May 21st, 2020

Learn How the Human Ear Works — And Protect Your Hearing

hearing protection inner ear anatomy science hearing medical electronic muffs earplugs

hearing protectionAll shooters, even rimfire enthusiasts, should always wear ear protection when at the range. A typical rifle gunshot is very loud — in the region of 140 to 170 decibels (the pain threshold is 130-140 db). Without ear protection, you can permanently damage your hearing during a single shooting session. We all know older shooters who are partially deaf, or who suffer from Tinnitus, because they didn’t use earplugs or muffs when they were younger.

How Humans Hear Sounds — Amazing Video Reveals All
The human sense of hearing involves multiple delicate internal membranes, bones, organs, and nerves. Shooters understand the importance of protecting their hearing, but they may not understand the bio-mechanics of human hearing. We hear sounds through Auditory Transduction. Sound waves vibrate the ear drum (tympanic membrane), but that is only the beginning. These vibrations are passed along via tiny rocker-arm-like bones to be “processed” in a spiral chamber, the cochlea.

This remarkable VIDEO explains how humans hear sounds. We strongly recommend you take the time to watch and learn. The hearing you save may be your own!

Click Speaker Icon to turn on the video’s soundtrack.

Vibrations moving through the cochlea are separated into frequencies and then sent as neural messages to the brain. It is an astonishingly complex process, one that truly seems miraculous when you examine the bio-engineering involved. In the Video above, the process of human Auditory Transduction is explained and illustrated with 3D animation. You really should watch this amazing video. By the end you will have a new-found appreciation for your ability to hear.

hearing protection inner ear anatomy science hearing medical electronic muffs earplugs

Every shooter should own a pair of Electronic muffs, even if you prefer shooting with earplugs and/or standard muffs. Electronic muffs are great when you are spotting for other shooters or are working near the firing line. They let you hear ordinary conversations while still providing vital hearing protection. You can also wear ear-plugs under muffs for extra sound attenuation.

shooting ear protection nrr 33 ear plugs howard leightPlugs PLUS Ear-Muffs — The Benefits of “Doubling-Up” Your Hearing Protection
According to OHS Online: “The combined attenuation of an ear plug and an ear muff is not simply the algebraic sum of the performance of each individual protector. This is due to an acoustic and vibratory interaction between the ear muff and the ear plug that causes them to behave together as a system rather than as independent hearing protectors.

Generally speaking, when you combine two hearing protectors, ear muffs over ear plugs, you can expect an increase [in noise reduction] of between 3 and 10 dB over the higher-performing hearing protector. OSHA [now advises] 5 dB as the [typical] benefit offered by combining hearing protectors.” Source: OHSonline.com

Ear diagram courtesy Siemens Medical Solutions.

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December 28th, 2017

Don’t Read This Article (If You Want to Become Deaf Someday)

Hearing Protection DB sound level ear plug muff

“Science tells us that exposure to continuous noise of 85 dB for eight hours is enough to cause permanent hearing loss, and worse, spikes of 130 dB and more can result in permanent hearing damage instantly.”
Source: NRA Blog.

The Risk of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be progressive and irreversible. If you are a shooter, this is serious business. As the NRA Blog cautions: “You may not even realize you’re harming your hearing. Hearing loss occurs gradually, and can go effectively unnoticed until symptoms become severe. By then, the damage is done.”

Nobody wants to go deaf. But we often see shooters without effective hearing protection when they are walking around a few yards behind the firing line. That’s bad — even if you are away from the firing line, gunshot noises can damage your hearing. You MUST use effective hearing protection every time you go to the range. Good foam earplugs costs mere pennies but they can prevent deafness in your later years. Many folks also wear muffs over plugs.

Sound Levels for Common Noises:

9mm Luger pistol: 160 dB

Jet aircraft engine (near): 140 dB

.22 LR pistol: 134 dB

Normal human pain threshold: 120 dB

Noisy Nightclub: 110 db

Riding Motorcycle at 65 mph: 103 db

Power Lawnmower: 95 dB

Hearing damage possible: 85 dB (sustained for 8+ hours)

Ringing Telephone: 80 dB

Normal conversation: 60 dB

The Myth of the “Quiet” .22 LR
The NRA Blog notes that “many rimfire shooters, particularly those using the beloved .22 Long Rifle cartridge, argue that the small .22 LR caliber doesn’t produce enough sound to damage your hearing”. So, is that really true … or is it a myth?

