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Electronic Muffs?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by withoutink, Mar 1, 2011.

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  1. withoutink

    withoutink Member

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    Im getting my wife into shooting, and we use the loaner earmuffs from the range. But we cant hear each other, and since she is a newbie at shooting, I want her to be able to hear me.

    Hate to sound like a total newbie... But can someone explain electronic ear muffs to me. I suspect, that they are like noise reduction headphones.

    If so do they work well?
    Can you have a conversation with them on, and actually hear the person next to you?
    Any good brand I should try?
    What would I be looking to spend for a set?
     
  2. Joshua M.

    Joshua M. Member

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    I absolutly love them...They actually amplify any low noises, and as soon as it senses a sound over a certain db. they shut off. There are alot of diffrent ones out there, from SG @ $19, to $300+...I personally have a set of Caldwell, about $35, and they are great, and comfortable. I am a NRA instructor, and I can wear them the whole time on the range, and my head or ears don't get to hurting...my .02 worth
     
  3. blume357@bellsouth.net

    blume357@bellsouth.net Member

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    I've only had experience with one pair so this is limited... they were a low end unit and I really did not like them.... they turned off with any slight noise... like if you chamber a round on a rifle ..... and there was a delay of several seconds to them coming back on.... on top of that I could never remember to turn them off when I was through....
     
  4. Six

    Six Member

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    Howard Leight Impact Sport Earmuffs

    When a gun goes off the muffs cut off sound for a split second. The rest of the time they amplify it.
    I use plugs under the earmuffs, and having a conversation with both is pretty much like having a normal conversation, but the sound is a bit muffled.
    If you use the muffs only, the sound is actually amplified and you can very clearly hear people talking. That's what I've done when instructing newbies. For regular shooting I double up and use both plugs and muffs.

    From there you can spend upwards of $250 more for various features you may or may not want. These work well.
     
  5. Linda

    Linda Member

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    Once you go electronic, you'll never go back. You can have a conversation without raising your voice. There is also volume control on them. When the gun shot goes off, they "turn off" the oustide noise.

    My first pair I bought at Gander Mtn for around $35. Used them for several years and for the price point are quite good muffs.

    I splurged a couple years ago and bought a pair of Peltor Tactical 7's. They were quite expensive, but as an instructor I could write them off my taxes, so didn't fret over the price too much. :rolleyes:

    Starting out, you'll be quite pleased with the cheap pair from Gander Mtn.
     
  6. chicharrones
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    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    I was gifted a pair of Ryobi TEK4 electronic ear muffs. They are really meant for construction type of work rather than shooting range work. However, they work rather well for handguns. For rifles, not so much just because they are too bulky and interfere with cheek weld to the stock. http://www.ryobitools.com/tek4/#/audio-plus-noise-suppression-headphones

    I like to turn them backwards so the microphones are to my back. I can still hear very well all around me and can have conversations with other electronic ear muff wearers without raising my voice or they raising theirs. That in itself is really nice. The big rechargeable Ryobi battery seems to last forever.

    For noise reduction at the 25 reduction rating they are okay for outdoor use. For indoor ranges, I prefer standard muffs with ear plugs added as well. My ears are not as tolerant as they used to be.
     
  7. natman

    natman Member

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    Electronic ear muffs for shooting work differently than noise canceling headphones. Noise canceling headphones listen to the noise outside and generate an out-of-phase noise to cancel the outside noise. They work best for continuous background noise, such as airplane engines.

    However for shooting, the noise is loud and intermittent. What you want are muffs that transmit low volume sounds and shut off for loud noises. I have worn a set of these for hundreds of hours of hunting and am very happy with them:

    http://www.amazon.com/Peltor-97044-Tactical-Hearing-Protector/dp/B00009363P
     
  8. 2WheelsGood

    2WheelsGood Member

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    Exactly what I do. If I take someone shooting, I'll wear the muffs only, otherwise I use both. Even with the earplugs, you can hear conversations surprisingly well with electronic muffs.
     
  9. bobbarker

    bobbarker Member

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    I got the $19 Gander Mountain ones, and absolutely love them. My brother actually picked up a pair as well, and when we go shooting together, it's nice to be able to talk. They worked great for me, and if I could just remember to turn them off when I'm done shooting, I could/would use them a LOT more.
     
  10. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    As said - they work great - I finally broke down and bought a pair of the Peltors at Christmas time - I can hear leaves rustling under my feet as I shoot sporting clays - these have one of the highest DBr's, use AAA batteries which are easy to change every 200 hours, and when you wear them turned off, you can't hear a thing. Having tinnitus already, these really help. If I was shooting metallic indoors, I personally would double up with plugs and muffs as the sound vibrations can affect your inner and middle ear more drastically
     
  11. Legionnaire
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    Legionnaire Member

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    I have two sets of Peltor Tac-7s that I've had for several years. Bought the second pair for exactly the reason you describe ... for my wife to accompany me to the range and still be able to carry on a conversation. Yes, the Peltors are a bit more expensive than some, but they have been excellent from the beginning. I also wear them when hunting with a handgun, and the stereophonic microphones are great for directional hearing. For straight range use, that's probably not a necessary function, but I like 'em. And as others have said, indoors, I double up with plugs.
     
