One of the most common causes of hearing loss is the excessive noise exposure to the sound of gunshots. Now you may or may not know this, but it’s true that a single shot with an unprotected ear can lead to an immediate hearing loss. And it just so happens that shooting is a trendy activity these days.
Here I will guide you to choose your perfect hearing protection for shooting.
How many decibels can your ear take?
Before going into detail, I will give some fun fact about sound range:
- Normal conversation=60 db.
- The sound of a hair dryer = 90 db.
- The sound of music at any concert = 110 db.
- The sound of a jet engine taking off = 120 db.
- The sound of a gunfire = 140 db.
Hard to believe, isn’t it? How can a gun sound be louder than a jet engine? The truth is even though the sound of a gunshot only lasts for a second, it is incredibly loud. It is so loud that during a fraction of the second, it can even permanently damage your ears for good.
So, what level of sound intensity is too much for your ear? Experts believe that the danger zone for your ears is over 85 db. But you have to be exposed to continuous hours of noise at 85 dB to cause hearing loss. However, a sound above 130 dB can instantly damage your ear.
Why should you protect your ear?
Each loud sound is like a punch to the ear, whether in short or sustained bursts. It may not seem like a big deal at the moment, but it adds up over time. To protect your ear from being damaged over time, you’ll need to wear hearing protection.
View article : Essential Accessories for First Time Gun Owners
Which one is for you?
1. Electronic hearing protection
One of the trendiest models amongst hunters and shooters these days is the electronic earmuffs and earplugs. Though they feature a lot of advanced features, their high prices, and unnecessary additions sometimes put buyers off.
View article : The best shooting ear muffs
2. Passive earmuffs
Earmuffs come with many models designed. They have foam-absorbing foam cups designed to block out noises and other loud sounds that human ears cannot bear. Muffs can have either larger small ear cups to hold extra materials for use in extreme noise.
Compared to electronic hearing protectors, passive earmuffs do lack in some aspects. However, considering their affordable prices, simplicities, and functionalities, I think they deserve as much attention as active earmuffs. I highly recommend this for anyone who is fond of a more simple and traditional style.
3. Canal caps
The advantage of this one is convenience. Since canal caps have headbands, shooters can wear them over the head, behind their necks or under their chins. However, this can cause discomfort for many people as they find the bands quite stiff. This one I highly not recommend as canal caps are not very effective regarding blocking out noises.
What to look for while choosing your earmuffs?
Nrr stands for Noise Reduction Rating, the rating method used in the America. What it can do is estimating the amount of protection, and by far this is the most standardized method currently. Higher NRR means greater noise is reducing.
The range of NRR on the market ranging from 0 to 33 db. Good earplugs tend to lie somewhere between 23 and 33 dB.
Another method that you can use to test the effectiveness of your protector is to reduce the NR rating by half then subtract the number you got from the decibel level that you are working with. Let’s say; you are using a gun with an NR rating of 28 that fires off at 140 db. Your equation will be:
+) 28 (the NRR of the gun) / 2 = 14 dB
+) 140 dB (the sound level of your gunshot) – 14 = 126 dB
• Electric vs. Passive
Non-electric earmuffs are call ‘passive’ earmuffs. They are standard and classical hearing protectors. If plain, old, classical and functional is your style then may like passive earmuffs. If it is not then you may want to try active hearing protection. Though they have the same functions, they have more accessories added and functions.
• Color and Design
What color is it? What about its style? Do you prefer to be convenient and plain? Or do you prefer to be stylish and bold?
Do your earmuffs cause discomfort to you while wearing? Some may be a little bit heavy on the head. It is best to find a protector that fit you perfectly without making your top feel too heavy.
How much does it cost? Is it in your range?
• Additional functions
So, look out for those qualities while buying a hearing protector. After all, you want your hearing protector to work effectively, right?
I hope that with my guide, you can be able to choose earmuffs that suit you the most. Remember that you cannot leave home without hearing protection. Be safe and stay tuned, my readers.