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Thread: Ear Protection

  1. #1
    Z1N1's Avatar
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    Ear Protection

    I realize this is a n00b question, but, since I'm a n00b I feel no shame.

    For a Glock 19, would ear plugs suffice for ear protection, or would ear muffs be recommended?

    Most shooting will be outdoors.


    Thanks!

  2. #2
    denner's Avatar
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    Either one will work fine. I even tear off and roll up tissue or a napkin and place it in my ears in a pinch.

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    Snarfblat is offline Junior Member
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    Ear plugs work but your ears transmit sound to your ear drums. Thus, ear muffs are better suited to protecting your entire ear and minimizing the transmission of vibration to your ear drum. Also, an open mouth will generally transmit more sound to your auditory system so keep your mouth shut when you're at the range. I use ear plugs and ear muffs to gain the maximum use out of these sound control devices.

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    I always use plugs and muffs (electronic). The plugs for primary protection and the electronic muffs to prevent bone conduction of the sound and to enable me to still hear range commands clearly. Hearing damage is one of those things that creeps up on you. It also adds up, that is, a little damage once in a while adds up to a lot of damage over time. Once you lose hearing you don't ever get it back.
    Bruce, Life Member: NRA, NCRPA, GRNC, GOA

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    Packard is offline Senior Member
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    If I were a hunter I would definitely apply for a permit for a sound suppressor. The ability to hear noises while being safe from the rifle blast would be a huge advantage. The same would apply for military service in my opinion.

    But for practicing marksmanship I would always use hearing protection (not "ear" protection).

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    I wear earmuffs whether indoor or outdoor shooting. I got curious a few weeks back at an outdoor range and lifted my right earmuff slightly while my friend was firing my M&P 9mm 6' away. Big mistake, its loud as f--k! He was wearing cheap earplugs and his ears were ringing for days after. He will be getting earmuffs before the next trip. Can't really overdo it I guess.

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    Hearing loss is cumulative. By that I mean that one single exposure to gunfire, need not result in deafness. Multiple exposures add up to a given degree of hearing loss, depending on how many exposures, and at what level. I have tinnitus and hearing loss from the military, but there are other sources of trauma to your hearing. Some folks are predisposed to hearing loss due to heredity, but leaf blowers, fireworks, rock concerts, some motorcycle exhaust,and other noise contributes to the risk as well.

    I prefer muffs to plugs, because muffs provide a bit of protection to the mastiod process, behind the ear. That bone can transmit sound to the ear. Modern electronic muffs can be an aid in hunting by amplifying sounds, yet preventing damage to your ears by clamping down on noise that rises above around 80db.

    In any case, protect your hearing... but it's up to the individual.... as is most everything shooting related.

    Additional info...

    Hearing and Chronic Ear Disorders-Hearing Loss and Shooting Sports- Ears of Texas

  8. #8
    KoneKiller is offline Junior Member
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    I just do a good set of plugs. I used to help tune T/A funny cars, and all most of us ever wore was just plugs.
    I am sure part of the reason I am a bit hard of hearing is that, but I think it is bad ear design. If I move them a bit, things come in clear. Kinda like rabbit ears on black n white tv's....

  9. #9
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    Ear loss can be permanent, so I wouldnt mess around here. Same with eye protection.
    I went to the doctor to have something removed from my ear canal and had my hearing checked by an ear doctor....turns out I have some hearing loss at higher frequencies...the first to go usually. It is 40dB lss at 5KHz.

    I recommend getting your hearing checked as a good reference and always use good hearing protection and get it checked every year if you shoot frequently. I had the doctor make plugs molded to my ears, and on top of that I use 29NRR muffs. I shoot at an indoor range and they shoot high powered rifles there and I am sure they are running over 120dB, and that will damage your ears in only 15 seconds of exposure.

    Damaged hearing is related to loudness AND the amount of time you are exposed. Also, your age can be a factor.

    If you shoot outdoors most of the time you could get by with just muffs or plugs, but I would always double-up for indoor ranges, especially if they shoot shotguns or rifles there.

    Good plugs and muffs are inexpensive compared to permanent hearing loss....this is a no-brainer.

