Electronic Muffs?


PDA






withoutink
March 1, 2011, 07:20 AM
Im getting my wife into shooting, and we use the loaner earmuffs from the range. But we cant hear each other, and since she is a newbie at shooting, I want her to be able to hear me.

Hate to sound like a total newbie... But can someone explain electronic ear muffs to me. I suspect, that they are like noise reduction headphones.

If so do they work well?
Can you have a conversation with them on, and actually hear the person next to you?
Any good brand I should try?
What would I be looking to spend for a set?

If you enjoyed reading about "Electronic Muffs?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Joshua M.
March 1, 2011, 08:25 AM
I absolutly love them...They actually amplify any low noises, and as soon as it senses a sound over a certain db. they shut off. There are alot of diffrent ones out there, from SG @ $19, to $300+...I personally have a set of Caldwell, about $35, and they are great, and comfortable. I am a NRA instructor, and I can wear them the whole time on the range, and my head or ears don't get to hurting...my .02 worth

blume357@bellsouth.net
March 1, 2011, 08:28 AM
I've only had experience with one pair so this is limited... they were a low end unit and I really did not like them.... they turned off with any slight noise... like if you chamber a round on a rifle ..... and there was a delay of several seconds to them coming back on.... on top of that I could never remember to turn them off when I was through....

Six
March 1, 2011, 08:49 AM
Howard Leight Impact Sport Earmuffs (http://www.amazon.com/Howard-Leight-R-01526-Electronic-Earmuff/dp/B001T7QJ9O)

When a gun goes off the muffs cut off sound for a split second. The rest of the time they amplify it.
I use plugs under the earmuffs, and having a conversation with both is pretty much like having a normal conversation, but the sound is a bit muffled.
If you use the muffs only, the sound is actually amplified and you can very clearly hear people talking. That's what I've done when instructing newbies. For regular shooting I double up and use both plugs and muffs.

From there you can spend upwards of $250 more for various features you may or may not want. These work well.

Linda
March 1, 2011, 08:55 AM
Once you go electronic, you'll never go back. You can have a conversation without raising your voice. There is also volume control on them. When the gun shot goes off, they "turn off" the oustide noise.

My first pair I bought at Gander Mtn for around $35. Used them for several years and for the price point are quite good muffs.

I splurged a couple years ago and bought a pair of Peltor Tactical 7's. They were quite expensive, but as an instructor I could write them off my taxes, so didn't fret over the price too much. :rolleyes:

Starting out, you'll be quite pleased with the cheap pair from Gander Mtn.

chicharrones
March 1, 2011, 08:57 AM
I was gifted a pair of Ryobi TEK4 electronic ear muffs. They are really meant for construction type of work rather than shooting range work. However, they work rather well for handguns. For rifles, not so much just because they are too bulky and interfere with cheek weld to the stock. http://www.ryobitools.com/tek4/#/audio-plus-noise-suppression-headphones

I like to turn them backwards so the microphones are to my back. I can still hear very well all around me and can have conversations with other electronic ear muff wearers without raising my voice or they raising theirs. That in itself is really nice. The big rechargeable Ryobi battery seems to last forever.

For noise reduction at the 25 reduction rating they are okay for outdoor use. For indoor ranges, I prefer standard muffs with ear plugs added as well. My ears are not as tolerant as they used to be.

natman
March 1, 2011, 09:34 AM
Electronic ear muffs for shooting work differently than noise canceling headphones. Noise canceling headphones listen to the noise outside and generate an out-of-phase noise to cancel the outside noise. They work best for continuous background noise, such as airplane engines.

