Hearing protection


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Vector
February 18, 2013, 04:23 PM
I'd like to know why some people swear by electronic muffs, yet they typically have lower(in some cases MUCH lower) db protection ratings?

I own several forms of hearing protection, such as Silenco Magnums with a 29 NRR rating.
Yet I read about people using electronic muffs like Howard Leight R-01526 with a NRR of only 22

What am I missing?

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84B20
February 18, 2013, 04:32 PM
I have a number of pairs of hearing protection including Howard Leight ear muffs but the ones I use now are the inside the ear ones from SportEar. Granted they are MUCH more expensive but when you shoot shotgun or rife they are the best solution. Also, if you are at one of the professional training schools they often require electronic ear protection so you can hear the range officer.

Grassman
February 18, 2013, 04:32 PM
I just have some basic cheapo muffs, I think they have like a 33 db protection. Pretty good for cheapies.

holdencm9
February 18, 2013, 04:45 PM
I think you have to go pretty expensive to get the NRR in the electronic muffs.

My howard leight impact sports are only like 22db reduction, compared to 30db for plugs, or (I think) 26db for my non-electronic muffs.

My idea now (in light of another thread that highly suggests doubling up) is to wear plugs and then put the electronic muffs over them, and crank up the volume so i can hear almost like normal, except gun shots arestill cut out.

Samir
February 18, 2013, 04:46 PM
Even though I don't own any, I think the main advantage of electronic ear muffs is the ability to hear normal sounds better. Some (maybe most) actually let you amplify normal sounds, while suppressing loud, impulse sounds.

Frank Ettin
February 18, 2013, 04:54 PM
Several things:

Many electronic muffs offer higher noise reduction ratings.


Many of us use foam plugs plus the muffs.


The electronic muffs allow one to hear normal conversation, range commands, instructors, students, etc. They are thus particularly useful when taking a class or teaching.

Vector
February 18, 2013, 05:01 PM
I just have some basic cheapo muffs, I think they have like a 33 db protection. Pretty good for cheapies.

I'd be dubious of muffs that were cheap that claim 33db protection.
I think they chose that number because it is the highest rated number for hearing protection using the NRR scale. I know mine with a 29 NRR were not cheap.

Several things:

Many electronic muffs offer higher noise reduction ratings.


Many of us use foam plugs plus the muffs.


The electronic muffs allow one to hear normal conversation, range commands, instructors, students, etc. They are thus particularly useful when taking a class or teaching.

Makes sense, but if you double up, doesn't that defeat the purpose of hearing others speak with the foam plugs in under the muffs?

Frank Ettin
February 18, 2013, 05:12 PM
...if you double up, doesn't that defeat the purpose of hearing others speak with the foam plugs in under the muffs? No, because of the amplification provided by the electronic muffs. The electronic muffs either cut out (the cheap, analog type) or compress (the expensive, digital type) loud sounds to keep the sound in a safe range.

dirtykid
February 18, 2013, 05:26 PM
Like grassman, I just have a cheap $39 pair from the local sporting goods store, they work pretty awesome, except in warm weather, then they cook your ears,,
I would like to invest in some of those sport-ears someday though,,

84B20
February 18, 2013, 06:01 PM
Like grassman, I just have a cheap $39 pair from the local sporting goods store, they work pretty awesome, except in warm weather, then they cook your ears,,
I would like to invest in some of those sport-ears someday though,,

If you ever get a chance to take a course at Front Sight in Nevada SportEar is often there and will do the fitting for free. That will save you a fair amount.

Vector
March 1, 2013, 05:29 AM
Like grassman, I just have a cheap $39 pair from the local sporting goods store, they work pretty awesome, except in warm weather, then they cook your ears,,
I would like to invest in some of those sport-ears someday though,,

What brands are these cheapo muffs and what exactly are their ratings?

JohnBT
March 1, 2013, 09:19 AM
"What am I missing?"

I don't think you're missing a thing, that's why I saved up and bought the Pro Ears Pro Tac Gold model - 33db - when it was on sale for 25% off. I wear plugs under them too.

I still have two Peltor Bullseye Ultimate 10's (29db), but one set stays near the table saw.

