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View Full Version : Quick ear muff question


Javi
10-13-2011, 11:44 AM
So I own these slim, passive muffs by Howard Leight(NRR 23):

http://www.howardleight.com/images/media/0000/0249/leightning_L0F_main.jpg?1317399602

I bought them for my first rifle since I wanted the muffs to interfere less. I've been shooting indoors a lot lately and the revolvers, .45's and shotguns have been too loud with these on. Plus, I think my glasses are breaking the seal so I can hear more than I should. Should I invest in Howard's "Impact-Sport" model?
http://www.howardleight.com/images/media/0000/0253/impact_sport_main.jpg?1317399602
I've never used an electronic set before but I noticed it's NRR rating is one less than what I have now..I'm taking ear protection seriously so should I go electronic or will just doubling up work well and save me $?

duster1974
10-13-2011, 11:56 AM
I just got a pair of ProEars NRR 33 - Highest I could find. I've only shot outdoors with them so far, and noise was fine. 10 guns firing at same time within 12' of me.

I'll probably still double up (foam inserts+ ProEars) at an indoor range though. The proears were $30 on amazon.

They have the electronic version for $300 - Similar NRR (double check) but electronic.

The problem with most inexpensive electronics muffs are they are fine for outdoors, or maybe not, given your experience. The expensive ones combine both High NRR and electronics.

I was only shopping on NRR solely - and Howard Leights didnt touch the 30-'s range, at least from the research I did.

If i had $300 laying around, I would have purchased the ProEars Gold model.

duster1974
10-13-2011, 12:19 PM
Only addition I would make for the hot-climate shooter: http://www.letargets.com/estylez_item.aspx?item=E09-COV

My mom and wife sew - Maybe they can make me some?

Let me know if any of you guys know of ear muff sweat covers.

BamBam-31
10-13-2011, 12:26 PM
Always double up w/ muffs and plugs, espeically if you're using slim muffs and/or glasses with thick arms that break the seal.

Fadedline
10-13-2011, 12:52 PM
I pretty much always double up with the impact sport muffs. Unless Im on blm or similar where i can move away from my neighbors muzzle blast.

SocomM4
10-13-2011, 2:00 PM
Surefire Earpro EP4 plus. Love them.Its nice to be able to hear my girlfriend asking when I'll be done shooting on my phone while my buddy is 2-1/2 feet away shooting his Ar . They kick serious ***.

the_t0ny
10-13-2011, 2:26 PM
The impact sports work great outdoors, but I double up when I shoot indoors. The only problem is sometimes, my foam plugs stick out a little bit too much from my ear and I can feel it making contact with the inside of the impact sports.

kmca
10-13-2011, 2:41 PM
Only addition I would make for the hot-climate shooter: http://www.letargets.com/estylez_item.aspx?item=E09-COV

My mom and wife sew - Maybe they can make me some?

Let me know if any of you guys know of ear muff sweat covers.

I have a set of covers...don't like'em, it's much noisier with them.

kmca
10-13-2011, 2:43 PM
The impact sports work great outdoors, but I double up when I shoot indoors. The only problem is sometimes, my foam plugs stick out a little bit too much from my ear and I can feel it making contact with the inside of the impact sports.

If they're sticking out your ears, you probably aren't putting them in right

the_t0ny
10-13-2011, 4:08 PM
If they're sticking out your ears, you probably aren't putting them in right

That's what I thought too but they still block out the noise so they're in correctly. Maybe I just have weird ears....

kmca
10-13-2011, 4:13 PM
That's what I thought too but they still block out the noise so they're in correctly. Maybe I just have weird ears....

If you're doing it like this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPNPZJingZA

paul0660
10-13-2011, 4:30 PM
Indoors, double up. Outdoors, go Commando:

http://bigredhair.com/movies/ratp.jpg

voiceofreason
10-13-2011, 8:17 PM
I use electronic exclusively.

muffs only for pistol outdoor

plugs + muffs for everything else including any rifle & indoor

MrExel17
10-13-2011, 10:21 PM
Always double up w/ muffs and plugs, espeically if you're using slim muffs and/or glasses with thick arms that break the seal.

I agree and do the same thing!

Javi
10-13-2011, 11:00 PM
Surefire Earpro EP4 plus. Love them.Its nice to be able to hear my girlfriend asking when I'll be done shooting on my phone while my buddy is 2-1/2 feet away shooting his Ar . They kick serious ***.

I was actually looking at those with a lot of interest! Although it was the EP3 and 6? I don't understand what the EP6's are all about, they look the same as the 3..Surefire says that these can fit under muffs too.

