July 7th, 2021

Say What? How to Prevent Serious Hearing Loss

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

Compact, Low-Profile NRR 27 dB-Rated Ear Muffs

walker shooting hearing protection muffs 27 db NRR

Many hunters and competitive shooters prefer low-profile ear muffs. As these typically have a lower Noise Reduction Rating, perhaps NRR 22-27, we recommend running earplugs under muffs. If you use low-profile electronic muffs, such as Howard Leight Impact Sport Muffs, you should still be able to hear range commands even with plugs underneath.

Another good option for hunters and range visitors are hearing bands, basically earplugs connected with a semi-rigid plastic band. These banded products provide “quick access” hearing protection for hunters. You can keep them handy around the neck while spotting game, and then insert the plugs before shooting.

Howard Leight MAX NRR33 Earplugs, Just $9.50 for 50 Pairs.

accurateshooter.com review Max-1 Howard Leight ear plugs

20 Pairs
50 Pairs

These Howard Leight NRR33 Max-1 Plugs are your Editor’s favorite foam earplugs. Between shooting, motorcycling and mowing lawns, I probably have Howard Leight foam plugs in my ears 3-4 days a week. They are comfortable and the flared outer edge helps the NRR. There is also a Max-30 corded version, with the same excellent 33 dB Noise Reduction Rating. Get five pairs of Max-30 Corded Plugs for $6.65 on Amazon, or 100 pairs of Max-30s for $27.86.

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, Tech Tip No Comments »
September 9th, 2020

Hearing Protection: Bands, Muffs, and Plugs

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.”Effective hearing protection is a must whenever you are shooting firearms or when you are in the vicinity of gun-shots. For ultimate protection, we recommend a good set of tapered foam earplugs, topped by ear-muffs. However, there are situations when you may prefer lighter-weight hearing protection that can be quickly removed. For example, if you are standing well behind the firing line as an observer, or if you are working as a rangemaster or waddie some distance away from the shooters.

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

1. Ear Bands — Quick On/Off, Lightweight, Inexpensive

Howard Light radians peltor ear bands NRR

Hearing bands are inexpensive, lightweight, and are handy for special situations, such using hedgetrimmers and noisy power tools, when you may need to frequently remove the protection. These banded products are a also a very good form of hearing protection for hunters. You can keep them handy around the neck while spotting game, and then insert the plugs before shooting. We have tried two types of banded hearing protection, the Howard Leight Quiet Band (shown above) (25 dB NRR), and the Radians Rad-Band (23 dB NRR). The Leight Quiet Band is quite durable and the plugs can be replaced.

Howard Light radians peltor ear bands NRR

Radians Rad-bad is very light-weight, with Jelli™ Plugs that are comfortable, washable, and reusable. Peltor also offers Sport Banded Earplugs but we think those are a bit flimsy and the NRR seems exaggerated.

2. Ear Muffs — Max Protection and Compact Options

AccurateShooter Deals of Week NRR 34 muffs ear protection 34dB

The highest current USA Noise Reduction Rating is 34 dB NRR. To get that kind of protection, you need pretty big muffs, but thankfully, you don’t have to spend big bucks. For under $15.00 you can buy quality ANSI-approved muffs with a 34dB Noise Reduction Rating. Chose the G&F Pro Muffs at $13.08 (Amazon’s Choice), or the dark green Walker EXT Range Muffs for $14.99. Both products have padded head-bands which retract.

Many hunters and competitive shooters prefer low-profile ear muffs. As these typically have a lower Noise Reduction Rating, perhaps NRR 22-24, we recommend running earplugs under muffs, particularly when you are at a busy range or shooting a match. If you use low-profile electronic muffs, such as Howard Leight Impact Sport Muffs, you should still be able to hear range commands even with plugs underneath.

3. Earplugs — Small, Inexpensive, but Essential

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 3-4 days a week. These Leight Max plugs are very effective, easy to insert/remove (with the flared ends), and they seem to be less abrasive in the ear canal than some other brands. Right now you can get 50 pairs of these NRR33 Leight Max plugs for just $8.40 (with free shipping).

Note, if you prefer thin, light-weight earmuffs, we recommend running earplugs underneath for double protection while shooting firearms (or when you’re on the firing line). Sound experts tell us that running plugs and muffs together can effectively improve your effective noise reduction by 4-7 db NRR.

hearing protection db NRR deafness ear muffs plugs

Permalink Gear Review, Tactical, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
August 6th, 2017

The Risk of Hearing Loss — How to Protect Your Hearing

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 $13.48, or the dark green Walker EXT Range Muffs for $13.99. Both products have padded head-bands which retract. If you prefer “basic black”, consider the $14.85 ClearArmor Muffs, Amazon’s #1 Best Seller among safety earmuffs.

Howard Leight MAX NRR33 Earplugs, Just $7.39 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.

Permalink - Articles, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
June 11th, 2016

New Razor-X Earbud System May Replace Electronic Muffs

Walker Razor X XV bluetooth Headset Electronic Muff

Until now, if you wanted good hearing protection with the ability to hear conversations and range commands, you’d employ a pair of electronic muffs with sound-cut-out circuitry*. Those electronic muffs worked but they were bulky, hot, and could interfere with your cheek weld. Now there’s a new alternative — an “Earbud Headset” that offers NRR 31-rated hearing protection along with the ability to hear conversations.

The innovative, patent-pending Razor-X Earbud Headset from Walker’s® could be a “game changer” in the hearing protection field. The noise-activated, sound protection hardware is contained in a padded collar that fits comfortably around your neck. Small earbuds with foam tips fit in your ear providing 31 dB of noise protection. The microphones in the headset allow you to hear normal conversations and range commands. Two versions of the Razor headset will be offered: Basic Razor-X ($119.00 MSRP) and the deluxe Razor-XV ($159.99 MSRP) with Bluetooth capability.

Razor-X Features:

• Retractable Digital Ear buds
• 31 dB NRR (Noise Reduction Rating)
• Sound-Activated Compression (SAC)
• Rechargeable 250mAH battery with 10 HR run-time.
• Hi Gain omnidirectional microphones.
• HD speakers in the ear buds for good audio quality.
• Includes 3 pairs of 12mm foam tips (S/M/L) and two pairs of 16mm coated foam tips (M/L)
• Auto-Shut Off (low power mode) after 4 to 6 hours.
• Integrated Micro USB port with charging cord.
• AC wall adapter with USB port for charging.
• Patent Pending Technology
• MSRP: $119.99

Walker’s product information states:

The Razor-X incorporates a neck-worn device featuring comfortable, retractable ear buds. The “behind the neck” design allows for ZERO interference with you or your weapon, allowing you to focus on your target. These … patent-pending buds allow the user to be in loud environments without damaging their hearing, providing an impressive 31 dB of noise reduction.

The Hi Gain omni-directional microphones provide clear sound enhancement for enjoyable conversations on the range or to hear firearm instructors’ directions while training. The Razor-X HD digital speakers provide a wide range audio quality that enhances the users experience. The kit includes two different styles of noise-reducing foam tips in a variety of sizes to ensure a proper fit for maximum noise reduction. The Razor-X is equipped with an auto-shut off (low power mode) after 4 to 6 hours. The timer will reset and the unit will wake up after any button is pressed. An AC wall adapter with USB port and a one-meter micro USB cord is provided for convenient charging.

*There are some high-tech “in-ear” electronic systems with noise-activated protection, but these are typically quite expensive and not commonly used by shooters.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 9 Comments »