  12. wgsigs

    wgsigs Member

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    Does anyone have a problem with the relatively low "max" noise reduction rating of electronic muffs? I generally use 30db standard muffs, but the electronic ones are usually rated 24 or maybe 25db, usually lower. Are there higher rated electronic earmuffs available?
     
  13. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    I was a little concerned with ther 26db rating of my Peltor's over the 29 of their passive model I also have used for decades. These seem to muffle mu noise exposure very well. That being said, I shoot outdoors and mostly shotguns at clay targets - I really do not like indoor ranges as the noise gets amplified. They make even the mighty 12 gauge sounds like a muffled "pop" of a piece of bubblewrap
     
  14. MrCleanOK

    MrCleanOK Member

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    wgsigs,

    If the low NRR is a concern for you, you can comfortably wear a set of soft foam ear plugs under the muffs with no problems.

    I use MSA-Sordin Supreme Pro X's, and they are the bee's knees ($$$, though). The amplification allows me to hear even low conversation from 30 feet away, and the sound attenuation is very responsive.

    The difference in lower and higher quality muffs if mostly the speed of the sound attenuation. How fast does the loud sound get clipped out, and how soon does the normal level sound return after. Low quality muffs will exhibit significant clipping, and you will not be able to maintain normal conversation over continuous loud sound impulses (ex, talking while a firing line is hot). Higher quality muffs have much faster response times, and will allow you to maintain normal conversation better.
     
  15. Uteridge

    Uteridge Member

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    I have some Peltor Tac-7's as well that are fantastic. I can hear everything I want to hear and save my hearing at the same time. They actually do a better job of cutting down the noise from the shot than non-electric earmuffs in my experience. The one thing that I hate is constantly putting in new batteries because it is very hard to tell when they are on and when they are off so I leave them on about once a month and I have to put in new batteries.
     
  16. DoubleTapDrew

    DoubleTapDrew Member

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    I picked up some of the howard leight sports and am impressed with them. I was a little worried about the lower NRR and speed of when it cuts out the sound but so far I've been happy with them and don't notice any difference between regular passive ears, except I can hear like I have nothing on.
     
  17. VA27

    VA27 Member

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    I've used Peltor's for years. On indoor ranges I double up with muffs and plugs.
     
  18. Tom609

    Tom609 Member

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    I have hearing loss and my Peltors not only work to muffle the blast, but also to amplify conversations that I would otherwise have trouble hearing. I even leave them on during cease fires. They're used several hours a week and the 9v battery seems to last a year. I also have Howard Leight, but the Peltor sound quality is superior.
     
  19. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    natman explained the difference.

    Remember to purchase good quality muffs, preferably with gel pads, from a reputable safety equipment manufacturer. Peltor, Howard Leight, MSA, Elvex are well run industrial PPE companies that produce electronic shooting muffs.

    Also wear plugs under the muffs.

    Make sure the safety glasses don't gap the pads badly degrading the protection by allowing noise to "leak" in.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2011
  20. Asherdan

    Asherdan Member

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    Exactly what I've found works.

    I use those 19 NRR Peltor 6's and get real good mileage out of them. Low profile, gel cups that seal well and they work as advertised. The linked price is a good one for them. I use mine for a lot more than shooting. The Howard Leight's are really good as well.
     
  21. chris in va

    chris in va Member

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    You want the kind of muffs that compress sound electronically, not just cut out all volume. Otherwise you get this very annoying on/off/on/off when someone is shooting.

    DON'T get the Walker's Game Ear muffs. The headband snaps like papier mache, no matter how gentle you are with it. Good sound compression though.
     
  22. Manco

    Manco Member

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    I've heard the same from others, as well, and I have to wonder whether this is because of the perceived contrast between hearing things loud & clear one moment and having a blast muffled the next. I mean, if they really did a better job than non-electronic muffs, then why do their NRRs tend to be lower? I think that all but the most costly electronic muffs indeed do a poorer job of attenuating sound, as their NRRs indicate, because of their need to accommodate electronics (which physically get in the way of sealing out sound), and that they only seem to attenuate more because of contrast. Be sure to wear earplugs underneath and turn up the volume if necessary to compensate (for conversation-level sounds).

    Right, the really good (and therefore typically costly) ones never actually cut out at all, but instead continuously perform "dynamic range compression" on all of the sound that the microphones pick up.
     
  23. TheCracker

    TheCracker Member

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    They are awesome! I've used the Caldwell low profile muffs for a couple of years now and love them.
     
  24. Asherdan

    Asherdan Member

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    It's not like Dolby or other theater style audio systems, it a hard ceiling on sound level in which anything above a certain loudness (~80DB in most cases) is attenuated. You can get cutting on the very bottom end units and possibly a noticeable delay in attenuation but by the time you reach the mid-range units the 'do not pass' ceiling is a simple bar to manage.
     
  25. Sebastian the Ibis
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    Sebastian the Ibis Member

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    Since the electronic muffs amplify soft sounds (like voices) it is a lot easier to double up with plugs and muffs.

    I have the Cheapie Caldwells, and put the expensive ones ony the wedding registry. -However my wife threw a fit (probably with good reason in hindsight) and I had to take them off.:(
     
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