There are plenty of ear safety choices, just make sure you make one.
When preparing for a round of shooting, whether you're going on a hunting trip or hitting the range, safety should be at the forefront of your preparation process. Not only should you be concerned about gun safety, but about personal safety, including your ears.
Hearing loss can be caused by sounds over 85 decibels. To put it into perspective, a normal conversation is rated at 60 decibels, heavy city traffic at 85, and the front row at a concert at 130. The sound of a gunshot has been rated at a 140 decibel level.
Unfortunately, your hearing does not recover from large blasts and certain loud noises -- once the damage is done it cannot be reversed. It is deeply important to take precautions to protect your hearing so that you do not cause permanent damage.
Earmuffs can be found in a wide range of colors, including camo for when you are in the field. Most muffs protect you from sounds 82 decibels or higher, and the higher-end muffs allow you to enhance sounds less than 70 decibels, making your hearing almost bionic when used while tracking. They're also a good choice for youngsters.
If you like to listen to music or a scanner radio while shooting, most come equipped with an audio jack to plug into your device. Muffs provide excellent coverage and are highly prized for noise reduction while shooting at the range.
Electronic Hearing Protection
With the shape and look of hearing aids, it comes as no surprise that electronic hearing protection pieces operate the same with the added benefit of higher decibel protection.
The sponge-like ear piece fits into your ear canal and expands to block out louder noises, but allows you to pick up softer noises, such as normal talking voices and walking animals. They are lightweight and can be easily stashed in your pocket. Most models come with a waterproof coating to protect them from rain damage, a common battle while tracking.
Ear plugs come in both disposable and reusable options for your hearing protection needs. Most are compact and can be tucked on the inside liner of your hat or in a pocket for safe keeping.
Custom ear plugs can be made to fit the inside of your ear, which can lessen the noise of a shot by 26 decibels. Most ear plus are hypoallergenic and waterproof, so you don't have to worry about inserting a wet sponge into your ear if left out in the rain.
Some models come equipped with a hearing band that allows the plugs to be attached to a string or a plastic circular shape that curves around the back of your head. These bands help to keep the buds easily accessible, and some varieties can aid in keeping the buds in place in your ears.