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Hearing protection

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by HannibalTheCrow, Dec 17, 2006.

  1. HannibalTheCrow

    HannibalTheCrow New Member

    Dec 7, 2006
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    I was wondering which would be the best type of hearing protection for me and my wife to purchase for shooting at the range.

    The inner ear plug that fits inside the ear canal?

    Or, the ones that are like headphones?

    Which seem to offer the best protection, without having to pay an arm and a leg for them.

    Thank you for you input in advance,

  2. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 19, 2006
    A good set of ear muff style hearing protectors can be found for as little as $20 to $30. The in the ear "foamies" are a few dollars for a pack of several pair. I recommend using both, especially on an indoor range. When I go for my annual M-16 qualification (USAF) we "double up" and use both regardless of it it's on the (semi) indoor range or the full outdoor range. It's a minimal investment to protect your hearing - you can't get it back once it's lost, so don't skimp!
  3. Green Lantern

    Green Lantern Participating Member

    Aug 16, 2006
    They say that using foam earplugs, WITH muff-type hearing protectors is the best way to go.

    Again I give thanks to God that I don't have to use a range, and can shoot outdoors. I find that plastic earplugs work fine for me out in more or less "wide open spaces."
  4. 10-Ring

    10-Ring Elder

    Dec 24, 2002
    Lately, I've been using both the plugs from Sure Fire and Peltor muffs together.
  5. Ops Officer

    Ops Officer New Member

    May 18, 2006
    I would not go cheap for hearing protection. I wear electronic hearing protection (Peltor Tac Pro) and foam plugs for indoor shooting. I omit the foam plugs for outdoor shooting. Invest in quality hearing protection. You won't regret it.
  6. jlh26oo

    jlh26oo Participating Member

    Jun 1, 2005

    BOTH. I go double duty. In the ear, and muffs. If you do that, you can go cheap, walmart style. All will be quiet.

    If otoh you insist on muffs only, I'd invest in one of the high end pair.
  7. Manedwolf

    Manedwolf member

    Nov 10, 2005
    New Hampshire
    Well. Just because it doesn't make you wince in pain doesn't mean it's not eroding your hearing with each shot.

    Not sure what plastic plugs you mean, but I'd not personally go with less than the military reversible ones or electronic impulse-sound suppression types.
  8. PinnedAndRecessed

    PinnedAndRecessed member

    Aug 10, 2004
    Facts on noise levels:

    Decibels measure sound pressure and are logarithmic, a 3db increase almost doubles sound pressure, a 6db increase quadruples sound pressure.

    Gradual hearing loss may occur after prolonged exposure to 90 decibels or above.

    Exposure to 100 decibels for more than 15 minutes can cause hearing loss.

    Exposure to 110 decibels for more than a minute can cause permanent hearing loss.

    Here are some examples of noise levels:

    Video arcades - (110 dB).

    Firecrackers - (125-155 dB at a distance of 10 feet).

    Live music concerts - (120 dB and above).

    Movie theatres - (118 dB).

    Health clubs and aerobic studios (120 dB).

    Sporting events (127 dB).

    Motorboats - (85-115 dB).

    Motorcycles - (95-120 dB).

    Snowmobiles - (99 dB).

    "Boom cars" - (140 dB and above).

    Here are noise levels of firearms:

    .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. In 18" barrel 163.2dB.

    .375 18" barrel with muzzle brake 170 dB.

    .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.

    .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.

    Properly fitted earplugs or muffs reduce noise 15 to 30 dB. The better earplugs and muffs are approximately equal in sound reductions, although earplugs are better for low frequency noise and earmuffs for high frequency noise.

    All of us should be trying to get the greatest Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) that can be put together. NRR 30 plugs with NRR 20 muffs will give you an effective NRR 45 (add plugs and muffs, then subtract 5). If noise levels are 160 dB this gives you an exposure with plugs and muffs of 115 dB. The acceptable exposure time for this is 15 minutes total for the day. If the noise levels are 150 dB the resultant acceptable exposure time with the given plugs and muffs is 1 hour and 4 hours if the noise level is 140 dB. You're not going to find unsuppressed noise levels below 140dB with gunfire.

