How to rebuild ear protectors


October 16, 2013, 09:12 PM
I guess over the years I have collected maybe ten sets of "EARS". Mainly the David Clark red ones with the molded in depression so it won't hit the stock. Also the bigger pretty blue ones.

After about ten years of use the pads get tired, the foam inside the cup starts to flake and they are for all practical purposes not serviceable.

I have been thinking of what kind of insulation I could get that could be cut and glued on the muffs that would make them serviceable again.

Finally I figured out Armaflex closed cell foam insulation using in the HVAC industry and I figured ideally 3/8" would be about right but alas I don't have a source for it but I do have a piece about 3/16" thick.

Templates Made: First I removed old ear cushions and traced the outline of the inner oblong surface on a piece of plexiglass and cut it out with a scroll saw and did final sanding of the outside edge with a 12" disc sander.

Next I put a piece of plexiglass over the cup and traced out the inner opening and I was ready.

I put the template on the Armaflex and took a blue permanant Sharpie and traced the outline and used rounded surgical scissiors to cut the outside.

Once I had the pads cut I put the smaller template center of the outside, laid it out with Sharpie and cut it out with the scissors.

I placed them over the muffs and tried them on my head and they seemed to seal up just fine so I moved to attaching them.

I mixed up 2 part Devcon Two Ton Epoxy and placed a small thin coating on the rubber and placed them on the cups and opened it up to clamp on the sides of a box about 7" wide but they kept wanting to slide so this was stopped by taking clear packaging tape and tapng the cups in place and at the present time are sitting up curing.

The hardest part is cutting the templates and sanding to be be just 1/16" overside but once they are finished you are set for life.

If you enjoyed reading about "How to rebuild ear protectors" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
October 16, 2013, 09:36 PM
A neat idea.

However, one must remember that modified/repaired ear protectors aren't guaranteed to have the same level of sound protection that they were certified to have when manufactured...unless these repairs were performed by the factory or factory authorized service centers.

Just because they SEEM to work adequately does not mean that they actually work properly across the full range of frequencies that they're supposed to.

I'm of the opinion that any set of ear protectors that has lasted through 10 years of servicable life has more than paid for itself and I wouldn't hesitate to replace them with new ones.

You may, of course, do as you see fit...however, I believe that one's hearing is important enough not to take chances with. I have some significant hearing loss (though thankfully not because of overexposure to high noise levels), so I am a bit more sensitive to this issue than some may be.

Give your ears the best and don't take half-measures.


Outlaw Man
October 17, 2013, 08:57 AM
It's definitely an interesting idea. Got any pics of the process or finished product?

October 17, 2013, 09:13 AM
You can get "Hygiene Kits (" for some types, maybe they could me made to work for you?

October 18, 2013, 02:16 PM
Yes I will post some pics. Waiting now for some thicker closed cell foam stock to arrive thought what I have seems to be doing nicely.

While sitting here I just thought of another way to make up more templates that are even more accurate. They kept wanting to move on the box and the foam stayed in place but ears wanted to walk around till I taped them in place.

I am also think of a better foam to replace the deterriorated stuff in the cups.

I have a hospital foam mattress I cut some off of and put it in and it seems to do pretty good.

Also understand there is a closed cell foam they use in above ground pools to keep the liner from getting punctured. Then I thought of some spray foam insulation as a possibility.

I have examined the foam in broadcast studios and it appears to be open cell variation.

October 18, 2013, 02:18 PM
2 part Devcon Two Ton EpoxyRubber contact cement would have been a better choice.


October 18, 2013, 02:47 PM
What brand? Where is it found?

I have been researching and closed cell seems to have the best insulation value and I have found some garage door foam tape with adhesive on one side I am thinking of trying to replace what fell out of cups over the years.

October 18, 2013, 02:57 PM

You can buy it anywhere glue is sold.


October 19, 2013, 01:52 PM
thanks much, will check it out at Home Depot when I go to town.

Just had a guy come up to sight in his rifle and I tried out the thin cushions and they sealed up just fine. Normally I don't have to raise them up to hear conversation at the bench but today I could not make out anything he was saying so as far as I am concerned I have a winner which should be even better when it get in my thicker closed cell foam.

October 19, 2013, 09:03 PM
Got the Weldwood contact cement at Home Depot this evening and it was a tremendous help in getting the next set of pads placed and it is drying as I type this. I cut these pads so they would overlap the cans about 1/8". I couldn't wait to try it out and went out and traced out the liners and cut them out, went in and clamped a cup in vice and coated both surfaces and allowed it to get tacky and put the first one on. I could tell it wasn't going to move so I proceeded to cutting out the second one. I was back in the house in maybe 20 minutes and have them on the box drying as I type this..

I had a chance to range test the first pair this afternoon. Friend came over to zero his 270 and I picked up a Sears 73 at flea market this morning and I wanted to check the zero on it.

These had the original Clark foam liner inside the cans even though it is falling out in pieces and I put them on and started to shoot. Good seal the whole time on the pieces I glued on.

Normally when I am at the bench and someone is sitting on other side of the bench I can hear conversation through the EARS but today I was constantly having to raise one can and get him to repeat what he had said. I could tell he said something but could not make it out.

Thanks again for the recommendation for the Weldwood. I noted they had it at Wally World but the box was empty it came in. I found the identical box at Home Deport. This is going to make the next projects go much better.

October 19, 2013, 09:39 PM
I agree with one of the respondents who cited that a non-factory repair may yield significantly different performance than the original. Having that many and depending on your funds, that can be difficult but I have a particular interest in keeping my hearing as capable as I can. I would tend to scrap some/most/all and buy one good set that you can be sure of.
FWIW, I like the Peltor line. I use to fly GA with David Clark but never felt they were as quiet, comfortable or lightweight as they should be. The Peltor's were and are excellent, if a bit spendy.

October 20, 2013, 07:34 AM
Be assured I have new ear protectors. Last ones I got are a couple pairs of Winchester from Walmart which do a good job. I use them with lawn mowers, on tractor etc. I have used protectors since 1962 I guess when they first came out and I could not find any till I got to Camp Perry and got them. In those days tough guys did not use any. Before that I used cotton.

I got rear ended last June and knocked out. When I came to I was totally deaf for a few minutes. In a 10 lane intersection and could hear nothing. I heard nothing before the impact or during either.

Been seeing a ENT for last several months and coming up another hearing test in a couple weeks. After wreck the ringing started and it changes day to day. I can tell right ear is lower than the left.

He says I have normal hearing loss (age 66) in left ear but he is not convinced what is happening in right ear is not wreck related. Met a preacher who lost lots of hearing as a result of a wreck. Have met others who had hearing loss in wrecks.

If you enjoyed reading about "How to rebuild ear protectors" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!