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The Best Type of Hearing Protection for Shooting?

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The Best Type of Hearing Protection for Shooting?

“What is the best type of hearing protection for target shooting? How does this differ from what can/should be used for hunting?”

The short answer is you should always protect your hearing in the field, whether hunting or target shooting.

Many years ago I went on my first dove hunt and ran through at least five boxes of shells out of an old Auto 5 with a vented polychoke on the barrel (those were LOUD). My ears rang for three days, and when I had my hearing tested, the audiologist showed me the dip in my chart where certain high frequencies were lost to me forever. He told me that was the direct result of that one dove hunt. Since then, I have been religious about protecting my hearing. While it hasn’t gotten any better (conversations in crowded rooms are hard to follow, and I can’t hear turkeys spit and drum unless they are at arm’s length), I notice that people my age, even non-shooters like my wife, are catching up to me in hearing loss. I must be doing something right.

I wear disposable foam earplugs at the range and cover them up with a pair of ear muffs. If I forget one or the other, I can definitely hear the difference. I have had custom molded plugs and EAR electronic ear plugs made in the past* but I prefer the cheap and simple foam plugs which protect your hearing quite well if you put them into your ears tightly. If you lose those, or if the dog eats them as mine does, you’re only out a dollar. I do like the electronic muffs that allow you to hear normally and shut down when a gun goes off. Those, over earplugs, provide maximum protection and I can still hear people heckle my shooting. Sometimes when the heckling gets intense it’s nice to have the option of shutting the power off.

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