For me, the ability to hear game animals is a crucial aspect of my hunting. I'm listening to mallards call back and ensuring the tone of my duck call is precise. I'm hearing turkeys scratch in the leaves 80 yards away. When I used anything I used foam ear plugs, which made it near impossible to hear the things I needed to hear. Then, more recently, I stumbled upon OTOPRO Technology, based in Mississippi. I think the company is so great, that they're arguably an industry leader when it comes to hearing protection. Everything from customer service to molding the ear is done with great precision, and I wanted to share some of my thoughts on their gear in hopes other hunters will see the appeal.
Going way back on my timeline, I've always had a tough time with my ears. As a child I battled ear problems so much that one of my ear drums ruptured, despite efforts by my parents and doctors to avoid it. Then when I became a young hunter, my dad alway preached hearing protection (which I'm thankful for) to ensure he engrained this into my head. He knew about the long term effects of loud blasts, and while he was in charge, my ear plugs were firmly in my ears.
Then I made it to my 20s, and hearing protection wasn't something I took seriously. If I wasn't able to judge the tone of my duck calls, I wasn't having it. But that led to other problems: I couldn't hear the person calling the shots in the duck blind, nor was an approaching deer detectable from any sort of distance. I realized I was already dealing with slight hearing loss and the years of shotgun blasts that followed made it worse.
Fast forward to more recently, and I knew I had done damage. My 25 accumulative years of hunting waterfowl and whitetails across the country were catching up with me. I needed something that worked better.
OTOPRO at Your Service
With a mission statement that in part promotes "hearing conservation," OTOPRO is establishing a customer-driven business model that's effectively helping people improve and enjoy some of their favorite hobbies and activities. I heard from my friend Taylor Sledge that their company was worth looking in to, and so he made the introduction. I hopped on a call with the owner, Grace, to learn more about the company as well as the custom fitting process.
After spending some time talking, we found the correct plan of action to ensure the hearing I still have was protected. I was going to be lined up with the Soundgear Platinum, which I was particularly excited about. The conversation was so in-depth and covered parts of hearing protection I've never known, plus the manufacturing process, usage instructions, and product selection were all touched on in one friendly call. Once I received the ear protection in the mail, Grace wanted to know immediately how well they fit and readily offered to have a new set sent if it wasn't perfect.
The custom molding process was actually a breeze and the fit was precise. In comparison to traditional ear plugs, these electronic devices were far greater on a comfort level. Add in the ability to hear quieter noises without incurring further damage, and you have mixed up the winning formula.
Testing the OTOPRO
A few days later it was time to put them to the real test in a duck blind situated in west Tennessee. I was eager to hear the difference, and the OTOPRO Soundgear Platinum delivered.
As the ducks began to fly and the smell of hot coffee filled the air, I was impressed by everything I could hear. Seriously, with the OTOPRO I could hear a mallard hen's quack so clearly from a long distance away. I could hear whistling wings before the birds were over the blind. I could hear the percolator brewing that hot cup of Joe I was looking forward to. At that point I already knew it I liked them, but needed to give them the true test. How would my duck call sound while wearing the OTOPRO?
Once again, I was in awe at the clarity and quality of this product. Even gun blasts were pleasant; we shot quite a few times that day, and the noise suppression at 95dB made it so that none of the blasts left the ringing in my ears that I'd become so used to. The 30dB of amplification helped all those subtle, quieter sounds come to life in between the loud noises. I had no trouble hearing my fellow hunters calling the shots, and I could carry on conversations in a whisper with the guys next to me in the blind.
The Helix microphone picked up the sound well, and the volume control was great to have. I also appreciated the four built-in digital listening modes (Normal, High-Frequency Boost/Max Wind Management, Telecoil, Mute), which each played their part during various times in the hunt. Perhaps the most impressive feature of the OTOPRO system is the 1-millisecond attack and release time. There's so little opportunity for a loud sound to penetrate the ear protection before the suppression kicks in, that I was left worry-free the entire time.
Speaking of worry-free, OTOPRO is so confident in their gear that this Soundgear Platinum hearing protection system is covered by a one-year repair warranty, and a one-year warranty of fit. For me, this duck blind experience set the tone for how all my future hunts would go, and that felt awesome.
After spending more days afield with the hearing protection provided by OTOPRO, I can confidently give them a five-star rating. They have nailed the most important aspects of a successful company, and are committed to customer service, product fitment, quality, and difference-making.
What I'd suggest is you avoid my mistakes and devote your attention to finding a hearing protection system that works for you. Give OTOPRO some consideration, and you'll find they've got a lot of other companies beat. Learn more and arrange your own fitting and purchase at OTOPROTechnologies.com.