In fact, a .22 LR can be much louder than you think — a .22 LR pistol can produce sound levels of 134 dB. That’s well above the normal human pain threshhold.

hearing protection ear muffs NRR earplugs osha deafness

Highest Protection NRR 34dB-Rated Ear Muffs

AccurateShooter Deals of Week NRR 34 muffs ear protection 34dB

For under $20.00 you can buy quality ANSI-approved muffs with a 34dB Noise Reduction Rating — the best you can get. Chose the Bright Yellow TR Industrial Muffs at $18.37, or the dark green Walker EXT Range Muffs for $12.11. Both products have padded head-bands which retract. Another dual-shell design with a 34dB NRR rating is the new FNova Muffs priced at just $12.99.

Howard Leight MAX NRR33 Earplugs, Just $7.50 for 50 Pairs.

accurateshooter.com review Max-1 Howard Leight ear plugs

20 Pairs
50 Pairs

These Howard Leight NRR33 Max plugs are your Editor’s favorite foam earplugs. Between shooting, motorcycling and mowing lawns, I probably have Max plugs in my ears 2-3 days a week. This is a very good price for a bulk pack of 50 pairs. And if you act soon, you can get free shipping to boot.

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April 11th, 2017

President’s Son Supports New Suppressor Legislation in Congress

Hearing Safety act suppressor silencerco thunder beast silencer legislation
Thunder Beast Arms suppressors are popular with tactical competitors and hunters.

Hopefully, in the near future, it will be much easier to purchase a suppressor for your firearm. Legislative efforts to reform the laws governing suppressors are moving forward in the U.S. Congress.

On January 9, 2017, Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-SC), co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC), introduced H.R. 367 to remove suppressors from National Firearms Act control and treat them the same as long guns, replacing the outdated federal transfer process with a NICS background check. The measure picked up 42 Republican co-sponsors and one Democrat co-sponsor. Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) introducted the similar Hearing Protection Act of 2017 (S. 59) in the U.S. Senate.

The new silencer reform legislation has a key backer — Donald Trump, Jr., the President’s son. “It’s about safety. It’s a health issue, frankly.” Trump Jr. explains in a video interview with Joshua Waldron, the founder of SilencerCo.

Donald Trump Jr. Talks about Suppressors and Shooting Safety

Donald Trump Jr. Talks about Suppressors
“I’ve had the privilege of being able to hunt in Europe, where some of the strictest gun laws in the world exist. Guess what… virtually every hunting gun there is suppressed. It’s about safety. If you had that kind of noise levels in any other industry as you would in shooting sports, OSHA would be all over the place. It’s about safety.” Trump Jr. said the current U.S. suppressor laws are “arbitrary policies by people who don’t know what they’re talking about.” He says it’s time the U.S. follow the lead of European nations, and adopt sensible suppressor policies, “because if Europe can do it, American better well be able to do it.”

NSSF Supports Hearing Safety Act
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) supports efforts to make silencers/suppressors easier to purchase. “This legislation will enable gun owners to have better access to hearing protection products and improve safety for the shooting sports by removing extensive wait times for burdensome paperwork processing that does not advance public safety,” said Lawrence Keane, NSSF senior VP and general counsel.

“Anyone who has ever worried about hearing loss from shooting might want to lend their ears to this cause” said Emily Taylor, an attorney at the Houston law firm of Walker & Byington.

Current law imposes signficant barriers to suppressor ownership, Taylor explained: “Currently, the manufacture, purchase, and possession of firearm silencers are regulated by the ATF and must comply with the requirements laid out in the National Firearms Act (NFA). Anyone who wants a firearm suppressor must first get approval from the ATF and pay the required tax. An extended waiting period comes along with the time it takes the ATF to process these requests.”

“The Hearing Protection Act seeks to amend the law so that firearm silencers are treated the same way as long guns,” Taylor added. “The bill would make it so that there is no longer a tax associated with the transfer of a firearm silencer, and anyone who pays a tax on a silencer after October 22, 2015 could receive a refund of such tax. Lastly, the bill would preempt certain state laws that tried to impose taxes or registration requirements on firearm silencers.”

This article based on story in the Midsouth Shooters Supply Blog.