John

Vector
March 1, 2013, 10:57 AM
I ask that because many of the more popular models among shooters are much lower in protection when compared to the top of the line non electronic muffs.
So if you are spending lets say $70 for the Howard Leight R-01526 Impact Sport Electronic Earmuffs with an NRR 22, it seems counter-intuitive.

Drail
March 1, 2013, 04:28 PM
The ratings on many muffs and plugs are computed by using what ever "scale" makes them look better than the competition. It is exactly like the wattage rating wars back in the 70's on stereo amplifiers. Some companies gave honest numbers and some "stretched" it a little. It's just a number used by marketing. Just use whatever is comfortable to you.

Vector
March 1, 2013, 06:08 PM
The ratings on many muffs and plugs are computed by using what ever "scale" makes them look better than the competition. It is exactly like the wattage rating wars back in the 70's on stereo amplifiers. Some companies gave honest numbers and some "stretched" it a little. It's just a number used by marketing. Just use whatever is comfortable to you.

Well I'd hope when it comes to hearing protection, there is a scale that is accurate and uniform. Considering safety regulations as it pertains to OSHA and/or ANSI, I have to believe there is.

Furthermore, if a product fudged the numbers like you imply, I could see a winnable lawsuit against the manufacturer by someone whose hearing was impaired due to advertised protection that turned out to be inadequate.

`

JohnBT
March 1, 2013, 07:10 PM
"It's just a number used by marketing."

I don't believe that. Okay, maybe the cheap stuff does come with made-up numbers.


Some makers really test theirs and have them certified.

www.proears.com/store/pg/56-How-It-Works.aspx

"CERTIFICATIONS
Not only do Pro-Ears feature the most advanced, sophisticated electronics in the industry, we have also proven ourselves in the Industrial arena. When thoroughly evaluated by independent testing laboratories, Pro-Ears Electronic Hearing Protection / Sound Amplification products excelled and were Certified MSHA 2G-4108 and ANSI / UL 913 for Class I, II and III, Div. 1, Group A, B, C and D Hazardous Locations. These prestigious findings further prove the unmatched proficiency, reliability and technological advances found only in Pro-Ears products. When the environmental conditions require the ultimate in hearing protection as well as the necessity to communicate, there is only one choice, Pro-Ears. "

dbp
March 2, 2013, 01:46 AM
Would the Sportears be adequate protection for indoor range use? I would think that indoor shooting is considerably louder than outdoor.

Vector
March 2, 2013, 02:52 PM
^ That and the caliber they allow to be fired.

The suppressors have been demonetized, but they certainly should be available for use to reduce dangerous noise at the range.

84B20
March 2, 2013, 11:28 PM
Would the Sportears be adequate protection for indoor range use? I would think that indoor shooting is considerably louder than outdoor.

I don't see why they wouldn't. They use digital compression like the more expensive ear muffs with the added benefit they don't get knocked of when firing a shotgun or rifle.

JohnBT
March 3, 2013, 11:11 AM
Which Sportears? They make in-the-ear and muffs.

www.sportear.com

The advantage of muffs is that they cover the mastoid bone/process - the big bone you can feel behind your ear. Sound is transmitted through the bone (and your skull to a lesser degree) directly to the inner ear.

Bone conduction works well enough that Panasonic is now selling headphones that leave your ear unobstructed - although they fit in front of the ear and not behind it.

www.theverge.com/2013/1/9/3855584/panasonic-bone-conduction-headphone-prototype-hands-on

Vector
March 3, 2013, 06:00 PM
Does anyone else have a problem with your eyes interfering with the seating of your ears?

84B20
March 3, 2013, 10:17 PM
Does anyone else have a problem with your eyes interfering with the seating of your ears?

Only when I wear the muffs. No problem since I got the SportEars.

dbp
March 3, 2013, 10:34 PM
Which Sportears? They make in-the-ear and muffs.

www.sportear.com

The advantage of muffs is that they cover the mastoid bone/process - the big bone you can feel behind your ear. Sound is transmitted through the bone (and your skull to a lesser degree) directly to the inner ear.

Bone conduction works well enough that Panasonic is now selling headphones that leave your ear unobstructed - although they fit in front of the ear and not behind it.

www.theverge.com/2013/1/9/3855584/panasonic-bone-conduction-headphone-prototype-hands-on
My question is concerning the wearing of XP3 Plugz.

