Upgrade Your Old Hearing Protection


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 wearing regular ear protection.

I cannot overstate the benefits of using electronic hearing protection on the gun range.

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 elsewhere).

There are a particular set of benefits to be had with using a set of high-quality electronic earmuff 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 could hear birds chirping and bees buzzing the first time I put them on? I didn't tell you 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 be able to hear the person next to you call a 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 (gunshots) while separately amplifying the low noises (voices), whenever you take self-defense classes, both you and your instructor benefit and are much safer because you can hear the commands.

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 use different technologies. However, I can tell you from experience that electronic hearing protection muffles the harmful noises to safe levels before they have any time to damage your ears.

But to manage expectations, I have never worn any hearing protection that can muffle loud noises while amplifying quiet 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 let me explain if it isn't. 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 toolbox. In other words, it was my job to 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 afterward.

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, 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 like mine constantly 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? Get some good hearing protection before it's too late.

About Joshua Gillem

Josh is a lifelong practitioner and student of the gun. He grew up shooting/hunting with his dad, and was given his first gun, a 12 gauge shotgun, when just a small boy. After high school, he joined the Marines where his love for firearms blossomed as he qualified with an M16A2, an M9, and a 240G. Josh has been writing about firearms and tactics for several years, owns the blog Gunners Den, is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, and believes that each individual person has the right to self-defense by any means necessary. Currently residing in gun-friendly NC, he carries a concealed gun on a daily basis, even in his own house.


  1. jrez on August 24, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    first of all there is no way you are going to hear the birds and the bee at 20′ away with constant ringing in your ears. Yes hearing protection is necessary and very important because once it’s gone, it’s gone. So don’t BS your followers about not trying to sell hearing protection because that is exactly what you are trying to do.

    • Steve Gregory on January 25, 2021 at 12:24 am

      It has volume control, like my hearing aids. You should try before making unsubstantiated claims. My hearing aids droen out the crickets when I crank the volume up. 49% loss in one ear, 50% in other. I can hear a lot of things in my muffs not nirmally heard.

  2. David on October 15, 2018 at 6:07 am

    What’s the cost! Would love to have a pair !! Thanks

  3. Greg on March 10, 2019 at 9:40 am

    First, yes you can hear noises as soft as a buzzing insect from several feet away. Twenty might be a stretch, but if you have the volume turned all the way up and nobody talking next to you, then it is possible. If you can hear a bird singing a hundred feet away, then you will hear one just as easily with ear e-pro.

    Second, if the price wasn’t listed in the article when it was originally published, then okay. Otherwise, R-E-A-D the article!

  4. Gary on January 22, 2021 at 7:40 am

    Great advise. I have both (electronic and standard). I think the non electronic version does a little better job of blocking the gun fire noise. That version that I have is rated for 30 db and the electronic version is only rated for 24 db. I have not been able to find a 30 db electronic vrsion. They may be out there but I haven’t found them

    Either way – I always where one or the other.

  5. Dale in KS on January 25, 2021 at 5:35 am

    Keep a pair next to your bed. If there’s a bump in the night, slap them on and you have bionic hearing. You’ll be keenly aware of what noises you’re making and will be able to better hear the intruders if they exist.

  6. Nick on January 26, 2021 at 10:59 am

    Interesting stuff.
    How about an article on active hearing plugs rather than muffs
    They are increasingly popular in the action shooting sports

  7. Lou Hammond on January 28, 2021 at 3:44 pm

    With them turned on, you can tune your walking noise down below spooking the passing train. Great for checking for spurious equipment noises. Down side. Electronic components cost about $1 per ear from the manufacturers (china, et al) so all electronic muffs are really really expensive for what you get, even at $25 per set. And only the most expensive ones are sweat proof. Make sure to use lithium batteries so no acid leaks to destroy the innards.

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