I started looking for hearing protection when I began my new hobby of target shooting. The first thing I do whenever I start any new endeavor is research the subject over the Internet. I read all the articles I could find on what gun shooters’ wear to protect their ears when they shoot guns.
As with just about everything, there is a large selection of commercially available products to fit just about anybody’s needs. With regard to hearing protection for gun shooting these products range from tiny earplugs that you stick into your ears to block out the noise, to large ear muffs that make you can look kind of silly. Some of the options available are as follows.
ELECTRONIC EARMUFFS FOR SHOOTING
Electronics and technology have come a long way in the field of hearing protection. Electronic ear muffs are powered by internal batteries and provide an excellent hearing protection. The technology has come so far that in fact they are designed to block out certain frequencies such as the sound of a gunshot but allow you to a year the voices of people in the surrounding area. With this technology at the gun range you able to communicate with others yet still provide protection for your hearing against the loud bang of gun fire.
NON ELECTRIC EAR MUFFS FOR SHOOTING
Regular, non-electronic ear muffs are commonly used in the sport of target shooting. They come in all shapes and sizes and may provide one of the best forms of hearing protection. But as with everything else they have certain limitations. For one thing they do not discriminate in the type of noise that block or reduce. Electronic muffs are selective in the frequencies of sound that they block while regular earmuffs do not. Though they provide excellent hearing protection for your ears when wearing them it is sometimes difficult to hear and communicate with your shooting partner or others surrounding you.
EARPLUGS FOR SHOOTING
Nothing new about ear plugs. People stick them in their ears to sleep at night or to block out unwanted noise. Gun shooters also use this form of hearing protection.
I tried electronic ear muffs at the range. They were somewhat uncomfortable in that they squeezed my head such that at the end of my shooting session I had a headache. Additionally, even though I was able to communicate well with others it did not do an adequate job in blocking out the load sounds of the large caliber weapons fired. It was still very loud that it bothered me and hurt my ears.
I also tried various types of ear plugs. They did not block out the noise enough to suit my needs. The gunshots still sounded extremely loud. I ended up buying a pair of non-electronic ear muffs from Wal-Mart. They had one of the highest noise blocking ratings of any that I found. They are cool looking enough so that I was not embarrassed when I wear them at the range and they provide an excellent sound protection for my ears and hearing. They are of the slim design and fit nicely on my head. I would recommend these Earmuffs to anyone. Plus the bonus factor is that the earmuffs were so cheap.
Note: the first time I ever went to a gun range I followed my instructor into the room where there were shooting guns. As I was hastily trying to follow him I also at the same time was attempting to put on my ear muffs. I did not have them on in time when I heard my first gunshot inside the enclosed room of the range. It was extremely loud and actually hurt my ears. That was a good first lesson to learn. Always where hearing protection when shooting guns.
EAR MUFF HEADACHES
Ear muffs which fit improperly or squeeze too tightly may give you headaches when worn over a prolonged shooting session. The only remedy for this is to try to adjust your ear muffs, wear a different more comfortable pair of ear muffs or use ear plugs. Getting headaches from improperly fitting ear muffs is not that uncommon. I know several people who have had this problem. Luckily there is an easy solution.
1. What Brand Of Shooters Earmuffs?
Nice article. I appreciated your time putting this important subject matter on the net. Would you please include the brand of ear muffs you purchased for $14 at Walmart. Thank you.
Response – Stan,
Thanks. The info on the Wal-Mart ear muffs is..
Note – The only problem that I have found with them is that if you wear them for a while, then take them off, then put them right back on, they don’t seal against you ears as well. The foam padding gets compressed (forms to your ear) and needs 5-10 minutes to relax and regain it’s original shape. But if you leave them on, no problem. I will update the info on the website. Best regards,
2. Police Dog At The Shooting Range Without Ear Protection
This is something that I saw for the first time, a dog at the indoor shooting range.
The last time I was at the indoor shooting range I was shooting my Glock 19 when I noticed some of the other shooters looking behind them. I put my gun down and turned around to find three police officers leading a beautiful black German Shepard through the entrance door of the range. They lead the police dog to the first stall in the room where, after a few minutes, one of the officers proceeded to draw his weapon and fire at a target. The other officers stood back and watched. He fired several quick rounds with his right hand while holding the dog on the leash with his left hand. The dog was agitated and barked loudly. The officer repeated the procedure a few more times then they all left the room.
When the dog first entered the room we were all amused to see a dog inside the shooting range, then we were all concerned for safety the dog. (One time I was in the range and I lifted my ear muffs a little bit to adjust them. At the same time shots were fired a few stalls away. The “bangs” hurt my ears. They really hurt.) I wonder what that dog felt and what it went through.
We understood that as part of it’s training the police dog had to be introduced to the sound of gunfire, but it seems that it would be more humane to train them at an outdoor shooting range rather than an indoor shooting range where the noises are greatly amplified. We were glad that the dog only stayed a few minutes and were very glad to see him go. We felt sorry for the dog.
3. Indoor Shooting Ranges & Hearing Protection
I grew up hunting and ear protection was unheard of. After going to an indoor shooting range my right ear had some serious problems, ringing, sounds like the ocean in my ear, so I went to the doctor. I WAS USING HEARING PROTECTION. I found that I had some hearing loss, mostly in my right ear which makes sense since I’m right handed. Luckily, it wasn’t too bad, YET!
The doctor’s suggestions: Try to avoid indoor ranges completely, even though they require hearing protection. They are businesses and don’t care about your health. If you have to go indoors, use both foam plugs and headsets together for good protection.
At the outdoor ranges still use both. The reason is that many people are now using very high caliber guns that produce enormous noise. These cannons are not like 22’s or smaller center-fire guns. One outdoor range here has banned certain caliber guns because they are rediculous for any practical use.
If in the open outdoors, and you’re using normal rifles and pistols, you can probably use only one type of protection. For example, with a 22 foam plugs work just fine. If using larger calibers, use ear muffs even outdoors.
Hopefully we can educate the next generation so that they do not suffer hearing loss. I don’t know any shooters my age that haven’t suffered hearing loss. It is preventable in most cases.
Thanks, John in Colorado