When ever you are shooting or near some one that is shooting you need eye and ear protection. Eye protection is easy enough and usually one size fits all. But when it comes to ear protection, you have two options: earmuffs or ear plugs.
Pros: Ear plugs can be some of the most effective hearing protection around. By its nature of fitting into the ear canal most sound is blocked out. Even basic earplugs can reduce noise by 32 decibels.
Cost and transportation: Earplugs can be dirt cheap! Not to mention light weight, disposable ear plugs can sometimes even come in bulk bags that weigh less and take up less space than conventional earmuffs.
Custom ear plugs: For the discerning shooter, ear plugs can be custom molded to a persons ear. This can make ear plugs that are personal very reusable and comfortable. Not to mention they can be customized with all sorts of colors.
Cons: Single usage. Most cheap ear plugs are only used once. Most people don’t care to reuse ear plugs and who can blame them. They can be gross and might not hold up the second time around.
All sound is blocked. Ear plugs can be too good at their job. Some times you might need to hear something and the great noise reduction will block out gun shots but also comments from buddies. This might be a good thing if you don’t want to hear from them. You would have to either stop shooting and pay close attention or remove them and we certainly don’t recommend the latter option.
Pros: ease of use. It doesn’t get any easier. Just slip those bad boys over your head and you’re ready to go!
Re-usability: A good pair of earmuffs can last you a life time. I’m sure your dad has some that he’s been using to mow the lawn since the 70’s. just take care of them and they will protect your ears for years to come.
Electronic earmuffs: This has got to be one of the cooler developments in hearing protection since maybe ever. With electronic ear muff you can listen to other people with them on. The ear muff will automatically cut off their internal speakers and microphone once the decibel level gets to high. It’ll cut off a gun shot for instance. How convenient is that? Now you can hear what others are saying during range time with out having to stop or risk our precious ear drums.
Cons: They get in the way. While ear muffs certainly won’t get in the way of pistol shooting that all changes with a rifle. Earmuff can be easily bumped around by the stock’s recoil and might accidentally expose you to unsafe noise levels. Make sure they’re on tight.
No fun in the summer. When shooting in the heat earmuffs can quickly get too damp. They don’t let sound in and they certainly don’t let moisture out. So make sure to sure to wipe them down after summer use so they don’t turn into a science experiment.
While this list is not completely exhaustive of all the options in the ways of hearing protection, it does at least give you something to think about the next time you reach for some. I’m sure most every body has their favorites by now so sound off in the comments as to which kind you like!