Shooting Hearing Protection

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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When using a firearm of any kind, wearing some kind of shooting hearing protection is a necessity. Even the noise from a smaller handgun reaches 140 dB and can damage your hearing. Repeated exposure to the noise of gunshots, especially from a position lateral to the barrel, can easily induce tinnitus, or the symptom of ringing in your ears.

Some shooting ranges may provide earmuffs, which will reduce the noise to a level that is less detrimental to your hearing. Most industrial hearing protection, like the earmuffs, reduces noise by 20 dB or so (NNR rating of 20). For a noise as loud as a gunshot, however, a 20 dB reduction is barely enough. Other kinds of shooting hearing protection are available.

Earplugs are a good substitute for generic industrial earmuffs. Some simple, comfortable ear plugs have NNR ratings of 30 to 34 dB--over 100 times more protection than NNR 20-rated products. They are also smaller, generally more comfortable, and cheaper, costing as little as 5$ or so a pair.

Proper Use of Hunting and Shooting Hearing Protection

Earplugs for hunting and sport shooting are very simple to use. To compress them to a size small enough to fit in your ears, simply pinch them between your fingertips. While they are compressed, slide them into your ear canal and allow them to expand and form a perfect fit every time.

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