Hearing Protection

Mordamer

Professional Know It All
Belligerents
May 11, 2010
960
477
69
Hooker, OK
I shoot quite a bit of PRS and I have noticed my ears ringing after a match even though I wear hearing protection the whole time.

I use Howard Leight Impact Sport electronic muffs.
I also use a Muzzle Brakes and More 3 port beast muzzle brake. The brake works great and I like the ear muffs.

I have shot matches before with a suppressor and ear muffs on. I find this to be the ultimate in hearing protection, but I can watch my trace and impact better with my muzzle brake installed.

What are my best options for keeping my hearing safe while still using a muzzle brake?

Should I consider a brake that sends the pressure out to the sides and not as much back at the shooter? Would this make any real difference for my hearing?

Is there some hearing protection that I can use that maintains electronic hearing and protects much better than the Howard Leight?
 

spife7980

Luchador
Belligerents
Feb 10, 2017
6,693
4,097
119
Central TX
Foamies in the ear to cut all you can out. Electronic on the outside to amplify range officer commands over the foamies etc but also muffle too. I dont think any electronic ear pro for rifles will be as good as you want. I have a set of old muffs from the 80s probably and they muffle like 2x as good as the HL impacts but are also 3x as big and dont fit on these new stock cheek pieces that are so wide.

I would absolutely consider a more side ported brake.


I hate brakes though in basically any scenario you can name. Even if my ears arent ringing with enough ear protection and standing far away from the shooters as I can manage and behind everything I can find I still I hate feeling my body take the blast. Ill sacrifice the 3 points a brake might get me over my can.

Id rather enjoy myself than win (like that was ever even a possibility :rolleyes:).
 
Last edited:

ToddKS

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Sep 15, 2010
299
19
22
45
Wichita, KS
I wear a pair of Lazer Lite foam ear plugs under my electronic muffs. Depending on the stage I may shoot with just the ear plugs and the muffs off. What I found was that I was actually exposed to more noise while others were shooting than from my own rifle. I believe this is due to the angled ports on most brakes.

I started with an Impact Precision brake. It is a 180 degree brake and did not send a lot of concussion back to the shooter as a result. I just switched to an APA Little Bastard Gen 3. It is also comfortable to shoot from a noise standpoint but I am told by bystanders that is it loud from their perspective.
 

UpSideDown

Private
Minuteman
Sep 24, 2019
26
13
6
I use the Howard Leights and I don't consider them to be all the good at reducing sound, they just don't damp that much. I use Surefire EP10's for a much better, and more comfortable, form of hearing protection. The HL's are great to put on and off. I'm thinking about this for next week from a hunting perspective. Wish I had the ease of muffs with the protection of the plugs.

If you're around a bunch of guys running brakes you probably aren't getting nearly enough protection from the muffs. Consider either more serious muffs, or serious plugs like the EP10's (they're cheap to try out and comfy), or running BOTH plugs and muffs.
 

ClangClang

Private
Belligerents
Aug 10, 2017
219
190
49
MD
The gold standard for electronic muffs are either the MSA Sordin Supreme or Peltor Comtac III. Neither are cheap. Both are significantly better than the Howard Leights without question. Better seals, better electronics (compression instead of clipping), far more comfortable, etc. World of difference. You don't know what you're missing until you try a pair. Every time a friend of mine, who normally uses Impact Sports, puts them on, they just go silent for a minute and always say "Wow."

However, I dont really consider ANY electronic muffs adequate for shooting big bore rifles with brakes, especially at a match where you are subjected to 160-170dB all day long. Basic $1 disposable foam plugs still offer significantly better noise reduction as long as they are CORRECTLY inserted. So many people get it completely wrong.

And since recoil, the temple pieces on your glasses, or pressure from the rifle stock can all easily break the seal on your muffs, running a set of foamies under the muffs is pretty much mandatory. It's not worth having tinnitus when you're old. It's life changing, debilitating, and drives people borderline insane. You only get one set of ears, treat them well.
 