However for shooting, the noise is loud and intermittent. What you want are muffs that transmit low volume sounds and shut off for loud noises. I have worn a set of these for hundreds of hours of hunting and am very happy with them:

http://www.amazon.com/Peltor-97044-Tactical-Hearing-Protector/dp/B00009363P

2WheelsGood
March 1, 2011, 09:42 AM
If you use the muffs only, the sound is actually amplified and you can very clearly hear people talking. That's what I've done when instructing newbies. For regular shooting I double up and use both plugs and muffs.Exactly what I do. If I take someone shooting, I'll wear the muffs only, otherwise I use both. Even with the earplugs, you can hear conversations surprisingly well with electronic muffs.

bobbarker
March 1, 2011, 11:06 AM
I got the $19 Gander Mountain ones, and absolutely love them. My brother actually picked up a pair as well, and when we go shooting together, it's nice to be able to talk. They worked great for me, and if I could just remember to turn them off when I'm done shooting, I could/would use them a LOT more.

oneounceload
March 1, 2011, 11:14 AM
Im getting my wife into shooting, and we use the loaner earmuffs from the range. But we cant hear each other, and since she is a newbie at shooting, I want her to be able to hear me.

Hate to sound like a total newbie... But can someone explain electronic ear muffs to me. I suspect, that they are like noise reduction headphones.

If so do they work well?
Can you have a conversation with them on, and actually hear the person next to you?
Any good brand I should try?
What would I be looking to spend for a set?

As said - they work great - I finally broke down and bought a pair of the Peltors at Christmas time - I can hear leaves rustling under my feet as I shoot sporting clays - these have one of the highest DBr's, use AAA batteries which are easy to change every 200 hours, and when you wear them turned off, you can't hear a thing. Having tinnitus already, these really help. If I was shooting metallic indoors, I personally would double up with plugs and muffs as the sound vibrations can affect your inner and middle ear more drastically

Legionnaire
March 1, 2011, 12:07 PM
I have two sets of Peltor Tac-7s that I've had for several years. Bought the second pair for exactly the reason you describe ... for my wife to accompany me to the range and still be able to carry on a conversation. Yes, the Peltors are a bit more expensive than some, but they have been excellent from the beginning. I also wear them when hunting with a handgun, and the stereophonic microphones are great for directional hearing. For straight range use, that's probably not a necessary function, but I like 'em. And as others have said, indoors, I double up with plugs.

wgsigs
March 1, 2011, 05:00 PM
Does anyone have a problem with the relatively low "max" noise reduction rating of electronic muffs? I generally use 30db standard muffs, but the electronic ones are usually rated 24 or maybe 25db, usually lower. Are there higher rated electronic earmuffs available?

oneounceload
March 1, 2011, 05:37 PM
I was a little concerned with ther 26db rating of my Peltor's over the 29 of their passive model I also have used for decades. These seem to muffle mu noise exposure very well. That being said, I shoot outdoors and mostly shotguns at clay targets - I really do not like indoor ranges as the noise gets amplified. They make even the mighty 12 gauge sounds like a muffled "pop" of a piece of bubblewrap

MrCleanOK
March 1, 2011, 05:49 PM
wgsigs,

If the low NRR is a concern for you, you can comfortably wear a set of soft foam ear plugs under the muffs with no problems.

I use MSA-Sordin Supreme Pro X's, and they are the bee's knees ($$$, though). The amplification allows me to hear even low conversation from 30 feet away, and the sound attenuation is very responsive.

The difference in lower and higher quality muffs if mostly the speed of the sound attenuation. How fast does the loud sound get clipped out, and how soon does the normal level sound return after. Low quality muffs will exhibit significant clipping, and you will not be able to maintain normal conversation over continuous loud sound impulses (ex, talking while a firing line is hot). Higher quality muffs have much faster response times, and will allow you to maintain normal conversation better.

Uteridge
March 1, 2011, 06:00 PM
I have some Peltor Tac-7's as well that are fantastic. I can hear everything I want to hear and save my hearing at the same time. They actually do a better job of cutting down the noise from the shot than non-electric earmuffs in my experience. The one thing that I hate is constantly putting in new batteries because it is very hard to tell when they are on and when they are off so I leave them on about once a month and I have to put in new batteries.

