In shooting and shooting sports, one of the primary necessities along with the firearm itself is your PPE, i.e. eyes and ears.
We use our senses every day, and I've seen the affect that accidents and continual usage can have on these... and with recent studies that link hearing loss to dementia, it's always a good thing to take care of yourself.
With that being said, eyes are relatively simple, but we'll cover them in a different post... this time around, let's focus on ears.
Why? Because your hearing is the most likely to be damaged when at the range. Eye protection is important, don't get me wrong... but eye damage is dependent upon something going wrong. Not impossible.... not even unlikely, but surely less likely then the absolute of hearing damage on the range.
The main forms of ear protection that we see commonly are: passive analogue hearing protection such as foamie ear plugs and regular muffs, and digital/electronic ear protection, that often come in the forms of in ear and ear muff digital amplification sets.
The passive hearing protection is relatively affordable and easy to find. Most of the regular stores that sell hunting goods will sell them, but you can always order them as well.
again, they typically come as
and over the ear muffs
There, now that the boring stuff is out of the way, let's move to Electronic hearing pro!
There's a few different options here, and they range a ton in value. First, let's go over the ear vs. in ear.
Over the ear is exactly as it sounds, ear muff style hearing protection that is typically a little stronger overall protection, but has it's downsides.
The things I love about over the ear: it's EASY, there's very little fiddling with trying to shove things in your ears. their amplification of non damaging sounds is superior, as is their battery life. they're less likely to move during pistol shooting, and less likely to slide out due to sweat.
things I dont love... THEY MAKE YOU SWEAT. These things are big, hot, and not the most comfortable things. They aren't very conducive to rifle shooting, though some are better then others. you tend to take them off a lot, because they're hot... so you need a place to keep them. Also eye protection can cause a break in the seal, reducing sound reduction.
Some options for over the ear:
Peltor Range Guard
Howard Leight Impact Sport
Walker XCL 500BT
Now let's move to my favorite, but not without it's downsides, in ear electronic hearing protection.
These are usually light weight, with compressible seals that sit inside your ear. They're great for movement and rifle shooting, and are unaffected by eye protection. and hats.
The downsides is, typically their battery life is less, their amplification isn't as clear or solid as muffs, and they dont reduce sound as much as muffs.
They typically cost substantially more, as well. Thus, i have less exposure, only having used two different options... one is more expensive, but better. the other is obviously less... and less.
The 3M Peltor EEM-100 in ear hearing protection are the best i've used. clean amplification, and easy fit. but they're pricey
The other's are the GX Extreme 2 by AXIL. they can be had with 15% off coupons, making them $30 less then the above Peltors. They do have slightly lower quality of amplification, but the bluetooth is an excellent feature that may make up for that for you.
Of all of these, I always suggest electronic hearing protection. it's effective, and allows you to keep full awareness of the world around you. Since we're in the firearms community, and diligence of awareness is important, this is something I focus on very highly.
All of the above links, except the Axil link, are affiliate links. I will get a portion of the sales of the links above, and I appreciate you visiting and any traffic you give them.