Vector
March 4, 2013, 02:25 AM
Only when I wear the muffs. No problem since I got the SportEars.

Clearly I am asking the question related to muffs.

Vector
March 14, 2013, 04:22 PM
Here is another example of top rated electronic muffs with a low NRR vs. a pair of regular muffs by the same manufacturer with a much higher NRR rating.

http://www.amazon.com/3M-Tactical-Hearing-Protector-Compatible/dp/B000Q04MRG/ref=pd_cp_hi_2

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00009363P/ref=pe_223110_28667610_pe_epc__1p_2_ti

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000PW98WO/ref=pe_223110_28667610_pe_epc__1p_1_ti


So I find it hard to believe people would risk hearing damage/loss with the more expensive but less effective electronic muffs.

MrCleanOK
March 15, 2013, 02:03 AM
So I find it hard to believe people would risk hearing damage/loss with the more expensive but less effective electronic muffs.

Vector, I think you're missing the point. The lower NRR of electronic muffs is because they are a compromise. When paired with plugs underneath, electronic muffs are very safe to use, and amplify low level noises enough to hear through the plugs. This is important for hearing commands from a Range Safety Officer, hearing commands or corrections from an instructor, or just being able to talk to your buddies without taking your ear pro off. If you look at the cups on a lot of the electronic muffs, they are slimmer than regular muffs, and may have scalloped sections to provide a better cheek weld, or fit under a ballistic helmet. The slim cups can't possibly provide the NRR of a huge cup full of foam, but they're a lot easier to shoot with and wear all day.

So you're right. If your only concern is getting the highest NRR available, electronic muffs probably aren't for you. But, if you have to wear your ear pro for prolonged periods, and be able to communicate with the outside world without taking your ear pro off, they are worth a look.

Vector
March 15, 2013, 11:46 AM
Vector, I think you're missing the point. The lower NRR of electronic muffs is because they are a compromise. When paired with plugs underneath, electronic muffs are very safe to use, and amplify low level noises enough to hear through the plugs. This is important for hearing commands from a Range Safety Officer, hearing commands or corrections from an instructor, or just being able to talk to your buddies without taking your ear pro off. If you look at the cups on a lot of the electronic muffs, they are slimmer than regular muffs, and may have scalloped sections to provide a better cheek weld, or fit under a ballistic helmet. The slim cups can't possibly provide the NRR of a huge cup full of foam, but they're a lot easier to shoot with and wear all day.

So you're right. If your only concern is getting the highest NRR available, electronic muffs probably aren't for you. But, if you have to wear your ear pro for prolonged periods, and be able to communicate with the outside world without taking your ear pro off, they are worth a look.

Hey don't get me wrong, I do understand those points. It is just that they do make electronic muffs that have higher ratings, but you also pay a lot more.
So I imagine someone could have plugs underneath those as well, and get the maximum protection while still having verbal commands heard?

`

MrCleanOK
March 15, 2013, 01:01 PM
Typically NRR isn't what drives the cost of electronic muffs. The cost is driven by the quality of the electronics, the durability of the unit, water resistance, etc. NRR is largely driven by how thick the foam is and the quality of the ear cups. If the muffs are intended to be ergonomic for shooting and fit under a ballistic helmet, the NRR is going to be limited.

btg3
March 15, 2013, 02:17 PM
Published NRR is "best case". If hearing protection does not fit, seal, or is worn improperly, you will not have the full NRR protection.

Be aware of eye glasses, long hair, head bands, etc that can compromise muffs.

Ear plugs that are not properly inserted, or fail to stay inserted, can also negate NRR.

Vector
March 20, 2013, 01:16 PM
Typically NRR isn't what drives the cost of electronic muffs. The cost is driven by the quality of the electronics, the durability of the unit, water resistance, etc. NRR is largely driven by how thick the foam is and the quality of the ear cups. If the muffs are intended to be ergonomic for shooting and fit under a ballistic helmet, the NRR is going to be limited.

Maybe that explains the comparison between these two by the same manufacturer?

http://www.amazon.com/Honeywell-R-01902-Electronic-Shooting-Earmuffs/dp/B007BGSI5U/ref=pd_cp_hi_1

http://www.amazon.com/Howard-Leight-R-01526-Electronic-Earmuff/dp/B001T7QJ9O/ref=pd_bxgy_hi_img_z

`

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