DoubleTapDrew
March 1, 2011, 06:07 PM
I picked up some of the howard leight sports and am impressed with them. I was a little worried about the lower NRR and speed of when it cuts out the sound but so far I've been happy with them and don't notice any difference between regular passive ears, except I can hear like I have nothing on.

VA27
March 1, 2011, 11:04 PM
I've used Peltor's for years. On indoor ranges I double up with muffs and plugs.

Tom609
March 1, 2011, 11:53 PM
I have hearing loss and my Peltors not only work to muffle the blast, but also to amplify conversations that I would otherwise have trouble hearing. I even leave them on during cease fires. They're used several hours a week and the 9v battery seems to last a year. I also have Howard Leight, but the Peltor sound quality is superior.

hso
March 2, 2011, 12:51 AM
natman explained the difference.

Remember to purchase good quality muffs, preferably with gel pads, from a reputable safety equipment manufacturer. Peltor, Howard Leight, MSA, Elvex are well run industrial PPE companies that produce electronic shooting muffs.

Also wear plugs under the muffs.

Make sure the safety glasses don't gap the pads badly degrading the protection by allowing noise to "leak" in.

Asherdan
March 2, 2011, 01:13 AM
I've used Peltor's for years. On indoor ranges I double up with muffs and plugs.

Exactly what I've found works.

http://www.amazon.com/Peltor-97044-T.../dp/B00009363P

I use those 19 NRR Peltor 6's and get real good mileage out of them. Low profile, gel cups that seal well and they work as advertised. The linked price is a good one for them. I use mine for a lot more than shooting. The Howard Leight's are really good as well.

chris in va
March 2, 2011, 02:25 AM
You want the kind of muffs that compress sound electronically, not just cut out all volume. Otherwise you get this very annoying on/off/on/off when someone is shooting.

DON'T get the Walker's Game Ear muffs. The headband snaps like papier mache, no matter how gentle you are with it. Good sound compression though.

Manco
March 2, 2011, 10:14 AM
I have some Peltor Tac-7's as well that are fantastic. I can hear everything I want to hear and save my hearing at the same time. They actually do a better job of cutting down the noise from the shot than non-electric earmuffs in my experience.

I've heard the same from others, as well, and I have to wonder whether this is because of the perceived contrast between hearing things loud & clear one moment and having a blast muffled the next. I mean, if they really did a better job than non-electronic muffs, then why do their NRRs tend to be lower? I think that all but the most costly electronic muffs indeed do a poorer job of attenuating sound, as their NRRs indicate, because of their need to accommodate electronics (which physically get in the way of sealing out sound), and that they only seem to attenuate more because of contrast. Be sure to wear earplugs underneath and turn up the volume if necessary to compensate (for conversation-level sounds).

The difference in lower and higher quality muffs if mostly the speed of the sound attenuation. How fast does the loud sound get clipped out, and how soon does the normal level sound return after.
You want the kind of muffs that compress sound electronically, not just cut out all volume. Otherwise you get this very annoying on/off/on/off when someone is shooting.

Right, the really good (and therefore typically costly) ones never actually cut out at all, but instead continuously perform "dynamic range compression" on all of the sound that the microphones pick up.

TheCracker
March 2, 2011, 10:19 AM
They are awesome! I've used the Caldwell low profile muffs for a couple of years now and love them.

Asherdan
March 2, 2011, 10:55 AM
...but instead continuously perform "dynamic range compression" on all of the sound that the microphones pick up.

It's not like Dolby or other theater style audio systems, it a hard ceiling on sound level in which anything above a certain loudness (~80DB in most cases) is attenuated. You can get cutting on the very bottom end units and possibly a noticeable delay in attenuation but by the time you reach the mid-range units the 'do not pass' ceiling is a simple bar to manage.

Sebastian the Ibis
March 2, 2011, 11:07 AM
Since the electronic muffs amplify soft sounds (like voices) it is a lot easier to double up with plugs and muffs.

