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Frazee Ridge, SASS #54171

hearing protection

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I went shooting with my son a couple of weeks ago and apparently didn't use proper protection.  I seem to have damaged my ears further.  Looks like I should be wearing ear muffs.  Besides shooting I am in my woodworking shop every day so I should be protecting myself there also.  Would you be willing to share information with me about what you use and how well it works?  I really would appreciate the info.  Thanks,  Frazee Ridge 

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Posted (edited)

For shooting, use real shooting muffs. They react faster to pulses of noise than industrial muffs.

 

Oh, one other troubling detail... Using safety glasses breaks the seal on muffs, so you don't get the full rating.

 

And electronic muffs do not usually have as high a rating as the plain ones.

 

Best practice is to wear foam plugs with the muffs, particularly if breaking the ear seal with glasses.

 

And for woodworking or other "industrial" applications, use industrial muffs.

 

But double passive noise blocking (plugs and non-electronic muffs) leaves you almost deaf. So use foam plugs and electronic muffs. You can still hear conversations (sort of) and the noise cancelation is better than either muff by itself.

Edited by John Kloehr
Boring typos

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, Frazee Ridge, SASS #54171 said:

I went shooting with my son a couple of weeks ago and apparently didn't use proper protection.  I seem to have damaged my ears further.  Looks like I should be wearing ear muffs.  Besides shooting I am in my woodworking shop every day so I should be protecting myself there also.  Would you be willing to share information with me about what you use and how well it works?  I really would appreciate the info.  Thanks,  Frazee Ridge 

I wear a set of custom molded earplugs that I bought from a vendor at the Western Regional Match a number of years ago.  They work very well for shooting, and also give me very positive protection running saws, routers, large planers, a large sticker molder, etc.  They have very little bulk or weight, so I can (and do) wear them all day.  I'll try to find the name of the vendor.  I saw him at the same match last August.  I'm sure there are others like him in other venues.  Try searching "custom molded hearing protection earplugs".  As I recall, the cost was around $80.

Edited by Dusty Devil Dale
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Posted (edited)

I use Pro Ears, electronic muffs that I can wear under a hat.  When working as a TO I need to clearly hear a squib.  When counting I like to listen to the hits.

Edited by Edward R S Canby, SASS#59971

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The best hearing protection I ever had is a pair of custom molded ear plugs I got from Tommy, Scarlett Darlin's husband (Bullets by Scarlett). Much better than any shooting muffs I ever had.

 

Randy

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I'm very satisfied with top quality foam earplugs (yep, the rollup and stuff in ear kind).  I use a brand that gives 33 DB noise reduction.  That's better than any muffs I have found.  And lots better protection than custom molded silicone rubber plugs.   Those may feel great, but they don't protect great.  

 

You have to learn how to insert the plugs so they fit YOUR ear canal.   Lots of folks give up the first time they use them because they fail to read the instructions about how to roll and insert the plugs.   Mine stay in all day - Cowboy, Wild Bunch or Sporting Clays. 

 

Never interferes with shouldering a gun.  Protects just as well when wearing glasses (I always do).  Always there to protect.  I can hear voices through the plugs.    Minimally intrusive when doing construction or industrial work. 

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

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+1 for molded ear plugs

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6 hours ago, John Kloehr said:

So use foam plugs and electronic muffs. You can still hear conversations (sort of) and the noise cancelation is better than either muff by itself.

 

This; when I’m at the range with other people. Otherwise, just foam plugs when I’m by myself shooting .38 CAS loads or at a match. As you know, it can be tricky getting the right seal with foam plugs (sometimes takes me a couple tries).  I’ve found that inserting a tightly rolled plug while pulling the ear lobe outward with the opposite hand opens up the ear canal more making for a good fit.  

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I know what not to recommend those 3 flange ones made by 3M.  They didn't do a thing for me except ruin my hearing.

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Foam earplugs will provide higher noise reduction rating (NRR) "IF" they are properly inserted.

Custom molded earplugs are more forgiving in getting properly inserted.

Custom molded earplugs are not a buy-once and use forever product.

Your ear canals change through life and the sweat and chemicals on your hands when inserting/removing them cause them to change, reducing the effectiveness over time.  How much time?  It depends.  And the change is slow, just like most hearing loss, so you don't notice it until you get fit for a new pair.

I've been fit for custom plugs several times since 2005 for use under a motorcycle helmet.  The only customs I have any more are in-ear monitors (speakers) for the same purpose.  If I don't need to communicate, I stick with good disposable earplugs.

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When I shoot at an indoor range or around high power shooters, I use plugs AND ear muffs.

 

The protection is not actually doubled but significantly improved.