Racer88

Firearms Pedant
Online Training Access
Belligerents
Minuteman
Nov 10, 2018
663
809
99
Thanks for the EP10 recommendations. Just ordered a set.

I've been wearing disposable plugs under muffs (currently Peltor Tactical Pro).

I have tinnitus already... likely due to occupational exposure. I'm always looking for better protection.

Anyone been able to compare the MSA Sordin Supremes to the Peltor Tactical Pros?
 

Crabcore

Private
Minuteman
Aug 2, 2019
66
62
24
Milwaukee, WI
definitely put a pair of foamies under your muffs. The laser lytes are excellent, as they shouldn't make your ears hurt even wearing them all day.
I wear foamies, muffs, and use a suppressor. I am unwilling to risk a lifetime of hearing loss for a few points at a match.
 

spearknives

Captain
Banned !
Belligerents
Minuteman
Apr 19, 2019
131
155
49
I know a lot of shooters that use the Howard Leights. They are about $40 and work great. I dare say they are the most commonly used electronic ear muffs. I've used the Peltor. They are nice, but come with features you probably don't need. Such as the ability to have radio comms and gel ear cushions instead of foam. I still wear foam earplugs with electronic muffs. Hearing loss is cumulative and inevitable if you shoot a lot. I'd like to minimize the loss.
 

IronmanDaremo

Libtard Snowflake
Minuteman
Sep 9, 2019
64
38
24
Maryland
Tried to just use my Howard Leights by themselves when I went to the range last week (first time out shooting in years), ended up adding some foamies underneath within a few minutes. More because of the rest of the range usage and not so much as a reaction to my rifle.
 

Racer88

Firearms Pedant
Online Training Access
Belligerents
Minuteman
Nov 10, 2018
663
809
99
If you're serious about your ears.... It reminds me of what we said back when I was doing the car track thing... "If you've got a $100 head, get a $100 helmet."

When it comes to protecting your hearing... don't skimp. Get the best (not the cheapest).
 

Lunchbox27

Professional whisky drinker
Belligerents
Mar 23, 2017
802
615
99
MD
If I were you.. I'd run your can and muffs with plugs.

I don't care how much better you can spot your trace with a brake, it's not worth losing your hearing. Your body is telling you something. I cannot wear muffs as it breaks the seal when I do my cheek weld so I'm plugs only with a can. When I'm on the line and not shooting I'm away from anyone running a brake.

Am I being a baby about it? Maybe... but I'd rather still hear my wife bitch at me, and pretend I didn't hear her... then have tinnitus/hearing loss.
 
  • Like
Reactions: drew_235

AIAW

★★★★★
Belligerents
Aug 16, 2001
5,565
4,323
219
Central Texas
Remember also that you could be getting overpressure through your nasal passages. Everyone‘s sensitivity is different (50 BMG shooters know what I mean). No additional amount of hearing protection is going to fix this (if it’s happening). Might need to look into a different brake.

I personally use gel-cup MSA Sordins, but there is nothing wrong with the Howards either... if you aren’t breaking the seal on them when on the rifle (applies universally of course).
 

DownhillFromHere

Private
Belligerents
Minuteman
Nov 30, 2017
433
355
69
I'm surprised no one has mentioned custom-molded ear plugs. I've used them since 1992 - still have the original set; nasty-looking but usable. Newer set was done by a guy who used to do a lot of work for the special ops guys at Ft. Bragg. They're amazingly all-day comfortable and completely effective. Braked .338s or .300s on a covered line? No problem. The blast and concussion are still miserable, but the sound per se is no problem.

Wade has been away from the ear-plug thing for awhile; not sure if he'll be back. You might look around at matches and ask those who are using custom plugs where the plugs came from and how they're working. If the answer is "meh" then the plugs weren't done right. They can be had with passive or active sound gating. Mine are solid. I don't have any practical difficulty hearing range commands.

I've talked to buddies who wanted molded plugs and ordered DIY kits to save $$. They both said it was a fool's errand. Both had total failures on their first attempt and marginal results (later discarded) on the second.

