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Hearing Protection at the Gun Range

January 19th, 2021
Did you know that a single gunshot can permanently damage your hearing? Imagine what can happen when you spend a day on the range or in the duck blind without the proper protection. Damage to your hearing ability due to gun fire is called “shooter’s ear” which can present itself as ringing in the ear or muffled hearing. While this ringing usually subsides after minutes or hours, prolonged exposure can lead to permanent damage. Once hearing is lost, it cannot be regained. Every human is born able to hear audio frequencies up to 20000 Hz. However, as we age, this limit is reduced as the ear ages and (potentially) receives damage. Click the video below to check out a video to see what frequencies you can hear to determine the “age” of your ears!

Hearing protection is vital when dealing with firearms. But which hearing protection is best, plugs or muffs? While plugs give the highest protection, a maximum rating of NRR33, it is common for gun enthusiasts to use earmuffs. Earmuffs can provide a maximum rating of NRR30. This is due to the fact a muff allows more noise to channel through to the ear as opposed to plugs, which provide a more secure seal within the ear. When combining both muffs and plugs, a user can achieve a maximum rating of NRR36.
What is this rating, you ask? “NRR” stands for noise reduction rating. What this means is a rating of NRR30 will reduce the surrounding noise by 30 decibels. A standard shotgun blast can reach 170 decibels which far exceeds the 85dB noise level which the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders has deemed damaging to ears.

So what should you wear?
If you are at the range dealing with a multitude of consistent shots, we recommend using both plugs and muffs. Your ears will take a beating at the range, so we recommend using the maximum NRR solution. If you are shooting sporting clays or trap, we suggest a plug. This allows for the best range of motion and provides the best single protection. Sitting in the duck blind? For this we recommend an electronic option that allows a user to talk to people around them and hear nearby noises without any hindrance but when a shot is fired the noise canceling feature will activate and dampen the sound of the shot. Check out all of the hearing protection options we have to offer here!