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11 hours ago, Randy Saint Eagle, SASS # 64903 said:

The best hearing protection I ever had is a pair of custom molded ear plugs I got from Tommy, Scarlett Darlin's husband (Bullets by Scarlett). Much better than any shooting muffs I ever had.

 

Randy

 

This +100. Have 2 pairs made. Keep one with your shooting gear and the other in your wood shop/work area. I've had the locust in my ears for 30 years thanks to not wearing ear protection in 40 years of construction. I try to tell the younger workers to protect themselves but they don't listen....just like I didn't all those years ago. Damage to your hearing is irreversible. Wear your hearing protection every time loud noises when loud noises are expected or present and you'll preserve most of what hearing you have left.

 

Keep in mind that the custom ones will only last 3 to 4 years. Not because they wear out but because the inside of your ears change shape over time.

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Posted (edited)

Used to work in the custom ear plug industry.  Did a lot of testing and research.  The best protection is muffs over plugs.   To hear, the muffs should be electronic.   The reason this setup works best is the muffs cover your mastoid bone which is unprotected with plugs alone.  This setup will give 40-50 db of protection. 
 

for single protection, for most people the best is foam plugs.  This is true for me.  The big “but” is most people don’t wear them deep enough to work effectively.  If you can clearly hear speech with them in, they are not working correctly.  Don’t buy them by published nrr, buy them by how they fit in your ears.   Some ear shapes simply won’t work well with foam plugs.   They either won’t seal or they will work out over time.   Typical nrr when worn correctly is 30.   When worn poorly, maybe 15.  
 

custom plugs are great for hard to fit ear shapes.  They do not offer quite as much protection as foam plugs.  Usually in the mid to high 20’s.   For people who can’t make foam plugs work they are a better choice.  They also tend to offer better comfort.  For me they need long canals.  That means any of the home molded ones are completely ineffective for me. 
 

Edited by Still hand Bill
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Posted (edited)

FYI:  I did initially have a problem with a pair of custom molded plugs.  Both the canal inserts were poured too long and actually contacted the eardrums, injuring both drums at the first match where I wore them.  

For four days after I removed them everyone still sounded like they were talking into a barrel.  In desperation, I snipped 1/8" of  the tips off each plug insert and the problem never recurred.   But do be careful.  Until the drums healed the problem had me pretty worried.  

Edited by Dusty Devil Dale

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I use Sport Ears. Rear held shooting muffs are not affected by shooting glasses.

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1 hour ago, Mud Marine,SASS#54686 Life said:

I use Sport Ears. Rear held shooting muffs are not affected by shooting glasses.

Details? I tried finding a copy of the manual for them online.  Any additional detail greatly appreciated.

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Any muff is effected by the bow of glasses.  Causes a slit leak.  Those with softer cups are effected less. 
An interesting phenomenon in large energy impulse noise, ie explosions, muffs have been shown to be lifted off the head by the pressure waves. 

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Thanks to all who replied.  Lots of good information so it looks like I'll be able to find something to help.  I appreciate the help. 

 

Frazee 

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Glasses with thick plastic frames that bend out from the head interfere with the seal more than glasses with snug-fitting thin wire frames, which also look more cowboy.

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1 hour ago, ChuteTheMall said:

Glasses with thick plastic frames that bend out from the head interfere with the seal more than glasses with snug-fitting thin wire frames, which also look more cowboy.

I'll keep my thick(er) ANSI Z87+ safety glasses and my in-ear foam earplugs.

 

Earmuffs don't "look cowboy", but they sure beat going deaf.

 

Same with safety glasses.  You can look in the mirror and think you look cool, until that fateful day you can no longer look into a mirror and see anything.

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I use custom molded( to me) plugs and muffs over them. My Dillon safety glasses have wire bows so there is minimum leakage. Hat is optional when shooting

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I've been using a pair of Decibullz for the last few years.  Cost about $20 and easy to mold to your ears.  I'm happy with them, but would be satisfied with standard foam plugs in a pinch.

 

If one of our warthogs is shooting I sometimes cover my ears, or just leave the vicinity until they're through. 

 

If I were shooting something like a 5.56, or 300 win mag I would put on muffs as well.

 

 

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I double plug mostly (ear plugs and muffs). Save what hearing we have left. I make all my kids and grandkids double also!!! 

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On 6/19/2020 at 7:58 PM, Randy Saint Eagle, SASS # 64903 said:

The best hearing protection I ever had is a pair of custom molded ear plugs I got from Tommy, Scarlett Darlin's husband (Bullets by Scarlett). Much better than any shooting muffs I ever had.

 

Randy

+1 for custom fitted ear plugs. Tommy & Scarlett travel to major shoots all over the country. It takes about 15 minutes for him to make a set and they are the best investment I have made since I started shooting. 

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