I greatly prefer molded plugs to muff-type protection for competition so I can wear a wide-brimmed hat. I've gone two years now without having a skin cancer cut off and I like that. For short sessions (2-3 hours) on a covered firing line, I'll still use the big fat Leight model - but I wouldn't want to wear them all day.
 

charnicus

Padawan
Belligerents
Minuteman
Oct 29, 2018
476
143
49
If you're serious about your ears.... It reminds me of what we said back when I was doing the car track thing... "If you've got a $100 head, get a $100 helmet."

When it comes to protecting your hearing... don't skimp. Get the best (not the cheapest).
This.

It was painful but I opted for a pair of ESPs. Putting them in is like being in a sound isolation room and they’re made for your ear and your ear alone.
 

Timetoshoot

Bullet driver
Belligerents
May 7, 2013
286
85
34
Carbondale
I spent 20 years earring wearing poor or poorly fitting ear pro. Tinnitus sucks! Effects really are cumulative and I’m frustrated by constart ringing.

Double up works, just harder to hear range commands until I tried the Decibulz passive percussive filters undear my MSA sordidness. Range commands easy to hear muzzle blast and sound attenuation is fantastic.

The regular decibilz work well, too well difficult to hear range commands. The percussive filters or msa sordins alone don’t offer quite enough protection for high volume shooting.
 

AIAW

★★★★★
Belligerents
Aug 16, 2001
5,565
4,323
219
Central Texas
ESP’s are very nice. $2,400 is a hard pill to swallow for that level of convenience, for me. That being said, I have been eyeing them again recently.
 
  • Like
Reactions: fx77

charnicus

Padawan
Belligerents
Minuteman
Oct 29, 2018
476
143
49
ESP’s are very nice. $2,400 is a hard pill to swallow for that level of convenience, for me. That being said, I have been eyeing them again recently.
They have a $900 dollar option as well. I agree though that it’s an extremely hard pill to swallow. Once you put them in the ear it all makes sense. I guess it’s like custom rifle vs non custom.
 

A&8's

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Mar 20, 2019
101
47
34
Being a musician for the past 34 years I, of course, have been subject to a shit ton of loud noises. About 13 years ago I started using custom IEM's (In Ear Monitors). While getting molds done my audiologist told me a few things:

1.) The tiny bones and cartilage of your ear are subject to vibrations, which contribute greatly to hearing loss. Meaning, even with in ear protection, loud noises are transferred from the bones in your ears, directly to your ear drums.
2.) The "best" ear protection is over the ear muffs. (Of course that don't work well for me as a musician. lol)
3.) A persons ear canals change shape over time. Thus, it is recommended getting new molds every 2-3 years. (My audiologist is not who I get my IEM's from. So, I don't think it's a selling point thing to get me to spend $ every few years).

Personally what I use while shooting are Walkers in ear silencers molded into custom molds. I know I "should" wear muffs. But, like others, I just don't care for them.

Side note: The IEM's I use on stage are from 64audio.com (formerly 1964Ears). They will make custom ear plug molds, which have a -26dB rating.
Also, last time I checked, with the purchase of IEM's, they give you a pair of custom plugs.
 

Mordamer

Professional Know It All
Belligerents
May 11, 2010
960
477
69
Hooker, OK
Thank you to everyone for the suggestions. I ordered 3 different kinds of in ear plugs that were recommended above. I plan to pick my favorite in ear plugs and use them in conjunction with my current HL impact sport muffs. I am also looking for an impact brake to try and see if that will help with directing blast away from me slightly more. I like the way the Impact brake times on the barrel differently than a regular 2 piece brake.

I always stay way back from the firing line when others are shooting. I am sure that the vast majority of harsh blast I am exposed to is my own gun. I will see if these changes are enough protection to allow me to shoot with a brake on without additional ear ringing.
 

Boon20

Online Training Member
Online Training Access
Minuteman
Feb 7, 2019
58
33
24
Saskatchewan, Canada
Thank you to everyone for the suggestions. I ordered 3 different kinds of in ear plugs that were recommended above. I plan to pick my favorite in ear plugs and use them in conjunction with my current HL impact sport muffs. I am also looking for an impact brake to try and see if that will help with directing blast away from me slightly more. I like the way the Impact brake times on the barrel differently than a regular 2 piece brake.