I have the Cheapie Caldwells, and put the expensive ones ony the wedding registry. -However my wife threw a fit (probably with good reason in hindsight) and I had to take them off.:(

rscalzo
March 2, 2011, 11:55 AM
Peltor Tactical 7's

I second these. While not the cheapest, the cut off high db sounds instantly. I think you get what you pay for. They are great for handgun but the size can make them get in the way of a stock weld on a long gun.

Manco
March 2, 2011, 01:36 PM
It's not like Dolby or other theater style audio systems,

Well, sure, as those noise reduction systems (such as type A or SR used in theaters) also expand the sound after dropping the hiss below the noise floor, making it even louder and more dynamic than it normally can be on the media being used. Obviously it serves a much different purpose than hearing protection, which could use dynamic range compression alone (no expansion) as one method among a number of alternatives.

it a hard ceiling on sound level in which anything above a certain loudness (~80DB in most cases) is attenuated.

I don't claim to actually know much about how actual units on the market function internally, but hard clipping would sound rather harsh to the ear (even at moderate volume), so I presume that the ones that work as you've described would use some form of dynamic range compression. There are many parameters involved in compression, and therefore there are many ways to implement it, some rather simple and others far more sophisticated.

You can get cutting on the very bottom end units and possibly a noticeable delay in attenuation

I was under the impression that low-end units simply cut off the internal speaker entirely for a short while when excessively loud sounds (i.e. above a certain threshold) are detected. The ones I've tried sure seem to work that way, in any event. This makes sense because it's relatively simple and therefore inexpensive to implement.

but by the time you reach the mid-range units the 'do not pass' ceiling is a simple bar to manage.

Like I said, there are many ways to manage the dynamics of sound. The more sophisticated methods involve a fair amount of signal processing, which means relatively complex, "intelligent" embedded electronics, which in turn implies a fairly high price point. I think that there are a few such units around, which can make quiet sounds louder and loud sounds quieter at the same time without ever cutting out, at least based on some reviews and descriptions I've read (a weak argument, I know, but it could be done whether it currently is or not). I wasn't aware that there are mid-range units that sort of split the difference--I thought they were just really good at cutting in and out. It sure would be nice to know exactly how each product works without having to run tests on all of them. Probably the only reason that I haven't done so myself by now is that passive muffs and plugs have always sufficed for me--I can still (usually) hear what people are saying. :)

tazbigdog
March 2, 2011, 10:37 PM
I also had Peltor Tac7s. Great noise deafening technology and still able to hear clearly on trhe line. Had these when I was instrucitng in the academy.

Sport45
March 3, 2011, 02:06 AM
The less expensive ones work fine for the range. At least I like the way mine work.

If you ever plan to hunt with them you'd probably be better off with the more expensive models that have a microphone for each ear. That way you'll be able to better tell the direction sounds are coming from.

rellascout
March 3, 2011, 10:19 AM
How do the Tactical 7s and the Peltor Tactical Sport MT16H210F-SV compare.

I have a set of cheapies but especially when shooting rifle I find their profile to be too wide.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
March 3, 2011, 10:24 AM
I purchased Pro Ears muffs with a 5-year full warranty. http://www.proears.com/Pro-Ears-Shooting-Hearing-Ear-Protection-Stalker-Gold - I think these are the ones I have.

Expect to pay about $250.

They are extremely comfortable, batteries seem to last nearly forever and there is a jumper inside each cup that is adjustible to mask certain frequencies if you seem to be in a location with lots of certain frequency noise.

I have worn them already nearly all day and they are still comfortable. At the range, I use foam ear plugs in each ear with these over top and the volume up full. I can barely hear guns going off, but can hear their echo off the mountains and then conversations with people near you are just about like not having anything on (ear-wise, that is). :cool:

JoelSteinbach
March 3, 2011, 04:29 PM
Got my Peltot Tactical 7 years ago, I dont know how I shot without them

rellascout
March 3, 2011, 04:53 PM
Can you get a good cheek weld with the Peltor 7s on?

oneounceload
March 3, 2011, 04:57 PM
Can you get a good cheek weld with the Peltor 7s on?

