What's a healthy db rating for hearing protection for basic handgunning?


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Stand_Watie
March 28, 2005, 12:07 AM
At work tonight I was looking at the db ratings on various ear protection. To my surprise, the cheapie disposable foam style earplugs had a higher db rating (higher is better according to the OSHA labeling) than the earmuff style hearing protectors (30 vs 26).

It got me to thinking, what is a proper level of hearing protection for the kind of shooting I do? Basically .357 and .38 out of 4 and 2 inch barrels and .380 out of 4 and 2 inch barrels. Also longarms and .22's but they don't seem as loud to me at the safe end of the gun.

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bogie
March 28, 2005, 12:24 AM
Indoor ranges, I wear both.

Outdoor ranges, at matches, I wear both.

Outdoor ranges, practicing, one or the other.

Standing Wolf
March 28, 2005, 12:58 AM
The decibel rating assumes a tight, true fit. I'd guess the actual performance is probably somewhat lower.

Having lost a good deal of my hearing over the years, I'd recommend you use both plugs and muffs.

g56
March 28, 2005, 01:13 AM
When I first got into shooting seriously back in the 60's I didn't wear ear protection, I soon found I had tinnitus and would have headaches after shooting, so I figured it would be a good idea to start wearing hearing protection, and I have worn it faithfully ever since. My hearing has remained good while others who weren't so careful has deteriorated. These days I wear both plugs and muffs, my hearing is too important to risk.

Trebor
March 28, 2005, 01:17 AM
Most ear plugs are *not* used correctly and don't give near their maximum dB protection.

Do you actually know the correct way to insert soft plugs? You need to roll one up, insert it, and then hold it in place with your finger for about 10 seconds while it expands inside your ear. If you just insert it without holding it in place, it displaces itself slightly as it expands and doesn't create as good of a seal.

Because of incorrect insertion, muffs typically give better hearing protection, even if they are rated lower then a particular set of plugs.

There are some really good muffs out there though. I highly reccomend the Peltor Ultimate 10 brand muffs. They have the highest dB rating of any muff I can find and only cost $20.

I always double up with plugs AND muffs. Every little bit of protection helps and you never regain the hearing you've lost once it's gone. I keep the plugs in the entire time I'm at the range. This has saved me more then once from accidental exposure when someone has fired unexpectedly and I wouldn't have known to put my muffs back on.

Stevie-Ray
March 28, 2005, 01:22 AM
The only way you're going to attenuate more than 35 dB is to double up. This is important, especially shooting something like a 2" .357 mag. Use plugs and muffs.

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