I always stay way back from the firing line when others are shooting. I am sure that the vast majority of harsh blast I am exposed to is my own gun. I will see if these changes are enough protection to allow me to shoot with a brake on without additional ear ringing.
Have a look at ops cor AMP with the nfmi ear plugs. The muffs by them self are about 22db with the plugs its 34db reduction with directional sound but they are expensive so you have to ask your self whats your hearing worth to you
 

Crabcore

Private
Minuteman
Aug 2, 2019
66
62
24
Milwaukee, WI
one other thing i notice about muffs is that the shape really effects how well they work. If i wear a set of muffs which is more square, like the impacts sports, the butt of my rifle pushes on them and breaks the seal. I wear regular "dumb" peltors, because their muff portion is more rounded and doesn't interfere with my cheek weld.

this thread makes me want to try a pair of those Sordins, though. With plugs and muffs with no voice amplification it is sometimes hard to hear if people aren't raising their voices enough. I usually tell the RO to make sure to speak up while i shoot.
 

Dolomite_Supafly

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Mar 15, 2009
435
231
49
49
E. TN
Tinnitus is no fun. Spent years shooting M60's without hearing protection and have serious hearing loss and severe tinnitus. I have to have noise all the time or it bothers me. Laying in bed at night it sounds like I have 100 florescent lights hovering right over my head.

I always use foam earplugs and will often add electronic muffs.
 

SkyScrapin

LGOWI
Belligerents
Jan 31, 2010
967
569
99
Dallas, TX
ESP’s are very nice. $2,400 is a hard pill to swallow for that level of convenience, for me. That being said, I have been eyeing them again recently.
They are great, but damn expensive. Even still the Sordons are quite nice with gel cups. Typically switch between the two for whatever reason.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AIAW

AIAW

★★★★★
Belligerents
Aug 16, 2001
5,565
4,323
219
Central Texas
They are great, but damn expensive. Even still the Sordons are quite nice with gel cups. Typically switch between the two for whatever reason.
Awesome. I feel that if I was going to drop money on them I’d pretty much Buy Once, Cry Once on them!

The Sordins just work so well it’s been a backseat purchase item on “the list”.
 

impactaddict

Full Member
Belligerents
Feb 14, 2017
149
15
22
If you have good insurance, there is a possibility that you can get some custom electronic molded in-ear protection. Call an audiologist and see if hey can help you out. I went with the Sound Gear Platinum model (Westone also makes some) and all it cost was 2 office visits and cover what insurance didn't - $250 all in. I wear them to PRS matches and wear them from Zero-Check till the end of match. There is no fatigue and I can wear sunglasses and not crush my temple. They are great for all shooting sports!
 

Srgt. Hulka

Lighten Up Francis
Belligerents
Oct 8, 2014
1,766
4,875
219
Shreveport, Louisiana
I also use Howard Leight. Bought them from Miculek himself. They still don't do a great job by themselves. Use foamies like others have suggested.
 

Cascade Hemi

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
Feb 9, 2019
397
286
69
PNW
Being a musician for the past 34 years I, of course, have been subject to a shit ton of loud noises. About 13 years ago I started using custom IEM's (In Ear Monitors). While getting molds done my audiologist told me a few things:

1.) The tiny bones and cartilage of your ear are subject to vibrations, which contribute greatly to hearing loss. Meaning, even with in ear protection, loud noises are transferred from the bones in your ears, directly to your ear drums.
2.) The "best" ear protection is over the ear muffs. (Of course that don't work well for me as a musician. lol)
3.) A persons ear canals change shape over time. Thus, it is recommended getting new molds every 2-3 years. (My audiologist is not who I get my IEM's from. So, I don't think it's a selling point thing to get me to spend $ every few years).

Personally what I use while shooting are Walkers in ear silencers molded into custom molds. I know I "should" wear muffs. But, like others, I just don't care for them.

