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Thread: Hearing Protection for hunters

  1. #1
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Hearing Protection for hunters

    Good hearing protection improves year by year, but it still isn't cheaper. Hearing aid/protection technology is improving though. I learned a lot last week during an audiology visit for my mother, who had her hearing deficits mapped (audiogram) then corrected by programmable hearing aids, which can be adapted for hunters too. The top of the market in hearing aids was priced from 3 to 5K ... ... each. Yowza.

    Hunters have a couple of special hearing needs when it comes to considering hearing protection: 1). they prefer to be able to hear normally all the time, 2). they probably have time to "put on" their hearing protection, but ...might not.

    Good ear plugs, correctly inserted actually do a good job (-22dB or more) protecting hearing. They're cheap enough to buy in bulk and comfortable enough to wear for hours. We use these plus an earmuff at the range. For hunting field use though, we tried something new that worked well...

    1. Sport Ear, Select-A-Fit 30 ($400/pairfrom Cabela's): continuous, in-ear, 22dB noise reduction that allows normal (or amplified) hearing, but limits loud ones. These are easier to don and wear than the Walker's Game Ears with foam tips I used 2 years ago. The Sport Ears cost more and I had to have them shipped to my son in the Lower-48, then picked them up during a planned visit. They aren't custom-fitted, but the selectable tips worked alright. My daughter and I wore them each day during a 5-day spring bear hunt. It always felt good to take them out, but at the range and in the field, they were comfortable enough to wear for hours at a time. The batteries are affordable. (Link: http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te....form23&Go.x=0).

    We also invested in some good electronic muffs after reading some other threads. The ProEars Stalker models fit us and our rifles well enough to wear in the field. Protection-wise, electronic ear muffs seem a good field option - if you can hack the bulk.

    Other good threads on hearing protection:
    From Gear forum, gogoalie on hearing protection: http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ing+protection
    From Shooting forum, Mort on ear muffs: http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ing+protection
    From Gear forum, CatchIt on hearing protection: http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ing+protection
    From Shooting forum, MNMauler on hearing protection and amplification: http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ing+protection

    The new Select-30 in the "MicroFit" series (http://www.sportear.com/) are $800/pair. I don't know how those differ from what Cabela's offers, but Cabela's version is still $400/pair.

    Good luck this season.

  2. #2
    Member H20Dogg's Avatar
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    Default Amen to hearing protection

    I never thought I would need hearing protection on a hunt, until I put 4 pieces of lead into a 54" bull from .338 with a BOSS. After the last shot I had a terrible pain in my ears that I think is still with me today. I hope I remember some plugs this August when I go for caribou.

  3. #3
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    Default

    I always fancied the idea that the EPA and OCEA mandate thet I use a scilencer, while hunting, targeting, plinking, to save my hearing, those around me, as welll as not harrassing the wildlife.

    If we gave that 10 years, it may be someday that its consitterd "Rude" to go to the range without the factory scilencer installed, but I jsut dont see our govornment trusting the average citizen THAT much ~~LOL!!~~
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

  4. #4
    Member Phil's Avatar
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    Default Hearing

    I came through life when shooting on an Army range was considered standard with no hearing protection. My wife now nags at me to get hearing aids.

    While I don't wear PFD's while float hunting (another forum thread) I do protect what is left of my hearing. If I could do life over (which I can't) - I would definitely protect my ears from ALL loud noises.

  5. #5
    Member bilbo's Avatar
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    HUH???!!!

    kidding aside, I have been very lucky (blessed?) in my 62 years.
    I drove a lot of heavy machinery, worked a couple or 3 decades in a generation/powerhouse environment.
    I always resented required hearing protection in my younger days.
    I have shot thousands of rounds of ammo, worn out 4 or 5 chainsaws, raced cars and still enjoy 99% of my hearing.
    this retained hearing was not a result of being real intelligent in avoiding hearing loss. I have a 5% loss of hearing in the upper band, but still play music, listen to music and hear my wife most of the time.
    all through no fault of my own....

  6. #6
    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    Default

    Never wear hearing protection while hunting, just at the range while zeroeing in.....with that said, when I'm hunting I want to be able to hear what I can if I can, like rocks rolling down a slide, or other sounds and noises etc... When You make that one shot, you don't even think about it, especially when your looking at and thinking about what your aiming at. I hunted with many calibers to include big bores....and the only hearing problem I have is selective hearing......But, I would recommmend at the range.

  7. #7

    Default You might....

    Check out surefire's web site. They have some niffty noise reduction ear 'plugs' that you can hear 'normally' but then shut down when noise levels increase. Similar to electric shooting muffs.
    RIDE TALL, SHOOT STRAIGHT AND ALWAYS TELL THE TRUTH

  8. #8
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    Default What!!!???!!!