So no point in buying electronic muffs if I just keep my passive ones and double up?

Warrior King
10-14-2011, 12:24 AM
So I own these slim, passive muffs by Howard Leight(NRR 23):

http://www.howardleight.com/images/media/0000/0249/leightning_L0F_main.jpg?1317399602

I bought them for my first rifle since I wanted the muffs to interfere less. I've been shooting indoors a lot lately and the revolvers, .45's and shotguns have been too loud with these on. Plus, I think my glasses are breaking the seal so I can hear more than I should. Should I invest in Howard's "Impact-Sport" model?
http://www.howardleight.com/images/media/0000/0253/impact_sport_main.jpg?1317399602
I've never used an electronic set before but I noticed it's NRR rating is one less than what I have now..I'm taking ear protection seriously so should I go electronic or will just doubling up work well and save me $?

I looked into this issue after I was next to guy with huge magnum pistol at outdoor range. The guy turned my ears into raw meat... All the studies done by hearing experts indicate you should double up. Reason being muff alone in real world will not fit properly due to things like glasses etc.

Not to be a pessimist but there really is no adequate protection to sustained high impact noise. Reason being is noise vibrates to inner ear through bone and tissue of skull, neck, and jaw, and no muffs or ear plugs will prevent sound waves from impacting the bone and tissue of the those areas and reaching the inner ear. Doubling up does not prevent high frequency noise from reaching inner ear. In fact using both mufflers and ear plugs together will only add about three points to the total NRR rating.

Also, another factor is exposure to high impact noise over time. Meaning if you are with a large group of shooters all firing high caliber weapons your risk of hearing damage goes up the longer you remain in that environment regardless of your level of hearing protection. Meaning sustained exposure to noise equals hearing loss. All the standards are based on hours of exposure to noise and potential damage.

The only way to really protect your hearing is to limit the time and frequency of exposure to high impact type noise even with protection. That means spending less time at indoor ranges for sure, and in general being aware that there is a cost for recreational shooting indoor or outdoor.

The real solution is to allow shooters in California to have the same type of protection that hunters have in Europe in the form of firearm silencers or noise reducers to protect the hearing and health of the shooter, and those in the same area as the shooter. The California model seems to be to make firearms so unpleasant and hazardous that no sane person will use them except at great cost and in extreme situations.

The best technology to prevent hearing loss is to prevent high impact noise at the source by modifying the barrel with a silencer. Unfortunately California and the Federal Government are stuck in the past on this issue and needlessly endangering the hearing of recreational shooters and bystanders.

Protecting the hearing of gun owners and others should be a gun rights issue just as important as open carry and other issues, as good hearing is an import quality of life issue.

Javi
10-14-2011, 12:33 AM
God, I wish we could have silencers :( I watch a particular NFA video pretty frequently because of the silencers shot in it haha. I started going to this indoor range when a local outdoor one flooded months ago and have kept going since. I prefer outdoor to indoor, most definitely, but that indoor is pretty convenient. Luckily, I shoot pretty exclusively on the weekdays. I usually take my .22lr rifle so I do usually stay there until the 2 hours are up. Think I'm going to go buy a bag of Howard Leight ear plugs.

sundayduffer
10-14-2011, 12:37 AM
Pro Ears Ultra 33 works well for me indoor.

SocomM4
10-14-2011, 12:41 AM
I was actually looking at those with a lot of interest! Although it was the EP3 and 6? I don't understand what the EP6's are all about, they look the same as the 3..Surefire says that these can fit under muffs too.

So no point in buying electronic muffs if I just keep my passive ones and double up?



Dude they are amazing . They have a little plug that flips closed if you want to silence the world. Or leave it open and run them like that, and it filters out the gunshots really well. If you want to go with in-ear under the muffs they would be the best option there too because of how it sits in the ear all the way.

EP (#) reffers to the rings on the insert portion. Mine have 3 . So 3 perfect seals in the ear canal. They feel like the newer style in ear noise canceling earphones, like scullcandy. But yes I like em. Lol surefire.com has good pics of them . I urge anyone to try these, they really work.

Javi
10-14-2011, 12:46 AM
I was under the impression that the EP4 was for people with large ears? I'm not too sure anymore. Where did you get yours? I was hoping to get some in store so I could use them ASAP.

Esquire
10-14-2011, 12:47 AM
Not to be a pessimist but there really is no adequate protection to sustained high impact noise. Reason being is noise vibrates to inner ear through bone and tissue of skull, neck, and jaw, and no muffs or ear plugs will prevent sound waves from impacting the bone and tissue of the those areas and reaching the inner ear. Doubling up does not prevent high frequency noise from reaching inner ear. In fact using both mufflers and ear plugs together will only add about three points to the total NRR rating.