Side note: The IEM's I use on stage are from 64audio.com (formerly 1964Ears). They will make custom ear plug molds, which have a -26dB rating.
Also, last time I checked, with the purchase of IEM's, they give you a pair of custom plugs.
This is the post that everyone should pay attention too. I'll add that consumers should be looking for headsets with NRR at least, or greater than, 26db. Low profile headsets simply can't eliminate that much sound. In-Ear hearing protection is ok for smaller caliber handguns, not rifles.
 
  • Like
Reactions: A&8's

Srgt. Hulka

Lighten Up Francis
Belligerents
Oct 8, 2014
1,766
4,875
219
Shreveport, Louisiana
Being a musician for the past 34 years I, of course, have been subject to a shit ton of loud noises. About 13 years ago I started using custom IEM's (In Ear Monitors). While getting molds done my audiologist told me a few things:

1.) The tiny bones and cartilage of your ear are subject to vibrations, which contribute greatly to hearing loss. Meaning, even with in ear protection, loud noises are transferred from the bones in your ears, directly to your ear drums.
2.) The "best" ear protection is over the ear muffs. (Of course that don't work well for me as a musician. lol)
3.) A persons ear canals change shape over time. Thus, it is recommended getting new molds every 2-3 years. (My audiologist is not who I get my IEM's from. So, I don't think it's a selling point thing to get me to spend $ every few years).

Personally what I use while shooting are Walkers in ear silencers molded into custom molds. I know I "should" wear muffs. But, like others, I just don't care for them.

Side note: The IEM's I use on stage are from 64audio.com (formerly 1964Ears). They will make custom ear plug molds, which have a -26dB rating.
Also, last time I checked, with the purchase of IEM's, they give you a pair of custom plugs.
This is the post that everyone should pay attention too. I'll add that consumers should be looking for headsets with NRR at least, or greater than, 26db. Low profile headsets simply can't eliminate that much sound. In-Ear hearing protection is ok for smaller caliber handguns, not rifles.
This is why I wear both headsets and foamies. Foamies do a good job of knocking down the noise if installed properly. However, I use the headsets do mitigate some of the shock that the head around the ear is subjected to from the blast. The two together work well.
I spent 14 years running a 1" impact wrench without hearing protection. I don't want to lose anymore of my hearing.
 

carbonbased

1 MOA = 2 AF
Belligerents
Minuteman
Jul 26, 2018
127
79
34
Minnesota
I’ll probably write a separate post, but here’s my experience. My whole life, I’ve been very careful with my hearing. When I started hunting pheasants as a young boy, nobody wore ear pro. My ears rang the first time out, and I wore ear pro from that time forward. Also, I have always avoided loud music…can’t stand it.

I was not an avid hunter or shooter, and pretty much stopped any consistent hunting around 20 (50ish now). Since then, I would very occasionally go to an indoor range (double up) or shoot pheasants. Overall, I’ve probably been hunting with shotguns (20 ga) or rifles 150 times, and I’m being very generous.

Two years ago, I got bitten by the prairie dog shooting bug, mainly shooting .204s. Last year, I was at an outdoor range and a buddy brought a 30-30 lever action; kicked hard as it was very light. I was single protected with Peltor Sport Tactical 300s at 24 NRR with the fantastic 3M HY80 gel ear cups. After I shot AHE 30-30 two or three times, we walked to the targets. On the way, I got a little dizzy. It went away in a half-hour, I kept shooting small calibers like 17 Hornet or 204. No ringing in my ears. Others were shooting around us too, but not .375 H&H’s, just regular rifles.

The next day, my left ear was ringing a bit, but not my right. I’m right handed, so behind a rifle the left ear obviously faces a bit more forward than the left. I wear glasses too, but the gel ear cups mold around them pretty darn well. (Btw, according to 3M’s site, those gel ear cups reduce the muffs NRR by ~1db)

After that, I always doubled up that left ear if anyone else was at the range. One time, I was there alone, and didn’t double up because I was talking to the range officers between shots. I was shooting a 17 Hornet. No “ouch” ringing occurred; I was very comfortable.

