Update: Muffs vs Plugs


August 7, 2007, 04:07 PM
Ok, here is a new poll so that will include the choice of both ear plugs and muffs at the same time.

I have never worn both before. I am very keen on keeping my hearing intact though. I have done lots of live sound mixing in my life. When it gets too loud or any where close to too loud I have my earplugs in. But I know how to put them in correctly.

Using muffs or plugs I have never had any ringing or pain or any problems after shooting. It seems to me that when you have damaged your ears a little it is clear afterwards. I have not had this sign when shooting.

Does anyone know what the db rating of a larger cal gunshot is? I'm thinking about 140? 140 - 30 = 110. 110 db's is not a problem in the short quick pops. Much better then the 120 over a substained period of time of a rock show. :rolleyes:

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August 7, 2007, 04:26 PM
110 db's is not a problem in the short quick pops. yes it is. Anything over 85 over a period of time is going to cause some damage. Impluse noises like gunshots are the worst though.

Sound Advice article (http://www.keepandbeararms.com/information/XcIBViewItem.asp?ID=2052)

Sheldon J
August 7, 2007, 05:34 PM
electronic, with reusable plugs attached to my ball cap for the times when I want to shoot and they are not handy.

August 7, 2007, 05:36 PM
This has been debated here repeatedly with solid facts with references (http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=256966&highlight=decibels) supporting the use of plugs and muffs.

Small arms fire noise levels range from 120 dB for "quieter" rounds to upward of 170 dB.

August 7, 2007, 05:48 PM
This poll doesn't account for where or what you are shooting. I do double up when using pistols and some rifles at an indoor range but I only use plugs when shooting at an outdoor range or when using a rifle indoors when I the muffs get in the way of aiming the rifle. Also, sound disperses better outdoors than it does indoors.

August 7, 2007, 05:49 PM
I can tell you from 17 yrs experience in the USAF working on fighters that they require double hearing protection for a reason. Especially when inside a hardened aircraft shelter. In an indoor range the sound just bounces around and doesnt dissipate. Even outdoors i wear both. Ive lost considerable hearing and I have always worn both around running jet engines.

August 7, 2007, 07:15 PM
Here are some data for some common guns; it's higher than you'd expect. For long guns, there is a definite correlation with barrel length.

Here is some data. Not sure if these figures are straight dB or dBA.



.410 Bore 28" barrel.....150dB
26" barrel...............150.25dB
18 _" barrel.............156.30dB
20 Gauge 28" barrel......152.50dB
22" barrel...............154.75dB
12 Gauge 28" barrel......151.50dB
26" barrel...............156.10dB
18 _" barrel.............161.50dB

Dr. Krammer continues to say that shotgun noise averaged slightly more that 150dB. This is approximately 14dB beyond the threshold of pain, and more than sufficient to cause sudden hearing loss with complications.

.223, 55GR. Commercial load 18 _" barrel.....155.5dB
.243 in 22" barrel...........................155.9dB
.30-30 in 20" barrel.........................156.0dB
7mm Magnum in 20" barrel.....................157.5dB
.308 in 24" barrel...........................156.2dB
.30-06 in 24" barrel.........................158.5dB
.30-06 in 18 _" barrel.......................163.2dB
.375 ó 18" barrel with muzzle brake...........170 dB

Krammer adds that sound pressure levels for the various pistols and ammunition tested yielded an average mean of 157.5 dB, which is greater than those previously shown for shotgun and rifle noise levels. There was also a greater range, from 152.4dB to 164.5dB, representing 12 dB difference, or more than 10 time as much acoustic energy for the top end of the pistol spectrum. It should be noticed that this figure of 164.5 dB approaches the practical limit of impulse noise measurement capability inherent in most modern sound level meters.

.25 ACP...........155.0 dB
.32 LONG..........152.4 dB
.32 ACP...........153.5 dB
.380..............157.7 dB
9mm...............159.8 dB
.38 S&W...........153.5 dB
.38 Spl...........156.3 dB
.357 Magnum.......164.3 dB
.41 Magnum........163.2 dB
.44 Spl...........155.9 dB
.45 ACP...........157.0 dB
.45 COLT..........154.7 dB

For those who don't grok decibels, it's a logarithmic scale (usually log10); a 3dB difference equals twice the radiated acoustic energy, and a 10dB difference is ten times the radiated acoustic energy. The ear perceives a 10dB difference as a doubling in volume, and IIRC the average person can just barely distinguish a 1dB difference. A car interior at highway speeds is 60-70 dB, a vacuum cleaner in the 80's to 90dB, I think.

Contrary to popular belief, there doesn't seem to be a huge difference between shotgun, pistol, and rifle noise levels, although the sound spectrum is undoubtedly different. There is a correlation with caliber (e.g., .30-06 is louder than .223 and .357 is considerably louder than 9mm or .45), but the most striking difference to me is how much louder a muzzle brake makes a hunting-caliber rifle (nearly 6 dB louder than an unbraked rifle, using an 18" .30-06 as a comparison, or translates to approximately 4 times the radiated acoustic energy). There's a tight correlation with barrel length (shorter is louder for any given caliber), but also less correlation with velocity than I expected (i.e., a slowpoke .30-30 round out of a 20" barrel is a smidgen louder than a faster but much smaller .223 round out of an 18" barrel). For all the 7.62x39mm shooters out there, I'd assume the sound levels would be about the same as .30-30, which it resembles.

Personally, I always double up when shooting (foam earplugs AND slimline earmuffs, I like Silencio plugs and Peltor Shotgunner muffs), but these figures are a good argument for doing that. Consider that typical hearing protection reduces the noise by ~30 dBA, and you're still looking at >130dB for some guns, and >=140dB when shooting a heavy hunting-caliber rifle with a muzzle brake, so with either plugs alone or muffs alone, you could still have sound levels higher than you'd like. I personally wear both.

August 7, 2007, 07:44 PM
I usually use plugs because the muffs I have get in the way of a good cheekweld. I can already tell a loss of hearing though from a few times shooting without anything though and I'm only 22.

August 7, 2007, 08:02 PM
i use the electronic muffs. great stuff.

August 7, 2007, 09:19 PM
Plugs and muffs. Silenzio Magnums over Max plugs, usually. Hard of hearing and trying to preserve what I've got. I need some electronic ones bad.

August 7, 2007, 09:31 PM
Plugs and muffs. Wish I had started years ago so every other answer isnít Sorry what was that?

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