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REVIEW | AXIL Ghost 2.0 Electronic Hearing Protection w/Bluetooth

With all the different styles and options, it may be hard to select hearing protection. Plus, people have different preferences, and need hearing protection for different applications. Well, a company called AXIL has a new hearing protection product that might suit your needs.

A quick overview of different hearing protection —

Generally, hearing protection has two major categories.

The first is passive hearing protection. These products eliminate unwanted sound at a specific threshold.

Second, there is active hearing protection. This type uses digital filters to cancel out sounds at specific thresholds, while allowing other sounds to pass through. These also can amplify the desirable sounds, while still blocking the unwanted sounds.

Within both the passive and active categories, there are over-the-ear (muff-style) and inside-the-ear (plug style) products. Each has its benefits and drawbacks.

different types of hearing protection

There are various types and styles of hearing protection. Which one works best for you depend on what you need it to do. The Ghost Stryke 2.0 Electronic Hearing Protection from AXIL may be exactly what you want.

Here is a post that talks about the benefits of active hearing protection.

AXIL Ghost Stryke 2.0 Electronic Hearing Protection —

I came across AXIL and their hearing protection products a couple years ago. About 2 months ago, I received a pair of the Ghost Stryke (GS) Extreme 2.0 hearing protection to test and evaluate. Even though I didn't pay for these, my reviews are always honest and based on my experience using the product for some time.

I'll start out by saying that it was going to be an uphill battle for me to like the Ghost Stryke ear pro. The main reason I say this is because I don't really like using in-ear anything. That being said, not everyone has my preferences, and I know there is tremendous application and reasoning behind someone selecting an in-ear product instead of something that covers the entire ear.

So again, here is my honest review of this hearing protection from AXIL.

The first thing to note about the Ghost 2.0 is that they are in-ear, electronic, active hearing protection. An adjustable lanyard with the controls and charging port connects the ear buds.

AXIL hearing protection

Foam Ear Tips —

The GS Extremes provide two different in-ear plugs. First is a foam plug that is mainly for noise cancellation, as it provides a 29 dB SNR rating. I am not an expert in understanding the complexities of noise reduction ratings, but what I understand is that a SNR rating is usually 3 db higher than the NRR rating most people are familiar with. Most research I've come across points to these as safe NRR numbers for shooting:

  • Lower caliber handguns: minimum NRR 22
  • Larger bore handguns and long guns: minimum NRR 25
  • Large caliber handguns, larger long guns and shotguns: minimum NRR 27

The foam tips come in two lengths and three sizes so you can get the correct fit. This is a big consideration for using any type of hearing protection. In order to get the full noise rating, you must use them as designed. If the plugs aren't fitting in your ear correctly, or your muffs don't have a good seal, you won't get the noise protection rating.

Bluetooth Capabilities —

The GS Extreme ear pro has Bluetooth built in, and easily pair to a cellphone or computer.

I really appreciate the Bluetooth capabilities, because I use a loud zero-turn mower in my yard. While I'm out mowing, I like to listen to podcasts and music, and these provide the hearing protection I need for hours on a mower, while still allowing me to listen to my favorite podcasts. The Bluetooth is extremely responsive and pairs with my phone instantly.

The audio quality is super, much better than another similar product from another company that I used. The GS Extreme's are more expensive, but there is a noticeable improvement in sound quality. Sound quality matters, even more than just hearing music and podcasts clearly. You can use the GS Extreme's to make phone calls, and I've found the clarity very good both on my end, and the sound for the person on the other end of the call.

matthew wearing GS Extreme hearing protection

Sound Amplification —

One aspect of the product I haven't mentioned yet is that, just like most electronic hearing protection, they can amplify sounds in the environment. Whether you want to block out sounds or not, you can turn up the pass-through volume to hear conversations or other benign sounds in the environment better. I think this helps, especially if you're taking a shooting class and want to hear range commands or instructions.

bluetooth hearing protection

Silicone Ear Tips —

In the package are also two sizes of silicone ear tips. These allow a bit more noise to pass through, providing a 19 dB SNR. The silicone tips are useful when you want to use them as Bluetooth ear buds, or noise cancellation headphones.

I use the silicone ear tips when I'm outside doing work and don't require noise blocking. Sure I can turn up the volume, but if I don't have need high-level hearing protection, I'd rather not use it. While fishing in the creek, I've used these. I can listen to podcasts, but also turn up the pass through so I can amplify the ambient nature sounds. I can adjust the volume independently, which has worked out great.

I think this is a great option for someone who listens to music while jogging or walking in public. You need to hear sounds around you so you can be aware of cars or others in the area, but it's also nice to listen to music while running.