Also, another factor is exposure to high impact noise over time. Meaning if you are with a large group of shooters all firing high caliber weapons your risk of hearing damage goes up the longer you remain in that environment regardless of your level of hearing protection. Meaning sustained exposure to noise equals hearing loss. All the standards are based on hours of exposure to noise and potential damage.


The quoted post is an excellent explanation of noise-induced hearing loss.

I took a number of audiology class in college. Hearing loss from noise, such as shooting sport is cumulative. Your inner ear (behind ear drum) has a snail shell like organ called cochlea. Inside of it is filled with fluid and lined with tiny, microscopic hair-like cells which are in turn attached to auditory nerves.

Noise vibrates the ear drum which pulls on the hammer and anvil lookalike bones (very small) and shake the cochlea. As cochlear fluid moves back and forth, hair cells also move and this movement fires off auditory nerve signals to the auditory region of the brain and you "hear" the noise.

The professor described repeated loud noise's impact on these delicate hair cells as stepping on a grass lawn. You step on the grass and grass is trampled flat. After some time, grass lifts back up. But if you repeatedly step on the same patch of grass, over and over, eventually that patch of grass dies. Likewise with cochlear hair cells. If these cells die and don't move, no nerve signals to the brain, and hence you can't hear.

Different hair cells are responsible for diff sound frequency. High freq sound hair cells are in the beginning of the cochlear "snail". These cells bear the brunt of the fluid movement. That's why people typically lose high freq hearing first.

Warrior King
10-14-2011, 12:47 AM
God, I wish we could have silencers :( I watch a particular NFA video pretty frequently because of the silencers shot in it haha. I started going to this indoor range when a local outdoor one flooded months ago and have kept going since. I prefer outdoor to indoor, most definitely, but that indoor is pretty convenient. Luckily, I shoot pretty exclusively on the weekdays. I usually take my .22lr rifle so I do usually stay there until the 2 hours are up. Think I'm going to go buy a bag of Howard Leight ear plugs.

The other hazard to indoor ranges is high concentrations of lead particulates in the air. The problem comes from a form of lead in the primers(Lead Styphnate Primer).

People have gotten lead poisoning just from being at a range once due to lead dust on surfaces, and in the air. If you are a regular at a range ask about their ventilation system, and treat the whole area as a toxic site, meaning wash hands, change clothes etc. unless they only allow lead free primer ammo etc.

Warrior King
10-14-2011, 12:53 AM
The quoted post is an excellent explanation of noise-induced hearing loss.

I took a number of audiology class in college. Hearing loss from noise, such as shooting sport is cumulative. Your inner ear (behind ear drum) has a snail shell like organ called cochlea. Inside of it is filled with fluid and lined with tiny, microscopic hair-like cells which are in turn attached to auditory nerves.

Noise vibrates the ear drum which pulls on the hammer and anvil lookalike bones (very small) and shake the cochlea. As cochlear fluid moves back and forth, hair cells also move and this movement fires off auditory nerve signals to the auditory region of the brain and you "hear" the noise.

The professor described repeated loud noise's impact on these delicate hair cells as stepping on a grass lawn. You step on the grass and grass is trampled flat. After some time, grass lifts back up. But if you repeatedly step on the same patch of grass, over and over, eventually that patch of grass dies. Likewise with cochlear hair cells. If these cells die and don't move, no nerve signals to the brain, and hence you can't hear.

Different hair cells are responsible for diff sound frequency. High freq sound hair cells are in the beginning of the cochlear "snail". These cells bear the brunt of the fluid movement. That's why people typically lose high freq hearing first.

Thanks...pain is a great teacher. Unfortunately I did my homework after my left ear had severe pain and temporary tinnitus from being next to a large caliber pistol shooter at an outdoor range. Guarding hearing really needs to be a gun rights issue as the technology exists to mitigate noise at the source.

Javi
10-14-2011, 12:54 AM
The other hazard to indoor ranges is high concentrations of lead particulates in the air. The problem comes from a form of lead in the primers(Lead Styphnate Primer).

People have gotten lead poisoning just from being at a range once due to lead dust on surfaces, and in the air. If you are a regular at a range ask about their ventilation system, and treat the whole area as a toxic site, meaning wash hands, change clothes etc. unless they only allow lead free primer ammo etc.

