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Electronic Hearing Protection Reviewsby Geoffrey English
Which Electronic Hearing Protection is Right for Me?
The “electronic age” has changed hearing protection for the sportsmen. Technology has not only increased the effectiveness, but it has also made improvements to comfort, size, and amplification. Shooters can now wear units that comfortably fit within the ear canal offering ultimate implications and protection.
This guide will walk you through electronic hearing protection jargon, explain the technologies and give insight to the best possible solution for electronic hearing protection. Quality units are available for about $100.00, but if budget is not a concern, advanced protection can be purchased for over $1000.00.
The one question that most buyers need to ask themselves is: “How do I plan to use the unit?” The proper match is not dictated by brand nor price but by application. Once this question is answered, it will help guide you to the proper NRR (NRR =Noise Reduction Rating) needed.
Noise Reduction Rating or NRR is the quickest way to determine the level of protection a unit offers, the higher the number, the higher the level of protection. Almost all hearing devices offer protection ranging from 19dB – 31dB (dB=decibels). In most cases, Noise Reduction Rating and the overall style of the cup are directly related. For those shooting indoors, under covered ranges or larger calibers, consider something in the range of 24dB – 31dB; these units offer maximum protection. Outdoor shooters and most shotgunners or plinkers have fewer echoes and less sound reverberation and therefore may opt for a lower NRR.
Cup Style: NRR is directly controlled by the style and size of the cup. A fuller cup such as a Pro-Ears Pro-Mag or Peltor ProTac offer the maximum protection as the cups have more room for sound insulating material. On the negative side, the full cup design may impede shotgun shooters from mounting the gun properly. The full rounded cup may bump the bottom of the stock causing a miss-mount and ill fit. While this is not important to pistol shooters it may make the sporting clays or skeet shooter, a little uncomfortable with their purchase.
Full Cup Styles
Chop or beveled cups are slimmer and offer a lower NRR. The base of this cup style is tapered and protrudes far less than a full cup. This slimmer fit can drastically drop the NRR of a unit but offers a more comfortable fit for shotgun shooters. Keep in mind that most outdoor target shooters, even those sporting the big 12 gauge, are offered plenty of protection with a NRR of 19-23dB. For example, the Walkers Power Muff Quad, Peltor Tactical 6S and Pro-Ears Sporting Clays all falls into this chop cup category.
In summary, shooters that need maximum protection opt for full coverage while shotgun shooters and hunters tend to choose the chop cup. While there is a reduction in NRR, its flexibility to mount is key to the shotgun shooter.
Reminder: The higher the NRR is not always the best fit. Take a conscious effort and think about how you mount the gun and the type of environment you are shooting in.
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