Over-the-ear Hooks —

Speaking of using the product while running, the design to stay in the ear works very well. The ear pro has hooks that wrap over the ear and the tips twist in a way that, when worn properly, sit flush in my ears. I was a bit concerned with the hooks that go over the ears for two reasons.

First, I've used hearing devices with over the ear hooks, and almost every one of them was uncomfortable after some time. I did not experience that with these, which I appreciated.

The other concern is how the over the ear hooks would work with shooting glasses or prescription glasses. Again, there wasn't any issue wearing both the SG Extreme's and glasses.

axil ear buds

Battery Life —

AXIL website says these have a 25-hour run time for hearing enhancement and protection, as well as a 120-hour standby time. Standby time seems pretty accurate, but it seems I'm getting about 15 hours of run time with both Bluetooth and sound enhancement. The lithium battery charges really fast. From a completely depleted to a full charge seems to be only a couple of hours.

AXIL GS Extreme Pros and Cons —

As with most things, there are pros and cons to the GS Extreme ear pro. Some things that made my list may or may not matter to you.

Pros:

  • Active Hearing Protection—You can achieve acceptable noise reduction rating for most shooting and yard equipment applications, while still being able to hear conversations and ambient sounds in the environment.
  • Great Sound quality—The amplified noises sound natural. The music sounds great. In fact, the sound quality for music is much better when using these, than the factory ear buds that came with my phone. And when using them during a phone call, the sound on both ends is clear.
  • Solid Bluetooth Connection—I've had Bluetooth devices that don't always stay connected, or can sometimes hear “static” when listening to music. Not so with these. These use Bluetooth 5.0 technology.
  • Comfortable—This was going to be one of the hardest areas for me to judge, because I actually don't like in-ear hearing protection. However, these ear buds are comfortable. I'll mention here that the ear hook is not only comfortable, but practical and keeps the ear buds in place. I've had other ear buds that just wouldn't stay in, making them annoying and uncomfortable.
  • Quick Charge and Long Battery Life—I find around 15 hours of run time is quite sufficient, however it's the fast charging battery that I really appreciate.
  • Multiple Ear Tip Sizes—It took some trial and error to find which size fit best in my ears. I appreciate the different sizes because I can't see how a one-size-fits-all ear bud would provide the right fit given the vastly different ear sizes that people have.
  • Lightweight and Compact—These take up way less space than ear muffs, and actually come with a nice carrying case. Plus, at only 0.6 oz they are so light that I don't even remember I'm wearing them.
  • Stock Weld Friendly—One drawback to ear muffs is that they sometimes interfere with achieving a stock weld when shooting long guns. With these, there is no interference.
  • In-Ear Design—For folk who don't like muff style hearing protection, these provide the same benefits of electronic over-the-ear hearing protection without the drawbacks of muffs.

Cons:

  • Price—It's tough to put price in the cons category, mainly because while the $200 MSPR is higher than what the average person wants to spend on hearing protection, I think the features on these ear buds are worth the higher cost. However, I realize $200 is a lot of money, so it may be a barrier. AXIL offers a military, first responder and educator discount through GOVX ID, which can help offset the cost.
  • Overkill—This isn't so much of a con, as just a product you may not need for your application. Some folks may just want a simple set of passive hearing protection, and that's okay.
  • Hearing Pro First, Music Second—While the music sounds great compared to other similar devices, if you're an audiophile that is particular about how your music sounds, the bass may disappoint you. I've looked at wireless ear buds that have high ratings for music, and they are expensive and don't necessarily protect your hearing. Again, it boils down to the primary use of these ear buds, and how particular you are.

In Closing—

When I started this review, I had a dislike of in-ear protection from a comfort standpoint. I still really like my Roger 22 muffs with SoftSeals, but I am glad I gave these a shot. The house is usually pretty active since I work from home and we home-school our 9-year-old daughter. I've been using these to cancel out some of the background noise and listening to music while working. I've found these to be fantastic because I can get notifications on my phone and don't feel completely isolated as I would if I used passive ear pro.

I also really like these while I'm out on the mower and working outside. I love listening to podcasts and music, but I also love the sounds of nature. I also don't want to block out sounds around me, because it hinders our awareness. These GS Extreme 2.0s fill many roles that I need to all in one product.

The GS Extreme 2.0s may not suit your needs. AXIL has many styles of hearing protection at different price points, including muff style in passive and electric with Bluetooth capabilities on their website.

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One Response to REVIEW | AXIL Ghost 2.0 Electronic Hearing Protection w/Bluetooth

  1. Bruce Campbell June 15, 2022 at 11:49 am #

    A substantial reason for in-ear noise reduction is their use in hot weather. Muffs can get hot, and sweat dripping on my safety glasses is a nuisance!
    Thanks gor the write-up. Will definitely consider these.

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