Ear Protection When Hunting

memtb

Active Member
I didn’t wear ear protection when I was in my early shooting career, late 60’s/early ‘70’s, nor in a noisy industrial. Hearing protection wasn’t stress than as now! During the early years of shooting, noisy industry, and racing motorcycles damaged my hearing......you can’t regain it, and like so many things “you don’t miss it until it’s gone! I religiously wore ear protection during the last 40+ years of industrial work and when shooting.....but, the damage had been done! However, until now.....I didn’t wear ear protection when hunting. I wanted to hear my surroundings, would only fire one or two shots per season, and didn’t use a muzzle brake!

Fast Forward to present! I wanted to hunt with my S&W 460 XVR, and even with light-loads ......even one shot fired was unbearable! We hunt in grizzly country, and I didn’t want to mute any sounds when hunting.....nor likely would have time to insert ear protection prior to a shot. I think that I’ve solved my delima! We recently ordered 2 sets of AXIS GS Extreme ear buds.....they arrived yesterday!

So, these are the results of my very brief (cold rain falling) and not extensive test and evaluation.....using my 460!


Sound reduction: At least as good as any ear plug that I’ve used. I only fired one round from my 460.....not bad at all!

Sound enhancement: When walking back to my range, I had them turned on to a pretty high volume. While just a sprinkle, the drops sounded pretty loud on the grass and barren dirt, and I could hear my footsteps quite well! When I turned around to walk back to the house, I was walking into the slight breeze...there was a very noticeable roar! But, as said, they were turned up high. I lowered the volume, and eliminated the roar!

Sound direction: While walking toward my range, I could hear traffic on the highway, a bit over 1/2 mile behind me. There was no problem determining the origin of the sound......however, this could be a “skewed” opinion, as I knew the direction of the road!

There you go.......my initial impression! memtb
 

Colorado Cowboy

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For years I have worn Peltor ear muffs while range master. They allow conversation, but as soon as a shot is fired, block the sound. They work pretty good. Never wore them for hunting, but they probably would work there too.
 
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memtb

Active Member
For years I have worn Peltor ear muffs while range master. They allow conversation, but as soon as a shot is fired, block the sound. They work pretty good. Never wore them for hunting, but they probably would work there too.
I considered muffs, but wanted something for hunting as well as range work.....only wanted to buy one set! I believe the muffs probably have greater protection, but I can’t use them when shooting a rifle....so, I elected to go with the buds. Heck......I may start using them to watch (hear 😁) television ! memtb
 

Muley bound

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Mar 12, 2013
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Wisconsin
Good info, thanks! I’m a firm believer in keeping your hearing. I operate heavy equipment for a living and before that ran a chainsaw. When I was younger, I didn’t have a care in the world. As I get older, I never run anything without ear plugs. Although, I feel I still have pretty decent hearing, there’s times when things get loud that I have a continuous ring in my right ear. Never wore protection while hunting, but definitely worth looking into!
 
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buckbull

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Jun 20, 2011
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I grew up on a dairy farm and ran alot of different kinds of equipment. I never wore hearing protection and I'm paying for it now. The corn chopper we used to make silage was the worse. After running it my hearing was screwed up for days. I sure wish I would have worn plugs or muffs. I can hear things OK but understanding what is being said can be hard. If I'm in a crowd like a noisy restaurant I can't even participate in the discussion because I can't clearly hear what people are saying.
 

mallardsx2

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Jul 8, 2015
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Hunted and shot guns for 20 years before I ever put an ear plug in. We didnt even own a pair of shooting muff or ear plugs.

Shooting woodchucks, Waterfowl and crows over the years of thousands of rounds fired did it to me. I'm not even 40 and I have 30% loss in my left ear. Its not good.

I will for sure have to have hearing aids by the time I am 50.
 
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JimP

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Mar 28, 2016
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what!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;)🤪

if your married hearing loss is a blessing.
even more so if you got children!
That was selective hearing loss to the frequency of your wife's and children's voices.

