avoiding ear damage with powerful rifles

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by mainecoon, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. wichta5003

    wichta5003 Member

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    New forum member here. Very interesting thread. In a former life, for around 30 years I was a bass player for a boatload of blues, classic rock & country bands - and I usually stood on stage with the drummer's snare drum to my good ear (I'm deaf in my left ear). So my hearing isn't so hot to start with...

    When I shoot any of my 9mm's at the range, I just use my Peltor ears with (I think) 32 dB NRR. But when I take my .223/.5.56 AR-15 with 16" barrel, I double up my protection. I just use the orange cylinder-shaped things from Ace Hardware - made of stiff foam. I just roll it with my thumb & fingers into a little stick and cram it into my ear canal, put on my Peltors, and I'm good to go. By the time I'm ready to take my first shot, the orange things have expanded to fill my ear canal. The combination works extremely well.
     
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  2. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    One thing to note when looking at long term hearing conservation is dependent upon where you shoot. If you have your own range and do the vast majority of your shooting there then that’s optimal. Build a table to cradle a plastic 55 gallon drum, use a hole saw to cut a big enough hole for gun barrel and to clearly see through optics. That will capture a huge amount of flash, blast, and noise.
     
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  3. Hunter 08

    Hunter 08 Member

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    Quite a few posts to sort through, but I've been thinking about getting electronic ear muff like the 3M Peltor Tactical to use when hunting. It would be an alternative to only wearing one ear plug while waiting for a deer to come by, then having to fiddle to get the other one in. What's the general consensus on these?
     
  4. wichta5003

    wichta5003 Member

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    Don't take my word for it; I'm the new guy on this forum. But the 3M Peltor Tactical stays in my range bag. Electronic ear muffs are the way to go. The way they work is this... the only sound suppression they give you is from the anatomy of the earcups and the quality of the seal around your ear - in other words, they work EXACTLY the same way as the older, "passive" ear muffs. The electronic part is just there to provide hearing aids... all they do is pick up the ambient sound and amplify it, the same as hearing aids do. But when you take a shot, the special circuitry responds in a matter of a few nanoseconds to immediately shut down the amplification. Electronic earmuffs are made for people who want to be able to hear a normal conversation or the range officer at an indoor shooting range. You can wear them and hear everything until a loud sound happens, and the amplification shuts down INSTANTLY.
    Big hint - you're still looking for the highest NRR value when you buy earmuffs.
     
  5. Legionnaire
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    Legionnaire Member

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    I’ve been wearing Peltor Tac 7s while hunting with a handgun for years. They work while stand hunting with a rifle, too. Always wear them at the range, with or without foam plugs depending on what I’m shooting.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2021
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  6. Jackalope 1

    Jackalope 1 Member

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    If it recoils like a 450 Ackley Magnum Cartridge loaded with 96 grains H4895 topped with a Hornady 500 grain RNSP, kicking out at 2590 fps, clocked out over my Oehler 35 P Chronograph, I'D say MAYBE 3 ROUNDS!!!! I'm talking FIRST HAND experience here!! Jacklope 1
     
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  7. Idahou

    Idahou Member

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    Just getting my first medium calibre rifle (7,62x39, vz 58) and peaked in this topic, fast reading last few pages i caught vibe that just typical ear muffs isnt enough to protect your hearing for longer term, is that correct?
     
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  8. wichta5003

    wichta5003 Member

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    That seems to be the consensus. I have tinnitus and it really sucks. I ignore it because I’m so used to it, but I wish I’d used the little roll up foam things under my electronic muffs all along.
     
  9. Idahou

    Idahou Member

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    Thanks, i really didnt think about that much till i find this topic, but i will get some additional plugs - obviously its worth that little bit of discomfort
     
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  10. wbbh

    wbbh Member

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    Times 1,000
     
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  11. candymancan

    candymancan member

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    Honestly guys.. i use the same harbor freight ear muffs that i got for my landscaping business. Theyre just el cheapo ones. And tbh i can barely hear anything when i have em on. I cant hear people talking to me either. I always have to lift a muff off and go what ???

    My hearing isnt that great to begin with and i have tinnitus.. due to ear infections as a kid.. and my left ear is the worst due to an abusive step dad when i was a kid who perm damaged my hearing from a guitar and sp3aker he put in my face when i was sleeping... yea crappy huh ?

    But i always wear dar protection even when using a regular lawn mower.. you dont need it with them.. but i still use it.
     
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  12. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    That's why you get the active electronic muffs, which solve those problems of passive muffs.
     
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  13. candymancan

    candymancan member

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    Ya my gf would talk to me from behind when im shooting.. i turn my head and go what ???? And she keeps talking.. then i lift an ear off and someonr shoots and i gave ringing in it..

    Its annoying lol told her to talk to me after the range officer halts shooting to collect targets.