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January 23rd, 2015

Amazing 3D Video Demonstrates Human Hearing Process

hearing protectionAll shooters, even rimfire enthusiasts, should always wear ear protection when at the range. A typical rifle gunshot is very loud — in the region of 140 to 170 decibels (the pain threshold is 130-140 db). Without ear protection, you can permanently damage your hearing during a single shooting session. We all know older shooters who are partially deaf, or who suffer from Tinnitus, because they didn’t use earplugs or muffs when they were younger.

How Humans Hear Sounds — Amazing Video Reveals All
The human sense of hearing involves multiple delicate internal membranes, bones, organs, and nerves. Shooters understand the importance of protecting their hearing, but they may not understand the bio-mechanics of human hearing. We hear sounds through Auditory Transduction. Sound waves vibrate the ear drum (tympanic membrane), but that is only the beginning. These vibrations are passed along via tiny rocker-arm-like bones to be “processed” in a spiral chamber, the cochlea. Vibrations moving through the cochlea are separated into frequencies and then sent as neural messages to the brain. It is an astonishingly complex process, one that truly seems miraculous when you examine the bio-engineering involved. In the Video below, the process of human Auditory Transduction is explained and illustrated with 3D animation. You really should watch this amazing video. By the end you will have a new-found appreciation for your ability to hear.

This remarkable VIDEO explains how humans hear sounds. We strongly recommend you take the time to watch and learn. The hearing you save may be your own!
YouTube Preview Image

Ear diagram courtesy Siemens Medical Solutions.

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July 11th, 2014

Etymotic Electronic Earplugs Protect, Yet Allow Normal Sounds

etymotic gsp 15 electronic earplugs noise reduction ear protection

Etymotic Research now offers its GSP•15® Electronic Earplugs in a smaller form factor. This gives shooters some of the best “wearable technology” on the market. These small, electronic earplugs protect the user from loud shot and blast noises, while at the same time allowing normal conversations. The active circuitry in GSP•15 earplugs allows for natural hearing when sound levels are safe. (Natural hearing is automatically restored when hearing is not at risk.) In this respect, these small earplugs do the job of a much larger, bulkier pair of electronic ear muffs.

etymotic gsp 15 electronic earplugs noise reduction ear protection

GSP•15 plugs have a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 25 dB, better than many electronic muffs. And these plugs are small, light, and comfortable. Using the company’s bean-sized Quiet Sound Amplifier® outer case, the latest GSP•15 earplugs fit great. A variety of tip shapes/materials are provided.

Special 15% Off Savings Now Through August 31, 2014
Etymotic GSP•15 Electronic Earplugs normally retail for $399.00. As a special offer for AccurateShooter.com readers, the full GSP•15 kit is now 15% off (roughly $339.15) if you use discount code AS2014 at checkout. This special offer is valid until August 31, 2014.

GSP•15 plugs pack impressive engineering inside a small package. High-sensitivity microphones, high-definition balanced-armature drivers, and advanced signal processing combine to deliver high-fidelity, natural sound. And, like the original model, the new GSP•15 earplugs come with a wide selection of ear-tips, with custom molds an available option.

“Hearing loss is preventable,” says Dr. Patricia Johnson, audiologist and hearing conservation specialist at Etymotic. “Etymotic has been providing the world’s only truly flat-attenuation in passive earplugs for over 25 years. We’re pleased to launch this new version of GSP•15 electronic earplugs that lets wearers hear naturally when sound levels are safe, but be protected when it counts.”

etymotic gsp 15 electronic earplugs noise reduction ear protection

GSP•15s Work Well for Hunters — Providing Protection AND Amplification
Unlike bulky muffs, the GSP•15s fit perfectly under a hat or other cold weather headgear. And while they protect a shooter’s hearing from blasts, these electronic ear plugs also provides up to five times amplification in the enhancement mode. At the flip of a switch, sound is amplified, giving hunters “super hearing” in the field.

etymotic gsp 15 electronic earplugs noise reduction ear protection

About Etymotic
Etymotic is a research, development and manufacturing company that designs high-fidelity personal audio products and hearing wellness solutions to assess, enhance, and protect hearing. For more information about Etymotic and its products, visit www.etymotic.com.

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May 31st, 2013

Great Deals on Top-Rated Earplugs

Earplugs hearing protectionLooking for bargain-priced hearing protection for your gun club or shooting association? Contributing Editor German Salazar found some great deals on high-NRR earplugs.