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    Excellent responses. The overwhelming consensus is, Go with a headset. I also liked the suggestion to wear both earplugs and earmuffs.

    Thanks everyone!

  11. #11
    Packard is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z1N1 View Post
    Excellent responses. The overwhelming consensus is, Go with a headset. I also liked the suggestion to wear both earplugs and earmuffs.

    Thanks everyone!
    Ear plugs and earmuffs will certainly make things quieter but I don't believe that they will offer up any additional hearing protection. You need only bring the decibel level beneath the threshold level that causes damage to the hearing. Either of these will work fine for that purpose.

    Personally I wear earmuffs as long as the weather is cool. When it gets warm I wear the ear plugs which allow my ears to "breath".

    The ear plugs don't seem as sanitary and get icky looking even if you wipe them down after using.

    But unless you want it really, really quiet you can pick one or the other. Most will allow you to hear distinct conversations; I'm not sure if you can do that with both on.

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    ANYTHING that impedes the transmission of sound to your ear drums will offer more protection than less of an impediment.

    Layering your clothing in winter works on a similar principle.

  13. #13
    Packard is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by usmcj View Post
    ANYTHING that impedes the transmission of sound to your ear drums will offer more protection than less of an impediment.

    Layering your clothing in winter works on a similar principle.
    This is a handgun forum so I was only considering handgun noise levels. Certainly if I were shooting next to a .50 BMG I might consider layering too. But as long as you get the noise level below the threshold of hearing damage there is no real reason (from a safety point of view) to go much further. Most quality ear muffs and ear plugs will get below that threshold on their own.

    I understand your layering analogy, but I would not wear my field jacket with its liner buttoned in and a sweater in 30 degree weather. Certainly it would make me warmer--to the point that I would sweat, and then I would open the jacket and the wet clothes would make me chill. I dress for the weather.

    With the hearing protection I would add "layers" as the noise level increased. But there is a trade off. I can have a conversation at the range with my muffs on; I can do the same with ear plugs too. I doubt that I could do so with both in place.

    So I agree with you that when it is appropriate due to higher than ordinary noise levels, go ahead and wear layers of hearing protection.

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    I use electronic muff's most of the time. 95% of the time this is enough where I shoot. Don't be afraid to double up with plugs as well. Protecting your hearing is something you will never regret. Bonus: Good hearing protection helps to filter out distractions and aids in the quality of your range time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Z1N1 View Post
    I realize this is a n00b question, but, since I'm a n00b I feel no shame.

    For a Glock 19, would ear plugs suffice for ear protection, or would ear muffs be recommended?

    Most shooting will be outdoors.


    Thanks!
    Well, the next time you go shooting, try it without hearing protection. After about a day or so, when your ears stop ringing, you will see the only people who don't need hearing protection while shooting are the deaf.

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    Quote Originally Posted by berettatoter View Post
    Well, the next time you go shooting, try it without hearing protection. After about a day or so, when your ears stop ringing, you will see the only people who don't need hearing protection while shooting are the deaf.
    Didn't answer my question, but thanks anyway.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by berettatoter View Post
    Well, the next time you go shooting, don't try it without hearing protection, or After about a day or so, when your ears stop ringing, you will see the only people who don't need hearing protection while shooting are the deaf.
    ...fixed it for you.... There's no reason at all to ever suggest that someone go shooting without hearing protection. All due respect.

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    Keep in mind it's not your gun you're protecting your ears from.

    It's the person next to you with the .44 mag and the .500 he shoots for fun as fast as he can pull the trigger

    AFS

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    Quote Originally Posted by AirForceShooter View Post
    Keep in mind it's not your gun you're protecting your ears from.

    It's the person next to you with the .44 mag and the .500 he shoots for fun as fast as he can pull the trigger

    AFS
    Unless you happen to be the only one at the range.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by AirForceShooter View Post
    Keep in mind it's not your gun you're protecting your ears from.

    It's the person next to you with the .44 mag and the .500 he shoots for fun as fast as he can pull the trigger

    AFS
    True. Mostly it's just going to be me and a buddy of mine out on his property, but eventually I would like to find an indoor range for year 'round practice.

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