The next day, I noticed the left ear ringing had increased.

Since then, I NEVER shot without the left ear doubled up. Haven’t had any increased ringing despite shooting 1500 rounds prairie dog shooting this spring (17 Hornet, .204, .22).

Until now. I decided to take my son out deer hunting. Haven’t done that in 35 years. Was sighting in a 30-06 outside at a farm, totally out in the open and alone. Nothing to reflect the sound back at me. I doubled up both ears. Shot about nine rounds. No ear pain.

Next day, my left was ringing quite a bit and hasn’t let up for a couple weeks. The ringing after each of the three left ear episodes doesn’t go away.

My ear doc said it could be an anatomical thing that makes me more susceptible to loud noises or maybe it’s Ménière’s disease, although I didn’t fit the classic diagnosis. I’ve read about bone conductivity and thanks to this thread, about sound going up the nose.

I’m done shooting 30 cal. I don’t trust my Peltor Sport 300s anymore. After this last episode, I just got custom molded plugs at a gun show and Peltor X5a passive muffs (for when I’m just watching…they’re frickin’ massive and hit the stock). Haven’t shot with either yet.

I don’t know if the 300s are defective. No way to easily test, although 3M has some sort of Ear Fit test (looks like only for large businesses).

Not sure where to turn. It’s be nice to:
  • Find an audio doctor who’s an expert in shooting sports, really experienced and knowledgeable of all the solutions out there.
  • Find electric ear pro that has the highest NRR for gun shots, not high frequency.
  • Maybe talk to someone who knows something about this type of thing or has experienced it themselves.
This sucks. I really like this activity and it’s great to do something with my son, getting him away from video games.
 
Last edited:

Feif64

Constitutionalist
Belligerents
Minuteman
Apr 2, 2017
149
119
49
30
Kansas
I wear in ear active buds and use a suppressor works great for me
 

TripleBull

This one goes to 11
Belligerents
Feb 13, 2017
2,758
5,701
119
Sunny Colorado
The tiny bones and cartilage of your ear are subject to vibrations, which contribute greatly to hearing loss. Meaning, even with in ear protection, loud noises are transferred from the bones in your ears, directly to your ear drums.
This is especially important for shooters. Below 50 Hz, you "hear" mostly from the resonance of the femur pushing the wave through your body and eventually coupling with the auditory system. Gunfire has a large component - the muzzle blast - that has a huge amplitude down around DC, so the whole system couples right after the shot goes off, including the inner ear bones and cartilage you mention. The human body is not designed to accommodate gunfire without taking on damage, especially big guns with steep recoil curves and muzzle brakes.

The next day, my left ear was ringing a bit, but not my right. I’m right handed, so behind a rifle the left ear obviously faces a bit more forward than the left. I wear glasses too, but the gel ear cups mold around them pretty darn well. (Btw, according to 3M’s site, those gel ear cups reduce the muffs NRR by ~1db)
This is a known problem. I have a copy of a journal article that talks about WWII hearing loss on the opposite of the shooting side. I just searched for the article copy but apparently it's not on this PC. Anyway, the head + ear acts as a comb filter, meaning that the part of the sound wave that goes around the front of your head arrives slightly before the part that wraps around the back of your head. This creates constructive interference of some frequencies - they are higher amplitude. There's also destructive interference of other frequencies - they are quieter. The resulting frequency spectrum at the back side ear has big peaks and valleys and the peaks do significant damage. People that shoot lots of pistol without adequate protection have the back side ear tinnitus the worst, due to the higher relative time offset from the two wave fronts.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: carbonbased

MK20

Gunny Sergeant
Belligerents
Apr 17, 2018
933
1,210
99
Idaho
For good cheap reusable earplugs use the blue Quattro brand ones. Way better than foamier and I have used them for years.
 

Cascade Hemi

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
Feb 9, 2019
397
286
69
PNW
Btw, I’ve got a suppressor on order. That will be my golden ticket, I believe, to my problem.
This is the best solution. I haven't shot an unsuppressed rifle years. I recently went to a class and most of the students were from California and had brakes. I had to double up my ears and still had slight ringing. I genuinely hate unsuppressed rifles.
 