As for me I didn't start wearing hearing protection until I started shooting large bore pistols. I found that a .357 magnum was worse than a .44 magnum as far as shooting without protection. But back then you looked goofy wearing those big ear muffs since foam plugs and electronic protection devices were few and far between. It wasn't until the late 70's before the communication company that I worked for started to issue ear muffs to wear while we were working on and around heavy equipment but by that time it was almost too late.

Now if I am at the range I have the muffs on, when I head over to Africa this next spring I'll take a few sets of foam plugs for the rifle check shots but other than that I usually don't wear ear protection for hunting.

A funny thing on that was that on my first trip to Africa I had a screw on muzzle brake on my rifle when we went to the range. When I pulled the riffle out of the case a couple of the PH's just let out a groan when they saw it and backed away when I got to the bench. After I took 3 shots I calmly unscrewed the brake and put the protective cap onto the barrel. The next day while hunting with my PH he thanked me for taking the brake off of the rifle. He said that just about all Ph's hate it when their client brings a rifle with a brake on it since then can not get that close to watch what is happening at the shot without plugging their ears with their fingers which leaves their binoculars dangling around their necks.
 
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memtb

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JimP,

When I built my 9.0 lb. .375 AI, I had it built with a brake. I developed my loads using the brake and “EAR PROTECTION” from the bench......never realizing how loud it was. When back packing bear baits in, I decided to take a long range shot at a rock with out plugs/muffs.....”just for the hell of it”! I actually thought that I had ruptured my ear drums. Instant pain, instant headache, ear rigging for several days. A week or so later, blaming the extreme blast on the theory that I was sitting with my back to a steep ridge, had caused the noise to be bounced back to me .....I tried a shot again. This time I shot while standing, on a flat, open piece of ground (yes, I’m a bit slow) to test my theory! The results were the same! The brake was removed, thread protector placed on the barrel.....the brake was thrown into a box somewhere, never to be seen again. That was spring of 1990!
I determined that if I can’t “man-up” and shoot without a brake......I neede a different rifle. Thus far.....it has been my “only” hunting rifle! memtb
 

JimP

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Brakes are nice for load development but that is about it.

When I was doing some practicing before my hunt in 2015 I could only take around 10 shots with my .340 Weatherby before my shoulder wouldn't take it anymore. But with the brake on it was like shooting my 30-06, but I'll never hunt with it on.
 
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Colorado Cowboy

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I wear hearing aids (which I really like) and when I get ready to shoot, I turn them off. It only takes a few seconds. With them off, they also act like an ear plug. Not as good as a regular one, but enough that I can shoot without any hearing problems.
 

memtb

Active Member
I wear hearing aids (which I really like) and when I get ready to shoot, I turn them off. It only takes a few seconds. With them off, they also act like an ear plug. Not as good as a regular one, but enough that I can shoot without any hearing problems.

While I’m certain that hearing aides would be quite beneficial for me in several areas.....my hearing is not bad enough, (yet) to justify the cost of good hearing aides! The AXIS cost us $259.00 for 2 sets! Being the cheapskate that I am, pushed me in this direction! memtb
 

JimP

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While I’m certain that hearing aides would be quite beneficial for me in several areas.....my hearing is not bad enough, (yet) to justify the cost of good hearing aides! The AXIS cost us $259.00 for 2 sets! Being the cheapskate that I am, pushed me in this direction! memtb
Don't you know if you sign up for one of the new Medicare plans you can get free hearing aids, dental, trips to the Dr office and more. And besides all that it is FREEEEEEEEEEEE
 
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Colorado Cowboy

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...and you get some of you Medicare payment back!!!! The4 small print says you have to buy all your medical from one place and they set the coverages. Also called.........scam.
 
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badgerbob

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May 18, 2015
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I wear hearing aids (which I really like) and when I get ready to shoot, I turn them off. It only takes a few seconds. With them off, they also act like an ear plug. Not as good as a regular one, but enough that I can shoot without any hearing problems.
I am right there with you Cowboy. Mine will shut down when the noise reaches a high level, I don't have to shut them off when I shoot. And they do act as an ear plug. I'm pretty happy with them for hunting.