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Hearing Protection

If you're a hunter, it's important to be aware of the risks involved - one of which is hearing loss. The best way to protect yourself is by wearing proper hearing protection while you're hunting or anytime during any activity where sounds may exceed 85 decibels. There are a number of hearing protection products that are specially designed for hunters.

Noise-cancelling earmuffs and electronic devices can help to reduce the intensity of noises on your hunts, making them easier and less distracting.

What to consider when choosing a hearing protection device

When you're choosing a hearing protection device, there are a few things you'll need to consider:

  • The type of hunting you do

  • The level of noise protection you need

  • Your comfort level with the device

  • How well the device fits your ears

Aimpoint CompC3 and Earmuffs

(Source: Aimpoint - Aimpoint Comp C3)

There are a number of different types of hunting hearing protection on the market, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. You'll want to choose the type that will work best for the type of hunting you do.

  1. If you're mainly shooting rifles or shotguns, then earmuffs that completely cover your ears may be the best option.

  2. If you do a lot of bowhunting, however, you'll want something that doesn't muffle your hearing as much.

You'll also want to think about how much noise protection you need. If you are only planning on doing some Rimfire shooting, for instance, your hearing probably won't be affected very much since firearms are usually not too loud. However, if you are hunting big game you're going to want a device that provides more protection.

Another thing you'll need to think about is your comfort level with the device. You don't want to wear something that will affect your ability to hear naturally or mess with your balance while you're out in the wilderness so this needs special attention. Plus, it might get a little uncomfortable for you after a few hours.

Different types of hunting hearing protection

There are two types of hearing protection products you might consider for your hearing conservation:

Earmuffs hearing protection

Earmuffs completely cover the ear and are held in place with headbands. They are designed to completely toss out any harmful noises. However, some people find them cumbersome and they can interfere with your vision sometimes.

These devices usually provide up to about 30 dB of noise reduction - enough for most hunting activities. When choosing ear muffs, look for ones that can be adjusted according to your head size and shape. Some even mold themselves into the contours of your head once you put them on. 

Electronic earmuffs

Electronic earmuffs make it possible to hear sounds around you without making the intensity of loud noises too intense for your ears. You'll still be able to hear gunshots, but they won't sound as sharp or deafening as they would with regular hearing protection. Some electronic devices allow you to hear voices easily while still protecting your ears.

If you're mainly looking for hearing protection, earmuffs are probably the best option for you. However, if you need to be able to hear certain things around you or in front of you clearly, electronic earmuffs may be more your speed.


Caldwell E-Max Electronic Hearing Protection

Earplugs hearing protection

Earplugs will muffle noise, but they're still easily removable. If you want to avoid completely covering your ear and don't mind pulling earplugs out whenever you need to be able to hear someone nearby talk, then earplugs are the way to go.

Earplugs include a rubber tip that can be used to plug up just one ear. Hearing protection earplugs come in many different shapes and sizes. Some earplugs are made with a wider end that is inserted into your ear canal while some earplugs feature a long, narrow stem

Best in-ear electronic hearing protection for shooting

One of the best types of ear protection for shooting is the ones that resemble regular ear plugs but have a built-in microphone. Those earplugs let you be able to hear things around you without interfering with your hunting ability and they also provide extra protection from loud noises.

They come in corded or wireless models, though some hunters feel it's safer to have earplugs connected to a wire just in case they're accidentally pulled out. You can get either corded or wireless ear plugs models that come with rechargeable batteries as well as earplugs that use regular button cells. 


Caldwell EMAX Shadow Eectronic Earplugs (In-ear) Bluetooth

What is the best dB for ear protection?

This really depends on what you're looking for and how much hearing protection you need. If you are only using your earplugs or ear muffs for Rimfire practice, you might not need as high of a rating. However, if you are regularly exposed to loud noises or if you are going to be doing some big game hunting, you'll want something that has a higher rating

For general hunting, most people recommend looking for something that has a Single Number Rating (SNR), of at least 20 decibels (dB). If you are going to be doing more dangerous hunts or you are regularly exposed to loud noises, you might want something that has an SNR of 30 dB or higher.

Keep in mind that the higher the SNR, the more effective the hearing protection will be.

What is Single Number Rating?

The single number rating (SNR) is a measure of the overall noise reduction that a hearing protection device can provide. It's expressed in decibels (dB) and it tells you how much quieter the device will make everything around you.

For example, if a hearing protector has an SNR of 20 dB, it will reduce the overall noise level by 20 dB. This can be helpful in reducing the risk of hearing damage from exposure to loud noises.

When choosing a hearing protector, it's important to consider the SNR. The higher the SNR, the more effective the hearing protection will be. However, keep in mind that the highest SNRs can also make it difficult to hear things around you.

What is Impulse Noise Suppression?

Impulse noise suppression is a type of hearing protection that reduces the intensity of sharp, loud noises. This can be helpful when you're hunting because it can protect your ears from the loud sound of a gunshot.

There are two main types of impulse noise suppressors:

  • electronic and

  • non-electronic.

Electronic impulse noise suppressors work by using sensors to detect the loud noise and then emitting a sound that cancels it out. Non-electronic impulse noise suppressors work by physically blocking the ear canal.

Both types of impulse noise suppressors can be effective at reducing the intensity of sharp, loud noises. However, electronic ones tend to be more expensive and may require batteries.

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