Cooper Safety offers discount pricing on bulk packs of quality foam earplugs. The Howard Leight ‘Max’ plugs are now just $26.88 for 200 pairs, less than 13 cents a pair! These are some of our favorite foam plugs. They are comfortable and they have a 33db Noise Reduction Rating (NRR 33), the highest certified protection rating measured. Corded versions are also offered for $24.95 for ONE HUNDRED pairs (note quantity difference). Cooper also has the easy-to-insert Howard Leight Laser Lite disposable plugs. These cost just $21.95 for 200 pairs — less than 11 cents per pair. The pink/yellow Laser Lites feature a “winged” shape that some folks think is easier to place in the ear. The Laser Lite plugs are rated at NRR 32, slightly lower than the Howard Leight ‘Max’ plugs.

Re-Usable SmartFit Conforming Plugs
If you prefer a re-usable type of earplug, we recommend the orange Howard Leight SmartFit corded plugs. These three-flange plugs employ Conforming Material Technology (CMT) so the orange insert actually softens and conforms to your ear canal as it warms with with body heat. The longer you wear them the better they fit. They are a little stiff when you put them in initially, however they quickly form-fit and become much more comfortable, with a very good seal.

Earplugs hearing protection

Howard SmartFit ear plugs have a 25 dB Noise Reduction Rating (NRR 25). However, this Editor uses them regularly (I keep two sets in my range kit) and they really seem at least as quiet as most soft foam plugs. SmartFits are easily cleaned with warm water. These corded SmartFit plugs typically sell for a couple bucks at gunshops. You can save big-time by buying in bulk. Amazon.com sells 100 pairs of corded SmartFits for $68.95 (with free shipping). Each pair comes in a small carry-case.

Because SmartFits have a short stalk attached to the cord, they are easier to put in and take out over the course of a day. I prefer to use SmartFit plugs in situations where I’ll spend most of my time well away from the firing line (as when in the pits). I then insert them when I get closer to the action. In my experience, these are exceptionally effective when inserted properly. Though they have a lesser NRR than some foam plugs, in my ears, nothing silences noise better (once they’ve formed to fit). Others agree: “I have used many earplugs working in the offshore industry. I find these [SmartFits] far superior to others I have used. Tip — if you wet the end of the plug, they go in very easy and to the depth you need — Rick, Safety System Services”. You may want to try a pair — but be aware, some people can’t tolerate these because they are initially somewhat stiff. You either love ‘em or hate ‘em.

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March 19th, 2013

Colt Employees Attend Connecticut Gun Law Hearing in Hartford

On March 14, 2013, 550 employees of Colt’s Manufacturing Company traveled to the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, Connecticut. They came in strength to show support for Connecticut-based firearms manufacturing, and their message was direct: “Save our Jobs.”

Last week workers from two Colt operating companies (successors to the famed Colt Armory), boarded buses bound for the Legislative Office Building, in Connecticut’s state Capitol complex. They came to participate in a General Assembly committee hearing on a large number of gun-control measures under consideration in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy. Michael Holmes, Colt United Auto Workers Shop Chairman, testified at the hearing, as did NSSF Director Government Relations, State Affairs Jake McGuigan, Joe Bartozzi from O.F. Mossberg, and Mark Malkowski of Stag Arms. Though not all the proposed additional gun-control legislation will move forward for eventual votes, action on some of the measures is expected within days.

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December 18th, 2008

Howard Leight Electronic Ear Muffs — A Good Value

Creedmoor SportsWe’re pleased that Creedmoor Sports (among other vendors), has started carrying the Howard Leight, noise-cancelling “Impact Sport” ear-muffs. This is a good product, that works well, yet costs hundreds of dollars less that many other electronic muffs on the market. The compact, folding design makes storage convenient. Forum member Danny Reever reports: “Off the firing line, while others are shooting, you can easily carry on a conversation while the electronics cancel out the gunfire. Amplification is crisp and clear even at the highest setting. On the firing line, the muffs are comfortable and the slim profile of the muffs does not interfere with cheek weld.”

The Howard Leight Muffs’ 350-hour battery life is excellent and we like the auto shut-off feature, and external audio plug (if you want to listen to music). There is a single switch for both on/off and volume with an automatic 4-hour shutoff to help to extend battery life. The external battery compartment holds two AAA batteries, which are included.

Howard Leight Ear Muffs

Creedmoor currently sells the Howard Leight Impact Sport model shown above, for $69.99. The Impact Sport muffs have a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 22. You can increase the effective NRR by using foam plugs under the muffs.

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