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Ear protection


KEITH T
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I’m new to SASS so this may be a topic that’s been beat to death but I can’t fine a thread on it.. you need to wear ear protection when shooting but you can’t wear 

ear ear muffs with a cowboy hat on. What is the best type to get? 

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Speaking as a guy with major hearing loss, take the hat off, wear plugs and muffs.  There are some who can wear the muffs with the band that goes behind the neck, there are also some high rated electronic in ear plugs.

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Ear plugs custom molded to your ears.Audiologists can make them for you,and if you attend some of the larger matches, there are vendors in CAS that wi make them while you wait.

There are as also DIY kits available. 

Don't skimp.Your hearing is irreplaceable!

Choctaw

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Choctaw Jack said:

Ear plugs custom molded to your ears.Audiologists can make them for you,and if you attend some of the larger matches, there are vendors in CAS that wi make them while you wait.

There are as also DIY kits available. 

Don't skimp.Your hearing is irreplaceable!

Choctaw

 

 

 

I have the custom molded plugs. 1 set was made for me at a match. The others were made by 3M from a mold of my ears. Both are significantly better than any other in the ear type of plug I have ever used.

 

Over the ear muffs work great but you safety glasses compromise the seal. Get a custom molded set you will not regret it.

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8 hours ago, KEITH T said:

I’m new to SASS so this may be a topic that’s been beat to death but I can’t fine a thread on it.. you need to wear ear protection when shooting but you can’t wear 

ear ear muffs with a cowboy hat on. What is the best type to get? 

 

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The foam disposable ones are cheap and very effective they are rated very high in decibel reduction. They aren’t cool like cipustom jobs but they are just as effective. I have had both and for CAS they are all I wear. On my own range I use quality  muffs.

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2 hours ago, Sedalia Dave said:

 

I have the custom molded plugs. 1 set was made for me at a match. The others were made by 3M from a mold of my ears. Both are significantly better than any other in the ear type of plug I have ever used.

 

Over the ear muffs work great but you safety glasses compromise the seal. Get a custom molded set you will not regret it.

My custom plugs were made for me by Lones Wigger almost forty years ago. I don’t know how I haven’t lost them in all those years. They still work fine. I have to have custom plugs or muffs my left ear canal is too small for generic plugs.

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I use Radians foam earplugs inserted fully and they work great. 
 

Radians 25 Pair Disposable Uncorded Foam Earplugs https://a.co/5x06MAk
 

Wearing muffs for numerous hours on a hot day truly sux. Can’t do it. 

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In the past I have been known to insert a pair of .45's on range day.

 

But theses for cowboy and bikes riding I have a set of custom molded I bought off ebay.

 

Home range is muff over plug since my buddy tinnitus goes with me everywhere

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It took me a long time to find a set of find a set of ear plugs that I could actually keep in my ear.  I have trouble keeping the plugs in one ear.  I wore Petltor Tactical ear muffs for a long time.  They have the wire that wraps around the back of the neck instead of over the top.  The ear piece is also cut a bit shallower than a standard muff.  My next purchase was a set of Walker ear buds that worked pretty well (but I still had problems with staying in my ear). Finally my audiologist turned me on to a set that worked they are made by Phonak, and they stay in my ears.

Edited by Sarge
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The cumulative damage done to my hearing on civilian, police and military ranges has me now needing hearing aids worse than ever.

Whatever you do, get good hearing protection and don't skimp on the cost.

Same goes for your eye protection!

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First set I had made by the VA years ago the lady gave me a little bottle of stuff with em. I asked what that was for and she said because you're not supposed to lick em. I said I don't I stick em in my nose. She did not think that was funny.

kR

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As someone who worked in the hearing health industry, I can offer a little more factual information.  
 

Everyone’s ear canal is a different shape.   Some work well with foam plugs, some don’t.  If yours do work well then foam plugs are actually better than custom fit.   Testing backs this up.  If your ears are not a “normal” shape then foam may not work and custom is a better choice.  Another factor is most people do not wear foam plugs correctly.  They need to be inserted all the way in, and should not be able to be seen from a front on view.  You should not clearly hear speech with them installed correctly.  If you can clearly understand speech, they are not in correctly and provide minimal protection.  With a hearing loss, there is no way you should understand someone talking to you with hearing protection in your ear.  
 