For years I didn't think I could - then I started using my Passive Peltors - which stick out even further than the electronic ones - I shoot shotguns at clays where proper gun mount is crucial -no issues with either - YMMV depending on your physical stature and features (neck, weight, etc) - I'm 6'3 and 265 if that gives you an idea

jcwit
March 3, 2011, 05:56 PM
I've owned Silencio, Remington, and Caldwell electronic muffs. A few years ago I purchased a set of Howard Leigth muffs, reasonably priced and work excellant, end of story.

Erik
March 3, 2011, 09:15 PM
I double up MSA/Sordin Supreme Pro X muffs with Surefire Sonic Defender EP3 inserts and could not be happier.

Cost? What's your hearing worth to you?

hso
March 3, 2011, 10:21 PM
They all simply turn off the mic/speaker and allow the passive sound attenuating property of the body of the muff to reduce the sound pressure of the noise reaching the ear. The better the electronic muff the more rapidly the electronics turn off the mic/speakers.

It simply isn't cost-effective to use more complex electronics and signal processing.

Gromky
March 4, 2011, 05:26 AM
There is a downside to them. If you're hunting, and you hear every raindrop hitting every leaf near you, and every grasshopper jumping within 20', you will slowly go mad.

Otherwise, they're fantastic. I feel very closed in with standard muffs, which I thought was the lack of airflow. With electronic earmuffs I can wear them for hours without feeling closed in. If you need it, wear earplugs below. If you're annoyed, turn the volume off and you have standard earmuffs.

natman
March 4, 2011, 12:53 PM
There is a downside to them. If you're hunting, and you hear every raindrop hitting every leaf near you, and every grasshopper jumping within 20', you will slowly go mad.

Turn the volume down to normal levels. I played around with higher than normal levels for a while, but found that it was difficult to locate sounds a higher levels. No problem when the volume is adjusted to normal. Then you really can forget you have them on.

Gromky
March 5, 2011, 04:02 AM
Turn the volume down to normal levels. I played around with higher than normal levels for a while, but found that it was difficult to locate sounds a higher levels. No problem when the volume is adjusted to normal. Then you really can forget you have them on.

Being sensible, is that allowed? But yes, I had to crank things down to about "normal" hearing levels. People aren't cut out to deal with every sound near them, we want to make each one significant. Even if it is just a damn grasshopper.

docfubar
March 5, 2011, 11:27 AM
Remember you get what you pay for. I had two pairs of the Silencio brand electronic muffs and the first pair died the second day of a carbine instructor class and the second set died about a week later shooting my 300 winmag. Some of the cheaper ones can not take constant recoil. I have since bought a set of Peltors.

HM2PAC
March 5, 2011, 11:31 AM
Love my Peltor's. Wouldn't think of shooting or hunting without them. I've had them for 2 years now and are one of the best birthday presents my wife has ever given me....2nd only to a BPS 10GA:)

btg3
March 5, 2011, 02:41 PM
Peltor Tactical Pro -- GREAT!!!
Gel cushions, Auto-off conserves battery.

Reviews at Midway, Amazon, etc. have some good info to consider on various muffs before making a purchase decision.

Perhaps the downside to all muffs is that in warmer weather, they can get uncomfortable.

crankyoldlady
March 5, 2011, 03:02 PM
I have the Caldwell low profile model. When new they were very comfortable. But, after a year of wearing them 4-6 hours a week, the foam padding has broken down and they have become down right painful to wear. The electronics still function perfectly.

When reading reviews, take notice of how long the muffs have been used by the reviewer.

Aw4g63
March 5, 2011, 07:32 PM
I paid $25 for a single mic set that works great after about 5 years.

I paid $35-40 for a stereo mic set that I bought at Dicks Sporting Goods. I've had those for almost a year. They work great.

Sound on both can be cut by any abrupt noise but that doesn't effect me at all. They're just regular muffs while the audio is cut.

I'd really make sure you buy a set that has a mic for each ear. I love the stereo sound.

If you enjoyed reading about "Electronic Muffs?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!