The sound of gunshot firing rapidly causes a lot of ringing and humming in the ears if you leave your ears unprotected. Being in an enclosed space like a shooting range amplifies the sound of a gun to the point where it can potentially damage your hearing permanently.
This is the reason why responsible shooting ranges require their patrons to wear hearing protectors when inside the range.
Those who are new to shooting or are interested in taking up shooting as a hobby will normally wonder, “What is good ear protection for shooting?”
What Is Good Ear Protection for Shooting?
Below are a few factors to consider when looking for ear protectors to complete your shooting gear.
Basic Ear Plugs
Ear plugs can do wonders for blocking out the loud noises you hear in the gun range. Ear plugs are also readily available at the pharmacy and you can stock up on as many as you like without worrying about spending too much. Although they are very convenient and easy to use they do not offer enough protection.
Most ear plugs have the ability reduce noises by of up to 30 dB, but since gunshot is so loud this isn’t always enough.
Another disadvantage of basic drug store ear plugs that they block out the sound of ambient noise and conversation. They are designed to block out all noise, but this leaves you with a handicap as you can’t hear important instructions.
Basic Ear Muffs
These are another cheap but workable hearing protection method that is commonly used in the gun range. They work the same way as the ear plugs, but are worn externally using a headband and an ear cup.
The most basic of hearing protecting ear muffs do the job of blocking out noise, but also limit the wearer’s awareness of ambient noise and conversations.
These types of ear muffs or noise-canceling ear muffs are best for using in events where it is very loud but there is no need to listen to instructions or be aware of your surroundings. Although they can block out the sound of gunshot at the firing range you may need to take them off to listen to someone talking to you.
In-Ear Electronic Ear Plugs
This type of hearing protection has only recently been made affordable for the hobbyist shooter to afford. Back in the day only tactical troops had access to this type of advanced technology.
These ear protectors fit inside the ear just like a normal ear buds, but they have the advantage of an electronic signal that allows you to hear ambient noise and connect to other electronic devices such as radios and MP3 players.
In-ear protectors are also great if you do not want your view to be obstructed by anything. They go right inside the ear and disappear. If you’re asking “what is good ear protection for shooting?” this seems to be the answer, but take note that they are more expensive than other options and require the use of hearing aid batteries which need replacing every 7 to 10 days.
Electronic Ear Muffs
The most popular type of hearing protection used by shooters in outdoor and indoor shooting ranges is electronic ear muffs. This type of ear protector functions really well as it combines the ability to block out intense and loud noises while at the same time amplifying ambient noise to increase your awareness of the surroundings.
The advantage of in-ear electronic ear buds is their affordability. They have the same basic functions and features but at the fraction of the cost and it have a longer battery life (200 – 300 hours on average).
The downside to wearing electronic ear muffs is the distraction it poses when trying to concentrate. An ill-fitting headband can cause a lot of pressure on the ears and affects the positioning of the safety glasses which is a nuisance.
It takes a while to get used to wearing ear muffs while shooting, but they do offer more advantages than disadvantages.
What is good ear protection for shooting depends on the shooter. If you do not mind spending extra on in-ear electronic buds, go for it.
Those who are just into casual shooting can make do with a good and reliable pair of electric ear muffs. Whatever your budget is, there is some form of ear protection available at your disposal.