If you’re a regular shooter, you want to make sure you give importance to ear protection.
When we think of gun safety, we often think about making sure we don’t shoot others or ourselves! But the NRA includes ear protection as a crucial aspect of safe shooting.
Without ear protection, you can lose your hearing or also experience severe illnesses such as tinnitus.
But what’s the best shooting ear protection? How do you make sure your ears are always protected when you need to fire your gun? Keep reading to find out.
Choose Your Retailer
You must buy from a retailer that specializes in ear protection for shooting.
The average gunshot can reach up to 140 decibels in volume. This sound is above what most humans can tolerate. The average human ear will find a gunshot’s sound to be painful.
Certain guns such as shotguns and .357 Magnums can reach extremely high decibels. Even smaller guns, such as a 9mm pistol, can produce a volume of 160 decibels when fired.
It would help if you had ear muffs or headphones that can block these decibels as much as possible. But, unfortunately, ordinary headphones or earmuffs cannot handle this at all.
What Can Happen?
So what happens if you do feel a bit of pain after hearing a gunshot? Apart from possibly losing your hearing, there are other illnesses and ailments that you might experience.
This can lead to cognitive decline, depression, anxiety, and social withdrawal. It can also lead to serious physical illnesses such as cardiovascular disease.
The biggest issue is that it can decrease your situational awareness. This is most serious if you work in law enforcement and require a gun for your everyday work.
It’s only with ear protection that law enforcement officers can work for years on end.
Earmuffs and Earplugs
Now let’s look at two of the most popular types of shooting ear protection. First, you want to assess which one is best based on the shooting you usually do.
Earmuffs are made to fit close to your head and encompass your entire ear. They reduce outside noise using foam. You can wear them over earplugs for added protection. You might prefer to use these if you shoot louder guns such as shotguns and revolvers.
Earplugs are smaller protective gear that you insert directly into your ear. They don’t encompass your ear and focus on only protecting your eardrums. These can work well if you’re a regular sport shooter or a hunter. Some earplugs can also reduce white noise in addition to gunshot noise.
It’s ideal to keep a healthy stock of earplugs at your disposal. You might wish to invest in at least 2 pairs of earmuffs. Make sure you keep these with you every time you leave your home with your gun.
You can’t depend on every gun range to provide you with adequate ear protection. As such, take your own ear protection to the gun range or when you’re hunting.
What Else Can I Do for Ear Protection?
Apart from investing in the best shooting ear protection, what else can you do to ensure your ears are always protected?
The first step is not to shoot often if you don’t have to. If you’re in law enforcement, this obviously isn’t in your hands. But if you shoot for sport or hunting, then you want to take long breaks.
If you’ve felt earaches from shooting, you want to stop and take as long a break as possible. You might even wish to see a doctor to assess the severity of your pain.
You also want to make sure that you’re keeping your ears clean as often as possible. Make sure they are free from ear wax and other pollutants. For men, you might need to trim your ear hairs more often as well.
It would help if you also avoid other activities that can expose you to loud noises. For example, when you listen to music, keep it at a low volume. The same goes for watching television.
It’s also best to avoid consuming audio through headphones or earphones altogether. Of course, you might be tempted to have earphones in while you’re at the gym or on your commute. But if you avoid this, it’ll be healthier for your ears.
You might also wish to expose yourself to silence as much as possible. Take walks in quieter areas or see if you can reduce the noise level in your home.
Make sure you always consult a medical professional on how you can look after your ear health.
Noise Reduction Rating
You want to look at the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) when choosing an ear protection product. The higher it is, the greater the protection for your ears.
Even within a short range in the NRR scale, you can expect significant ear protection. There’s a significant difference between 27 NRR and 29 NRR.
If you fire a gun and still feel ear pain with your ear protection, you might have to upgrade to a superior NRR. You should also do your research on the ideal NRR for the types of guns you shoot.
For example, you might need one set of ear protection for shooting your 9mm and another set for shooting your .357 Magnum. You want to speak to fellow shooters about which ear protection they use.
It’s also ideal to speak to your local gun shop owner or gun range owner on what ear protection they suggest.
Protect Your Ears When You Shoot
Now that you know the rules for ear protection when shooting your guns, you can follow this guide to look after your ears.
Make sure you always look after your ear health first and seek medical advice on the best route to look after your ears.
Then you want to invest in the right ear protection for your shooting habits. At best, keep a few earplugs and earmuffs at your disposal. Make sure to take breaks any time your ears feel pain.
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