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Best Ear Protection- Ear Plugs or Ear Muffs?

Discussion in 'Gear & Accessories' started by 9mm guy, Mar 13, 2016.

  1. 9mm guy

    9mm guy Tualatin Active Member

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    What do all of you experienced shooters recommend in terms of the best ear protections? I've been shooting for about 3 years and I've been wearing those headphone type of ear muffs. They're cheap and easy to take off when I'm talking to anyone on the range when there's no firing going on of course.

    But I find that the pressure of the ear muffs hurt the area around my ears after about an hour. Also the ear muffs pushes against my eye protection glasses which makes it uncomfortable. And I am finding myself at the range longer and longer and so I'm looking more towards those foam ear plugs. Plus if I'm shooting rifle or shotgun, resting my cheek against the butt of the gun often pushes the ear muffs over and opens them up which is no good. In addition, I saw a YouTube video that recommended ear plugs over ear muffs due to their greater protection.

    I'm also curious about the Howard Leight ear plugs which looks like a reverse headphone style that Hickok45 wears in his YouTube videos. Has anyone tried them and are they effective? What do you all recommend? I'm thinking of just going with those foam ear plugs for an outdoor range. Are they good enough protection without doubling them up with the ear muffs? Thanks in advance for your answers.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2016
  2. Joe13

    Joe13 NW of Vancouver Opinionated & Blunt Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    I just use the 4.99 buds that have a string between them.

    No muffs cuz of the shooting glasses.
     
  3. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I always have the yellow foam plugs in my pocket, so they're the first line of defense, then the ear muffs on top of those for the really loud guns.
     
  4. Stomper

    Stomper Oceania Rising White Is The New Brown Silver Supporter

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  5. drudgeon

    drudgeon Eugene, OR Member

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    In my experience, foam plugs are usually more that sufficient for outdoor range use. The Radians foam plugs that I usually buy have a NRR of 32 which is actually higher than my Howard Leight Leightning L3s which are NRR 30. The banded plugs are usually pretty decent for outdoor use, but are not adequate if you are going to be shooting at an indoor range. I've got a Quiet Band, and was attempting to use it at the indoor range here, and just having someone shooting a 9mm next to me was pretty painful.
     
  6. L308

    L308 Albany, Oregon New Member

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    I haven’t tried ear plugs made by Howard Light.

    I use custom fitted ear plugs combined with ear muffs and also have trouble with recoil moving the ear muffs.

    I have been shooting once per week for around 15 years and I shot less frequently before that. My tinnitus developed around five years ago. If that turns out to be the case for you then maybe if you use the best available ear protection (ear plugs combined with muffs) there will be a solution before you develop tinnitus.

    If you decide to continue using muffs be sure to look for those with the highest rating. I believe that is a 34dB NRR (Noise Reduction Rating). I now use Browning muffs that have a 31 NRR rating. They are thinner than many muffs.

    In IMHO, basic research designed to find an effective way to protect hearing while shooting is badly needed.






    .
     
    206thsense likes this.
  7. MightyCasey

    MightyCasey Snohomish Active Member

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    In the last year wife and I have used ear plugs and 34db ear muffs.
     
  8. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    +1 with Stomper! Sonic Defenders are what I use these days. They work perfectly, with regular cleaning I get a whole season out of them, minimum!
    Depending on what's booming, I'll add Howard Light ear muffs. The type with microphones.
     
    Stomper likes this.
  9. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I don't shoot indoors and have purchased a host of suppressors to keep the noise down on my friends farm, plus they're a bunch of fun to shoot with.
     
  10. Kruejl

    Kruejl Hillsboro Moderator of the Coriolis effect Staff Member Gold Supporter Silver Supporter

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    I use the Howard Leight Impact Sport electronic muffs. When the temps outside are high enough to make those sweaty, I use disposable plugs.
     
  11. 2A2Dend

    2A2Dend .. Well-Known Member

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  12. Stomper

    Stomper Oceania Rising White Is The New Brown Silver Supporter

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    Less booze, less cigarettes, less pay-TV, less electronic gizmos, more hamburger and less steak... you can do eeeet!! :D
     
    206thsense and drudgeon like this.
  13. 206thsense

    206thsense Seattle, WA, USA Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Amazon has a great selection of muffs (which I usually wear since I do a lot of shooting indoors).

    Just check for fit since it might pinch your face with your choice of glasses / eye safety wear.
     
  14. Doc In UPlace

    Doc In UPlace Tacoma-ish Well-Known Member

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    I wonder what the OP decided since posting this 3 weeks ago? Did they wager the family jewels on a $5 set of foam plugs or spring for Peltor Tactical Pro's?

    These have been my set for the past 4 years, never a problem aside from the little foam windscreens getting broken off the microphones:
    mt15h7f_370-sv_p.jpg
     
  15. Captain O

    Captain O St. Helens, OR Well-Known Member

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    Both.
     
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  16. PaulB47

    PaulB47 Hillsboro Well-Known Member

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    Same here. Then I always have something to use when turning on the shop vac, lawn mower, etc. It all adds up.

    I tend not to use the big fat ear muffs because they hit the buttstock on rifles.
     
    308 likes this.
  17. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    I've found, via my patented lawn mower test, that the big fat muffs are superior to skinny, sexy muffs:rolleyes:
    th?id=OIP.M39592cc0d9669ad20bd6078f4ae24863o0&pid=15.1&P=0&w=300&h=300.jpg