noise and protection from same as well as impulse noise and protection from same.

    Well, as you probably know, a gun shot is an impulse of about 160 dB SPL. The threshold of pain is about 120 dB SPL! With a "yello foamie" or similar ear plug INSERTED PROPERLY you will have about 40 dB of noise reduction. This means you will hear about 120 dB SPL when your or your neighbor fires his gun. This isn't as bad as it seems as it is an impulse and the average sound level is what causes the problem, or actually the average energy. The reason you only have a 40 dB reduction is that with a perfect ear plug, your mastoid bone passes sound to your inner ear with a 40-50 dB reduction.
    I am not about to preach. What I will do is tell you what I use.

    I used the solid 3 ribbed ear plugs. I use these as they are reasonably comfortable to me and are easy to seal and protect my ears. I stress seal and correct fit as that is the single most practiced problem with ear plugs. A yello foamie MUST be inserted so far into the ear, after rolling it between your fingers into a small rod, that you are afraid you will not be able to get it out! But, you will. Then, and only then, will you have about 40 dB of protection. The more usual insertion only yields about 20 dB reduction. 20 dB is 1/10th the attenuation of 40 dB!
    I don't like muffs as 1. they don't always fit conformily to the skull and 2, they are bulky. But, some of the newer muffs with compressor amplifiers do a really good job of allowing you to hear your neighbor talking, range instructions as well as shutting down the muzzle blast. And, some of them are quite small. I would use them with a pair of ER-20 hi-fi ear plugs for additional protection. Google ER-20.
    That said, I am testing two pair of blast protectors from my old employer. EB-1 and EB-15. These are essentially one-size-fits-most hearing aids with various ear tips to allow a well fitting choice. They contain a compressor amplifier with an output limited to just less than 120 dB SPL. A compressor amplifier has high gain at soft sounds as well as lower gain for louder sounds. So, if you use them hunting, you hear environmental sounds normally, or amplified by setting the gain switch, and when you fire your gun, you only hear 120 dB SPL.

    I have used both the EB-1 and EB-15 for long range practice as well as a couple 600 yd competitions. I prefer the EB-15 as it has normal gain for soft sounds (like the range instructions or your neighbor talking to you) and 15 dB attenuation for louder sounds (like lots of gun fire down the firing line) and still a 120 dB limit when I or my neighbors fire. And, they fit easily, and you get used to them easily, A very nice side feature, they use an amplifier (that I designed) that has excellant fidelity and microphones and speakers with excellant quality so everything sounds normal!

    These devices are on the market but I don't know where they are available yet or what the street price will be. The manufacturers web site has them, but at MSRP which is quite high. Check out the Etymotic Research web site.

    I am in the process of writing an article about these devices and will try to get it published on 6mmBR.
     
  9. normmatzen

    normmatzen Silver $$ Contributor

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    Me again,

    A note on the NRR referred to above.

    NRR is noise reduction rating and is an OSHA requirement. This number is in reality the average noise reduction you get based on average insertion . What the manufacturer must do is determine the best reduction (about 40 dB with yellow foamies) and subtract the the average slop in fitting to get the NRR.

    NRR of 25 means that a plug or muff may be capable of 38-40 dB, but due to improper insertion or poor fit, you will get up to a 15 dB (about 5 times less) reduction in attenuation. And, that is what the manufacturer must indicate on the label
     
  10. Gadget

    Gadget

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    Peltor Electronics :
    Pay good monie and get good quality
    As an RO I find them briliant, I can even pick up a dry fire, any other form of protection was always just not quite right for Me.
    I now just bung them on at the start of a shoot and some times forget to remove them when we finish.
    As a long range compeditor I will turn them way down when my mates are putting S#!t on me while shooting 10's. (well we not shooting for a sheep station)

    Gadget
     
  11. artbosco

    artbosco

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    What consideration do you provide to other shooters who happen to find themselves in the vicinity of your braked 308?
     
  12. dreever

    dreever

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    Outdoorsman said:

    What consideration do you provide to other shooters who happen to find themselves in the vicinity of your braked 308?

    I take it by your tone that you are anti-brake, correct?
    In answer to your question, I try not to shoot it beside anyone else picking a bench well away from others. It's not an issue since at our range during the week I usually have the long range firing line to myself.
    At our Ground Hog matches brakes are allowed and I've shot next to some real boomers (Sako TRG 338 Lapua magnum) so I can appreciate the pain. The Sako is ten times worse than the .308 when it comes down to shock wave.

    Danny
     
  13. ratguner

    ratguner

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    It is my understanding that the mastoid bone can not be protected by foamies/plugs. Because the bone is external to the ear canal, earmuffs need to be used.

    When indoors or shooting under a covered firing line, I use double protection, foamies and the Peltor Shotgun muffs. The muffs do hit the stock but because of their profile, I find it minimally intrusive.

