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Hearing protection

Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by Vector, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. Vector

    Vector Well-Known Member

    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?
  2. 84B20

    84B20 Well-Known Member

    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.
  3. Grassman

    Grassman Well-Known Member

    I just have some basic cheapo muffs, I think they have like a 33 db protection. Pretty good for cheapies.
  4. holdencm9

    holdencm9 Well-Known Member

    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.
  5. Samir

    Samir Active Member

    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.
  6. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

    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.
  7. Vector

    Vector Well-Known Member

    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.

    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?
  8. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

    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.
  9. dirtykid

    dirtykid Well-Known Member

    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,,
  10. 84B20

    84B20 Well-Known Member

    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.
  11. Vector

    Vector Well-Known Member

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

    JohnBT Well-Known Member

    "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.

  13. Vector

    Vector Well-Known Member

    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.
  14. Drail

    Drail Well-Known Member

    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.
  15. Vector

    Vector Well-Known Member

    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.

  16. JohnBT

    JohnBT Well-Known Member

    "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.


    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. "
  17. dbp

    dbp Well-Known Member

    Would the Sportears be adequate protection for indoor range use? I would think that indoor shooting is considerably louder than outdoor.
  18. Vector

    Vector Well-Known Member

    ^ 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.
  19. 84B20

    84B20 Well-Known Member

    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.
  20. JohnBT

    JohnBT Well-Known Member

    Which Sportears? They make in-the-ear and muffs.


    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.


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