    But those cheapo muffs work pretty well besides that
     
  14. hey smepl this

    hey smepl this Member

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    I double up at the indoor range. Problem is, the muffs interfere with my shooting of my .22 rifle Bc it has iron sights. Can’t get my cheek down where it needs to be without the muff being pushed aside.

    plugs alone would be fine for the .22 but there’s always someone next to me with an AR15. I can feel the pressure on my face.
     
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  15. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    I hear ya. Been there done that. Just yesterday, in fact. Was shooting a couple of my .22 target pistols with just foam ear plugs and having a fine time when another guy set up on the next bench and started shooting a .45 semi-auto. At that point I had to put on my active muffs. Well, what can you do? It's all part of the fun, I suppose.
     
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  16. deadeye dick

    deadeye dick Member

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  17. driz

    driz Member

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    I have those all over the shop. The thing about the harbor freight is they fully pivot so they will go down on the back of your neck and still stay on when you’re wearing a shield grinding hats and such. They can be made even better by simply cutting a tightly fitting diskof soft foam from anywhere and sticking them inside filling up the void. It costs about zero and is a noticeably quieter muff.
     
  18. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    No, that tech doesn't exist.
     
  19. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    The problem is that suppressors are needlessly expensive. Plugs+muffs+suppressor is the hearing protection we deserve, but the Fed isn't interested in allowing us to protect our hearing.
     
  20. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Excellent
     
  21. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Lets be sure folks understand terms.

    Electronic muffs are simply hearing protection muffs with a mic, some electronics, and speakers in the ear cups. They are just standard hearing protection ear muffs that insulate against noise with added electronics. All they do is shut the speakers off in the ear cup when the electronics detects the rapid rise in sound pressure level. They do nothing to the sound itself that isn't happening with passive muffs. They are not "noise canceling".

    There are no active hearing protection devices that actively protects from gunfire. Active noise suppression (canceling) works with continuous noise by analyzing the waveform of the sound and applying a counter waveform so they cancel each other out. Great for shop/equipment noise, but they do nothing for high volume fast rise times of gunshots. To my knowledge there is nothing out there (or nothing affordable) that can actively suppress gunshot noise with the rapid rise times on the sound pressure level. The rise times are just too fast.

    Many of you have noted that cheap yellow foam plugs seem to work better than custom molded plugs. This is the case when the foam plugs are properly inserted. The custom molded plugs allow for ease of insertion, but fundamentally lack the ability to expand into the ear canal as well as the foam plugs when they're properly used. It is a tradeoff between convenience and NRR.

    High NRR foam plugs under muffs are the most effective personal protective equipment you can use to reduce exposure to noise from gunfire. You only gain 5db in equivalent hearing protection because plugs and muffs are effective over different sound frequencies. Their ranges overlap, but not across the entire hearing range. That's why you only credit 5 more dB on top of your plugs.

    Another point - I've been a Health & Safety Professional for 30 years and the only hearing protection that I put my trust in comes from one of the major manufacturers of industrial hearing protection equipment. Other brands do not get my trust because unless I know that they're using the same testing and quality control required of the PPE manufacturers like 3M/Peltor, Howard Leight, Moldex, Sordin I don't know what standards they're producing to.

    Lastly, I've bought hearing protection over the years just to test them. I've never found the major hearing PPE companies to overstate the performance of their muffs or plugs. I have almost always been disappointed about the test results of other manufactures.

    Rant- If our government cared about our hearing they'd make suppressors readily and inexpensively available like Europe instead of causing the price to be artificially inflated and adding a $200 burden on top of it (along with months of delays). If you can, file an E-Form 1 and pay your $200 good guy tax and build your own suppressor when you get the permission back from the Fed. THIS with plugs and muffs will provide the best protection for hearing damage.

    Bonus note - not for shooting, but interesting https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/p/d/v100765196/
     

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    Last edited: Dec 15, 2021
  22. Mogas
    • Contributing Member

    Mogas Contributing Member

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    Ear Damage? Most of my ear damage came from home! At the range I wear ear protection.
     
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  23. Buzz

    Buzz Member

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    At the range I always use "puffs" and muffs. Hunting I keep a pair of electronic muffs in my backpack and almost always have them on during any shot. It's improved my field shooting as I don't find myself as a fan of muzzle blast.
     
  24. hey smepl this

    hey smepl this Member

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    I’m always amazed at how anyone could ever shoot any centerfire without hearing protection, especially indoors. Yet in movies they do it all the time. Before I was a shooter I didn’t notice it. Now every shootout in a movie my main thought is how all the participants would be deaf.

    like in Quigley Down Under, dude breaks out his big rifle and casually shoots it in a long distance demonstration and I’m only thinking of his eardrums.
     
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  25. Hunter 08

    Hunter 08 Member

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    The body is an amazing thing. When you're in a fight or flight situation, adrenaline rushes, and your body shuts down non-essential things that are not related to the situation at hand. Sometimes hearing damage does not occur, sometimes it does, just one of those weird things.
     
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