    BTW, all US Navy indoor ranges mandate the use of double hearing protection.

    Cheers,

    Larry
     
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  14. Dgd6mm

    Dgd6mm Silver $$ Contributor

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    I do the same has ratgunner. If I'm shooting one of my braked rifles I move downthe firing line away from the other shooters. That is if I like them. ;D It's only a joke.
     
  15. Forum Boss

    Forum Boss Administrator

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    One thing I'd like to add about comfort. With quality tapered plugs like the Super Leight (see above), the plugs should be VERY comfortable if you have inserted them correctly (and provided your ear canel isn't blocked with wax etc.). Most people I've seen do NOT insert their plugs correctly, and then they complain that "plugs aren't comfortable". They just try to mash the plugs into their ears, scraping and bruising on the way. If you roll the tapered foamie plugs to a small diameter, then gently insert, you won't have a problem. I have worn the Leight foamies for an entire day of motorcycling then fallen asleep with one still in one ear. There was no discomfort either with a moto helmet on or sleeping on a pillow. If you have inserted quality tapered foamies correctly they should be painless.

    On the other hand, the hard, scratchy yellow ones ARE hard to insert and they CAN cause an ear-ache. Avoid plugs like these:

    [​IMG]

    <b>Big Ear Muffs</b>
    I've used these big Peltor "Ultimate 10" earmuffs. With a 29 NRR they are a good value for just $21.00 on Amazon. They work and are sturdy.

    [​IMG]

    However -- and this is just a personal opinion -- I think all similar "Big O" designs probably are NOT anatomically correct. I think these muffs should be redesigned more with a chamber and soft pad shaped more like the outline of an ear. Why aren't they slightly curved to fit the contour of your skull? Why don't then have a central cone of soft foam in the middle to seat against your ear? Etc. Etc.

    Most muffs are designed so you can turn them 180 degrees and it doesn't matter. To me that's probably not the best our safety designers can do. If you look at some of the high-end "full-coverage" music headphones, they are "wear one way" only. They fit better, seal better, and produce less fatigue. Different product, different function -- yes -- but there are design lessons to be learned. I would like the military or the airlines to commission a contest for a "next-gen" ear muff design.
     
  16. artbosco

    artbosco

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    Anti-brake? Not at all. I'm a range safety officer at my club and sometimes [rarely, thankfully,] have to mediate discussions between those that are and those that aren't.

    I was just curious if you had worked out a courteous solution before hand. Sounds as if you're sensitive to the issue and have made provisions for shooting near bench mates. Good for you.
     
  17. woolenmammoth

    woolenmammoth

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    Most people in general that I see at my range would benefit from not what is the best hearing protection, but a lesson on how to properly insert a foam earplug. If you can see the plug sticking out of your ear, it aint in there correctly. And while better than nothing, if it isnt in there correctly, it isnt doing much in comparison. As mentioned, you need to roll the foam plug between your fingers until it is pencil thin, then quickly work it all the way into your ear canal and hold it there so it can expand into the shape of your ear canal without working its way out of your ear. Once it is expanded you should have to use your fingertips to get it out, if you can just grab it between two fingers it isnt in correctly. If you can look into a mirror and see the plug looking straight on into the mirror, its not inserted properly. Very rarely, and I mean rarely, do I see people with ear plugs in the right way. Very rarely. The orange leight plugs are the way to go and offer excellent protection. I periodically sleep with these in, wearing them at the range is no sweat.
     
  18. normmatzen

    normmatzen Silver $$ Contributor

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    And that,,,,is why OSHA developed the NRR rating system!

    I have seen people with yellow foamies cross-wise in the concha of the ear!
     
  19. spclark

    spclark Gold $$ Contributor

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    That's my understanding as well and my practice when I'm at an indoor range or shooting outdoors under a roof or other structure.

    Out in the open I prefer to go muff-less; I've not yet found a pair that doesn't inhibit a good cheek weld in any shooting position. I use the Leight foamies exclusively, try to use a new pair for every match (they don't last forever!) and insert the deep enough I sometimes need tweezers to get them out if I've trimmed my fingernails.

    At 62, I've had tinnitus ever since my dad & I used to plink along the roadside back in the 50's & early 60's with his assorted wheel guns. Never used hearing protection. Wondered for years what the ringing sound was & why I could never experience true silence after about age 14.
     
  20. normmatzen

    normmatzen Silver $$ Contributor

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    Muffs are NOT inherently better than plain ear plugs. While they may cover the mastoid bone, the mastoid bone is part of the skull and bone transmits sound VERY well!

    The practice of using both muffs and plugs improves attenuation as both the muff and the plug probably isn't sealing as well as it could and the compound effect gets you down to the mastoid bone limit of 40 dB SPL or so.

    Just insert the plug properly!
     

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