    (from another former BOSS owner)

    Don't do it, young man.

  9. #9
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Default

    I have some of the sure fire plugs and they are ok. Fairly comfortable but they don't allow normal hearing and they don't block as much as quality foamy ear plugs which basically means they don't really have any benefit.

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    Member BrentC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kahahawai View Post
    Never wear hearing protection while hunting, just at the range while zeroeing in.....with that said, when I'm hunting I want to be able to hear what I can if I can, like rocks rolling down a slide, or other sounds and noises etc... When You make that one shot, you don't even think about it, especially when your looking at and thinking about what your aiming at. I hunted with many calibers to include big bores....and the only hearing problem I have is selective hearing......But, I would recommmend at the range.
    This is one of the points of advanced hearing protection. It's not like wearing earplugs or standard muffs, these actually help you to hear the normal sounds better. The only sounds you won't hear are the damaging ones like gunfire.

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    Default

    You know, they sell ear muffs with those features at home depot for 60$ for use in construction. The magnify normal sounds and muffle loud noises. I need a pair anyway for household use so I may try them out. Duck hunting definitely wear plugs, rifle hunting I have them especially for snoring tentmates but never have managed to have them in when I got a shot!
    I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent. Fred Bear

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sollybug View Post
    ...rifle hunting I have them especially for snoring tentmates but never have managed to have them in when I got a shot!
    +1 on that Solly! I always wear them at the range, bring them on my hunts, but somehow don't make the time to put them on when touching off a shot at game. However, I have worn them in the tent at night to muffle the snoring of some of my hunt partners...

  13. #13
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default

    Good news piece in the Peninsula Clarion today (April 17, 2015) by Rich Landers of The Spokesman Review prompted this update. I see Midway still carries the Sport Ears, which I still use with much satisfaction. A few lines from the newspaper article:

    "A single gunshot, rated at about 140dB can cause permanent hearing damage, according to government guidelines.
    Maybe it's just a little at a time, but the damage adds up hunt after hunt."

    "If you want the best performance, buy electronic protection devices that will guard your hearing from muzzle blasts while helping you hear clearly for better communication, hunting success and safety in the woods."

    Good luck.

  14. #14
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6XLeech View Post
    Maybe it's just a little at a time, but the damage adds up hunt after hunt."
    This is huge, and something that I didn't realize until I woke up at 3am one morning to sudden hearing loss in my right ear. Many years in a rock-n-roll band in the 70s.....(could never get those guys to turn down their amps), hunted since I was old enough to walk, and cut my teeth using a scatter gun, and lots of construction work over the years. I'm actually surprised that my hearing lasted as long as it did after knowing what I know now.

    Doc said the final tipping point might have been when I was sitting down eating a sandwich when a compressor hose gave way right next to me. Even though it really wasn't any louder than a 22, after years of abuse that may have been all it took.

    A lot of my hearing came back but not near enough. And to boot I have tendinitis in both ears as well since that happened.

    Wish I knew then what I know now......

    Save your ears now boys as it's no fun when you start getting older.......

    (oh and.........I still can't bring myself to get hearing aids, but I might end up getting some before too long as it's getting to be a real pain in the ass).....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    I bought a set of noise cancelling headphones that have a built in noise amplification system - so they amplify low level noise while deadening stuff that's loud. They work pretty good, I bought them on sale for like 50 bucks during the holidays. I have never used them when hunting but when I walk around my house and I turn them up all the way I can hear what my footsteps sound like which is pretty sweet and I can hear conversations across the room which is kind of cool.

  16. #16

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    Yea, I just cannot see myself wearing hearing protection in the woods..at least not more than once. I am interested in some of the sound amplification ideas people are using to hear return grunts...if a set of headphones did both, I am all ears.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anchorrivercrowds View Post
    I am interested in some of the sound amplification ideas people are using to hear return grunts...if a set of headphones did both, I am all ears.
    The stories I could tell you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver View Post
    The stories I could tell you.
    What would be even better, read my old posts on earphones.

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    Member joebut1985's Avatar
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    There's a company by the name of soundgear that makes some nice electronic hearing protection. They have ones specifically for hunting and other types of applications. They are not big and bulky like ear muffs and still allow you to hear everything around you.

  20. #20

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    New to moose hunting, but drew a couple tags this year and we have the air taxi all set to drop us. I have a fair it of hearing loss, especially in my left as right handed shooter. Dont think the construction industry I work in has helped much either.

    Question: Would something like the Etymotic 15- LE http://www.etymotic.com/consumer/hea...on/eb15le.html ear pro/enhance be a good idea for the moose? Any experience that suggests enhancement is the way to go. That is really the selling point for me. When at the range I use over ear pro now, but cant see myself wearing them hunting.

    thanks,
    MW

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