Comparing it to a Orange County indoor range I visit occasionally, it's not very well ventilated. The last time I shot at the range, there was a very strong scent of gun powder, a lot more than usual. I usually wash my hands in their restroom. I also sweat a lot there where was the OC one, I don't at all.

Warrior King
10-14-2011, 1:08 AM
Comparing it to a Orange County indoor range I visit occasionally, it's not very well ventilated. The last time I shot at the range, there was a very strong scent of gun powder, a lot more than usual. I usually wash my hands in their restroom. I also sweat a lot there where was the OC one, I don't at all.

Lead toxicity is a lot like hearing loss. You can have high levels of lead in the blood and the symptoms can be very subtle or invisible for a long time, just like hearing loss is cumulative.

I only mention this because as far as I know ranges are only starting to address this issue. In terms of toxicity there is no safe level of lead to have in your blood. The less the better as it does impact things like your kidneys and fertility.

When I did a Google search on this I came across multiple guys who went to indoor ranges for police training etc for just one day and ended up with toxic elevated lead levels in their blood, with full blown symptoms of lead poisoning. Everyone is different of course.

I personally would not step foot in an indoor range until the ammo industry removes all lead from primers or indoor ranges ban lead containing primers. I would not trust ventilation systems.

SocomM4
10-14-2011, 7:47 AM
Here's a comparison of the stems.see how the ep4 has 3 rings? Thats good. The black part is the size part, sm med large. I've been seeing them in a display box at almost every local shop.They offer 24db in sound reduction.
For 12 bucks.

http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x30/jayh916/a2c2fea0.jpg
Firing Ar with plugs open.
http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x30/jayh916/ea3db3d1.jpg

SR-71 BLACKBIRD
10-14-2011, 10:10 AM
should I go electronic

Go for it. I bought two pair. One for the wife and I. I also wear glasses and have to double up.

Great thing about these is you can turn up the volume while no one is shooting and you can have a conversation like normal.

I can imagine these would work really good for hunting also. Probably hear the game coming before you see them. They really amplify the sound.

I have an interesting story. These amplify the sound so well we used them as hearing aids for my 96 year old grandfather. He refuses to wear hearing aids but let us put these Impact-Sports on him at our last visit. It was a nice visit. We didn't have to yell at the top of our lungs and keep repeating what we were saying while talking to him.

I picked mine up from Midway on sale for 49 bucks. They may still be on sale.

Javi
10-14-2011, 11:23 AM
Here's a comparison of the stems.see how the ep4 has 3 rings? Thats good. The black part is the size part, sm med large. I've been seeing them in a display box at almost every local shop.They offer 24db in sound reduction.
For 12 bucks.

http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x30/jayh916/a2c2fea0.jpg
Firing Ar with plugs open.
http://i182.photobucket.com/albums/x30/jayh916/ea3db3d1.jpg
Hmm, will probably get those then. Cheaper than a 200 count of foam plugs. Hope the "medium" fits as they say it fits for most people.


I have an interesting story. These amplify the sound so well we used them as hearing aids for my 96 year old grandfather. He refuses to wear hearing aids but let us put these Impact-Sports on him at our last visit. It was a nice visit. We didn't have to yell at the top of our lungs and keep repeating what we were saying while talking to him.


That is pretty awesome haha.

voiceofreason
10-14-2011, 11:35 AM
keep a special case for the Surefire EarPros as they get lost easily.

The filter on the Red/Right side popped out of mine after a few range days.

I feel the foam plugs work better at simply stopping sound. The EarPros allow some hearing while blocking out most, but not all of the damaging sound.

I wouldn't use them by themselves except on an outdoor range using pistols only.

Always electronic muffs. for instruction, awareness of what's going on around you, conversation, etc.

Javi
10-14-2011, 11:44 AM
I'd use the surefire's by themselves maybe at an outdoor range(I'd have to test it out) and shooting skeet. Would double up everywhere else. I haven't really taken into consideration conversation, wasn't really a priority for me. I just yell haha

greybeard
10-14-2011, 11:52 AM
indoors I double plug and the Pro EArs Promag Gold . As far as the lead, I shoot, indoors at least once a week. I have my lead levels measure twice a year never seen an increase. I am comparing this to a 6 month period, I could not shoot because of elbow surgery. You really need to spend a lot of time in a range, working in one does it.

Warrior King
10-15-2011, 10:01 AM
indoors I double plug and the Pro EArs Promag Gold . As far as the lead, I shoot, indoors at least once a week. I have my lead levels measure twice a year never seen an increase. I am comparing this to a 6 month period, I could not shoot because of elbow surgery. You really need to spend a lot of time in a range, working in one does it.

Awesome.