    If you are shooting by yourself, roughly 100 rounds of 140 dB instantaneous noise in a day should not produce hearing damage. Put your plugs and muffs on and you get to shoot up to a thousand rounds without damage (louder ammo/gun and the allowable drops by a factor of 5). Shoot with other people and you have to add all the rounds shot cumulatively (10 people shoot 100 rounds and everybody's done for the day; toss a handcannon or 30 cal rifle in and you're back down to 200 rounds cumulative). If you shoot on an indoor range then all the rounds fired while you are on the range go into your total. So you can see that it doesn't take very long on a range to have a thousand rounds popped off around you.
  9. tegemu

    tegemu Active Member

    Nov 2, 2005
    Orange Park, Fla.
    According to my ear doctor, foam plugs AND muffs are imperative. Either one by itself is in adequate and WILL ultimately result in permanent hearing loss. He also does not recommend the expensive molded plugs. If not inserted correctly or when the ear changes shape (They all do) the molded plug looses efficiency. The foam plug molds itself to your ear each time. There is a correct technique for inserting the foam plugs. Roll the plug up tightly, reach over your head and pull your ear up and then insert the rolled plug.
  10. Manedwolf

    Manedwolf member

    Nov 10, 2005
    New Hampshire
    And yet the government still declares silencers to be terribly evil and dangerous things, available only to those who can pay a lot of money for the transfer tax.

  11. Steve C

    Steve C Senior Member

    Jan 5, 2006
    Look for the NRR rating on your hearing protection. Most shooting muffs are only 15 to 20 DB reduction. A good set of soft plugs will have a 32 NRR. The NRR ratings are accurate only if the hearing protection is used properly so make sure you read the instructions and don't just stuff the plug into your ear. The protection from Muffs is reduced by anything that breaks the seal. Glasses and hair will reduce the effectiveness of muffs.

    Allowable levels of noise is based on an average weighted exposure so on an averaged basis 8 hours or longer at the range will not be beyond allowable exposure when using hearing protection as even on the line the breaks for reloading, setting targets, etc. often exceed the firing time.
  12. Coyote3855

    Coyote3855 Participating Member

    Nov 6, 2006
    I use custom in-the-ear plugs made for my very own personal ear canals by my sister-in-law, Dr. Audiologist. I got the family discount, but worth every penny. Custom fit is more secure and a better rating than those foamie jobs. When I do Range Officer duties for guys shooting comped Supers, I add a good pair of muffs.


    What's your hearing worth? I'd give a lot to have mine back.
  13. M&P9C

    M&P9C New Member

    Dec 6, 2006
    I use both...33db earplugs and 30db muffs.
  14. SamTuckerMTNMAN

    SamTuckerMTNMAN Active Member

    Oct 4, 2006
    another one

    for foam squish inserts backed up by external 'muffs. Just fine, and not expensive at all. You COULD spend a lot but the two described above work. Now my g'pa, he didn't mess with all that wussy hearing protection stuff. We just had to throw things at him to get any mashed potatos:neener:
  15. Green Lantern

    Green Lantern Participating Member

    Aug 16, 2006
    ......ooooops! :eek: I just assumed it was only damaging if it was loud enough to be uncomfortable.

    I just finished shooting tonight with some new Silencio plastic plugs I had tucked away (I seem to have mis-placed my :cuss: regular ones - probably a telling sign that I'm not practicing enough! ;) ). Glock 19 with Speer Gold dots (carry ammo) in a regular-capacity mag. And some Winchester white box FMJ and Hollowpoints and a few Silvertips mixed into a mag with the factory +2 extention. Testing it for reliablity, fully loaded. It ran one-hunderd-per, BTW.

    Throughout, I guess I would describe the noise as a "pop" each time. I think I have better than average hearing, loud noises bother me, so (with VERY FEW exceptions) I never shoot unless I have at least enough protection to be comfortable.

    Still, think I'll pick up some muffs the next time I'm in town to be extra safe...THANKS for the heads-up!
  16. torpid

    torpid Participating Member

    Aug 12, 2004
    CA coast
    I used to use muffs, but after reading a similar THR thread I doubled up with foam plugs + muffs. I've gone electronic with the muffs now, and it works really well- I can hear conversations again, but shots are still drastically muffled.
  17. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Elder

    Jun 11, 2005
    Indoors, wear plugs and muffs. Indoor ranges give me a head ache sometimes. Don't know if it is the powder residue or the sound. Outdoors, wear good quality muffs. Hunting, you're on your own.
  18. RNB65

    RNB65 Senior Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Richmond, VA
    Both if it's an indoor range. They are incredibly loud.

    If you only chose one, go with earmuffs with a NRR of at least 29 or 30.
  19. Soybomb

    Soybomb Senior Member

    Oct 31, 2005
  20. Aguila Blanca

    Aguila Blanca Participating Member

    Sep 1, 2006

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