I have not tested them, but based on how critical fit is, I would never use a self fit custom product.  Even custom plugs with short canals don’t work all that well.  If you order them, make sure they are extra long canals.  
 

maximum in ear protection is about 30 db.  Maximum protection is about 50 db and that’s with plugs and muffs.  With just plugs you are still getting an exposure of 137 ish when shooting 223.  At that db, “safe” shots per day is less than 10.   140 db is considered the threshold of immediate damage.  Less than 140, it becomes a cumulative dose based on number of shots.    Niosh has a chart for db vs number of shots.   I expect if we actually studied our matches, most everyone is not wearing enough protection for the number of shots they are exposed to during the day.   Assuming a 15 db reduction which is typical of foam plugs worn incorrectly, a shooter is probably experiencing 140 db or so for every shot.  That doesn’t even come close to what is needed.    
 

one last thing, noise meters do not work for measuring gunshot noise.  They are designed to average out impulse noise and do not capture the true peak sound levels.   It’s actually quite hard to get good data on gunshot noise levels.   There is some good data out there, but it’s not a lot.  If you take a standard meter and it says 135 db, it’s not.  Probably much higher.  Even 22’s are above 140 db.   Shotguns are in the 150’s and pistols with full house loads are in the 160’s. 

Edited by Still hand Bill
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I've used Otto NoizeBarrier Micro in-ear electronic plugs for a couple of years.  You can hear normal conversation and gunshots too, but the high dB impulse of the gunshots has been filtered out.  My hearing tests show no change over that time, so they must be working.  But as Still hand Bill said, no two people have the same ear canal shapes.  The generic "triple mushroom" tips worked well enough but never perfectly and never completely comfortably.  I'm awaiting receipt of the custom "sleeves" (the in-ear part -- no idea why they're called sleeves) made for me by Sensaphonics that will be swapped in for the standard tips.  A local audiologist made the ear impressions according to instructions provided by Sensaphonics.  My hearing is worth all of this.  And -- when I saw the ear canal impressions, I understood why "stock" earplugs don't work all that well: my ear canals are different from each other and there is no part of either that is round in cross-section.  (By the way, I tried the $12 Radians DIY custom plugs and they just did not form good sound blocks as I was reluctant to push the uncured silicone far enough in to actually work.)  

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Been struggling to get good new Hearing Aids for about six weeks.  They just can't get the fit right. One of my old ones died, and no parts available.  A final appointment tomorrow, if they don't get them right this time, something different or somewhere else.  You really don't want to be in this position, awkward and inconvenient!  It pays to get the best protection and use it always, you have to be able to hear!

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Quality foam plugs are rated 28-30 dB.

My custom plugs are as good on some days.  Changes in temperature and humidity seem to affect fit for me.  A really cool day or hot day seems to change the fit and allow more noise to pass.

I always keep a bag of foam plugs for other cowboys or people watching.  $10 for 50 plugs can go a long ways to making a visitor feel welcomed.

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Yesterday (Sunday here for us) we had a big shoot with members from many clubs converge on our range for a day of Cowboy shooting, great day! But my ears are feeling it this morning. I have custom moulded plugs, but they certainly don't filter out all harmful decibels and I don't need any more hearing loss from a lifetime of being around gunfire.......its certainly a concern

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On 7/23/2022 at 5:18 PM, Utah Bob #35998 said:

The foam disposable ones are cheap and very effective they are rated very high in decibel reduction. They aren’t cool like cipustom jobs but they are just as effective. I have had both and for CAS they are all I wear. On my own range I use quality  muffs.

My wife's girl friend gives me a case of these, every few years.
1000 to a case.
They are rated at -25dB reduction, can be washed in Dawn detergent and last for years.

I used to pass 'em out to our friends that attended my daughter's rock concerts.
Shooting trap, I find I prefer these combined with over-the-ear muffs to tame the shotgun noise.
My hearing was recently tested to 9,000 Hz at age 71.

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One other thing on hearing loss, noise does not effect everyone the same.   Some people seem to have more robust ears and don’t get as much damage, others will suffer loss at spl’s that don’t do so for others.    
 

in the end, if you are around a lot of gunfire, you will have damage to your ears.  Also not all hearing protection is the same.   Some is far better, ie plugs and muffs.  They can offer up to 50 db of protection.  Foam plugs worn incorrectly do almost nothing at all.   For me the difference between a deeply inserted foam plug and one pulled out 1/4in was a loss of 20 db of protection. 

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