ThePretzel

Private
Belligerents
Minuteman
Dec 17, 2017
707
494
69
Boulder, CO
I'm surprised no one has mentioned custom-molded ear plugs. I've used them since 1992 - still have the original set; nasty-looking but usable. Newer set was done by a guy who used to do a lot of work for the special ops guys at Ft. Bragg. They're amazingly all-day comfortable and completely effective. Braked .338s or .300s on a covered line? No problem. The blast and concussion are still miserable, but the sound per se is no problem.
This is what I'd recommend as well. I have a filtered pair from E.A.R. Inc that I've been using for the past 3 years or so and have had no complaints. The only time I've ever wanted more ear pro is shooting braked rifles indoors or when I'm standing in the blast directly next to someone with a braked rifle. They were good on the budget too, I got them molded for me at a shotgun match and paid I believe $60 all-in.

The biggest difference to me is the comfort level. Hands down they beat the comfort of any other plug or muff on the market, and it's not even a fair comparison to be honest. These fit into your ear perfectly and the outside edge sits more or less in-line with your jawbone. The molded bit means your ears never get sore like what can happen with foamies or rubber plugs (no pressure being applied to your ear), and the flush fit makes them particularly popular with shotgunners since a high comb and firm cheek weld will usually bump any muffs off your ear (I learned that one the hard way).

The filters are pretty good, and my only real complaint about the cheap filtered version I got is that you can't just run them under the tap and use dish soap to wash them. The ones I got have paper filters in them that you can't get wet, but they actually work really well. Rifles sound like I'm wearing a good pair of plugs but it passes quiet noises through well enough that I can wear these while hunting without handicapping myself.
 

Eric_F

Private
Belligerents
Feb 22, 2013
77
34
24
Minneapolis
Lots of good advice here, doubling up is absolutely the way to go. I'll just add that I do love my Sordins, but my Impact Sports with some aftermarket gel cups are like 90% there for less than half the price. Way more comfortable and they seal better with the gel.
 

carbonbased

1 MOA = 2 AF
Belligerents
Minuteman
Jul 26, 2018
127
79
34
Minnesota
This is a known problem. I have a copy of a journal article that talks about WWII hearing loss on the opposite of the shooting side. I just searched for the article copy but apparently it's not on this PC. Anyway, the head + ear acts as a comb filter, meaning that the part of the sound wave that goes around the front of your head arrives slightly before the part that wraps around the back of your head. This creates constructive interference of some frequencies - they are higher amplitude. There's also destructive interference of other frequencies - they are quieter. The resulting frequency spectrum at the back side ear has big peaks and valleys and the peaks do significant damage. People that shoot lots of pistol without adequate protection have the back side ear tinnitus the worst, due to the higher relative time offset from the two wave fronts.
Maybe I’m misunderstanding, but on one hand, it seems you are saying on a right-hander, their left ear receives more potential sound damage, but later, it seems you are saying a right-handed person gets more damage to their right ear.

I think it hinges on what you mean by back-side ear. As a right-hander, when shooting a rifle I’ve always thought my left ear is further toward than my right, so in my way of thinking, my right ear is is to the back.

However, because you mention hearing loss on the opposite of the shooting side, I think you mean the ear that is closer to the gun is the “front” ear, so my left ear would then be the “back”.

So help me out. What do you mean?
 

RaymondPembrose

Private
Minuteman
Jul 30, 2019
21
2
6
I had the same problem several years ago and I got comtacs with gel pads. Electronics are far superior, better audio quality, compression vs cutting out, etc. The gel pads made the biggest difference in comfort. Much better seal especially with earpro, less pressure points when wearing for a long time, etc.
If you don't need the increased audio quality of a more expensive headset consider buying gel pads for your howard leights, it'll make a huge difference in seal vs the stock pads.

