Peltor Tactical 6S Behind The Head Earmuffs: With an NRR of 20 decibels, the Peltor Tactical 6S Behind The Heard Earmuffs are a good choice to blot out loud noises while amplifying conversations. The low-profile ear cups are designed to not interfere with shoulder-fired weapons. Each earmuff has its own volume control and is powered by four AAA batteries. The behind-the-head band allows users to comfortably wear hats or helmets.
Radians Tac Ear: The Tac Ear earplugs are compact, behind-the-ear units that suppress loud noises over 85 decibels and amplify ambient sound. Radians uses compression technology to take an unsafe sound and reduce it to a safer level. The Tac Ear earplugs have an NRR of 29 decibels and run on LR-44 batteries for up to 180 working hours.
Etymotic EB15 LE BlastPLG: The EB15 LE BlastPLG earplugs are designed for users in who work in environments with continuous loud noises, like gunfire, explosions, loud vehicles and machinery. The earplugs allow you to maintain natural hearing while protecting your ears from impulses and continuous loud noises using a dual-mode switch. In Mode 1, the earplugs maintain natural hearing and offer a sound reduction of 15 decibels for continuous loud noises and maximum blast protection. In Mode 2, the plugs amplify conversational sounds up to five times while offering maximum blast protection. They run on #10 hearing aid batteries and last for up to 10 days. This set comes with numerous ear inserts and a carry case.
Caldwell Platinum Series G3: The Platinum Series G3 earmuffs provide clear amplification of low-level sounds while compressing and blocking out harmful noise. Dual microphones offer stereo sound with independent volume adjustments to compensate between left and right ears. These earmuffs are low profile so they are not bulky. The Platinum Series G3 delivers an NRR of 21 decibels. The headband is padded for comfort during extended use. The run time is approximately 250 hours. Each ear cup has a battery compartment that holds three AAA batteries. Dual LED lights indicate the power-on status. Finally, the muffs collapse easily for compact storage.
SportEAR M Series MUFFS: The M Series Muffs electronic earmuffs feature sound-activated compression that blocks all sounds over 85 decibels, plus it enhances hearing up to 10 times normal hearing. With a 25-decibel NRR, these muffs are available in either a two- or four-microphone configurations. The directional microphone allows a user to pinpoint a sound’s location and adjust the volume with dual adjustable controls. The tapered ear cup design gives the M Series Muffs a low profile for use with shoulder-fired weapons. They fold up for easy storage and have an audio input jack.
Howard Leight Impact Sport: The Impact Sport earmuffs block out noise levels over 82 decibels and amplify normal tones and conversations by three times. The low-profile ear cups are designed to clear most rifle stocks. The padded headband is fully adjustable and conveniently folds for compact transport. Powered by two AAA batteries, the Impact Sport has an automatic shut-off to increase its battery life, which can be as long as 350 hours. One single knob controls the power and volume, and an auxiliary jack allows a user to connect to an MP3 player or other other devices.
ESP Dynamic: The Dynamic earplugs from ESP feature six auto environmental settings with 16 channels and bands that are enhanced by a built-in omnidirectional microphone that can pick up, auto-calibrate and place noises all around the shooter. The noise compressions starts at 70db with a maximum output of 90db, while the earplugs magnify low-level sounds up to 20 decibels. The earplugs have a 25-decibel NRR. The custom-fit plugs fit inside the ear and use ordinary #13 hearing aid batteries with a run time of 300 hours. The Dynamic earplugs use a P2i Aridion nano-coating that repels water and protects the ear.
E.A.R. Digital Primo Multi-Memory: The Digital Primo Multi-Memory offers better speech discrimination and clarity for vowel sounds and high-end frequencies. The multi-memory feature is effective for users who are constantly surrounded by wind and other background sounds. With a simple push of a button, the user can go from a normal enhancement and protection mode to a further suppressed background sound mode. The units also features adjustable volume and tone controls. These earplugs are available in canal, half- and full-shell configurations.
Westone DefendEar Digital 1: The DefendEar Digital 1 provides a single mode of operation for good all-around hearing protection, wind reduction and ambient amplification. With an NRR of 26 decibels, the advanced digital sound processing offers volume control and a low battery warning. The medical-grade silicone insert is durable and comfortable for extended wear. The modular design of the DefendEar Digital 1 allows easy removal of electronics for cleaning, service and future upgrades. One #312 battery powers the earplugs for about 150 hours.
The Custom Silver Level earplugs from Sound Gear suppress noises at 95 decibels and offer an NRR of 24 decibels. They also offer 30-decibel amplification or 8X sound enhancement so you can talk in your normal tone and still be heard. The earplugs fit inside your ear and are made of soft plastic so they can be worn for extended periods of time. The units use common #13 batteries with a run time that typically lasts 18 to 20 days once activated. Finally, these earplugs feature SoundGear’s patented HearClear wax protection system that protects the earplugs from wax and debris.
If a sound reaches 85 decibels, it can cause permanent hearing damage. A normal conversation is around 60 decibels. Riding the subway: 90 decibels. An MP3 player’s earbuds can reach over 100 decibels, and gunshots can range from 140 to 190 decibels. At times I’m not sure if it was The Who, Van Halen or all those .22 LR rounds fired without hearing protection years ago that hurt my hearing capabilities.
If you are like me and train as often as you can, hearing protection is a must-have item. In fact, using ear protection is as natural and automatic to me now as buckling my seatbelt when I get into my vehicle.
Most electronic hearing protection offers at least a 19-decibel noise-reduction rating (NRR) and many offer an NRR up to 30 decibels. If you are a shooter that is really noise sensitive, try using foam earplugs and electronic earmuffs. The noise will be cut significantly while still allowing you to hearing normal conversations.
- RELATED STORY: Sound Suppressors: Limiting the Danger of Decibels
Here are some of the best electronic hearing protection devices that will allow you to hear what you need to and not the scream of a 55-grain bullet coming out of your barrel at over 2,000 fps.
- Peltor Tactical 6S Behind The Head Earmuffs: 3m.com; 888-364-3577
- Radians Tac Ear: radians.com; 877-723-4267
- Etymotic EB15 LE BlastPLG: etymotic.com; 888-389-6684
- Caldwell Platinum Series G3: btibrands.com; 573-445-9200
- SportEAR M Series MUFFS: axilpro.com; 866-422-5502
- Howard Leight Impact Sport: howardleight.com; 800-430-5490
- ESP Dynamic: espamerica.com; 303-659-8844
- E.A.R. Digital Primo Multi-Memory: earinc.com; 800-525-2690
- Westone DefendEar Digital 1: westone.com; 800-525-5071
- SoundGear Custom Silver Level: soundgearhearing.com; 800-769-8605
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