I remember the first time I used electronic hearing protection. I placed the batteries, put them on, and was amazed at what I heard … I heard birds chirping, bees buzzing, and even people talking. Then, each time I fired a shot or the shooter next to me sent one downrange, it was like having regular ear protection on.
The benefits to using electronic hearing protection on the gun range cannot be overstated.
Before we get there, let me be clear on the intention of this article so things aren't confused. It is not my goal to sell you a set of the electronic ear protection we carry in our online store (though, we would appreciate it if you did buy them from our small business instead of from somewhere else).
There are a certain set of benefits to be had with using a set of high-quality electronic ear muff style hearing protection. And, if you're not using hearing protection when you shoot, you are wrong. Plain and simple. You only get one set of ears and, trust me, once your hearing is damaged you don't get it back.
Amplified low decibel sounds:
The birds and the bees —
Remember a minute ago when I told you I was able to hear birds chirping and bees buzzing the first time I put them on? What I didn't tell you is that the carpenter bee I heard was about 20 feet away from me and it sounded like it was right next to my head. While it took a few seconds to get used to, the benefits to this far outweigh any negatives you may be able to conjure up.
On-range commands —
For range time, you'll actually be able to hear the person next to you call cease fire. Or, if someone ends up getting injured, you may be able to help quicker because you'll be able to hear that there's a problem. Imagine being able to talk to your buddy at the gun range without having to pull your hearing protection off.
Perfect for training sessions —
Because electronic hearing protection muffles the loud noises (gun shots) while separately amplifying the low noises (voices), whenever you take self-defense classes where live-fire drills are used, both you and your instructor benefit and are much safer because you can hear the commands being given.
If you're a hunter —
Finally, if you're a hunter in a state that allows you to use electronic ear protection (check your laws, just in case because they do amplify sound), you'll be able to hear the animal better than you would if you went with nothing because it amplifies the sound of a twig breaking under the weight of a deer, or the antlers rubbing on bark, and you protect your precious hearing when you fire a shot off.
Muffled high decibel sounds:
The science behind it —
I'm not a scientist so I'm not entirely sure how it works, and each company may even have different technology they use. However, what I can tell you from experience, is that electronic hearing protection muffles the bad noises to safe levels before they have any time to do damage to your ears.
But just to manage expectations, I have never worn any hearing protection that can muffle loud noises while amplifying quite ones at the same time. Meaning that if you're at the range and are talking to your buddy, if someone else starts to shoot it'll block your buddy out, too.
Firsthand experience —
The benefits to this should be obvious, but just in case it isn't, let me explain. When in the Marines, I was stupid enough to listen to someone in my b-billet machine gun school who told me to shoot unprotected. (Keep in mind I was not an 03 machine gunner, but a HMMWVA2 mechanic with a hard-back truck, turret, M240G, and a tool box. In other words, it was my job to go get busted trucks in the field if they broke, and I was issued an M9 and a 240 machine gun as protection.)
Anyway, long story short, I ended up popping a few rounds down range without my protection in and I regretted it the instant I did it. Now, the guns you shoot aren't likely machine guns. Still, any firearm can damage your ears, even if you don't notice the ringing afterwards.
Save your hearing:
Just do something —
Even if you opt for regular, non electronic muffs to protect your ears, at least do that. Each time you fire a shot off it hurts your ears even if you don't believe it does. One day it will all catch up with you. What's worse? Having some temporary discomfort while wearing hearing protection, or losing your ability to hear altogether?
Tinnitus sucks —
Take it from someone with tinnitus (ringing in the ears), save your hearing before it's too late. Once your ears start to ring constantly like mine do, there's no shutting it off.
Cost is no longer an excuse:
I'm broke, too —
As pointed out above, cost shouldn't be an issue when your hearing is involved. Your hearing is precious and when it's gone, it's gone for good. And because you can buy these muffs with great reviews for $40, why wouldn't you?
What are you waiting for? Go get some good hearing protection before it's too late.