Either way if you are having issues with ringing consider doubling up, I'm not a fan of the foamies but you can go to a miracle ear or whatever and pay to have them custom mold ear plugs - much more effective solution for in-the-ear, and either way doubling up will make a huge difference
 

cherokeefan03

Private
Hessian
Belligerents
Apr 18, 2017
81
93
24
I have the Sordins with gel pads, and if I need to double up I use the SureFire sonic defenders underneath. I have pretty small ear canals, most headphones don't fit me and foamies start to hurt after a while, but the surefires never bother me for extended periods. They also have a valve you can open that will let in a bit more ambient noise if you'd like, helps with hearing voices etc that the sordins are already helping with.
 

TripleBull

This one goes to 11
Belligerents
Feb 13, 2017
2,758
5,701
119
Sunny Colorado
Regarding the studies that @TripleBull was talking about above, I found https://www.audiologyonline.com/ask-the-experts/asymmetric-hearing-loss-from-shooter-347 which talks about asymmetric hearing loss. It’s such a bummer I’m experiencing this in my left ear even with doubling up with Peltor X5 muffs.
Thumbs-up on link, not what you are dealing with. Hearing loss, taking on heavy metals, sinus damage - they are part of the abuse you endure if you want to shoot.
 

Crang

AJ Didnt Kill Himself
Belligerents
Apr 13, 2006
780
723
99
Texas Hills
What can are you using? My Omega with the brake that comes on it for an end cap lets me watch the trace. I thought it was a gimick until I put a flat end cap on the can to make it shorter and noticed the jump in the muzzle. The Omega and my electronic Otto noisebusters work well for me. I keep a set of muffs to throw over them when others are shooting with a brake. Shooting with muffs on screws up my mojo so Im all about finding a way to make just plugs work.
 

mcfred

Sergeant
Belligerents
Feb 17, 2011
940
224
49
SW USA
I have shot matches before with a suppressor and ear muffs on. I find this to be the ultimate in hearing protection, but I can watch my trace and impact better with my muzzle brake installed.
If the suppressor is meeting your PPE requirements then maybe consider re-configuring your match rifle to allow you to spot your impacts without the brake instead? Change the scope for a larger eyebox/field of view, swap to a heavier/longer barrel contour, add weight to the chassis/stock, change the caliber to reduce recoil etc.

The ringing ears with muffs, and plugs is precisely why I went to a suppressor over a brake. My tinnitus isn't going to get better, ever, so I'm chasing "engineered solutions" to keep my hearing.
 

Tono

And...
Belligerents
Mar 19, 2017
136
60
34
Texas
For those of you who like the foam plugs, you should consider the TrustFit Pod push-in earplugs from Honeywell/Howard Leight.

Very easy to use foam earplug that you don't have to roll before pushing into the ear. Seals better than any flange type earplug. Very comfortable for extended wear. Easy to remove and quick to reinsert.

Noise reduction rating: 28 dB

More info: http://www.howardleight.com/earplugs/trustfit-pod

Buy from Amazon, $26.52 for 100 pairs.

Screen Shot 2019-11-15 at 5.59.58 PM.png

Screen Shot 2019-11-15 at 5.59.03 PM.png

Screen Shot 2019-11-15 at 5.59.21 PM.png
 

427Cobra

Lt. Colonel
Belligerents
Nov 24, 2005
5,683
32
154
Sanger, TEXAS!
3m Peltor TEP-100 with Skull Screw tips provide electronic in ear hearing protection with 30db noise reduction, 170 bucks from amazon.
 

Racer88

Firearms Pedant
Online Training Access
Belligerents
Minuteman
Nov 10, 2018
663
809
99
For those of you who like the foam plugs, you should consider the TrustFit Pod push-in earplugs from Honeywell/Howard Leight.

Very easy to use foam earplug that you don't have to roll before pushing into the ear. Seals better than any flange type earplug. Very comfortable for extended wear. Easy to remove and quick to reinsert.

Noise reduction rating: 28 dB

More info: http://www.howardleight.com/earplugs/trustfit-pod

Buy from Amazon, $26.52 for 100 pairs.

View attachment 7183878
Just ordered some to give them a try! I've been using the roll-up foamies. Thanks!