Shooting a gun or even standing near a person shooting a gun without ear protection will put your hearing in great danger. Spend a day at a shooting range without ear protection, and you could very well leave with permanent damage such as “ringing in the ears” or even hearing loss.
Our ears are flexible when it comes to sounds, but they’re not able to withstand loud noises of certain decibel levels. Thankfully, there are several hearing protective devices (HPDs) a person can wear to protect their hearing.
The U.S. military uses two types of HPDs to protect soldiers’ ears: electronic and nonlinear. If soldiers protect their ears, so should recreational gun shooters.
Electronic HPDs make softer sounds louder, but smartly shut off when there’s a loud noise—ideal for hunting deer and other animals in a seemingly quiet forest. Electronic HPDs are a smart choice for shooters because they allow the soft sounds to be amplified while also doing the opposite—blocking the loud noises. You can buy electronic earmuffs, custom-made in-ear devices, earplugs and behind-the-ear devices.
Nonlinear HPDs are not electronic. They let in soft sounds while reducing loud sounds. You can buy nonlinear earplugs for about $10 at your local drug store, and wear them at rock concerts or other loud events. However, if your gun or rifle is extremely loud, and you truly care about your hearing, it would be a smart investment to buy custom-made nonlinear or electronic HPDs, rather than rely on cheap (and uncomfortable) foam.
ESP (Electronic Shooters Protection) provides shooters with state-of-the-art electronic hearing protection, custom fit to each customer’s ears. Based out of Colorado, ESP America is a great company to connect with when you are in the market for hearing protection devices that fit so nice that you forget you’re wearing them.